Browsing articles from "March, 2012"
Mar 31, 2012

Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus)

Did you know?

That is the only large flamingo species of flamingo with yellow legs? The close relative, James’ flamingo, has red legs, while in most other species are grayish pink.

The andean flamingo has a total length of 110 cm. The plumage is mainly white with a pinkish tinge, throat and chest veins often have pink covers pink wings are vermilion. The wing feathers are black and very visible, even when they have the wings folded. The large curved beak and is mostly black with a basal area of ​​ivory. The eyes are dark red-brown. It is the only flamingo with yellow legs and no hind toe. The sexes are very similar in appearance.

Mar 30, 2012

Guanaco (Lama guanicoe)

Did you know?

That the guanacos, like all camelids have a complex 3-compartment stomach?Although not considered ruminants remastican repeated and forage intake. In fact, they are more efficient at converting food to ruminants and the extraction of protein and energy from poor quality forages.

The guanacos are large ungulates with a head to body total length of 180-190 cm, a shoulder height of 100-120 cm and a weight of up to 140 kg. They have pointed ears, deeply cleft, very mobile lips, a slender neck and long legs with wide hooves and calluses on the inner sides of limbs. The coat is shaggy and longer on the flanks, chest and thighs. The beige color is dark brown above, the head is dark gray and the underside is white. The guanacos are diurnal and territorial. They are found in family groups of up to 25 individuals, consisting of the male and several females with their young, singles groups or solitary males. After a gestation period of 11 months, born to a single offspring is weaned at age 3-4 months and reach sexual maturity at 18 (females) to 24 (males) months. The guanacos are predominantly herbivores, their diet consists of, for example, in Tierra del Fuego, 90% of Festuca and Poa species, but also browses shrubs to some extent (18% in Mendoza).

Mar 29, 2012

Frigate Island Giant Beetle (Polposipus herculeanus)

Did you know?

That beetles and mealworms Frigates Giants can reach an age of more than seven years in human care? The average age seems to be 3 to 4 years.

Adult beetles are 2-3 cm long, dark brown/black, with long legs and large round abdomen with fused elytra elevated and tubers. They have no external sexual dimorphism. These species has defensive glands produce a substance secreted by the back of the beetle, which has a musky odor and stains the skin purple/brown, but does not cause any irritation. 

The beetles produce oblong yellow eggs measuring 1.1 x 2.2 mm. They have seven larval stages, the largest reached the 4-5cm, followed by a pupal stage and then emerge as an adult. The larvae have a body sub-cylindrical, yellow sand. Urogomphis have two large, curved up in the posterior segment of the abdomen. These beetles are arboreal and nocturnal, spending daylight hours hidden in the crevices of the trees, dropping down to feed at night. They remain clustered in the crevices and under bark during the day and hide in the trees and nodes in the bottom of the horizontal branches where they meet.

Mar 28, 2012

Common Sepia (Sepia officinalis)

Did you know?

That if the Common Sepia embryos are exposed to certain prey are certain to catch the prey preference later in life? The shell of the common cuttlefish called cuttlebone and used as a supplier of calcium and as a stone to rub on caged birds and reptiles? That currently 786 existing species of cephalopods are known to science and some more waiting to be discovered? That the common cuttlefish ink is the basis for the brown color of the painter called sepia.

Sepia is common to 65 cm long and weighs 4 kg, the animals in warmer seas are generally smaller. They have eight arms with four rows of suckers each and two longer tentacles to capture prey, which, however, retracts into the bags under the eyes if not used. They have an internal shell, dorsal, flattened, called cuttlebone, for flotation and stabilization. The body is flattened dorso-ventrally with a peripheral end seam. The latter, together with the siphon are the principal organs of locomotion. The back is stamped with stripes, but since the skin is full of chromatophores can be readily and clearly change their color and design. The two eyes are highly developed lenses and have a W-shaped pupil. They even have more photoreceptor cells than mammals and can see all colors except red, which is absorbed first into the water. During the day it is common to hide in the sandy soil, but leave at night to feed on a variety of seafood such as crustaceans (crabs and shrimps), fish and others. The larger prey with a paralyzing venom is injected after the bite with its jaws and extra-intestinally digested (in front of the mouth) with enzymes to suck. 

The common cuttlefish takes procession. In the spring, the male tries to impress the female with a set of selected colors. Transferring the spermatophores (packets of sperm) to the membrane of the mouth of the female is done quickly through the left ventral arm called Hectocotylus. Spawning occurs in shallow water, in doing so, the eggs are attached in groups of plants. The eggs take approximately 50 days to develop a function of temperature. The young are small copies of adult and not living in the plankton as those of some other cephalopods. Life is quite short and not exceed two years.     

Mar 27, 2012

River Boar (Potamochoerus porcus)

Did you know?

