The Daily Species #106:

Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana)

The northern tamandua is a species of tamandua, a small anteater in the family Myrmecophagidae. They live in tropical and subtropical forests from southern Mexico, through Central America, and to the edge of the northern Andes

The northern tamandua is a medium-sized anteater with a prehensile tail, small eyes and ears, and a long snout. Like other anteaters, the northern tamandua is highly adapted to its unusual diet. The tongue is long, extensible, and covered in sticky saliva able to pick up ants and termites. It has unusually well developed muscles, attached to a large hyoid bone and rooted to the top of the sternum. The entire oral cavity is modified to accommodate this tongue, and is so elongated that the back of the soft palate is level with the fifth cervical vertebra near the base of the neck, rather than at the top of the pharynx as in most other mammals. The jaw muscles and mandible are reduced, and the latter is particularly fragile. Like other anteaters, the northern tamandua has no teeth.

In addition to its diet, and unlike the giant anteater, the northern tamandua is also adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. The muscles of the toes and the presence of a tough pad on the palms makes the forefeet prehensile, enabling them to grip onto projections as it climbs. The middle toe of the forefeet also bears an unusually large claw, and the toe has enough muscle and leverage to allow it to rip open wood to get at the ants within.

“There has also been this scrawny, dog-like thing hanging around, building unlikely traps for this mystery bird, but I haven’t been able to identify his species so far.”

25 Bruiser the Beautiful Brown Bear Takes a Refreshing Dip in His Above-Ground Pool

A beautiful brown bear named Bruiser took a refreshing dip in an above-ground pool on a hot summer day at the Single Vision Sanctuary in Melrose, Florida. Bruiser acts as an ambassador for the sanctuary, helping to educate the public about endangered wildlife.

At Single Vision we are excited about wildlife. We only provide the best of the best and will settle for nothing less for our lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, bobcats, bears and other species of exotic animals. We truly enjoy educating, even on the sad facts that we face today for most exotic species. ..For Single Vision the purpose is not to just provide a home for the beautiful exotic species that we house, but meet the animals physical and psychological needs by enriching their lives with daily inter-species play and human interaction outside their daily enclosure. Discover what we do.

Donations can be made to Single Vision via their website.

via Tastefully Offensive

via Laughing Squid /bruiser-the-beautiful-brown-bear-takes-a-refreshing-dip-in-his-above-ground-pool/

The Daily Species #78:

Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta)

The ring-tailed lemur is a large strepsirrhine primate and the most recognized lemur due to its long, black and white ringed tail. Like all lemurs it is endemic to the island of Madagascar. Known locally in Malagasy as maky or hira, it inhabits gallery forests to spiny scrub in the southern regions of the island. It is omnivorous and the most terrestrial of lemurs. The animal is diurnal, being active exclusively in daylight hours.

The ring-tailed lemur is highly social, living in groups of up to 30 individuals. It is also female dominant, a trait common among lemurs. To keep warm and reaffirm social bonds, groups will huddle together. The ring-tailed lemur will also sunbathe, sitting upright facing its underside, with its thinner white fur towards the sun. Like other lemurs, this species relies strongly on its sense of smell and marks its territory with scent glands. The males perform a unique scent marking behavior called spur marking and will participate in stink fights by impregnating their tail with their scent and wafting it at opponents.

As one of the most vocal primates, the ring-tailed lemur uses numerous vocalizations including group cohesion and alarm calls. Experiments have shown that the ring-tailed lemur, despite the lack of a large brain (relative to simiiform primates), can organize sequences, understand basic arithmetic operations and preferentially select tools based on functional qualities.

Saudis concerned about growing ties between Iran and India: WikiLeaks

Saudis concerned about growing ties between Iran and India: WikiLeaks

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The Daily Species #67:

Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

The axolotl is a neotenic salamander, closely related to the Tiger Salamander. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. It is also called ajolote (which is also a common name for different types of salamander). The species originates from numerous lakes, such as Lake Xochimilco underlying Mexico City. As of 2010, wild axolotls are near extinction due to urbanization in Mexico City and polluted waters. The axolotl is currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s annual Red List of threatened species.
Axolotls display three pairs of external gill stalks (rami), which originate behind their heads and are used to move oxygenated water. The external gill rami are lined with filaments (fimbriae) to increase surface area for gas exchange. Four gill slits lined with gill rakers are hidden underneath the external gills.
Axolotls have four different colors, two naturally occurring colors and two mutants. The two naturally occurring colors are “wildtype” (varying shades of brown usually with spots) and melanoid (black). The two mutant colors are leucistic (pale pink with black eyes) and albino (golden, tan or pale pink with pink eyes).

