Strawberry Hermit Crab Beach Frenzy! Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge, in the South Pacific, is home to large numbers of the strawberry hermit crab (Coenobita perlatus). This large biomass of land crabs plays a dominant role in terrestrial food webs on the island where they consume a wide variety of organic matter. The Refuge is a part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Learn more about how the monument and refuge protect fish and wildlife: Howland Island NWRPhoto credit: C. Eggleston

Strawberry Hermit Crab Beach Frenzy!

Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge, in the South Pacific, is home to large numbers of the strawberry hermit crab (Coenobita perlatus). This large biomass of land crabs plays a dominant role in terrestrial food webs on the island where they consume a wide variety of organic matter.

The Refuge is a part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Learn more about how the monument and refuge protect fish and wildlife: Howland Island NWR

Photo credit: C. Eggleston

Dying For Fijis Sea Cucumbers

by Amy West

What’s it Worth? Deepening pressure on Fiji’s coral protectors.
Redfish, Greenfish, Blackfish.
Pinkfish, Curryfish, Lollyfish.


They sound like Dr. Seuss characters and certainly look like they should be. Yet these sausage-shaped, rubbery animals stippled in fleshy bumps are not fish at all, but an invertebrate in the group that includes sea stars, sea urchins and sand dollars. Sea cucumbers, referred to as “bêche-de-mer” or “trepang” when sold as dried food, are largely motionless creatures, which is why divers scoop hundreds of them up daily to export to Asia. A single high value individual in Fiji can fetch about $80 US, notes one report.
Sea cucumbers are not a new food craze; the Chinese have eaten them at least since the 1600s and sought this delicacy from Fiji since the early 1800s. Today, the increasing market demand and the push to dive deeper for these invertebrates and start new fisheries in other countries have sent stocks declining worldwide. Some have disappeared locally in Pacific Island nations, and in Fiji, divers are actually dying for them…
(read more: Monga Bay)
photographs by Stacy Jupiter

The U.S. Protects a Massive and Remote Part of the Pacific

by Patrick J. Kiger

President Obama announced yesterday what could be a massive expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, originally created by President George W. Bush in 2009. While the president didn’t spell out all the details, the Washington Post reported that he might increase the preserve from its present 89,000 square miles to as much as 782,000 square miles of ocean waters and sea floor. Commercial fishing would be barred in that area, and presumably energy exploration as well…

(read more: Discovery News)

photos: NOAA

usfwspacific

The Life and Times of KT, the Bristle-thighed Curlew!

usfwspacific:

image

KT, the Bristled-thighed Curlew, enjoying the warm weather of Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge far from his breeding grounds in Alaska.  Photo Credit: Jenny Howard/USFWS

As the summer breeding season winds down at the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, the Bristle-thighed Curlews (Numenius tahitiensis) prepare for their non-stop flight to Pacific Island wintering grounds. They gorge themselves on berries and a variety of invertebrates at staging areas to raise body fat content for the long flight.

image

The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, where KT breeds in the summer time.  Photo Credit: Anabel Lereculeur

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) biologist Kristine Sowl conducted a three-year study on Bristle-thighed Curlews at their breeding grounds from 2010-2012. Using coded leg flags, Sowl banded 77 individual adults; seven of the birds have been re-sighted in the wintering grounds, two on northern Oahu, one on Laysan Island, two on Midway Atoll, and two on Johnston Atoll. Of the two on Johnston Atoll, one had a broken wing and was not observed again. The other curlew had a leg flag coded with the letters KT has been observed twice in the same region of Johnston Island.

