Sea slug Janolus cristatus

What you see in this photo is a sea slug scientifically named Janolus cristatus (Nudibranchia - Proctonotidae/Zephyrinidae), a large species up to 7.5 cm long, distinctive by having numerous, transparent cerata, that clearly show the digestive gland duct running to the tip where it divides into a number of terminal branches. The tips of the cerata are colored with an iridescent bluish-white pigment.

The species lives in shallow sublittoral conditions, especially on sheltered rocky coasts, and can be found in the Northeastern Atlantic from Norway to Morocco, and western Mediterranean.

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]

Photo credit: ©Miqui Rosa | Locality: Tossa de Mar, Catalonia, Spain (2011)

Whitehead’s Trogon (male) - Harpactes whiteheadi

Harpactes whiteheadi (Trogoniformes - Trogonidae) is a Near Threatened species whose distribution is restricted to Bornean mountains. Males of this species have red head, blue bill and orbital ring, black throat, grey breast, and red belly.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Cortez Austin | Locality: Kinabalu National Park, Borneo, Sabah, Malaysia (2014)

Tobacco Hornworm - Manduca sexta

Manduca sexta (Sphingidae) is a species of moth, whose caterpillar is cylindrical in form and bears five pairs of prolegs in addition to three pairs of thoracic legs. The most striking feature of the larva is a thick pointed structure or “horn” located dorsally on the terminal abdominal segment (not seen in the photo). 

These insects feed only on solanaceous plants, most commonly on tomato and tobacco. Larvae are defoliators, usually attacking the upper portion of plants initially, and consuming foliage, blossoms and green fruits. They usually consume the entire leaf. Because the larvae of hornworms attain such a large size (80 mm), they are capable of high levels of defoliation.  

Manduca sexta is native to the New World and found commonly in the United States as far north as New York, across the Midwest, and through central and South America as far south as Argentina. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Julie Falk (CC BY-NC 2.0) | Locality: not indicated (2010)

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Pajama Cardinalfish - Sphaeramia nematoptera

Commonly known with names such as Coral Cardinalfish, Pajama Cardinalfish, Polkadot Cardinal Fish, and Pyjama Cardinalfish, this little fish up to 8.5 cm in total length has the scientific name of Sphaeramia nematoptera (Perciformes - Apogonidae). 

This reef-associated fish forms aggregations among the branches of corals in sheltered bays and lagoons in the Indo-Pacific. They are mouthbrooders, the male guards the eggs by placing them inside the mouth; eggs take about a week to hatch, after which the young fish will become planktonic larvae.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Franck Hervochon | Locality: Cabilao, Philippines (2014)

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Białowieża Forest - the ancient European forest, one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain. Nowadays it stretches only along the border between Poland and Belarus.

The set above shows the smaller part of Białowieża Forest located in the territory of Poland - in Polish called Puszcza Białowieska or Białowieża in short. All credit goes to the photographers: Andrzej Rej, Krzysztof Onikijuk and Jan Walencik.

The forest has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and an EU Natura 2000 Special Area of Conservation. It is the home to the last wild European bisons [in Polish: żubr, plural: żubry], Europe’s heaviest land animal. [read more about Białowieża Forest].