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15 Animals That End With the Letter M (Photos)

From worms to hummingbirds, there are a variety of animals ending in the letter M. This article showcases 15 of these species, spanning the earth and sea to the skies. 

1. Giant clam

giant clam underwater
Image by kriscashman from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Tridacna gigas

The Giant clam is a large marine mollusk known for its impressive size and vibrant colors. It features a heavy, hard shell with ridges and can grow up to several feet in length. Unique to the giant clam is its ability to host symbiotic algae within its tissues, which provides it with nutrients through photosynthesis.

Giant clams are filter feeders, meaning they passively collect plankton and other small organisms from the water using their gills. They are found in warm, shallow waters of coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region.

2. Glow worm

Glow worm
Glow worm | image by Tero Karppinen via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Lampyris noctiluca

Glow worms are small bioluminescent insects found in various parts of the world, typically in humid and dark environments like caves, forests, and grasslands. They emit a soft green or blue light from their abdomen, which they use to attract prey or mates.

Glow worms are not worms at all but rather the larvae of certain species of flies or beetles. They spin silk threads on the ceilings of caves or other surfaces, where they hang and dangle their glowing tails to lure insects into their sticky traps. Once caught, the glow worm larvae feed on these insects.

3. Opossum

Opossum on tree branch
Opossum on tree branch | image by ramendan via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Didelphidae

Opossums are small to medium-sized marsupials known for their unique behaviors and features. They have grayish fur, long tails, and hairless ears. One of their most distinctive characteristics is their prehensile tail, which they use for grasping branches and hanging from trees.

Opossums are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active at night. They are omnivores, feeding on a variety of foods including fruits, insects, small animals, and carrion. Opossums are found throughout North and South America, inhabiting a wide range of habitats including forests, grasslands, and urban areas.

They are known for their ability to play dead when threatened, a behavior known as “playing possum.” This defense mechanism can fool predators into leaving them alone.

4. Possum

Possum in tree
Possum in tree | Image by Bruce Mewett from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Didelphidae

Possums, native to Australia, New Guinea, and Sulawesi, are marsupials with diverse diets ranging from leaves to fruits, and some species also eat small animals. They are known for their ability to adapt to various habitats, including forests and urban areas. Unique features include their prehensile tails, used for grasping branches, and some species have a strong immunity to snake venom.

In contrast, opossums are found in the Americas and are known for playing dead as a defense mechanism. The key difference between possums and opossums lies in their geographical distribution and some behavioral traits, with possums being more arboreal.

5. Olm

Olm | image by Javier Ábalos via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Proteus anguinus

The Olm is a blind, aquatic salamander found primarily in the underwater caves of the Dinaric Alps, stretching across southeastern Europe. Known for its pale, almost translucent skin, the olm has adapted to life in complete darkness, relying on its heightened senses of hearing and smell to navigate and find food.

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Unique among amphibians for its long lifespan, some olms can live over 100 years. They feed on small aquatic creatures and can survive without food for years, thanks to their slow metabolism.

6. Ram

Ram in garden canyon
Ram in Garden Canyon | image by Yellowstone National Park via Flickr

Scientific Name: Ovis aries

Rams, male sheep, are known for their thick, curly horns, which can grow in a spiral or corkscrew shape and are used in mating battles to establish dominance. Found worldwide, they are domesticated animals raised for wool, meat, and milk. Rams exhibit a variety of behaviors, including social hierarchy within flocks and protective actions towards their group.

They adapt to a wide range of habitats, from mountainous regions to grasslands, showing their versatility in different environmental conditions. An interesting fact about rams is their ability to recognize individual faces, both sheep and human, which is a testament to their intelligence and social nature.

7. Earthworm

Earthworm on the ground
Earthworm on the ground

Scientific Name: Lumbricus terrestris

Earthworms are vital to soil health, known for their role in aerating the earth and breaking down organic matter. They are found worldwide, thriving in moist soils rich in organic material. Earthworms have long, segmented bodies that allow them to move through soil efficiently, consuming soil and organic matter as they go, which is then excreted as nutrient-rich castings beneficial for plant growth.

They lack lungs, breathing through their skin, which requires a moist environment to function. One fascinating aspect of earthworms is their hermaphroditic nature, meaning each individual possesses both male and female reproductive organs, although it still requires another worm to reproduce. Their ability to regenerate lost segments of their bodies, although limited, adds to their resilience.

8. Silkworm

Silkworm | image by Baishiya_白石崖 via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Bombyx mori

Silkworms are the larval stage of the silk moth, known for producing silk during their pupal stage. Originally from China, they have been domesticated for thousands of years for silk production. Silkworms exclusively feed on mulberry leaves, which contributes to the silk’s quality. They spin their cocoons using a single strand of silk that can extend up to 900 meters.