Read More

dendroica
unknown-endangered:

Guam Rail (Gallirallus owstoni)
Extinct in the Wild
Gallirallus owstoni, also known as the ko’ko’, is a flightless bird endemic to the island of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. It disappeared from Guam in the late 1980s due to predation by invasive species, especially cats and snakes. The most serious threat to this species, and many others on Guam, is the brown tree snake, which was accidentally introduced to the island in the 1940s from Papua New Guinea. As for many island animals, the native birds of Guam had no defences against unfamiliar predators, and their numbers declined rapidly. 
Captive breeding programmes have been active since the 1980s. In 1995, G. owstoni began to be introduced to the island of Rota, although predation by cats was severe, and few birds survived. In 2010, 16 birds were introduced to Cocos Island, just offshore of Guam. Rats were eradicated and monitor lizard numbers were reduced prior to introduction. There is evidence that this population is now breeding.
Photo: Greg Hume on Wikipedia.

unknown-endangered:

Guam Rail (Gallirallus owstoni)

Extinct in the Wild

Gallirallus owstoni, also known as the ko’ko’, is a flightless bird endemic to the island of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. It disappeared from Guam in the late 1980s due to predation by invasive species, especially cats and snakes. The most serious threat to this species, and many others on Guam, is the brown tree snake, which was accidentally introduced to the island in the 1940s from Papua New Guinea. As for many island animals, the native birds of Guam had no defences against unfamiliar predators, and their numbers declined rapidly. 

Captive breeding programmes have been active since the 1980s. In 1995, G. owstoni began to be introduced to the island of Rota, although predation by cats was severe, and few birds survived. In 2010, 16 birds were introduced to Cocos Island, just offshore of Guam. Rats were eradicated and monitor lizard numbers were reduced prior to introduction. There is evidence that this population is now breeding.

Photo: Greg Hume on Wikipedia.

Palauan primitive cave eel, a ‘living fossil’

The Palauan primitive cave eel (Protanguilla palau) has an evolutionary history that dates back some 200 million years. Because of this and the fact that it has retained some primitive features, scientists are recognizing it as a ‘living fossil.’
A Japanese research diver, Jiro Sakaue, found the first specimen in February 2009, in a cave of a reef near the Republic of Palau. After extensive morphological and DNA analysis, Smithsonian ichthyologist David Johnson and colleagues from Palau and Japan determined that the genus and species belongs to a new family of eels called Protoanguillidae.
Unlike all other known species of eel, Protanguilla palau has a fully developed set of toothed gill rakers. These bony structures help retain food. The specimens that scientists have collected range in size from 44 mm (1.7 in) to 179 mm (7 in). The team published its findings online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on August 17, 2011.
photo by Jiro Sakaue
(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

Palauan primitive cave eel, a ‘living fossil’

The Palauan primitive cave eel (Protanguilla palau) has an evolutionary history that dates back some 200 million years. Because of this and the fact that it has retained some primitive features, scientists are recognizing it as a ‘living fossil.’

A Japanese research diver, Jiro Sakaue, found the first specimen in February 2009, in a cave of a reef near the Republic of Palau. After extensive morphological and DNA analysis, Smithsonian ichthyologist David Johnson and colleagues from Palau and Japan determined that the genus and species belongs to a new family of eels called Protoanguillidae.

Unlike all other known species of eel, Protanguilla palau has a fully developed set of toothed gill rakers. These bony structures help retain food. The specimens that scientists have collected range in size from 44 mm (1.7 in) to 179 mm (7 in). The team published its findings online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on August 17, 2011.

photo by Jiro Sakaue

(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

astronomy-to-zoology
astronomy-to-zoology:

Genus: Macroxiphus
Macroxiphus is a genus of unusual katydids (Tettigoniidae) that are distributed throughout South East Asia and Micronesia. Members of Macroxiphus are unique in that their larvae are exceptional ant mimics, and use their mimicry to trick potential predators into thinking they are harmful ants. Macroxiphus spp. will lose this disguise as they move on into adulthood.
Classification
Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Orthoptera-Ensifera-Tettigoniidea-Tettigonioidea-Tettigoniidae-Macroxiphus
Image: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

astronomy-to-zoology:

Genus: Macroxiphus

Macroxiphus is a genus of unusual katydids (Tettigoniidae) that are distributed throughout South East Asia and Micronesia. Members of Macroxiphus are unique in that their larvae are exceptional ant mimics, and use their mimicry to trick potential predators into thinking they are harmful ants. Macroxiphus spp. will lose this disguise as they move on into adulthood.

