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Category Archives: Wild Life
Death’s-head Hawkmoth Moths’ obsession with artificial light has no proven theory. Historically, entomologists have said that moths use the moon as a point of navigation and, unfortunately, artificial lights mess up their internal compass. However, campfires, candles and torches have been around for a few hundred thousand years and many now argue that natural selection would have rooted this out long ago by burning the ones that flew into flames. So, even though the internet holds dearly to this theory, … Continue reading
Why do the faces of some primates contain so many different colors — black, blue, red, orange and white — that are mixed in all kinds of combinations and often striking patterns while other primate faces are quite plain? UCLA biologists reported last year on the evolution of 129 primate faces in species from Central and South America. This research team now reports on the faces of 139 Old World African and Asian primate species that have been diversifying over … Continue reading
Meet Blinky. This tiny freshwater crab has three eyes, just like its mutant fish namesake from The Simpsons. But unlike the fictional Blinky, whose deformity is blamed on nuclear waste, this crab may actually be a pair of conjoined twins, one of which is nothing but part of the head. Gerhard Scholtz of the Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany found the Amarinus lacustris crab in the Hoteo river on New Zealand’s North Island in 2007. Instead of the usual … Continue reading
Norwegian nature photographer Kjell Bloch Sandved has devoted his photographic career to capturing the beauty of the world we live in and along the way, amassed a collection of butterfly and moth images with interesting patterns on their wings. Sanved’s keen eye took notice of the spectacular shapes the natural designs came in, recognizing their resemblance to letters of the alphabet. As a result, he formed the Butterfly Alphabet. Featuring all twenty-six letters in the English alphabet, as well as … Continue reading
A pink Amazon river dolphin on the warm side of the “Meeting of the Waters.” This is where the sandy Amazon River meets the dark waters of the Rio Negro in Manaus, Brazil. A strong density gradient contributes to their visible separation, as well as a significant temperature difference – the Amazon flows at around 22°C, while the Rio Negro is around 28°C. Via Facebook.
Twitter clips human thoughts to a mere 140 characters. Animals’ scent posts may be equally as short, relatively speaking, yet they convey an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them. In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Michigan State University researcher shows that the detailed scent posts of hyenas are, in part, products of symbiotic bacteria, microbes that have a mutually beneficial relationship with their hosts. “When hyenas leave paste deposits on … Continue reading
Call it the other Golden Rule: Scientists have found that all mammals weighing more than 2.2 pounds (a kilogram) empty their full bladders in about 20 seconds. Like many new parents, David Hu, a mechanical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has changed a lot of diapers. Unlike many new parents, however, these soggy diapers caused Hu to think about the physics of urination. “While I was changing these diapers, I was wondering how it would be different for different … Continue reading
An expedition to a remote part of northern Australia has uncovered three new vertebrate species isolated for millions of years, with scientists Monday calling the area a “lost world”. Conrad Hoskin from James Cook University and a National Geographic film crew were dropped by helicopter onto the rugged Cape Melville mountain range on Cape York Peninsula earlier this year and were amazed at what they found. It included a bizarre looking leaf-tail gecko, a gold-coloured skink—a type of lizard—and a brown-spotted, … Continue reading
At least 441 new species of animals and plants have been discovered over a four year period in the vast, under explored rainforest of the Amazon, including a monkey that purrs like a cat. Found between 2010 and 2013, the species include a flame-patterned lizard, a thumbnail-sized frog, a vegetarian piranha, a brightly coloured snake, and a beautiful pink orchid, according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Discovered by a group of scientists and compiled by WWF, the new species number … Continue reading
Thirty years ago, the red lionfish was accidentally introduced to the Caribbean, and has been wreaking havoc ever since, eating its way through the reef ecosystem. For almost a decade, scientists have been trying to figure out how it could become such a successful predator in a new environment, but a recent study by a team at James Cook University has revealed their secret. Lionfish can camouflage themselves so well that they are utterly undetectable to their prey, acting as … Continue reading
This photo released courtesy of the Catalina Island Marine Institute taken on Sunday Oct. 13, 2013 shows the crew of sailing school vessel Tole Mour and Catalina Island Marine Institute instructors holding an 18-foot-long oarfish that was found in the waters of Toyon Bay on Santa Catalina Island, Calif. A marine science instructor snorkeling off the Southern California coast spotted the silvery carcass of the 18-foot-long, serpent-like oarfish. (AP Photo/Catalina Island Marine Institute ) Via Five-meter sea creature found off … Continue reading
False killer whales and bottlenose dolphins in New Zealand form long-term partnerships that might help them fend off predators or find food, researchers suggest. Masters student Jochen Zaeschmar, and colleagues, from Massey University’s Coastal-Marine Research Group, report their findings in a recent issue of Mammal Review. ”There is a long-term association between, not just the two species, but between actual individuals,” says Zaeschmar. False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are actually a rare type of dolphin that are sometimes found together with … Continue reading
A praying mantis that disguises itself as an orchid to catch prey has been shown to be more attractive to pollinators than real flowers, a new study shows. The findings are published in The American Naturalist journal and confirm a long-held theory about the insect that dates back to the 19th century. In 1879, Australian journalist James Hingsley returned from travels in Indonesia with tales of a carnivorous red orchid that engulfed butterflies in its petals and devoured them alive, says … Continue reading
British ornithologist Magnus Robb and his team have discovered a new species of owl in Oman, located on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The team reported that the new species is “like nothing we had seen before”, and have named it the Omani Owl. Via Facebook.
Psychology researchers Rachel Morrison and Diana Reiss of The City University of New York have discovered the first instance of non-human primates whispering to one another. In their paper published in Zoo Biology, the two describe how they recorded vocalizations of captive tamarin monkeys and found that when threatened they sometimes revert to whispering to one another to avoid being overheard. Whispering is a common strategy used by people to communicate with one or more people while simultaneously trying to … Continue reading
The grumpy-looking, gelatinous blobfish has won a public vote to become the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. This gives the fish the unofficial title of world’s ugliest animal. The society began as a science-themed comedy night and devised its mascot campaign to draw attention to “aesthetically challenged” threatened species. The winner was announced at the British Science Festival in Newcastle. The blobfish tops a list that includes the huge-nosed proboscis monkey, the similarly afflicted pig-nosed turtle, an amphibian affectionately known … Continue reading
Amphipoda is an order of malacostracan crustaceans with no carapace and generally with laterally compressed bodies. The name amphipoda refers to the different forms of appendages, unlike isopods, where all the thoracic legs are alike. Of the 7,000 species, 5,500 are classified into one suborder, Gammaridea. The remainder are divided into two or three further suborders. Amphipods range in size from 1 to 340 millimetres (0.039 to 13 in) and are mostly detritivores or scavengers. They live in almost all … Continue reading
It’s incredible, really. It features a central spire and an encircling picket-fence that’s been reinforced by horizontal rails, and is strung together by a series of radially oriented guy wires. An impressive edifice at any scale, the structure measures less than 2 cm across. And here’s the real kicker: nobody knows what made it. Rainforest Expedition’s Troy Alexander spotted the bizarre maypole-in-miniature a few days ago in the Southern Peruvian Amazon. The latest in a string of recent sightings, Alexander … Continue reading