The benefits for the African nation could extend well beyond public health.

Earlier this week, Liberia announced it would accept $150 million in developmental aid from Norway tied to assurances that by the year 2020 all deforestation will be stopped in the West African nation. Liberia will accept the funding in order to pay small communities to avoid deforesting their land…

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libutron:

Siberian Flying Squirrel - Pteromys volans
Pteromys volans (Rodentia - Sciuridae) is a small to medium-sized glider squirrel which is distributed in the palearctic region (north of Europe and Asia). They have a membrane that extends between their fore- and hind limbs. Unlike some other species of flying squirrels, Pteromys volans do not have a membrane between their hind limbs and the base of their tail.
These pretty squirrels have distinct, large, black eyes, and also have thick, long and soft fur. The margins of the gliding membrane are bordered with a distinct fringe of soft fur. 
Listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, the Siberian Flying Squirrel is included in Habitats Directive Annex IV of European Union (92/43/EEC) and is, therefore, in need of strict protection. It is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Finland and also in China.
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo credit: ©Vanikat | Locality: Finland (2006)

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Siberian Flying Squirrel - Pteromys volans

Pteromys volans (Rodentia - Sciuridae) is a small to medium-sized glider squirrel which is distributed in the palearctic region (north of Europe and Asia). They have a membrane that extends between their fore- and hind limbs. Unlike some other species of flying squirrels, Pteromys volans do not have a membrane between their hind limbs and the base of their tail.

These pretty squirrels have distinct, large, black eyes, and also have thick, long and soft fur. The margins of the gliding membrane are bordered with a distinct fringe of soft fur. 

Listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, the Siberian Flying Squirrel is included in Habitats Directive Annex IV of European Union (92/43/EEC) and is, therefore, in need of strict protection. It is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Finland and also in China.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Vanikat | Locality: Finland (2006)

Geastrum fornicatum
… commonly known as the acrobatic earthstar or the arched earthstar, is an inedible species of mushroom in the family Geastraceae. Like other earthstar mushrooms, the thick outer skin splits open at maturity to expose the spore sac to the elements; the specific epithet fornicatum (Latin for ‘arched’ or ‘vaulted’) refers to the arched shape of the rays which extend downwards to rest on the mycelial sac and elevate the spore sac…
(read more: Wikipedia)
via: Gencer Emiroglu - Mushroom Observer

Geastrum fornicatum

… commonly known as the acrobatic earthstar or the arched earthstar, is an inedible species of mushroom in the family Geastraceae. Like other earthstar mushrooms, the thick outer skin splits open at maturity to expose the spore sac to the elements; the specific epithet fornicatum (Latin for ‘arched’ or ‘vaulted’) refers to the arched shape of the rays which extend downwards to rest on the mycelial sac and elevate the spore sac…

(read more: Wikipedia)

via: Gencer Emiroglu - Mushroom Observer

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)

…a common species of salamandrid salamander which is distributed throughout most of southern and central Europe, where they are common in more elevated areas. Fire salamanders typically inhabit deciduous forests where they will spend their time in moist hidden areas like under stones, tree trunks, and in leaf litter. Like other salamanders fire salamanders are carnivorous and will feed on a variety of arthropods, earthworms, and molluscs. They are also known to occasionally eat small frogs or salamanders.

If threatened fire salamanders are capable of exuding the neurotoxic alkaloid “Samandarin" from their skin, which will cause muscle convulsions and hypertension in vertebrates. 

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Caudata-Salamandridae-Slamandra-S. salamandra

Images: Didier Descouens and Marek Szczepanek

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Hummingbird hawk moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)

The hummingbird hawk-moth is a species in the family Sphingidae. It is distributed throughout the northern Old World from Portugal to Japan, but is resident only in warmer climates (southern Europe, North Africa, and points east).

