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Yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula)

The yellow-throated marten is an Asian species of marten. The species occurs in subtropical and tropical forests from the Himalayas to eastern Russia, south to the Malay Peninsula and Sunda Shelf (Borneo, Sumatra, and Java) to Taiwan. It is the largest marten in the Old World, with a tail more than half its body length. Males measure 500–719 mm in body length, while females measure 500–620 mm. It is an omnivore, whose sources of food range from fruit and nectarto small deer. The yellow-throated marten is a fearless animal with no natural predators, because of its powerful build, its bright coloration and unpleasant odor. It shows little fear of humans or dogs, and is easily tamed. It primarily hunts on the ground, but can climb trees proficiently, being capable of making jumps up to 8 to 9 meters in distance between branches. Nine subspecies are recognized.

photo credits: glogster, Rushenb, Dibyendu Ash

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Storks and Their Babies Make a Comeback in France

The association between storks and babies is legendary, but in the Alsace region of France during the 1960s, the stork and its own babies were nearly wiped out by pesticides and development. But thanks to conservation programs like this one, storks today have a healthy population and are part of the community in Alsace. See storks in high perched nests care for their young, and watch a chick hatch.

Click here to read more: Beloved Storks, Emblems of Fertility, Rebounding in France

By: National Geographic.
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This a real fossilized baby Stylemys Tortoise! It dates back to the Oligocene and was found in South Dakota. This is the oldest known dry land tortoise (in the order Testudines) ever discovered in the United States! We can ship this, and all fossil specimens, worldwide! We are only asking $250 (Canadian dollars) and you can buy it now on www.SkullStore.ca!

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The Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) mixes plain, dark plumage with cool, iridescent head feathers for a stunning, subtle pattern. Though fairly common in the eastern and central United States, watches these birds closely always yields something interesting.

Grackles are impressive foragers. These birds have been known to eat just about anything. Insects and other invertebrates, seeds and grains, fish, and small mammals have all been recorded as part of the grackle diet. They even eat other birds, including young nestlings and adult of smaller species! They’re basically flying stomachs!

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This is a Sea Sapphire! And when it doesn’t look amazing it’s invisible!

This is a type of crustacean called a copepod. It’s back is covered in guanine crystals. If it weren’t for these crystals the Sea Sapphire would be transparent, but these crystals are spaced in such a way that they strongly reflect certain colours of light. The colour of the light that’s reflected is dependent on the angle that it comes in.

Usually, it reflects blue light, but when the light hits the Sea Sapphire at 45 degrees, the reflected light shifts into the ultraviolet. And since we can’t see that it becomes invisible!

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Achrioptera fallax

Achrioptera fallax is a stick insect species found in Madagascar. The males are a bright electric blue (with greenish tints) and have two rows of reddish orange spines along the edges of the femur. There are also dark coloured spines going along the sides and underneath the thorax. Males are brachypterous (incapable of flight) and have small reduced wings. Females have a duller outlook. They are a light brown with red spines covering the entire thorax and the top of the head. The male grows up to 13 cm in length while the female is much bigger and can grow up to 18, 5 cm in length. Their diet in the wild is unknown but in captivity they mainly feed on bramble, raspberry, eucalyptus, and oak.

photo credits: thedancingrest, reptileforums

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Brachycephalus: miniaturized frogs 

Following nearly 5 years of exploration in mountainous areas of the southern Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, a team of researchers has uncovered seven new species of a highly miniaturized, brightly colored frog genus known as Brachycephalus.

These frogs are among the smallest terrestrial vertebrates, with adult sizes often not exceeding 1 cm in length, leading to a variety of changes in their body structure, such as reduction in the number of toes and fingers. In addition, many species of Brachycephalus are brightly colored, possibly as a warning to the presence of a highly potent neurotoxin in their skin known as tetrodotoxin.

Read more  -  Full Article

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Steller´s jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

The Steller’s jay is a jay native to western North America, closely related to the blue jay found in the rest of the continent, but with a black head and upper body. The Steller’s jay lives in coniferous and mixed woodland, but not in completely dense forest, and requires open space. It typically lives in flocks of greater than 10 individuals.They are omnivores; their diet is about two-thirds plant matter and one third animal matter. There are 17 subspecies from Alaska to Nica­ragua, 8 found north of Mexico. The Steller’s jay shows a great deal of regional variation throughout its range.

photo credits: wiki, birdnote, Mike Ross, Roy Hancliff

If Apes Go Extinct, So Could Entire Forests

Bonobo poop matters. Well, maybe not the poop itself, but what’s in it.

You see, bonobos eat a lot of fruit, and fruit contains seeds. Those seeds travel through a bonobo’s digestive system while the bonobo itself travels through the landscape. A few hours later, the seeds end up being deposited far from where the fruits were plucked. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where new trees come from.

But what if there were no apes? A new study published February 27 in the journal Oryx found that many tree and plant species in the Democratic Republic of the Congo rely almost exclusively on bonobos for seed dispersal. In the LuiKotale forest, where the study was conducted, 18 plant species were completely unable to reproduce if their seeds did not first travel through a bonobo’s guts. According to the paper if the bonobos disappeared, the plants would also likely go extinct.

Continue Reading.

The 6th Mass Extinction on Earth has Begun

Troubling evidence recently released by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology, has  show a large increase in the number of species lost over the last century. The numbers above each bar represent the estimated values for extinct vertebrates. The image above shows that since the industrial revolution, species diversity has been rapidly declining in response to human activity including:

  • Destruction of habitats
  • Introduction of invasive species
  • Climate change
  • Destruction of ecosystems because of pollutants

Erlich and his colleagues do offer hope for the future. If rapid conservation efforts are undertaken now, then  such a dramatic ecological event can be avoided. It is more than likely that if such an even were to occur, the human race would suffer itself.

Source: ScienceAdvances

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Jorunna parva

Jorunna parva has taking the internet by storm earlier this year, due to its appearance: the black-and-white rabbit-like nudibranch has stolen the hearts of many twitter-users. Although the white specimens are seen as “fluffy rabbits”, there’re more colourations (probably depending on their habitat).

The 2,5 cm-long J. parva has two feather-like appandages on its head, called the Rhinophores, which are used to detect chemicals in the water. On its back there’s a large flower-like gill, used to filter oxygen out of the water. 

The highly toxic animals live as long as one year to a few months and are found in the waters near Japan and Indonesia to Tanzania and Madagascar.

Animalia - Mollusca - Gastropoda - Nudibranchia - Discodorididae - Jorunna - J. parva

Photo-credits:
(x) Flickr: Lugo GR  (x) Jun Imamoto (Japan)
References:
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