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Orthoptera-Ensifera-Tettigoniidea-Tettigonioidea-Tettigoniidae-Macroxiphus

Image: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Fighting Weeds to Save Seabirds

Albatrosses are reclaiming nesting areas on Midway Atoll Refuge as a plant pest yields to assault by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

For the first time in years, choking mats of an invasive plant pest are receding from Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, opening critically needed nesting space for rare seabirds like the albatross. As cornstalk-high stands of Verbesina encelioides, or golden crownbeard, yield to an assault by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hope for the birds is rising.

More seabirds nest and more chicks survive in Midway’s native grass than in non-native Verbesina, finds the Service, which is conducting the Verbesina eradication with a $1 million National Wildlife Refuge System grant and matching funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Laysan and black-footed albatrosses nested at near-record levels in 2012-2013 at Midway Atoll in the Pacific, though biologists will need three or more years to know if the rise is due to Verbesina control. Another potentially promising sign: the January hatching of a short-tailed albatross chick, one of the world’s most endangered seabirds. The hatching was only the third in recorded history outside of three small islands near Japan; the earlier hatchings also occurred on Midway after plant control efforts began.

In addition to the three albatross species, the endangered Laysan duck and 18 other seabird species are expected to benefit from Verbesina’s removal…

(read more: USFWS - National Wildlife Refuge System)

Photos: Albatross in a verbesina-free area. (John Klavitter/USFWS). Next photos: Before and after.

reptilefacts

reptilefacts:

reptilesrevolution:

White Lined Gecko. (soon)

White lined geckos (Gekko vittatus) have several common names including lined gecko, sago gecko, and skunk gecko. This species can be found in Indonesia, New Guinea, Palau, and the Solomon Islands. They usually live 3 to 4 years, but 14-year-old individuals are known. [x]

Laysan Albatross Practicing Courtship - 02/25/2014

The afternoon for our Laysan albatross nestling started with a quick feed from the male parent Kaluakane. What happened afterwards was a surprise; two banded non-breeding albatross (K405 and K256) were caught on the cam practicing courtship in front of our nestling. An un-banded non-breeder also joins in the dance. This clip shows highlights from the courtship, the entire event continued for almost 30 minutes.

To watch the Laysan Albatross cam live visit:

http://allaboutbirds.org/albatrosscam

For regular updates see our Twitter feed:

http://twitter.com/AlbatrossCam

Tahiti Monarch conservation wins first BirdLife People’s Choice Award as new threats emerge
by Nick Askew
Results revealed today show that Manu (Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie: BirdLife in French Polynesia) has won a public vote to become the first BirdLife People’s Choice Award. However, celebrations were short-lived as new threats from invasive species and heavy rain threaten the last 10 breeding pairs in the world.
“Looking back at 2013, there are so many achievements to highlight from within the BirdLife Partnership”, said Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson - Interim Chief Executive of BirdLife International. “Congratulations to Manu for their work controlling invasive species in the Tahiti Monarch’s home range which enabled last year to be the best breeding season since they started their work sixteen years ago!”
Manu have been monitoring monarchs, controlling introduced predators such as rats and improving habitat for the Critically Endangered species since 1998. Manu’s award-winning work marries conservation education with cutting-edge science.  Children raise native trees in their school’s tree nursery, volunteers plant the trees, and ecologists worked with volunteers to combats introduced species…
(read more: Bird Life International)
photo: Manu

Tahiti Monarch conservation wins first BirdLife People’s Choice Award as new threats emerge

by Nick Askew

Results revealed today show that Manu (Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie: BirdLife in French Polynesia) has won a public vote to become the first BirdLife People’s Choice Award. However, celebrations were short-lived as new threats from invasive species and heavy rain threaten the last 10 breeding pairs in the world.

“Looking back at 2013, there are so many achievements to highlight from within the BirdLife Partnership”, said Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson - Interim Chief Executive of BirdLife International. “Congratulations to Manu for their work controlling invasive species in the Tahiti Monarch’s home range which enabled last year to be the best breeding season since they started their work sixteen years ago!”

Manu have been monitoring monarchs, controlling introduced predators such as rats and improving habitat for the Critically Endangered species since 1998. Manu’s award-winning work marries conservation education with cutting-edge science.  Children raise native trees in their school’s tree nursery, volunteers plant the trees, and ecologists worked with volunteers to combats introduced species…

(read more: Bird Life International)

photo: Manu