It is a strong flier, dispersing widely and can be found virtually anywhere in the hemisphere in the summer. Its long proboscis and its hovering behaviour, accompanied by an audible humming noise, make it look remarkably like a hummingbird while feeding on flowers. It flies during the day, especially in bright sunshine, but also at dusk, dawn, and even in the rain, which is unusual for even diurnal hawkmoths.

Its visual abilities have been much studied, and it has been shown to have a relatively good ability to learn colours.

photo credits: wiki, bbc, wildlifeinsight, glaucus

The Eurasian goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) is a small passerine bird in the finch family, in Europe simply referred to as Goldfinches. Found throughout Europe and in parts of northern Africa and western Asia, goldfinches feed on small seeds such as those from thistles, but may become take insects when feeding their young. Goldfinches are commonly kept by humans for both their plumage and their song.
 Photograph by Pierre Dalous
(via: Wikipedia)

The Eurasian goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) is a small passerine bird in the finch family, in Europe simply referred to as Goldfinches. Found throughout Europe and in parts of northern Africa and western Asia, goldfinches feed on small seeds such as those from thistles, but may become take insects when feeding their young. Goldfinches are commonly kept by humans for both their plumage and their song.

Photograph by Pierre Dalous

(via: Wikipedia)

The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, found in Europe and northern Asia. Measuring 66–94 cm (26–37 in) in length, the species 1.78–2.45 m (5.8–8.0 ft) wingspan is on average the largest of any eagle. Although they often scavenge, the eagles may also hunt prey such as fish, birds and mammals.
 Photograph by Yathin S Krishnappa
(via: Wikipedia)

The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, found in Europe and northern Asia. Measuring 66–94 cm (26–37 in) in length, the species 1.78–2.45 m (5.8–8.0 ft) wingspan is on average the largest of any eagle. Although they often scavenge, the eagles may also hunt prey such as fish, birds and mammals.

Photograph by Yathin S Krishnappa

(via: Wikipedia)

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libutron:

Ladybird Spider - Eresus cinnaberinus ♂ 

Needless to say why these spiders are known as Ladybird Spiders. Eresus cinnaberinus (Araneae - Eresidae) is one of the most attractive species of its genus, and also one of the most rare.

They live in a vertical tube brownish silk that emerges from the ground, with a series of blue strands, anchored in the ground or nearby objects. The female, black, moves her eggs to the outside during the day and returns them to the nest at night, to maintain a constant temperature. These photos shows a wanderer male, probably looking for a female to mate.

The species occurs in Northern and Central Europe. However, it exhibits two disjunctly distributed color and phenological variants. So, Eresus cinnaberinus was split into two presumptive species: E. cinnaberinus and E. sandaliatus

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Alfonso Pereira | Locality: Soria, Spain (2011) | [Top] - [Bottom]

Eeeeeeeeee :3

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libutron:

The Olm - Proteus anguinus 

This strange creature is commonly known as the Olm, a rare cave salamander belonging to the species Proteus anguinus (Caudata - Proteidae), which is only found in Europe. 

The Olm is perfectly adapted to live in caves. As it spends its entire life in darkness, Proteus anguinus has very poorly developed eyes and is blind. It also lacks pigment in the skin, giving its body a pasty white appearance, Its pink hue is due to blood capillaries near the skin, and as its translucency shows the contours of the internal organs. 

This salamander does not undergo a clear metamorphosis and retains many juvenile features, such as gills, throughout its life. It is long-lived, potentially reaching up to 58 years of age.

The Olm is restricted to subterranean aquatic habitats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Italy and Slovenia. The species is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Darko Visek | Locality: Rokina, Croatia, 2008] - [Bottom: ©National Geographic | Locality: Divje Jezero, Idrija, Slovenia]

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libutron:

Common European Cockchafer - Melolontha melolontha

Also referred to as Maybug and Field Cockchafer, Melolontha melolontha (Coleoptera - Scarabaeidae) is a common inhabitant on agricultural lands throughout temperate Europe and the United States.