These insects are entirely dependent on humans for reproduction, having been bred in captivity for so long that they can no longer survive in the wild. Silkworms go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult, with the entire cycle from egg to adult taking about 2 months.

9. Tapeworm

Tapeworm | image by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Cestoda

Tapeworms are parasitic flatworms that inhabit the digestive tracts of vertebrates, including humans. Characterized by their long, ribbon-like bodies, tapeworms can grow several meters in length. They attach to the host’s intestines using hooks and suckers on their head, known as a scolex. Tapeworms absorb nutrients directly through their skin, lacking a digestive system of their own.

They are found worldwide, with transmission occurring through the ingestion of undercooked meat or contaminated water. An interesting feature of tapeworms is their segmented body, with each segment capable of producing eggs. These segments are shed in the host’s feces, spreading the eggs into the environment.

10. Winter cutworm

Winter cutworm caterpillar
Winter cutworm | image by Raleigh City Farm via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Noctua pronuba

The Winter cutworm, the larval stage of the large yellow underwing moth, originates from Europe but has spread to North America and other regions. This caterpillar is recognized for its ability to feed during the colder months, unlike many other species that are dormant during winter. It has a varied diet, consuming a wide range of plants and crops, which can lead to significant agricultural damage.

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The winter cutworm is brown or greenish in color, with a pattern that helps it blend into its surroundings, making it less noticeable to predators. They are nocturnal, hiding in the soil or under debris during the day and feeding at night. Their adaptability to cooler temperatures and broad diet make them a resilient species, capable of thriving in a variety of habitats, including farmlands, gardens, and grasslands.

11. Wireworm

Wireworm | image by Katja Schulz via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Elateridae

Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles, are slender, shiny, and wire-like in appearance, ranging in color from yellowish to brown. They are found globally, inhabiting a variety of environments but prefer moist soils rich in organic matter. Wireworms can live in the soil for several years, feeding on plant roots, seeds, and tubers, which makes them a significant agricultural pest, particularly damaging to crops like potatoes, grains, and corn.

Their hardy nature allows them to survive in the soil even under adverse conditions. One of the most interesting aspects of their behavior is the adult click beetle’s ability to snap its body to flip into the air, making a clicking sound as a defense mechanism or to right itself if turned upside down.

12. Slow worm

Slow worm on ground
Slow worm on ground | Image by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Anguis fragilis

The Slow worm is not a worm but a legless lizard native to Europe and parts of Asia. Despite resembling snakes, slow worms have several distinct characteristics, such as the ability to blink with their eyelids and the presence of a detachable tail, which they can shed to escape predators.

They are typically found in gardens, grasslands, and woodlands, preferring moist, covered habitats. Slow worms are carnivorous, feeding on slugs, snails, and insects, contributing to natural pest control. They are known for their slow-moving nature and their remarkable longevity, with some individuals living up to 30 years.

13. White-bellied mountain-gem  

White-bellied mountain-gem
White-bellied mountain-gem | image by Francesco Veronesi via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Lampornis hemileucus

The White-bellied mountain-gem is a hummingbird species found in the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama. This bird is notable for its vibrant plumage; males have a brilliant green back and a white belly, while females feature a more subdued green upperpart and a grayish underpart with white tips on the tail feathers. They inhabit montane forests and edges, often seen in areas rich in flowering plants.

Unique among hummingbirds, the White-bellied mountain-gem displays remarkable agility in flight, able to hover and maneuver with precision to feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, which they pollinate in the process.

14. Purple-throated mountain-gem  

Purple-throated mountain-gem
Purple-throated mountain-gem | image by Becky Matsubara via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Lampornis calolaemus

The Purple-throated mountain-gem is a vibrant hummingbird species endemic to the mountainous rainforests of Costa Rica and Panama. Males are distinguished by their purple throat, emerald green body, and deeply forked tail, whereas females have a more subdued coloration with a white-striped throat and a rounded tail with white tips. These birds prefer habitats rich in flowering plants, from cloud forests to gardens, where they are often seen darting between flowers to feed on nectar.

Their long, curved bills are perfectly adapted to extract nectar from tubular flowers, playing a crucial role in pollination. Purple-throated mountain-gems are territorial and will aggressively defend feeding areas from other nectar-feeding birds. They also supplement their diet with insects and spiders.

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15. Horned sungem  

Horned sungem
Horned sungem | image by Michael Hurben via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Heliactin bilophus

The Horned sungem is a small, vibrant hummingbird found in South America, particularly in Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela. This species is notable for the males’ unique “horns” – two tufts of elongated, brightly colored feathers projecting from its head, giving it a distinctive appearance. The body plumage is primarily iridescent green, with a dark tail and a white spot behind each eye.

Horned sungems inhabit savannas, open woodlands, and edges of forests, often where flowering shrubs and trees are abundant. They feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, using their agility to hover and access the nectar while also consuming small insects for protein.