AFTERNOON DUST BATH
© Laura Quick
Nothing makes our resident quail happier than the delivery of a big bucket of dirt. They spread it around with their feet, then roll around in it for awhile before napping - with estatic smiles on their little birdie faces
Oct 06 Reblogged
Sep 14 Reblogged
Say AHHHHHHHHHHHH ——then run
SHOEBILL STORK - Yikes!
© Zdeněk Chalupa
I couldn’t resist - these pre-historic looking birds never cease to amaze me :)
This species was only classified in the 19th century when some skins were brought to Europe. It was not until years later that live specimens reached the scientific community. However, the bird was known to both ancient Egyptians and Arabs. There are Egyptian images depicting the Shoebill, while the Arabs referred to the bird as abu markub, which means one with a shoe, a reference to the bird’s distinctive bill.
Shoebills feed in muddy waters, preying on fish, frogs, reptiles such as baby crocodiles, and small mammals. They nest on the ground and lay from 1 to 3 eggs, usually during the dry season.
The population is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in Sudan. BirdLife International have classified it as Vulnerable with the main threats being habitat destruction, disturbance and hunting.
Aug 29 Reblogged
See, Nature does have a sense of humor
The Silver Pheasant is a species of pheasant found in forests, mainly in mountains, of mainland Southeast Asia, and eastern and southern China, with introduced populations in Hawaii and various locations in the US mainland. The male is black and white, while the female is mainly brown. Both sexes have a bare red face and red legs.
This is a relatively large pheasant, with males of the largest subspecies having a total length of 120 to 125 centimetres (47 to 49 in), including a tail of up to 75 centimetres (30 in), while the males of the smallest subspecies barely reach 70 centimetres (28 in) in total length, including a tail of about 30 centimetres (12 in). Females of all subspecies are significanlty smaller than their respective males, with the largest only reaching about 70 centimetres (28 in) in total length.
Aug 28 Reblogged
My favorite creepiest sea anemone EVER - works like a venue fly trap (hence the name) - BTW, in case its confusing - its big “foot” is attached to the thin stick…(also check out the Electric Flaming Scallop)
VENUS FLYTRAP SEA ANEMONE*
©NOAA Photo Library
The Venus flytrap sea anemone is a large sea anemone resembling a Venus Flytrap. Like it’s plant namesake, it is believed to close its tentacles to capture prey or to protect itself. It is found in and around the Gulf of Mexico.
Flytrap anemones grow up to 30 cm (one foot) across attaching themselves to exposed rock outcrops on seamounts and deep sea ridges, where currents are relatively strong. Some scientists have suggested that flytrap anemones eat bits of debris carried on the ocean currents, their body shape suggests that they feed on small animals, such as shrimp, that happen to swim by. Flytrap anemones were recently discovered to release bioluminescent slime when disturbed.
*Looks like the carniverous plant from the movie Little Shop of Horrors
Aug 27 Reblogged
Love this fish - the color and pattern are amazing, plus the lines by its eye are recall the tattoos of New Zealand natives and give it the name of Maori Wrasse. The enormous bulbous head it grows when it’s older gives it its alternate name of “Napolean” Wrasse.
MAORI WRASSE, Napoleon wrasse, or Napoleonfish;
by Luc Viatour
This fish is chock full of win - the patterning is gorgeous (even better in the shot on the other posts link) males grow to SIX FEET in length and 300 pounds.
The humphead wrasse is a wrasse that is mainly found in coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region. It is also known as the Māori wrasse, Napoleon wrasse, Napoleonfish; or “So Mei” 蘇眉 (Cantonese) and “Mameng” (Filipino).
The humphead wrasse is the largest living member of the family Labridae, with males reaching 6 feet (2 m) in length, while females rarely exceed about 3 feet (1 m). It has thick, fleshy lips and a hump that forms on its head above the eyes, becoming more prominent as the fish ages. Males range from a bright electric blue to green, a purplish blue, or a relatively dull blue/green. Juveniles and females are red-orange above, and red-orange to white below. Some males grow very large, with one unconfirmed report of a Humphead Wrasse that was 7.75 feet (2.29 m) long and weighed 420 lbs (190.5 kg).
Individuals become sexually mature at 5 to 7 years and females are known to live for around 30 years whereas males live a slightly shorter 25 years. Humphead wrasse are protogynous hermaphrodites, with some members of the population becoming male at approximately 9 years old. The factors that control the timing of sex change are not yet known. Adults move to the down-current end of the reef and form local spawning aggregations they concentrate to spawn at certain times of the year.
Aug 27 Reblogged
Mother Nature, you are such a show off!
AUSTRALIAN SPOTTED JELLYFISH or WHITE SPOTTED JELLYFISH
This gorgeous shot was taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Phyllorhiza punctata is a species of jellyfish, also known as the Australian spotted jellyfish or the White-spotted jellyfish. It is native to the southwestern Pacific, where it feeds primarily on zooplankton. P. punctata average 45-50 cm in bell diameter but there had been a maximum reported size of 62 cm. However, in October, 2007, one 72 cm. wide, perhaps the largest ever recorded, was found on Sunset Beach, NC. In July 2007 smaller ones were seen in Bogue Sound much further north along the North Carolina Coast. They have only a mild venom and are not considered a threat to humans. However, their ability to consume plankton and the eggs and larvae of important fish species is cause for concern. Each jellyfish can filter as much as 13,200 gallons of sea water per day. While doing that, it ingests the plankton that native species need.
