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.

The Daily Species #46:

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

In honor of Toola….

The sea otter is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 30 to 100 lb, making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter’s primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. Although it can walk on land, the sea otter lives mostly in the ocean.

The sea otter inhabits offshore environments where it dives to the sea floor to forage. It preys mostly upon marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, various molluscs and crustaceans, and some species of fish. Its foraging and eating habits are noteworthy in several respects. First, its use of rocks to dislodge prey and to open shells makes it one of the few mammal species to use tools. In most of its range, it is a keystone species, controlling sea urchin populations which would otherwise inflict extensive damage to kelp forest ecosystems. Its diet includes prey species that are also valued by humans as food, leading to conflicts between sea otters and fisheries. 

Sea otters, whose numbers were once estimated at 150,000–300,000, were hunted extensively for their fur between 1741 and 1911, and the world population fell to 1,000–2,000 individuals in a fraction of their historic range. A subsequent international ban on hunting, conservation efforts, and reintroduction programs into previously populated areas have contributed to numbers rebounding, and the species now occupies about two-thirds of its former range. The recovery of the sea otter is considered an important success in marine conservation, although populations in the Aleutian Islands and California have recently declined or have plateaued at depressed levels. For these reasons the sea otter remains classified as an endangered species.

Species differences in metabolism of EPZ015666, an oxetane-containing protein arginine methyltransferase-5 (PRMT5) inhibitor.

Species differences in metabolism of EPZ015666, an oxetane-containing protein arginine methyltransferase-5 (PRMT5) inhibitor.

Xenobiotica. 2015 Aug 21;:1-10

Authors: Rioux N, Duncan KW, Lantz RJ, Miao X, Chan-Penebre E, Moyer MP, Munchhof MJ, Copeland RA, Chesworth R, Waters NJ

1. Metabolite profiling and identification studies were conducted to understand the cross-species differences in the metabolic clearance of EPZ015666, a first-in-class protein arginine methyltransferase-5 (PRMT5) inhibitor, with anti-proliferative effects in preclinical models of Mantle Cell Lymphoma. EPZ015666 exhibited low clearance in human, mouse and rat liver microsomes, in part by introduction of a 3-substituted oxetane ring on the molecule. In contrast, a higher clearance was observed in dog liver microsomes (DLM) that translated to a higher in vivo clearance in dog compared with rodent. 2. Structure elucidation via high resolution, accurate mass LC-MS(n) revealed that the prominent metabolites of EPZ015666 were present in hepatocytes from all species, with the highest turnover rate in dogs. M1 and M2 resulted from oxidative oxetane ring scission, whereas M3 resulted from loss of the oxetane ring via an N-dealkylation reaction. 3. The formation of M1 and M2 in DLM was significantly abrogated in the presence of the specific CYP2D inhibitor, quinidine, and to a lesser extent by the CYP3A inhibitor, ketoconazole, corroborating data from human recombinant isozymes. 4. Our data indicate a marked species difference in the metabolism of the PRMT5 inhibitor EPZ015666, with oxetane ring scission the predominant metabolic pathway in dog mediated largely by CYP2D.

PMID: 26294260 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

via pubmed: lymphoma daily

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.

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 #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 #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 #59:

Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Sockeye salmon also called red salmon or blueback salmon in the USA, is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. There are also completely landlocked populations of the same species, which are known as kokanee or “silver trout”. Sockeye salmon is the third most common Pacific salmon species, after pink and chum salmon. The name “sockeye” is an anglicization of suk-kegh (sθə́qəy̓), its name in Halkomelem, the language of the indigenous people along the lower reaches of the Fraser River (one of British Columbia’s many native Coast Salish languages). Suk-kegh means red fish.

Sockeye salmon ranges as far south as the Columbia River in the eastern Pacific (though individuals have been spotted as far south as the Mendocino Coast of California) and northern Hokkaidō Island in Japan in the western Pacific, and as far north as Bathurst Inlet in the Canadian Arctic in the east and the Anadyr River in Siberia in the west. Landlocked populations occur in the Yukon Territory and British Columbia in Canada, and in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming in the United States.

The Daily Species #43:

Mountain Tapir (Tapirus pinchaque)

The Mountain Tapir or Woolly Tapir is the smallest of the four species of tapir and is the only one to live outside of tropical rainforests in the wild. It is most easily distinguished from other tapirs by its thick woolly coat and white lips. Like the other types of tapir, they have small stubby tails and long, flexible proboscises. The species name comes from the term “La Pinchaque”, an imaginary beast said to inhabit the same regions as the Mountain Tapir.

The Mountain Tapir is found in the cloud forests and páramo of the Eastern and Central Cordilleras mountains in Colombia, Ecuador, and the far north of Peru. The Mountain Tapir commonly lives at elevations between 2,000 and 4,300 metres (6,600 and 14,100 ft), and since at this altitude temperatures routinely fall below freezing, the animal’s woolly coat is essential. 

The Mountain Tapir is the most threatened of the four tapir species, classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN in 1996. Due to the fragmentation of its surviving range, populations may already have fallen below the level required to sustain genetic diversity, and the IUCN has predicted that there is a 20% chance that the species could be extinct as early as 2014.

The Daily Species #122:

Bateleur Eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus)

The Bateleur is a medium-sized eagle in the bird family Accipitridae which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as buzzards, kites and harriers. It is the only member of the genus Terathopius and probably the origin of the “Zimbabwe bird”, national emblem of Zimbabwe. Global population is estimated at 10,000 - 100,000 individuals.

