…a species of terrestrial neocyclotid gastropod that is endemic to the island of Dominica in the west indies. Its type locality was in Lauday but it has been described in several other areas throughout the island. Like many other tropical snails A. amethystinus likely inhabits vegetation and feeds on detritus and plant matter.
Caribbean flamingo tongue snail (Cyphoma gibbosum). Often mistakenly caught by shell collectors for its superb colours, its shell is in fact white. The bright colours are only due to the fleshy mantle of the living creature.
Sometimes known as the “Oelander Moth” Syntomeida epialsis is a species of arctiid moth that occurs in Florida, the southern United States and Parts of the Caribbean. Like other arctiid moths S. epialsis is day-flying and its larvae will feed on, and are considered a pest of Oelander (Nerium oelander).
… are carnivorous fishes of tropical and subtropical oceans. They are best known for their predatory habits and fearsome long teeth, which resemble those of a pirhana. Some five species are commonly encountered in North America; four in the Atlantic, and one in the Pacific.
The southeastern Great Barracuda (S. barracuda), shown here, is the largest and can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long. The black spots along their sides are patterned uniquely on each fish and could be used as an identification marker, much like fluke pattern in whales. They are great sprinters, able to reach up to 25 mph (40 km/h) in short bursts. Despite their size and weaponry, barracudas rarely attack humans.
They are ambush predators, and most attacks involve something flashy or shiny on the human that the barracuda mistakes for prey, or other situations where the human isn’t the target. Barracudas are popular game fish, though larger ones can potentially cause ciguatera food poisoning.
Although it is quietly hued, the little Hispaniolan cat-eyed snake, Hypsirhynchus ferox, is both attractive and interesting. Inhabiting a wide range of habitats from xeric to mesic, this terrestrial snake seems to prefer areas where low escarpments and boulders are prominent, on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
Preferentially a lizard eater, juvenile snakes eat geckos, anoles and the young of larger lizards. Adults feed upon larger whiptails and curly-tailed lizards. This snake occasionally attains a length of 30 inches (rarely an inch or two longer, often a few inches shorter). It is slender and can move quickly.
Scientists and government officials began a two-day meeting in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Thursday, Nov. 14th, 2013, to discuss ways of protecting and, hopefully, restoring severely degraded coral reefs in U.S. waters in the Caribbean and Pacific.
The session on St. Croix involves the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, which was set up in the late 1990s to help protect reefs. Among the topics is balancing tourism and development with ocean resource management, a big issue in the tourism-dependent Caribbean.
Around the globe, reefs have been severely degraded by overfishing, pollution, coastal development and warming seas, threats expected to intensify from climate change and ocean acidification due to greenhouse gases…
Jamaican Iguana Conservation Program Marks 20 Years of Success, Faces Worries about Next 20 Years
by John R. Platt
More than a million tourists visited Jamaica last year. The vast majority of them traveled to the famous hotels and beaches of Kingston, the country’s capital city. Few, if any, ventured about 25 kilometers to the west to the rocky limestone shores of Hellshire Hills. If they had, they might have seen something not many other people have ever had the opportunity to observe: the critically endangered Jamaican iguana (Cyclura collei).
But a small group of people gathering in Kingston this week know the Jamaican iguana quite well. The members of the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group have spent the past 20 years working to preserve this rare lizard, which was feared to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1991. The group’s work since 1993 has been called one of the greatest successes in conservation science, but today the Jamaican iguana faces new threats and government indifference. Questions remain whether the Jamaican iguana will have another 20 years of opportunities…
While exploring the debris slope of the collapsed side of the underwater volcano Kick’em Jenny near Grenada in the Caribbean, the Nautilus expedition crew had a surprising find of a large cold methane seep and rich biology around it. Here are a few of the amazing creatures we spotted there and more can be found at http://www.nautiluslive.org.
Shovelnose Chimera, swimming sea cucumber, deep sea octopus, unidentified species of Snailfish.
Audubon and Bahamas National Trust to Establish National Park on Joulter Cays
The National Audubon Society is working alongside the Bahamas National Trust to establish a new national park on the Joulter Cays, a group of small uninhabited islands and intertidal sand flats to the north of Andros Island in the Bahamas. The area was recently discovered to provide critical winter habitat for the threatened Piping Plover and Red Knot.
This week, Audubon staff visited the site with the Honorable Kenred Dorsett, minister of environment and housing for the Bahamas, other senior government officials for the Island of Andros, the board of the Bahamas National Trust and local sports fishing guides to highlight the site’s significance for migrating and wintering birds, marine wildlife and local economies.
“The Joulter Cays are rich in birds, fisheries and other wildlife. This is true paradise, a treasure for the Bahamas and it deserves protection for all that it has to offer,” said Matt Jeffery, deputy director of Audubon’s International Alliances Program…
Good Dads Help Rare Haitian Frogs Breed in Captivity
by John R. Platt
It requires a great deal of patience and more than a few days to get to the few remaining habitats of the La Hotte land frog (Eleutherodactylus bakeri) in Haiti.
First you rent a pickup truck in Port-au-Prince. Then you drive 11 hours west down the Tiburon Peninsula. At one point the road passes through a river where you may need to wait up to three days until the waters are low enough to cross. After that you start driving up the steep, scarred roads of the Massif de la Hotte mountain range. Finally, you reach an area where you can drive no farther. You hire a local crew of porters and guides and hike for another four hours.
Only then, at an elevation of about 1,800 meters, do you find yourself in a tiny fragment of a once-massive forest. “Everything on the journey up until that point is just barren land,” says Carlos Martinez Rivera, amphibian conservation biologist with the Philadelphia Zoo. “It’s just hills and hills of grassy fields and a few trees here and there.”
As much as 99 percent of Haiti has been deforested over the past few decades, as the country’s desperate people have cut down trees to make way for agriculture or charcoal production. This massive habitat loss has put the entire nation’s biodiversity at risk. Only a few untouched habitats remain…
…is a adorable species of helicinid land snail that is endemic to the island of Dominica in the West Indies. Like other snails this species makes its home on wet leaves, and is active after rainfall and in damp areas (usually in leaf litter). It is believed to feed on encrusting algae.
The Slippery Dick (Halichoeres bivittatus) is an ocean dwelling species of wrasse, family Labridae, found amongst reefs and seagrass beds in waters off the Atlantic coast of the Americas, from North Carolina to Brazil. The Slippery Dick can reach a length of up to 30 cm. The eay a variety of small marine invertebrates. As with many wrasse species, they start off life as females (the initial phase) and become male as they grow older and larger (the terminal phase).
…Also known as the soldier crab, West Atlantic crab or tree crab, the Caribbean hermit crab is a species of coenobitid hermit crab that occurs in the West Atlantic ranging from southern Florida to Venezuela. Like other hermit crabs C. clypaetus is a scavenger and feeds on fruit, plant material, carrion and feces. Coenobita clypaetus will often use shells of gastropods, usually Cittarium pica, to house and protect its soft abdomen. As the ‘crab’ grows and molts it will have to find larger shells.
Endemic to Grand Cayman, the Grand Cayman blue iguana, Cyclura nubila lewisi, is one of the most endangered lizards on Earth. Its decline likely began in pre-Colombian times when it was hunted for food by native Indians of the Arawak and Lucayan tribes. Today, habitat loss is the main factor threatening extinction.