True jellyfish, Phylum Cnidaria, go through a two stage life cycle which consists of a medusa stage (adult) and a polyp stage (juvenile). In the medusa stage male jellyfish release sperm into the water column and the female jellyfish gathers the sperm into her mouth where she holds the eggs. Once fertilization occurs and larvae are formed they leave their mother and settle to the ocean floor. Once on the bottom a polyp form occurs and this form reproduces asexually by “cloning” or dividing itself into other polyps. Jellyfish can live for up to five years in the polyp stage and up to two years in the medusa stage.
Aug 22 Reblogged
I had NO IDEA deer grew fangs, but musk deer have fangs instead of antlers…weird for an animal that’s an herbivore.
SIBERIAN MUSK DEER
Posted by: fishytania.blogspot.com
MUSK DEER, maybe they should be called Tusk Deer? These little beauties resemble small deer with a stocky build, and hind legs longer than their front legs. They are approximately 80 to 100 centimetres (31 to 39 in) in length, 50 to 70 centimetres (20 to 28 in) tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 7 and 17 kilograms (15 and 37 lb). The feet of musk deer are adapted for climbing in rough terrain. Like the Chinese water deer, a cervid, they have no antlers, but the males do have enlarged upper canines, forming sabre-like tusks.
The musk gland is found only in adult males. It lies in a sac located between the genitals and the umbilicus, and its secretions are most likely used to attract mates. Musk deers have been hunted for their scent glands which can fetch up to $45,000/kg on the black market. It is rumored that ancient royalty wore the scent of the musk deer and that it is an aphrodisiac.
Musk deer are herbivores, living in hilly, forested environments, generally far from human habitation. Like true deer, they eat mainly leaves, flowers, and grasses, with some mosses and lichens. They are solitary animals, and maintain well-defined territories, which they scent mark with their caudal glands. Musk deer are generally shy, and either nocturnal, or crepuscular.
Males leave their territories during the rutting season, and compete for mates, using their tusks as weapons. Female musk deer give birth to a single fawn after about 150–180 days. The newborn young are very small, and essentially motionless for the first month of their life, a feature that helps them remain hidden from predators.
Aug 21 Reblogged
The Australian butterfly is stunning, and certainly rivals the South American Blue Morpho for pizazz points :)
©wildphotos4u / Sandy C
The Ulysses butterfly, Papilio ulysses, also known as the Blue Mountain Butterfly, or the Blue Mountain Swallowtail is a large swallowtail butterfly, endemic to Australasia.
This butterfly is used as an emblem for Queensland tourism.
The Ulysses butterfly typically has a wingspan of about 14 cm (5.5 inches), but depending on subspecies there are some variations in size. The upperside of the wings are an iridescent electric blue; the underside is a more subdued black and brown in colouration. The colours are produced by the microscopic structure of the scales.
The female of the species is different from the male in that she has little crescents of blue in the back, upside sections of her hind wings, where there is only black for males. When the butterfly is perched the intense blue of its wings is hidden by the plainer brown under side of its wings, helping it to blend in with its surroundings. When in flight the butterfly can be seen hundreds of metres away as sudden bright blue flashes. Males are strongly attracted to blue objects which they mistake for females.
Aug 18 Reblogged
Zoos feed flamingoes shrimp and carrots as part of their diet to keep them pink while in captivity
WHY ARE FLAMINGOES PINK? by request
There are six different species of flamingo, found in locations ranging from the Caribbean and South America to Africa, India, and the Mediterranean and they range in color from light pink to nearly crimson.
Flamingo feathers obtain their wonderful rosy pink color from pigments in the organisms they eat. The flamingos’ feathers, legs, and face are colored by their diet, which is rich in alpha and beta carotenoid pigments.
Carotenoids in crustaceans, or Spirulina that make up the flamingo diet are frequently linked to protein molecules, and may be blue or green. After being digested, the carotenoid pigments dissolve in fats and are deposited in the growing feathers, becoming orange or pink. The same effect is seen when shrimp change color during cooking. The amount of pigment laid down in the feathers depends on the quantity of pigment in the flamingo’s diet. An absence of carotenoids in its food will result in new feather growth that is very pale; the existing pigment is lost through molting.
Spirulina, a blue-green algae abundant in the waters of Lake Natron, makes up lesser flamingoes’ entire diet. Although called blue-green, this particular algae provides the red pigment for flamingoes’ feathers. Lesser flamingoes, who survive solely on Spirulina, have a more intense pink color than greater flamingoes, who get their lighter color second-hand from their prey, creatures who have themselves digested the organism.