The Daily Species #120:

Blue Sea Slug (Glaucus atlanticus)

Blue Sea Slugs, also known as the sea swallow, blue glaucus and blue ocean slug is a species of small-sized blue sea slug, an aeolid nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Glaucidae. This is the only species in the genus Glaucus.

This nudibranch is pelagic, and is distributed throughout the world’s oceans, in temperate and tropical waters. This species floats upside down on the surface tension of the ocean. Blue Sea Slugs prey on other, larger pelagic organisms: the dangerously venomous Portuguese Man o’ War, the by-the-wind-sailor, the blue button and the violet snail. Occasionally, individual slugs will become cannibals if given the opportunity.

Blue Sea Slugs are able to feed on the Portuguese Man o ‘War due to its immunity to the venomous nematocysts. The slug consumes the entire organism and appears to select and store the most venomous nematocysts for its own use. The venom is collected in specialized sacs (cnidosacs), on the tip of their cerata, the thin feather-like “fingers” on its body. Because the slug stores the venom, it can produce a more powerful and deadly sting than the Man o’ War upon which it feeds.

The Daily Species #103:

Army Cutworm/Miller Moth (Euxoa auxiliaris)

Euxoa auxiliaris is a species of moth. Commonly known as ‘miller moths’, or 'millers’ it is a member of the family Noctuidae. 

Euxoa auxiliaris is commonly found in the Western section and prairies of the United States. It shows up seasonally in parts of the western United States, such as New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. They are known to travel to alpine climate regions in late June and early July where they feed at night on the nectar of wildflowers. Army cutworms are one of the richest foods for predators, such as brown bears, in this ecosystem, where up to 72 per cent of the moth’s body weight is fat, thus making it more calorie-rich than elk or deer.

This is a variable but always distinctive species, the forewings ranging from almost white to dark grey (pale grey being the most common color form) with characteristic crescent-shaped black markings. The hindwings are light-colored. The wingspan is 1.5-1.69 in. 

The Daily Species #101:

Cacomistle (Bassariscus sumichrasti)

The cacomistle is a nocturnal, arboreal and omnivorous member of the carnivoran family Procyonidae. Its preferred habitats are wet, tropical, evergreen woodlands and mountain forests, though seasonally it will venture into drier deciduous forests. Nowhere in its range (from southern Mexico to western Panama) is B. sumichrasti common. This is especially true in Costa Rica, where it inhabits only a very small area. It is completely dependent on forest habitat, making it particularly susceptible to deforestation.

The cacomistle is part of the family Procyonidae which includes other small omnivores such as the raccoon and the Brazilian coati. The cacomistle and its close relative the ringtail cat are the only living species of the subfamily Procyoninae and the genus Bassariscus. Within the Cacomistle species there are 5 subspecies.

The term cacomistle is from the Nahuatl language (tlahcomiztli) and means “half cat” or “half mountain lion”; it is sometimes also used to refer to the ringtail, Bassariscus astutus, a similar species that inhabits arid northern Mexico and the American Southwest.

Cacomistles are considered generalist feeders, because they can survive on a wide variety of different feedstuffs. The diet of this species consists primarily of fruits, insects, small vertebrates such as reptiles, amphibians, and rodents, the specificity of these food options depends on what is available in the particular habitat in which an individual dwells. 

The Daily Species #89:

Siberian Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus)

The Siberian musk deer is a musk deer found in the mountain forests of Northeast Asia. Its is most common in the taiga of southern Siberia, but is also found in parts of Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and the Korean peninsula. It is largely nocturnal, and migrates only over short distances. It prefers altitudes of more than 7,000 ft Adults are small, weighing 15–35 lbs.

