Mountain viscacha (Lagidium viscacia) in the Lauca National Park, Chile | ©Arthur Anker

Lagidium viscacia is one of three South American rodent species commonly referred to as mountain viscachas.

In common with its two congeners, this species looks remarkably like a long-tailed rabbit. Soft dense fur covers its body, from the tips of its elongate ears to the end of its long, curled tail. The forelimbs are relatively short, while the contrastingly long and muscular hind-limbs enable it run and jump with ease. 

The colour of its fur varies seasonally and with age, but generally the upperparts are grey to brown, with tints of cream and black, while the under-parts are pale yellow or tan.

Animalia - Chordata - Mammalia - Rodentia - Chinchillidae - Lagidium - L. viscacia

Triplophysa rosa a species of blind loach endemic to China

Triplophysa rosa is a species of freshwater loach belonging to the family Nemacheilidae (order Cypriniformes), endemic to the Dongba Cave in Chongqing, China [1].

The species was unknown to science until 2005, when it was described from specimens found in a pool, 581 m underground, at Dongba Cave.

Triplophysa rosa can be distinguished from its congeners by the following unique characters: eyes vestigial; 9 branched dorsal-fin rays; 12 branched pectoral-fin rays; 7 branched pelvic-fin rays; 6 branched anal-fin rays; 7 + 7 branched caudal-fin rays; distal margin of dorsal-fin concave; tip of pelvic-fin surpasses vertical level of anus; caudal-fin deeply forked; whole body scaleless and colorless [2]. 

Molecular estimations have showed that T. rosa might have diverged from other Triplophysa species at about 48.3 million years ago during the rapid uplift period of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau [3].

The lack of pigmentation and the presence of vestigial eyes in this species are related to the characteristics of the underground environment in which they live, devoid of luminous stimuli.

Photo credit: ©Robbie Shone | Caving Expedition visiting caves near Wulong, Chongqing Province of China.

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Painted frogfish (Antennarius pictus)

The painted frogfish is a marine fish belonging to the family Antennariidae. It grows up to 30 centimetres long. Like other members of its family, it has a globulous, extensible body, with soft skin is covered with small dermal spinules. The coloring of the body is extremely variable because they always tend to match their living environments. Frogfishes have the capacity to change coloration and pigment pattern in few weeks. It lives in the tropical and subtropical waters from the Indo-Pacific area, Red Sea included. It is found on sheltered rocky and coral reefs. As all frogfishes, A. hispidus is a voracious carnivore which can attack all all small animals that pass within its “strike range”, mainly fishes, but even sometimes congeners. Its prey can be close to its own size.

photo credits: wiki, daveharasti, Wisniowy, todomarino


Brazilian researchers found at 530 m depth off Cabo Frio in northeastern Rio de Janeiro state, a new species of shark. Part of a family known as a catsharks, the new species is about 45 cm roughly the same size as a housecat.

Called Scyliorhinus cabofriensis, this carioca catshark is distinguished from all southwestern Atlantic congeners by its color pattern, clasper and neurocranial morphology and proportional measurements. 

The catshark genus Scyliorhinus consists of 16 species of mostly colorful sharks distributed in subtemperate to tropical waters of all oceans. They are usually found in demersal habitats of coastal to continental slope areas, reaching depths of about 1,000 m. Scyliorhinus species are usually small-sized sharks, with adults reaching a maximum size of about 160 cm in total length, but usually attaining only 70 cm.

Samkos bush frog: a frog with green blood and turquoise bones

Chiromantis samkosensis (Rhacophoridae) is a species of frog just described in 2007 from Phnom Samkos, in the northwestern section of the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia.

This species is distinctive from any other by having green blood; turquoise bones; a thick, white line running from below the midsection of the eye onto the upper lip to the shoulder; and fingers III and IV being more than one-quarter webbed. It is further distinguished from its congeners by a unique combination of additional morphological and color pattern characteristics.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Jeremy Holden

Locality: Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia

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Over the last decade, there has been an increasing number of colourful land-dwelling (or entirely inland) sesarmid crabs sold for the ornamental fish trade in Europe and Asia going under the name “vampire crabs”
The two species, here named Geosesarma dennerle and Geosesarma hagen, are formally described and compared with their closest congeners in Java, G. noduliferum (De Man, 1892) and G. bicolor Ng & Davie, 1995. The identities of G. noduliferum, the type species of the genus, and G. confertum (Ortmann, 1894) are also clarified.

