WORK IN CURRENT HERPETOLOGY:
Two New Alligator Snapping Turtle Species Announced, Some Face Localized Risks
by Brett Smith, Red Orbit
A new study published in the journal Zootaxa reveals that the alligator snapping turtle is actually three different species – not one as previously thought.The report also indicated that the localized distribution of these species, which includes coastal rivers of the northern Gulf of Mexico, poses a significant threat to their continued survival.
“We have to be especially careful with our management of the Suwannee River species because this turtle exists only in that river and its tributaries,” said study author Travis Thomas, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission scientist, referring to a small river that winds through parts of Georgia and Florida. “If something catastrophic were to occur, such as a chemical spill or something that affects the entire river, it could potentially devastate this species. The turtle is extremely limited by its habitat. All it has is this river and it has nowhere else to go.”
Based on analyses of the fossil record and modern turtle morphology, study researchers revised the genus Macrochelys to include Macrochelys temminkii and the two newly-described species, Macrochelys apalachicolae and Macrochelys suwanniensis. Constrained to river systems that empty into the northern Gulf of Mexico, the species are split by geography, which triggered changes in genetics, according to the study team…
(read more: Red Orbit)
photo: Gary M. Stolz/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

WORK IN CURRENT HERPETOLOGY:

Two New Alligator Snapping Turtle Species Announced, Some Face Localized Risks

by Brett Smith, Red Orbit

A new study published in the journal Zootaxa reveals that the alligator snapping turtle is actually three different species – not one as previously thought.The report also indicated that the localized distribution of these species, which includes coastal rivers of the northern Gulf of Mexico, poses a significant threat to their continued survival.

“We have to be especially careful with our management of the Suwannee River species because this turtle exists only in that river and its tributaries,” said study author Travis Thomas, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission scientist, referring to a small river that winds through parts of Georgia and Florida. “If something catastrophic were to occur, such as a chemical spill or something that affects the entire river, it could potentially devastate this species. The turtle is extremely limited by its habitat. All it has is this river and it has nowhere else to go.”

Based on analyses of the fossil record and modern turtle morphology, study researchers revised the genus Macrochelys to include Macrochelys temminkii and the two newly-described species, Macrochelys apalachicolae and Macrochelys suwanniensis. Constrained to river systems that empty into the northern Gulf of Mexico, the species are split by geography, which triggered changes in genetics, according to the study team…

(read more: Red Orbit)

photo: Gary M. Stolz/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

libutron
libutron:

Pyxicephalus edulis | ©Tyrone Ping   (False Bay, South Africa)
Known as Edible bullfrog or African bullfrog, Pyxicephalus edulis (Ranidae) is a large, very compact ranid, widespread in Central and East Africa.
In Burkino Faso, P. edulis is one of many frog species that are traded and it is the second most consumed frog species. In Malanville, Benin, it is the third most commonly caught and traded frog. Because villagers are employed to catch and prepare frogs, and because they are an important international trading item,  frogs are an integral part of the economy in areas with large frog populations. Aside from their value as an essential food source, they may also be used for cultural reasons and as traditional medicine in areas where Western medicine is not available. The overexploitation of frogs has lead to villagers observing high decline rates in several species of frog, P. edulis having the highest reported rate among them.
[Source]

libutron:

Pyxicephalus edulis | ©Tyrone Ping   (False Bay, South Africa)

Known as Edible bullfrog or African bullfrog, Pyxicephalus edulis (Ranidae) is a large, very compact ranid, widespread in Central and East Africa.

In Burkino Faso, P. edulis is one of many frog species that are traded and it is the second most consumed frog species. In Malanville, Benin, it is the third most commonly caught and traded frog. Because villagers are employed to catch and prepare frogs, and because they are an important international trading item,  frogs are an integral part of the economy in areas with large frog populations. Aside from their value as an essential food source, they may also be used for cultural reasons and as traditional medicine in areas where Western medicine is not available. The overexploitation of frogs has lead to villagers observing high decline rates in several species of frog, P. edulis having the highest reported rate among them.

[Source]

libutron
libutron:

Dipsadoboa aulica - Marbled Tree Snake | ©Tyrone Ping   (Hluhluwe, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)
The Marbled tree snake is an attractive colubrid native to Southern Africa. Dipsadoboa aulica, as it is scientific named, can be identified by its large eyes (with vertical pupils), a head which is distinct from its body, a white tongue and its nocturnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 60 cm and a maximum length of 85 cm [source].

libutron:

Dipsadoboa aulica - Marbled Tree Snake | ©Tyrone Ping   (Hluhluwe, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

The Marbled tree snake is an attractive colubrid native to Southern Africa. Dipsadoboa aulica, as it is scientific named, can be identified by its large eyes (with vertical pupils), a head which is distinct from its body, a white tongue and its nocturnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 60 cm and a maximum length of 85 cm [source].