The most striking characteristics of the Siberian musk deer are its vampire teeth and a face like a kangaroo. Males grow the teeth for display instead of antlers.

The Siberian musk deer is classified as threatened by the IUCN. It is hunted for its musk gland, which fetches prices as high as $45,000 per kilogram. Only a few tens of grams can be extracted from an adult male. It is possible to remove the gland without killing the deer, but this is seldom done.

The Daily Species #65:

Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)

The Klipspringer is a small species of African antelope. The word klipspringer literally means “rock jumper” in Afrikaans/Dutch. The klipspringer is also known colloquially as a mvundla (from Xhosa “umvundla”, meaning “rabbit”). The klipspringer lives through Southern Africa, where it is found in rocky koppies in woodland and savanna, all the way up East Africa and into the highly mountainous highlands of Ethiopia.

Reaching approximately 22 inches at the shoulder, klipspringers are relatively small animals compared to some of their larger antelope cousins. Male klipspringers have horns that are usually about 4–6 inches long. Female klipspringers in Eastern African populations also have horns.

With a thick and dense speckled “salt and pepper” patterned coat of an almost olive shade, klipspringers blend in well with the koppie (rock outcrops, pronounced “koh-pee/copy”) on which they can usually be found. They stand on the tips of their hooves and can fit all four hooves on a piece of cliff the size of a Canadian dollar coin.

Klipspringers do not live in herds but rather in breeding pairs. Klipspringers mate for life and a mated pair will spend most of their lives in close proximity to one another. When one klipspringer is eating the other will assume lookout duty, helping to keep the pair aware of any predators. It is preyed upon by leopards, caracals and eagles.

The Daily Species #62:

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

The Barn Owl and its subspecies are the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds. It is found almost anywhere in the world except polar and desert regions, Asia north of the Alpide belt, most of Indonesia, and the Pacific islands.

It is known by many other names, which may refer to the appearance, call, habitat or the eerie, silent flight: White Owl, Silver Owl, Demon Owl, Ghost Owl, Death Owl, Night Owl, Rat Owl, Church Owl, Cave Owl, Stone Owl, Monkey-faced Owl, Hissing Owl, Hobgoblin or Hobby Owl, Dobby Owl,White Breasted Owl, Golden Owl, Scritch Owl, Screech Owl, Straw Owl, Barnyard Owl and Delicate Owl. The barn owl’s scientific name, established by G.A. Scopoli in 1769, literally means “white owl”, from the onomatopoetic Ancient Greek tyto (τυτο) for an owl and Latin alba, “white”.

Barn owls are nocturnal as usual for owls, but it often becomes active shortly before dusk already and can sometimes be seen during the day, when it relocates from a sleeping place it does not like. This is a bird of open country such as farmland or grassland with some interspersed woodland. This owl prefers to hunt along the edges of woods. It has an effortless wavering flight as it quarters pastures or similar hunting grounds. Like most owls, the Barn Owl flies silently; tiny serrations on the leading edges of its flight feathers help to break up the flow of air over its wings, thereby reducing turbulence and the noise that accompanies it.

The Daily Species #121:

Patagonian Mara (Dolichotis patagonum)

The Patagonian Mara is a relatively large rodent in the mara genus (Dolichotis). It is also known as the Patagonian cavy or Patagonian hare. This herbivorous, somewhat rabbit-like animal is found in open and semi-open habitats in Argentina, including large parts of Patagonia. It is monogamous, but often breeds in warrens that are shared by several pairs.

The Patagonian mara is found only in Argentina. They prefer to live in habitats with lots of shrub cover. However, maras are well adapted to a cursorial lifestyle on the open plains and steppe, with its long legs, reduced clavicle and well-developed sensory organs making it capable of running and communicating in these open habitats. When running, maras have been compared to deer and antelope. Maras are largely herbivorous. Predators of maras, particularly the young, are felids, grisons, foxes and birds of prey.

The Patagonian mara is considered to be a near threatened species. Historically, maras have ranged from north-central Argentina south almost to Tierra del Fuego. Nevertheless, maras have been greatly affected by hunting and habitat alteration and have been extirpated in some areas including Buenos Aires Province.