Aug 17 Reblogged
Just when you think you’ve seen it all - you discover the Turtle Frog - a cute hideous mash-up of Turtle and Frog
Sometimes I come across an animal that makes me cock my head like a dog - this is such an animal a mash-up of turtle (sans shell) and frog with a little alien thrown in. It’s the Turtle Frog endemic to Southwestern Australia.
A very peculiar frog with a body shape resembling a small turtle with its shell removed. The head is very small, with reduced eyes, and quite distinct from the body, unlike most other frogs. The limbs are short but muscular. This species burrows forward through the sand, unlike most of arid-adapted burrowing frogs that use their hind feet and descend backwards in to the soil. The back color ranges from pink to a uniform light to dark brown.
Once a mate has been selected the turtle frog couple retire to the base of the burrow which may be as much as 1.2 metres deep. Breeding takes place within the burrow several months later.
Lays up to 50 eggs. There is no tadpole stage as the embryo goes through its entire development in the egg capsule and emerges as a small but fully formed frog.
Other Australian Animal posts:
Aug 15 Reblogged
Wouldn’t you think that an animal that lives within a poisonous environment (such as Man-of-War fish living within the tentacles of the Portuguese Man-o-War) would develop a better system to avoid being stung than being “agile and extra bendy?”
PORTUGUESE MAN OF WAR & MAN OF WAR FISH
Physalia physalis & Nomeus gronovii
© Seth Patterson
The Portuguese Man o’ War is not one animal, but is actually comprised of colonies of invertebrate, jelly-like marine animals of the family: Physaliidae glomming together. These pelagic hydroids (or hydrozoans) colonize and are infamous for their very painful, powerful sting.
It would seem wise for marine life to steer clear of the Man of War’s stinging tentacles however it shares an interdependence with a variety of transient marine fish, including shepherd fish, clownfish, yellow jack and one fish specialized to live within its tentacles—the man of war fish.
The man-of-war fish is generally found in open sea or close to the Portuguese man of war, after which it is named. It is found in all tropical and subtropical oceans.
The fish is striped with blackish-blue blemishes covering its body, and the caudal fin is extremely forked. It grows to a length is up to 15.5 inches (39 cm).
As unlikely as it seems, this fish, rather than using mucus (like the clownfish) to prevent stings, appears to uses highly agile swimming to physically avoid tentacles. The fish has a very high number of vertebrate (41), which adds to its agility and uses its pectoral fins for swimming — a feature common in fish who specialize in maneuvering in tight spaces. It also has a complex skin design containing at least one antigen to the man-of-war’s stinging toxin. The fish seems to be ten times more resistant to the toxin than other fish.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man-of-war_fish
Aug 15 Reblogged
It’s a rainbow…
SCARLET MACAW Feathers
©Lucas M. Bustamante-Enríquez
What are Feathers? - by request
I have to laugh when I get questions like this one, I mean, how specific an answer does the question-asker want? Wikipedia provides this gem: “feathers are among the most complex integumentary appendages found in vertebrates and are formed in tiny follicles in the epidermis, or outer skin layer, that produce keratin proteins. The β-keratins in feathers, beaks and claws are composed of protein strands hydrogen-bonded into β-pleated sheets, which are then further twisted and crosslinked by disulfide bridges…” - which may be more than one bargained for…
Maybe this is better: “Feathers insulate birds from water and cold temperatures. They may also be plucked to line the nest and provide insulation to the eggs and young. The individual feathers in the wings and tail play important roles in controlling flight. Although feathers are light, a bird’s plumage weighs two or three times more than its skeleton, since many bones are hollow and contain air sacs. Color patterns serve as camouflage against predators. As with fish, the top and bottom colors may be different to provide camouflage during flight. Striking differences in feather patterns and colors are part of the sexual dimorphism of many bird species and are important in selection of mating pairs. There may be differences in the UV reflectivity of feathers across sexes even though no differences are noted in the visible range. The feathers of male Club-winged Manakin are used to produce sounds by stridulation.”
Greater Bird of Paradise - Powder puff
Northern Royal Flycatcher - showgirl headdress
HImalayan Monal - flashy color
Edward’s Crested Guineafowl - can you say James Brown?
Cock of the Rock - why?
Aug 13 Reblogged
Bleeding HORSESHOE CRABs to Save Lives
Chances are you owe your life to the horseshoe crab. In the 50s, scientists discovered that LAL (Limulus amoebocyte lysate), a clotting agent found in the critter’s blue blood, binds to fungi and endotoxins, coagulating into a gel around such invaders. The result: a simple way to detect impurities in pharmaceutical drugs. Drug developer Charles River harvests crabs (and their blood) without killing them. In the photo their body is folded so that a needle can be inserted.
Valued at over $10,000 a liter, Charles River sells LAL-based tests to clients who use them to check everything from the fluid in an IV bag to medications for soldiers.
The crabs are bled and returned to the sea in the same day - 85% survive the ordeal.
I had heard their blood was used medically before but not how efficient it was… Live “crabs” are returned to the sea and there is about a 15% mortality rate.
Horseshoe crabs are not crabs, not even crustaceans, but members of the subphylum Chelicerata, which also includes scorpions, spiders and mites.