Tarantula - Ephebopus cyanognathus

Ephebopus cyanognathus (Araneae - Theraphosidae) is a neotropical tarantula known only from French Guiana, where it is found in upland rainforest areas. This species differs from all congeners by the coloration of females, the metallic blue chelicerae, and the different shape of the genitalia of both sexes.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Chris Allen | Locality: not indicated (2007)

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Genie with a crazy outgrowth (︶ω︶)

Well, I have to admit that this was me on friday, since I only left my house today to get a massage ~(˘▾˘)~…. and it was sooo good (。♥‿♥。)!!! Already went to some massage salons in Germany but that was nothing in comparisson to the massage I had today. The salon was called “Congen Massage”. You should go there if you visit Shanghai! Sorry for babbling on about my massage. It was just to nice to forget about it (ღ˘⌣˘ღ). About my hairstyle on friday… I have to say that my outgrowth wasn’t that obvious to me as I left the house ☉_☉. I should really dye my hair when I’m back in Germany.

Southern Viscacha - Lagidium viscacia

A rabbit with long tail?, no, this is a Viscacha, which is not a lagomorph, but a rodent, more closely related to chinchillas. The Southern Viscacha, scientifically named Lagidium viscacia (Rodentia - Chinchillidae) is one of three South American rodent species commonly referred to as mountain viscachas. In common with its two congeners, the Southern Viscacha looks remarkably like a long-tailed rabbit.

Like all mountain viscachas, the Southern Viscacha is a gregarious species that forms small to very large colonies, comprising one or more family groups. This herbivorous species is specialized and restricted to rocky habitats where it colonizes rock crevices. This species occurs in southern Peru, southern and western Bolivia, northern Chile and western Argentina.

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

Photo credit: ©FabVetWild | Locality: Pacajes, La Paz, Bolivia (2009)

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Recent taxonomic and molecular work on the eagle rays (Family Myliobatidae) revealed a cryptic species in the northwest Pacific. This species is formally described as Aetobatus narutobiei and compared to its congeners. Aetobatus narutobiei is found in eastern Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Korea and southern Japan. It was previously considered to be conspecific with Aetobatus flagellum, but these species differ in size, structure of the NADH2 and CO1 genes, some morphological and meristic characters and colouration.

Aetobatus narutobiei is particularly abundant in Ariake Bay in southern Japan where it is considered a pest species that predates heavily on farmed bivalve stocks and is culled annually as part of a ‘predator control’ program. 

The discovery of A. narutobiei highlights the paucity of detailed taxonomic research on this group of rays.


Crested auklet (Aethia cristatella)

The crested auklet is a small seabird of the family Alcidae, distributed throughout the northern Pacific and the Bering Sea. The species feeds by diving in deep waters, eating krill and a variety of small marine animals. It nests in dense colonies of up to 1 million individuals in the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. It often breeds in mixed-species colonies with the least auklet, a smaller congener. Crested auklets have a distinctive citrus-like plumage odor. The scent is released when there is ruffling of feathers on the nape and upper back of the individual from threat, trumpeting, or billing displays. The cloud of scent released encourages the ruff sniff display. A ruff sniff display is when birds fully insert their half open, bill into the others’ plumage. This display occurs in the absence of obvious aggression and is important for pair formation.

A much thornier question concerns the history of Engl. stun. Old English had the verb stunian “crash, resound, roar; impinge; dash.” It looks like a perfect etymon of stun. Skeat thought so at the beginning of his etymological career and never changed his opinion. He compared stunian with a group of words meaning “to groan”: Icelandic stynja, Dutch stenen, German stöhnen, and their cognates elsewhere. Those are almost certainly related to thunder. Apparently, the congeners of tonare did not always denote a great amount of din.

Anatoly Liberman examines the etymology of ‘stun’ as illustrated by Thor, god of thunder, summoning his energy to grasp s mobile

GIF via thor-lover-of-poppingtarts


Epictia septemlineata, A New Species of Epictia (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae) Endemic to the Dry Forest of northwestern Peru  [2015]


Three new blindsnake species of the genus Epictia are described based on material collected in the Peruvian Regions Amazonas, Cajamarca and La Libertad. All three species are well differentiated from all congeners based on characteristics of their morphology and coloration.