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus)

Also known as the African Pygmy Falcon, P. semitorquatus is a small species of falcon, that occurs in eastern and southern Africa. The population in eastern Africa (P. s. castanotus) occurs from Sudan to Somalia south to Uganda and Tanzania. The population in southern Africa (P. s. semitorquatus) occurs from Angola to South Africa.

True to its common name P. semitorquatus is very small at only 19-20 cm long, making it the smallest raptor in Africa. Pygmy falcons typically inhabit dry bush habitats and will feed on insects, small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Pygmy falcons will usually in the nests of weavers, and even though they feed on bird will rarely go after their weaver neighbors.

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Falconiformes-Falconidae-Polihierax-P. semitorquatus

Images: Steve Garvie and Bob

jtotheizzoe
jtotheizzoe:

The Moon Goes Red Tonight
Are you in North, Central, or South America? Do you like staying up late and staring up at the sky? Yes? Then I have good news!
You can catch a total lunar eclipse Monday night, in all of its dusty-red glory, from just about anywhere in North America with a clear view of the night sky. The moon will enter the darkest part of Earth’s shadow (the “umbra”) at 1:58 AM ET, and remain there until 4:24 AM ET. At 3:06 ET, the moon will be completely darkened by the Earth’s shadow!
Except that the moon won’t be completely dark. During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns a dusty shade of red. Why is that? You can thank Earth’s atmosphere.
To understand the red color of a lunar eclipse, it’s best to see how Earth would look from the moon. Check out the image of Earth eclipsing the sun (it’s not a real photo, btw. It was created from several images taken by Apollo astronauts):

(via Astro Bob)
See that halo of light around Earth? Our diffuse shell of air and dust bends and reflects a portion of the eclipsed sun’s light around the planet and onto the obscured moon. And since only the longest wavelengths of light make it through our atmosphere without being scattered away by the air molecules (the same reason that sunsets are red), the moon is bathed in crimson! Here’s a video I made about that atmospheric color show:

Check out more eclipse goodness at Bad Astronomy. Top image via Wikipedia.

jtotheizzoe:

The Moon Goes Red Tonight

Are you in North, Central, or South America? Do you like staying up late and staring up at the sky? Yes? Then I have good news!

You can catch a total lunar eclipse Monday night, in all of its dusty-red glory, from just about anywhere in North America with a clear view of the night sky. The moon will enter the darkest part of Earth’s shadow (the “umbra”) at 1:58 AM ET, and remain there until 4:24 AM ET. At 3:06 ET, the moon will be completely darkened by the Earth’s shadow!

Except that the moon won’t be completely darkDuring a lunar eclipse, the moon turns a dusty shade of red. Why is that? You can thank Earth’s atmosphere.

To understand the red color of a lunar eclipse, it’s best to see how Earth would look from the moon. Check out the image of Earth eclipsing the sun (it’s not a real photo, btw. It was created from several images taken by Apollo astronauts):

(via Astro Bob)

See that halo of light around Earth? Our diffuse shell of air and dust bends and reflects a portion of the eclipsed sun’s light around the planet and onto the obscured moon. And since only the longest wavelengths of light make it through our atmosphere without being scattered away by the air molecules (the same reason that sunsets are red), the moon is bathed in crimson! Here’s a video I made about that atmospheric color show:

Check out more eclipse goodness at Bad Astronomy. Top image via Wikipedia.

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Curled Octopus (Eledone cirrhosa)

Also known as the Lesser Octopus or the Horned Octopus, the curled octopus is a species of octopus that inhabits areas in the sublittoral zone in the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Like some other octopuses E. cirrhosa feeds mainly on crabs and other crustaceans, feeding mainly on Homarus gammarus, Nephrops norvegicus, and Cancer pagurus.

Classification

Animalia-Mollusca-Cephalopoda-Octopoda-Octopodidae-Eledone-E. cirrhosa

Images: Comingio Merculiano and Bernard Picton

mucholderthen

kqedscience:

Watch Live Tonight as a Total Lunar Eclipse Turns the Moon Blood Red

"Tonight the Earth, moon, and sun will align just right to put on a celestial show known as a total lunar eclipse. Though you can just look up in the sky to catch the event, we’ve also got some spectacular live feeds of the eclipse for those trapped inside by cold, cloud cover, or agoraphobia.

The first video (above) comes courtesy of the Slooh Space Camera consortium, which will have a double-feature night starting with views of Mars, making its closest approach to Earth tonight, during a show at7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET. This will transition to views from telescopes trained on the moon and expert commentary beginning at 11:00 p.m. PT/2:00a.m. ET. The eclipse itself will require some patience and late-night stamina from sky watchers, only beginning at 10:58 p.m. PT/1:58 a.m. ET. The moon will fully enter Earth’s shadow and get tinged red starting a little after midnight PT/3:00 a.m. ET, returning to its normal color about an hour and a half later.”

