Elegant Firefish - Nemateleotris decora

This is a popular ornamental fish commonly referred to as Elegant Firefish, Decorated Darfish, Purple Fire Goby and Fire Goby. Its scientific name is Nemateleotris decora (Perciformes - Microdesmidae). This colorful fish is monogamous and grows up to 12 cm.

The species is native to the Indo-Pacific waters, from Mauritius to Samoa, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to New Caledonia.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Tanaka Juuyoh | Locality: Mactan Cebu, Central Visayas, Philippines - 42m deep (2006)


Araripe manakin (Antilophia bokermanni)

The Araripe manakin is a critically endangered bird from the family of manakins. As typical of most manakins, males and females have a strong sexual dimorphism in the colors of the plumage. The strikingly patterned males have a predominantly white plumage with black wings and tail. From the frontal tuft, over the crown, down to the middle back runs a carmine red patch. The iris is red. The females are mainly olive green. This species is endemic to the Chapada do Araripe (Araripe uplands) in the Brazilian state of Ceará in the north eastern region of the country. In 2000 there was an estimated population of less than 50 individuals and it was considered as one of the rarest birds in Brazil and in the world.

photo credits: wiki, wiki, abcbirds

Wheel-running is probably not a welfare concern!

Hey guys, check this out!

There is a lot of concern about exercise wheels in the cages of captive small animals (like mice and rats), because people tend to view the behaviour of wheel running as unnatural. It’s thought to be a stereotypy (a repetitive movement or action with no discernible benefit).

But this new study suggests that actually, wheel-running has absolutely no connection to captive behaviours at all! Why not?

Well, researchers placed a wheel in the wild, and found that wild animals spent just as much time on it that captive animals did. Originally, researchers added food to the protective cage where the wheel was found to encourage animal visits. Then they removed the food, and although the number of visits decreased, the number of visits that included a bout of wheel running actually increased by 42 percent, which suggests that the reason for the visit was actually to run on the wheel.

That’s right - in the absence of a food reward, wild animals do in fact run on these wheels!

And that means that wheel-running cannot be considered a stereotypic behaviour, because it’s not dependent on a food reward, and it was comparable in bouts between wild and captive animals.

It’s possible that it’s simply a play behaviour. That is awesome, and reassuring for small animal owners (and researchers who rely on behaviourally sound animals).

You can read the whole Guardian article here.

And you can read the paper itself here.

Flower Chafer - Dicronocephalus wallichii bourgoini

The genus Dicronocephalus (Coleoptera - Scarabaeidae) involves seven currently recognized species distributed in Asia. This one in the photo is a male of Dicronocephalus wallichii bourgoini, endemic to Taiwan.

These beetles are medium to large sized (20-32 mm); they have a relatively broad flattened body and distinct sexual dimorphism. Males are larger than females, posses antler-like clypeal horns, and distinctly prolonged tarsomers.

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

Photo credit: ©Jeff Lin | Locality: unknown (2011)


Mata mata (Chelus fimbriata)

The Mata mata is a freshwater turtle found in South America, primarily in the Amazon and Orinoco basins. It is strictly an aquatic species but it prefers standing in shallow water where its snout can reach the surface to breathe. The appearance of the mata mata’s shell resembles a piece of bark, and its head resembles fallen leaves. The mata mata is carnivorous, feeding exclusively upon aquatic invertebrates and fish, which it has to swallow whole, since it cannot chew due to the way its mouth is constructed.



Three forms of terrestrial mammal locomotion:

PLANTIGRADE: “sole walking”—animals walk by “planting” the full soles of their feet on the ground

DIGITIGRADE: “finger/toe walking”—animals walk with all or most of the length of their toes (“digits”), but not the full soles of their feet

UNGULIGRADE: “hoof walking”—animals walk on only their nails, usually hooves (as in “ungulates”)


Meet the crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophaga). It’s a charming specialized predator that lives on the coasts of Antarctica. It feeds almost exclusively on krill (90% of their diet) and sometimes cephalopods and antarctic fish.

Technique: The seal gobbles mouthfuls of krill and water drains through the spaces created by its teeth.

Crabeaters have little food competition, but as pups they are heavily preyed upon by leopard seals.

If you love the crabeater mug go here for a short story told by the person who photographed it.

Top two photos from The Brain Scoop. If you love natural history, museums, and taxidermy, follow them!


Burmese Lynx Spider - Oxyopes birmanicus

The Burmese Lynx Spiders, belonging to the species Oxyopes birmanicus (Araneae - Oxyopidae), are agile hunters and have the advantage of their long legs armed with nearly erect spines. They can be seen running and jumping after prey, and although measuring less than one centimeter,  it is not uncommon that their preys exceed the size of the spider.

Oxyopes birmanicus is known to occur in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Terrence Kiernan | Locality: unknown, 2012] - [Bottom: ©Yan Leong Lee | Locality: unknown, 2007]


Margay (Leopardus wiedii)

The Margay is a solitary and nocturnal animal that prefers remote sections of the rainforest. Although it was once believed to be vulnerable to extinction, the IUCN now lists it as “Near Threatened”. The margay is found from southern Mexico, through Central America and in northern South America east of the Andes. The southern edge of its range reaches Uruguay and northern Argentina. They are found almost exclusively in areas of dense forest, ranging from tropical evergreen forest to tropical dry forest and high cloud forest. They are hunted mainly for their fur and this has resulted in a large population decrease - around 14,000 are killed a year. They also suffer from a loss of habitat, which is also a significant part of this decline.Of all of the felines, the Margay is most adapted for a true arboreal life. It is the only cat to possess the ability to rotate its hind legs 180° , enabling it to run head first down trees like squirrels. It can also hang from a branch by one hind foot! This cat eats small mammals (sometimes including monkeys), birds, eggs, lizards and tree frogs. It may also eat grass and other vegetation, most likely to help digestion.

Twilight Zone: Glow-in-the-Dark Sharks Need Special Eyes to See

In the “twilight zone” of the deep ocean, strange glowing sharks have evolved eyes that are adapted to see complex patterns of light in the dark, new research reveals.

These bioluminescent sharks have a higher density of light-sensitive cells in their retinas, and some species have even developed other visual adaptations that help them see the glimmering lights they use to signal to each other, find prey and camouflage themselves in this region where little light penetrates, according to a study published today (Aug. 6) in the journalPLOS ONE.

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So something ATE a 3-meter female great white shark. They have no idea what it is or what it could be.  There’s a new superpredator that eats sharks and they don’t know what it is yet.