The Daily Species #119:

Juliana’s Golden Mole (Neamblysomus julianae)

Juliana’s Golden Mole is a golden mole endemic to South Africa. It is listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss and a restricted range. Golden moles are an ancient group of mammals who live mostly below ground. They have shiny coats of dense fur and a streamlined, formless appearance. They have no visible eyes or ears; in fact, they are blind - the small eyes are covered with hairy skin. The ears are small and are hidden in the animal’s fur. Golden moles eat invertebrates such as insects, earthworms and snails. 

Golden moles used to be regarded as rather ‘primitive’ creatures: their low resting metabolic rate and their ability to switch off thermoregulation when inactive, however, are no longer regarded as indications that golden moles are undeveloped 'reptilian mammals’, but rather as essential adaptations to a harsh climate. By going into a torpor when resting or during cold weather, they conserve energy and reduce their need for food. Similarly, they have developed particularly efficient kidneys and most species do not need to drink water at all. 

Juliana’s Golden Mole is confined to sandy soils, often pockets of weathered sandstone associated with rocky ridges. Juliana’s Golden Mole is locally common in pockets of South Africa, but are increasingly being severely affected by intensive urbanization and a mining operation, and it is considered to be critically endangered. 

The Daily Species #112:

Leopard Seal (Hydrurga leptonyx)

The leopard seal, also referred to as the sea leopard, is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic, after the southern elephant seal. It is most common in the southern hemisphere along the coast of Antarctica and on most sub-Antarctic islands, but can also be found on the coasts of southern Australia, Tasmania, South Africa, New Zealand, Lord Howe Island, Tierra del Fuego, the Cook Islands, and the Atlantic coast of South America. It can live twenty-six years, possibly more. Orcas and large sharks are the only natural predators of leopard seals.[4]

Along with all of the other earless seals, it belongs to the family Phocidae, and is the only species in the genus Hydrurga. The name hydrurga means “water worker” and leptonyx is the Greek for “small clawed”.

The leopard seal is second only to the orca among Antarctica’s top predators. It feeds on a wide variety of creatures. Depending on their range, leopard seals prey upon krill, squid, fish  and more substantial prey, including king, adelie, rockhopper, gentoo and emperor penguins, and less frequently, other seals such as the crabeater seal. The leopard seal is bold, powerful and curious. In the water, there is a fine line between curiosity and predatory behavior, and it may ‘play’ with penguins that it does not intend to eat.

The Daily Species #98:

Fallow Deer (Dama dama)

The Fallow Deer is a ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. This common species is native to western Eurasia, but has been introduced widely elsewhere. 

The species has great variations in the color of their coats, with four main variants: 

Common: Chestnut coat with white mottles that are most pronounced in summer with a much darker, unspotted coat in the winter. Light-colored area around the tail, edged with black. Tail is light with a black stripe. 

Menil: Spots more distinct than common in summer and no black around the rump patch or on the tail. In winter, spots still clear on a darker brown coat.

Melanistic (Black) : All year black shading to greyish-brown. No light-colored tail patch or spots.

Leucistic (white, but not albino) : Fawns cream-colored, adults become pure white, especially in winter. Dark eyes and nose, no spots.

Most herds consist of the common coat variation, yet it is not rare to see animals of the menil coat variation. The Melanistic variation is rarer and white very much rarer still.

Only bucks have antlers, which are broad and shovel-shaped (palmate). In the first two years the antler is a single spike. They are grazing animals; their preferred habitat is mixed woodland and open grassland. Agile and fast in case of danger, fallow deer can run up to a maximum speed of 28 mph over short distances (being naturally less muscular than other cervids such as roe deer, they are not as fast). Fallow deer can also make jumps up to 5.5 ft high and up to 15 ft in length. The Fallow Deer is easily tamed and is often kept semi-domesticated in parks today.

The Daily Species #97:

Mesozooplankton [no common name]                                                             (Mesodinium chamaeleon)

Mesodinium chamaeleon is a unique life form that is half plant, half animal.  This organism is a ciliate –a group of protozoans – found in the oceans around Scandinavia and North America, was discovered Baltic Sea off of Denmark. Other specimens have been found off the coasts of Finland and Rhode Island.