Learn more from wiredhttp://goo.gl/w6nWnO

astronomy-to-zoology
astronomy-to-zoology:

Pink-headed Warbler (Cardellina versicolor)
…a small species of New-World Warbler (Parulidae) that is endemic to the highlands of central and eastern Chiapas in Mexico, to western Guatemala. In this range they commonly occupy humid/semi-humid evergreen and oak forests along with pine forests as well. Like other New World warblers pink-headed warblers are insectivores, foraging for insects and other small invertebrates from vegetation.
Currently Cardellina versicolor numbers are declining, due to habitat fragmentation and lost. This has caused it to be listed as Vulnerable.
Classification
Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Parulidae-Cardellina-C. versicolor
Image: Dominic Sherony

astronomy-to-zoology:

Pink-headed Warbler (Cardellina versicolor)

…a small species of New-World Warbler (Parulidae) that is endemic to the highlands of central and eastern Chiapas in Mexico, to western Guatemala. In this range they commonly occupy humid/semi-humid evergreen and oak forests along with pine forests as well. Like other New World warblers pink-headed warblers are insectivores, foraging for insects and other small invertebrates from vegetation.

Currently Cardellina versicolor numbers are declining, due to habitat fragmentation and lost. This has caused it to be listed as Vulnerable.

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Parulidae-Cardellina-C. versicolor

Image: Dominic Sherony

ichthyologist
laboratoryequipment:

Fish from Acidic Waters Less Able to SmellFish living on coral reefs where carbon dioxide seeps from the ocean floor are less able to detect predator odor than fish from normal coral reefs, according to a new study.The study confirms laboratory experiments showing that the behavior of reef fishes can be seriously affected by increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean. The new study is the first to analyze the sensory impairment of fish from CO2 seeps, where pH is similar to what climate models forecast for surface waters by the turn of the century.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/fish-acidic-waters-less-able-smell

laboratoryequipment:

Fish from Acidic Waters Less Able to Smell

Fish living on coral reefs where carbon dioxide seeps from the ocean floor are less able to detect predator odor than fish from normal coral reefs, according to a new study.

The study confirms laboratory experiments showing that the behavior of reef fishes can be seriously affected by increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean. The new study is the first to analyze the sensory impairment of fish from CO2 seeps, where pH is similar to what climate models forecast for surface waters by the turn of the century.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/fish-acidic-waters-less-able-smell

libutron
libutron:

Lycodonomorphus rufulus - Common Brown Water Snake | ©Tyrone Ping   (Montague Pass, South Africa)
The Common brown water snake, Lycodonomorphus rufulus (Colubridae) is a common snake in areas with permanent water in the wetter coastal and eastern parts of South Africa [1].
This colubrid can be identified by its uniform olive or light brown coloration, the pink or mother of pearl coloured underside, its good swimming ability and vertical pupils. It grows to an average length of 60 cm but may reach 85 cm [2].
Non-venomous and not dangerous to man and not likely to bite, however in the Zulu culture it is regarded as extremely dangerous.

libutron:

Lycodonomorphus rufulus - Common Brown Water Snake | ©Tyrone Ping   (Montague Pass, South Africa)

The Common brown water snake, Lycodonomorphus rufulus (Colubridae) is a common snake in areas with permanent water in the wetter coastal and eastern parts of South Africa [1].

This colubrid can be identified by its uniform olive or light brown coloration, the pink or mother of pearl coloured underside, its good swimming ability and vertical pupils. It grows to an average length of 60 cm but may reach 85 cm [2].

Non-venomous and not dangerous to man and not likely to bite, however in the Zulu culture it is regarded as extremely dangerous.

libutron

smartpeopleposting:

The Glorious Jewel Scarab and the physics of light

Also known as Glorious beetle and Glorious scarab, Chrysina gloriosa (Coleoptera - Scarabaeidae), is an unmistakable beetle found in the US (western Texas, New Mexico, southeast Arizona), and Mexico (Chihuahua and Sonora) [1].

The adults reach 25 to 28 mm long and are bright green with silver stripes on the elytra. However, this beetle (and several other species of beetle in the family Scarabaeidae), actually shine brighter than they appear, the result of a light trick that only a few animals on the planet can accomplish.

The fact is that hidden within the microstructure of the beetle’s exoskeleton there are helical twists and turns that enable certain species of scarabs the rare ability to create and reflect circularly polarized light. While many animals can create and even see linearly polarized light, there are very few examples of the creation of circularly polarized light in nature, and Chrysina gloriosa, a particularly adorable species of scarab, is one of those special few [2]. 

Further readings:

Photo credit: Chrysina gloriosa from Kohl’s Ranch, Tonto National Forest, Gila Co., Arizona, 5320 ft. elev. by ©Carla Kishinami [Top] - [Bottom