Bateleurs pair for life, and will use the same nest for a number of years. Unpaired birds, presumably from a previous clutch, will sometimes help at the nest. The eagle hunts over a territory of 250 square miles a day. The prey of this raptor is mostly birds, including pigeons and sandgrouse, and also small mammals; it also takes carrion.

The Bateleur is a colourful species with a very short tail (ecaudatus is Latin for tailless) which makes it unmistakable in flight. “Bateleur” is French for “tight-rope walker”. This name describes the bird’s characteristic habit of tipping the ends of its wings when flying, as if catching its balance.

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 #115:

Olive Baboon (Papio anubis)

The olive baboon, also called the Anubis baboon, is a member of the family Cercopithecidae (Old World monkeys). The species is the most widely ranging of all baboons: it is found in 25 countries throughout Africa. It inhabits savannahs, steppes, and forests.

The olive baboon is named for its coat, which, at a distance, is a shade of green-grey. At closer range, its coat is multi-colored, due to rings of yellow-brown and black on the hairs. Its alternate name comes from the Egyptian god Anubis, who was often represented by a dog head resembling the dog-like muzzle of the baboon. Olive baboons are sexual dimorphic in body and canine tooth size. Like most cercopithecines, the olive baboon has a cheek pouch with which to store food.

The olive baboon lives in groups of 15–150, made up of a few males, many females, and their young. Each baboon has a social ranking somewhere in the group, depending on its dominance. Female dominance is hereditary, with daughters having nearly the same rank as their mothers, with adult females forming the core of the social system. A female will often form a long-lasting, social relationship with a male in her troop, known as a “friendship”. These relationships are sometimes enduring and the pair will groom and remain close to each other. They will also travel, forage, sleep and raise infants together as well as fight together against aggressive conspecifics.

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 #56:

Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

The red kangaroo is the largest of all kangaroos, the largest mammal native to Australia, and the largest surviving marsupial. It is found across mainland Australia, avoiding only the more fertile areas in the south, the east coast, and the northern rainforests.

The red kangaroo breeds all year round. The females have the unusual ability to delay birth of their baby until their previous Joey has left the pouch. This is called embryonic diapause. After approximately 190 days from its birth, the joey is sufficiently large and developed to make its full emergence out of the pouch. From then on, it spends increasing time in the outside world and eventually, after around 235 days, it leaves the pouch for the last time.

The red kangaroo is too big to be subject to significant non-human predation. They can use their robust legs and clawed feet to defend themselves from attackers with kicks and blows. Kangaroos are adept swimmers, and often flee into waterways if threatened by a predator. If pursued into the water, a kangaroo may use its forepaws to hold the predator underwater so as to drown it.

The Daily Species #42:

Wood Lemming (Myopus schisticolor)

The Wood Lemming is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae. It belongs into the Arvicolinae subfamily of rodents therefore is a relative of the voles, lemmings, and muskrats. It is found in the taiga biome of China, Finland, Mongolia, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.

The diet of the wood lemming consists mostly of moss. The ideal habitat for the wood lemming is a spruce forest with thick, copious moss cover. Lemmings gravitate towards areas that have abundant areas of cover from predators i.e. holes provided by decomposed trees, stumps, and mossy rock. In the winter, wood lemmings seek out drier areas than summer.

The population density of lemmings shows extreme peaks interspersed by years of very low densities. In peak years wood lemmings migrate from overpopulated areas to areas of low population density. If geographical features do not allow the animals to disperse evenly during their migration, then thousands of lemmings can be seen on their migration. This migratory behavior was exaggerated in popular stories about lemmings that in innumerable numbers dash down the hillsides and fall down over rocks into the sea, only to drown. However, such stories of mass suicides in lemmings are mere legends

The Daily Species #41:

Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

The hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only extant species in its genus. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies. E. imbricata imbricata is the Atlantic subspecies, while E. imbricata bissa is found in the Indo-Pacific region.
The hawksbill’s appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles. It has a generally flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper-like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. E. imbricata is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak with prominent tomium, and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins. Hawksbill shells slightly change colors, depending on water temperature. While this turtle lives part of its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs.
Human fishing practices threaten E. imbricata populations with extinction. The World Conservation Union. classifies the Hawksbill as critically endangered. Hawksbill shells are the primary source of tortoise shell material, used for decorative purposes. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlaws the capture and trade of hawksbill sea turtles and products derived from them.

The Daily Species #118:

Dhole (Cuon alpinus)

The dhole or Indian Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus) is a species of canid native to South and Southeast Asia. It is the only extant member of the genus Cuon, which differs from Canis by the reduced number of molars and greater number of teats. The dholes are classed as endangered by the IUCN, due to ongoing habitat loss, depletion of its prey base, competition from other predators, persecution and possibly diseases from domestic and feral dogs.

The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans which occasionally split up into small packs to hunt. It primarily preys on medium-sized ungulates, which it hunts by tiring them out in long chases, and kills by disemboweling them. Unlike most social canids (but similar to African wild dogs), dholes let their pups eat first at a kill. Though fearful of humans, dhole packs are bold enough to attack large and dangerous animals such as wild boar, water buffalo, and even tigers.

Other names for the species include wild dogs, whistling dogs, chennai, red wolves  (not to be confused with Canis [lupus] rufus), red dogs and mountain wolves. Dholes are post-Pleistocene in origin, and are more closely related to jackals than they are to wolves. It has been theorized that dholes became social animals as an adaptation to living with tigers and leopards.

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.