The cock-eyed squid, Histioteuthis heteropsis, gets its name from the different sized eyes it has. It is thought that the larger eye is specialized to detect bioluminescence. The spots all over the squid’s skin are photophores - or light organs - perhaps used to mask its silhouette from predators and prey.
You can download more free wallpapers like this from the Monterey Bay Aquarium: here 
(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

The cock-eyed squid, Histioteuthis heteropsis, gets its name from the different sized eyes it has. It is thought that the larger eye is specialized to detect bioluminescence. The spots all over the squid’s skin are photophores - or light organs - perhaps used to mask its silhouette from predators and prey.

You can download more free wallpapers like this from the Monterey Bay Aquarium: here

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Huge Congregation of River Frogs Documented in Georgia

by Dirk Stevenson

When the accomplished Albert Hazen Wright (1879-1970), Cornell University Professor and Herpetologist, first encountered the strange tadpoles of the River Frog (Lithobates heckscheri), he knew instantly he was looking at a new species. Wright, who described the new frog in 1924, wrote of the species’ habitat”…swampy edges of rivers and streams, a truly fluviatile species” and mentioned that the polliwogs “travel in big schools as no other big tadpoles do.”

John Jensen, herpetologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Jim Wright (no relation to Albert) just published a fascinating paper in the current issue of Herpetological Review about the River Frog. Last May, along the shores of a tributary to Muckalee Creek, Jim snapped incredible photos of a mass metamorphosis event of River Frogs—an estimated 4,000 tadpoles transformed and became froglets, congregating on nearby sand-and-mud-bars.

An adult female River Frog can lay 5,000 to 14,000 eggs in a floating surface film. The tadpoles require one to two years to develop and sometimes reach phenomenal sizes (ca. 5 inches) prior to metamorphosis…

(read more: Orianne Society)

Photos by Jim Wright and Dirk Stevenson

PBS - NATURE: Red-lipped Batfish and Frogfish

Catch a rare look at a red-lipped batfish and a frogfish, some of the strangest residents of the underwater kingdom off of Cocos Island in the Indian Ocean near Africa. NATURE’s Shark Mountain takes viewers to Cocos Island in the Pacific, where sharks of all kinds converge in staggering numbers.

See the full episode at http://video.pbs.org/video/995220135

One tenth of bird species flying under the conservation radar

by Martin Fowlie

More than 350 newly recognised bird species have been assessed by BirdLife International for the first time on behalf of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Worryingly, more than 25% of these newly recognised birds have been listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List - compared with 13% of all birds - making them urgent priorities for conservation action.

The first of a two-part comprehensive taxonomic review has focussed on non-passerine birds – such as birds of prey, seabirds, waterbirds and owls – and has led to the recognition of 361 new species, that were previously treated as ‘races’ of other forms. The new total of 4,472 non-passerines implies that previous classifications have undersold avian diversity at the species level by more than 10%.

“Put another way, one tenth of the world’s bird species have been flying below the conservation radar”, said Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife’s Head of Science…

(read more: BirdLife International)

photos: Somali Ostrich (Peter Steward); Greater Adjutant Stork (BLI); and Desertas Petrel (Olli Tenovuo)

The effects of a meatless population on climate and economy.

The meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change, directly and indirectly producing about 14.5 percent of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and global meat consumption is on the rise.

People generally like eating meat—when poor people start making more money, they almost invariably start buying more meat. As the population grows and eats more animal products, the consequences for climate change, pollution, and land use could be catastrophic…

Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)
Arguably, few birds are more tied to moths than the Evening Grosbeak. In the summer breeding season, Evening Grosbeaks feed primarily on the caterpillars of the spruce budworm, a small moth species that can be a pest of evergreens. 
The grosbeaks have semi-nomadic populations that follow budworm outbreaks, with large concentrations of birds occurring in outbreak areas while the caterpillars are present, and moving on to other areas once the outbreak subsides. 
Historically, Evening Grosbeaks were not found in eastern North America; their spread east is often attributed to increasing budworm outbreaks on that side of the continent. Their peak population levels in the east coincide with peak outbreak levels, in the 1970s and 1980s. 
Since then, the forestry industry has worked to control the damaging spruce budworm outbreaks, and though no official studies have been completed to confirm cause-and-effect, grosbeak numbers have declined in lockstep. 
Western populations of Eastern Grosbeak have also been on the decline, possibly due to budworm control by the forestry industry in the Rockies and western boreal forest. Both the spruce budworm and the Evening Grosbeak populations appear to have now stabilized, though at much lower levels than during the 70s.photo by Daniel Arndt (Dan Arndt) on Flickr
(via: Peterson Field Guides)

Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)

Arguably, few birds are more tied to moths than the Evening Grosbeak. In the summer breeding season, Evening Grosbeaks feed primarily on the caterpillars of the spruce budworm, a small moth species that can be a pest of evergreens.

The grosbeaks have semi-nomadic populations that follow budworm outbreaks, with large concentrations of birds occurring in outbreak areas while the caterpillars are present, and moving on to other areas once the outbreak subsides.

Historically, Evening Grosbeaks were not found in eastern North America; their spread east is often attributed to increasing budworm outbreaks on that side of the continent. Their peak population levels in the east coincide with peak outbreak levels, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Since then, the forestry industry has worked to control the damaging spruce budworm outbreaks, and though no official studies have been completed to confirm cause-and-effect, grosbeak numbers have declined in lockstep.

Western populations of Eastern Grosbeak have also been on the decline, possibly due to budworm control by the forestry industry in the Rockies and western boreal forest. Both the spruce budworm and the Evening Grosbeak populations appear to have now stabilized, though at much lower levels than during the 70s.

photo by Daniel Arndt (Dan Arndt) on Flickr

(via: Peterson Field Guides)