Ciliates use their hair-like appendages to move around rapidly in the oceans. They get their food by ingesting other organisms, rather than synthesizing the nutrients themselves, which makes them Animalia.

However, this Mesodinium species is different. It engulfs its prey, generally other microorganisms like a type of algae called cryptomonads, and then forms a partnership. The algae produce sugars through photosynthesis, while the Mesodinium protects them and carries them around. A hybrid organism like this is both Animalia and Vegetabilia. This makes it hard to classify, and basically collapses the division between animals and plants. M. chamaeleon is halfway between a pure animal and a hybrid.

While M. chamaeleon takes in algal cells, just like M. rubrum which is responsible for the red tides, it doesn’t keep them on a permanent basis. It also doesn’t digest them immediately. Instead, the cells will remain intact for several weeks before they are broken down. During this time, they continue to produce sugar by photosynthesis. M. chamaeleon changes colors depending on whether it’s hosting red or green algae, or even both.

The Daily Species #96:

Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes)

The black-footed ferret, also known as the American polecat is a species of Mustelid native to central North America. It is listed as endangered by the IUCN, because of its very small and restricted populations. The species declined throughout the 20th century, primarily as a result of decreases in prairie dog populations and sylvatic plague. It was declared extinct in 1979 until a dog brought a dead black-footed ferret back to its owner in Meeteetse, Wyoming in 1981. That remnant population of a few dozen ferrets lasted there until the animals were considered extinct in the wild in 1987. However, a captive breeding program launched by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service resulted in its reintroduction into eight western states and Mexico. There are now over 1,000 mature, wild-born individuals in the wild in 18 states of the USA, with four self-sustaining populations in South Dakota (two), Arizona and Wyoming. In 2008, the IUCN classified the species as globally endangered, a substantial improvement since the 1996-assessment when it was considered extinct in the wild, since at that time the species was indeed only surviving in captivity. 

Up to 91% of the black-footed ferret’s diet is composed of prairie dogs. Alternate prey items  include voles and mice. Often, black-footed ferrets associate with black-tailed prairie dogs. Because black-tailed prairie dogs do not hibernate, little seasonal change in black-footed ferret diet is necessary. Given an obligate-dependence of black-footed ferrets on prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets are extremely vulnerable to prairie dog habitat loss. Habitat loss results from agriculture, livestock use, and other development, including oil and natural gas exploration and extraction.

The Daily Species #95:

Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin)

The Hoatzin, also known as the Hoactzin, Stinkbird, or Canje Pheasant, is a species of tropical bird found in swamps, riverine forest and mangrove of the Amazon and the Orinoco delta in South America. It is the only member of the genus Opisthocomus (Ancient Greek: “wearing long hair behind”, referring to its large crest, which in turn is the only extant genus in the family Opisthocomidae. The alternative name of “stinkbird” is derived from the bird’s manure-like odor, caused by its digestive system. The Hoatzin is herbivorous, eating leaves and fruit, and has an unusual digestive system with an enlarged crop used for fermentation of vegetable matter, in a manner broadly analogous to the digestive system of mammalian ruminants.

Hoatzins are gregarious and nest in small colonies, laying two or three eggs in a stick nest in a tree hanging over water in seasonally flooded forests. Their chicks are fed on regurgitated fermented food, have another odd feature; they have two claws on each wing. Immediately upon hatching, they are able to use these claws, as well as their oversized feet, to scramble around the tree branches without falling into the water. When predators such as the Great Black Hawk attack a hoatzin nesting colony, the adults fly noisily about, trying to divert the predator’s attention, while the chicks move away from the nest and hide among the thickets. If discovered, however, they have another amazing trick: they drop into the water and swim under the surface to escape, then later use their clawed wings to climb back to the safety of the nest. This has inevitably led to comparisons to the fossil bird Archaeopteryx, but the characteristic is rather an autapomorphy, possibly caused by an atavism towards the dinosaurian finger claws, the developmental genetics (“blueprint”) of which presumably is still present in the avian genome.