All three species were collected in the interandean dry forest valleys of the Marañón River and its tributaries. This region is an area of endemism and warrants further attention from systematic and conservation biologists…

(read more: NovaTaxa - Species New to Science)

Koch, C., P. J. Venegas & W. Böhme. 2015. #Zootaxa. 3964(2): 228–244. DOI:

Striped Bronzeback - Dendrelaphis caudolineatus

Dendrelaphis caudolineatus (Colubridae) is a species of colubrid snake which inhabits Sundaland, Sulawesi, the Philippines and the Maluku islands. This polytypic species occupies a unique position within its genus, having a stout body and foraging primarily on the ground, skinks being its primary prey, whereas its congeners are slender and chiefly arboreal.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Antonio Giudici | Locality: Ko Phangan, Surat Thani, Thailand (2012)

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Pseudoxyrhopus tritaeniatus Mocquard, 1894


This species is known to occur along the length of the eastern rainforest belt of Madagascar, from Masoala in the north to Andohahela in the south.

Morphology & Colouration:

Pseudoxyrhopus tritaeniatus is among the largest members of the genus Pseudoxyrhopus, reaching lengths of up to one metre. It is characterised by 25 dorsal scale rows at midbody, a character it shares with only two other congeners, P. microps and P. ankafinaensis.

The colouration of P. tritaeniatus is striking and unique in Madagascar, reminding somewhat of Oreocryptophis porphyraceus coxi. The snake is typically red, with four or five black dorsal stripes.


Pseudoxyrhopus tritaeniatus is a nocturnal, terrestrial snake. It is known to eat rodents, but its diet may consist of other mammals, small reptiles, and possibly fish and birds if it can get them. During the day, it is known to seek shelter under rotten wood.

Conservation Status:

Pseudoxyrhopus tritaeniatus is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, due to its wide distribution inside well protected areas.

Systematics and Taxonomy:

Pseudoxyrhopus tritaeniatus is unmistakable. It is not currently clear which species are its closest relatives, but it is quite possible that Pmicrops is among them, given its similarities in scale counts, size, and overall appearance.


Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Serpentes-Lamprophiidae-Pseudoxyrhophiinae-Pseudoxyrhopus-P. tritaeniatus

First photo by Sara Ruane, second by leopardcat, third by Bernard Dupont.

Click here to see more TaxonFiles!

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Morelet’s Tree Frog - Agalychnis moreletii 

Although not as popular as its congener, the Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), the Morelet’s Tree Frog, Agalychnis moreletii (Hylidae), also called Black-eyed Leaf Frog, is equally impressive and certainly faces greater threats.

It is an uncommon and Critically Endangered species with patchy distribution, from central Mexico to Central America.  Populations in Mexico have almost entirely disappeared, likely due to chytridiomycosis.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©John P. Clare (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | Locality: not indicated (2014)

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Fingerprint Flamingo Tongue - Cyphoma signatum

What is shown in the photo is a beautiful and rare sea snail commonly known as Fingerprint Flamingo Tongue, belonging to the species Cyphoma signatum (Gastropoda - Ovulidae). 

This snail is best known for the shell, rather than the animal itself. In fact, in the photo is not possible to observe the shell, since the mantle of the animal is completely covering it, displaying the beautiful pattern of yellow stripes bordered in brown that characterizes the species.

Cyphoma signatum is a trophic specialist on gorgonians Plexaurella spp. Unlike its generalist congener C. gibbous (the Flamingo Tongue snail), the Fingerprint Flamingo Tongue has received relatively little attention, in large part because it has been found too rarely for in-depth studies.

Rarity of C. signatum is likely to be a result, primarily, of habitat specificity, as the snail appears to be a trophic specialist on Plexaurella spp. and the frequency and location of that gorgonian genus must to some extent determine its predator’s distribution [1].

Currently this species is known to occur in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea [2].

Photo credit: ©Arial Bauman | Cyphoma signatum in Copenhagen Wreck off Pompano Beach, Florida, US.

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