Males Common European Cockchafers have longer antennae than females, with a large, fan-like club protruding.

Cockchafers are among the most dreaded insect pests in many European countries, causing economic losses in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. In forests of south-western Germany, populations of the Forest Cockchafer (Melolontha hippocastani) and also the Field Cockchafer (M. melolontha) have been increasing during the past three decades and, therefore, monitoring of these populations has been intensified.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Armando Caldas | Locality: Cabreira, Vendas Novas, Portugal, 2010] - [Bottom: ©rockwolf | Locality: Venus Pool, Shropshire, West Midlands, England, 2012]

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Olm (Proteus anguinus)

The olm, or proteus, is the only cave-dwelling chordate species found in Europe. In contrast to many amphibians, it is entirely aquatic, and it eats, sleeps, and breeds underwater.

Living in caves found in Dinaric Alps, it is endemic to the waters that flow underground through extensive limestone of karst of Central and Southeastern Europe, specifically the southern Slovenia, the Soča river basin near Trieste, Italy, southwestern Croatia, and Herzegovina.

This animal is most notable for its adaptations to a life of complete darkness in its underground habitat. The olm’s eyes are undeveloped, leaving it blind, while its other senses, particularly those of smell and hearing, are acutely developed. It also lacks any pigmentation in its skin. It has three toes on its forelimbs, but two toes on its hind feet. It also exhibits neoteny, retaining larval characteristics like external gills into adulthood.

The olm’s body is snakelike, 20–30 cm (8–12 in) long, with some specimens reaching up to 40 centimetres (16 in). The olm is extremely vulnerable to changes in its environment due to its adaptation to the specific conditions in caves.

On the IUCN Red List, the olm is listed as vulnerable because of its fragmented and limited distribution and ever-decreasing population.

photo credits: Boštjan Burger, mesozoico, slovenia, animalworld

astronomy-to-zoology
astronomy-to-zoology:

Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena)
…a striking species of Swallowtail butterfly (Papilionidae) which is widespread in middle in southern Europe, where it occurs in southeastern France, Italy, Slovakia, Greece, and the Balkans south to Kazakhstan and the Urals.
Adult southern festoons will fly from April to June and can typically be see in in open areas with abundant vegetation. Southern festoon larvae will feed on birthworts (Aristolochia spp.) and seem to prefer A. clematitis and A. rotunda. Birthworts are toxic making both the caterpillars and adults inedible.
Classfification
Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Lepidoptera-Papilionidae-Parnassiinae-Zerynthiini-Zerynthia-Z. polyxena
Image: Jean Laurent Hentz 

astronomy-to-zoology:

Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena)

…a striking species of Swallowtail butterfly (Papilionidae) which is widespread in middle in southern Europe, where it occurs in southeastern France, Italy, Slovakia, Greece, and the Balkans south to Kazakhstan and the Urals.

Adult southern festoons will fly from April to June and can typically be see in in open areas with abundant vegetation. Southern festoon larvae will feed on birthworts (Aristolochia spp.) and seem to prefer A. clematitis and A. rotunda. Birthworts are toxic making both the caterpillars and adults inedible.

Classfification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Lepidoptera-Papilionidae-Parnassiinae-Zerynthiini-Zerynthia-Z. polyxena

Image: Jean Laurent Hentz 

Asian Multi-spotted Ladybird Beetle (Harmonia axyridis):

The first photo set shows the variety in coloration and spotting, bit what stays the same are the large white edge spots on the sides of the pronotum (thoracic shield).  (photo by ©entomart)

The second set shows the full life cycle of H. axyridis. (photo by puddingforbrains).

This species has been widely introduced, purposefully, into Europe and North America, as garden pest control. This has had a deleterious effect on several of our native lady bird beetle (“ladybugs”) species, as native species are often unable to compete with the voracious predator of scales and aphids.

In the United States, we do have several species of native Ladybird Beetle. Find out more here:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/179