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Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

The clouded leopard is a cat found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as Vulnerable in 2008 by the IUCN. Its total population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend. The clouded leopard is considered to form an evolutionary link between the big cats and the small cats. It represents the smallest of the big cats, but is not closely related to the leopard. Females vary in head-to-body length from 68.6 - 94 cm, with a tail 61 - 82 cm long. Males are larger at 81 - 108 cm with a tail 74 - 91 cm long. Their shoulder height varies from 50 - 55 cm. They have exceptionally long, piercing canine teeth. The upper pair of canines may measure 4 cm or longer. They are often referred to as a “modern-day saber tooth” because they have the largest canines in proportion to their body size. At the moment there are three subspecies recognized. Clouded leopards are the most talented climbers among the cats. They can easily jump up to 1.2 m high. They live a solitary lifestyle, resting in trees during the day and hunting at night. When hunting, clouded leopards either come down from their perches in the trees and stalk their prey or lie and wait for the prey to come to them. After making a kill and eating, they usually retreat to the trees to digest and rest. Little is known of the diet of clouded leopards. Their prey includes both arboreal and terrestrial vertebrates.

photo credits: Charles Barilleaux, wiki, Theonlysilentbob, frank wouters, Vearl Brown, cloudedleopard

A rosy maple moth for Holly as part of a little ink swap this week! She tattooed a portrait of Ash from the Evil Dead on me, it is so awesome!! Go check her out @holly_astral #rosymaplemoth #moth #mothtattoo #insect #insects #neotrad #neotraditional #pink #cutemoth #lepidoptera #entomology #zoology #femaletattooartist #tattooartist #bedfordshire #cambridgeshire #inverts #tattooer #tattoolife #fusionink #eternalink #artist #ukartist

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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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Hunter or Hunted? Animal Eyes Reveal All.

Pupil shape strongly predicts both an animal’s basic position on the food chain, and what time of day it is most active, a new study has found.

The research, published in the journal Science Advances, discovered that species with vertical slit pupils are more likely to be ambush predators that are active during the day and night.

So which of these animals are hunters and hunted? Click to find out.

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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

newscientist.com
First evidence that dinosaurs laid colourful blue-green eggs
It should be raptor egg blue instead of robin egg blue. Some modern birds lay colourful eggs, but now we know it's a trick their dinosaur ancestors used too.

The American robin lent its name to a striking shade of blue, but the vivid hue may have been colouring eggs long before the bird evolved – perhaps long before any birds evolved. It may have appeared in the dinosaur ancestors of birds that lived 150 million years ago.

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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

Congo Monkey Spotted Decades After Species’ Alleged Demise

Welcome back, Bouvier’s red colobus monkey. It’s been a while.

The African primate hasn’t been seen since the 1970s and was assumed to have become extinct.

But, in a statement released late last week, the Wildlife Conservation Society says two primatologists working in the forests of the Republic of Congo were successful in a quest begun in February to confirm reports that Bouvier’s is still out there. They returned with a first-ever snapshot of a mother and infant.

“Our photos are the world’s first and confirm that the species is not extinct,” Lieven Devreese, one of the field researchers, was quoted in the WCS statement as saying.

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