That the river boar involved demonstrations of different types of domain? During these fights, warts on the snout of the boar prevent any serious injury that could cause your teeth apart.

The river boar has a head to body length of 1 to 1.5 meters and has a shoulder height of 80 cm. The large adult males can weigh up to 100 kg. Its snout is elongated with two well-developed warts in older males. The body is short and flattened laterally. The West African subspecies has a shiny coat of reddish brown with a clear line cord that runs from neck to tail. The head has a clearly contrasted: mainly with a black mask with white areas around the eyes and long hair on the ears. 

The favorite habitat of the river boar are high forests, margins, and dense bush areas. They live in groups of 20 or more individuals dominated by a wild boar big head. Its main period of activity in nature is at dusk or at night when they go in search of food, digging with his snout. They walk quick and swim well when necessary. After a period of gestation averaged between 120 and 130 days, they give birth to three to six piglets. In zoos, wild river boars can reach an age of 12 to 15 years.


Mar 26, 2012

Brazilian Salmon Pink Tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana)

Did you know?

That the Brazilian Salmon Pink Tarantula is a popular specie kept as pets because of the growing hobby of having tarantulas? That tarantulas, despite its common name spider-birds do not feed birds or pigeons? This misconception arose because an old and misleading picture of Maria Sibylla Merian was a hummingbird sucking a tarantula.

The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula can reach evergadura between the legs of 20-25 cm, while the body is 9-10 cm long. Males have relatively longer pastas, but large females can weigh over 100 g. The uniform gray color is black. The body and pasta are covered with straight hairs, long, gray or salmon. The hairs on the abdomen of the males are more reddish. The body is divided into an anterior prosoma (cephalothorax) and opisthosoma posterior (abdomen), without visible segmentation. The first has eight eyes, two front claws chelicerae ventral directed backwards connected to venom glands, two pedipalps and eight walking legs, the latter has long spinners and two pairs of book lungs ventral type with slit openings. This tarantula is out of his lair more often than other tarantulas. 

Generally, rarely moves, but if it does, is very fast. To defend themselves, first shakes his stinging hairs of abdomen with his hind legs. These hairs can cause serious (allergic) reactions. If this does not work, hit with his front paws. This tarantula is vigorous and voracious. In nature, it is known that the species is known even by sovereign predar dangerous snakes. The prey is digested in front of the mouth through the digestive juices injected through the chelicerae. The liquid content of the dam is finally absorbed. Both sexes have their genital opening in front on the ventral abdomen. The male deposits a drop of sperm in a network built by the same with their pedipalps to transfer to the female’s genital opening. After mating, the female produces a cocoon with up to 1,200 eggs. The well-fed specimens grow rapidly and reach maturity in 2 (males) or 3 years (females).They can live up to 12-15 years and adults molt once a year, which lasts 10 hours, the spider extendidad on his back.     

Mar 25, 2012

Canadian Otter (Lontra canadensis)

Did you know?

That this animal is well adapted to the aquatic environment, because it has a thick layer of fat under the skin, a dense and greasy hair, a nose and ears that can close underwater and webbed feet? But they can also move well on land, reaching speeds of displacement of up to 29 km/h (18 miles / hour).

The Canadian Otter has a head-body length from 66 to 107 cm and a tail length of 31 to 46 cm. The weight is approximately 5 to 14 kg. Females are smaller than males. The color is very dark, dark brown above, underparts are lighter gray or silver. The skin is very thick and velvety. The feet are webbed, with strong claws. The social group is the family, consisting of a female and her offspring, while males can form groups of up to 17 individuals. They are polygamous. The gestation lasts 61-63 days and weaning occurs at 12 weeks.

Mar 24, 2012

Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus)


Did you know?

That sloth bears are the only bears that carry their young on their backs? In 1700, the first Europeans who saw sloth bears described them as sloths, because of its ungainly appearance and long claws. The Hindi word for bear “bhalu” inspired Rudyard Kipling character’s bear, Baloo, in The Jungle Book.

The sloth bear is a bear of medium size, with males larger than females. The length is 130-180 cm, shoulder height is 65-100 cm and weighs 55-145 kg. They have a long snout with protruding lips moving and a broad nose blackish brown that can be closed voluntarily. The eyes and teeth are small, the first upper incisor missing. It has tufts of hair on the ears. The coat is long (80-200 mm), thick and dense, typically black or blackish brown (sometimes cinnamon, or “red”), except the face and mouth where hair is short and dirty white, beige or brown . A white, yellow, or brown on the breast with a V-shaped mark is present. The hair is straight or wavy hair is longer on the neck and shoulders. The soles of the feet are bare. The claws are white, cream or light brown from time to time. Their claws are very long, strong, and curved.


Mar 23, 2012

Arapaima (Arapaima gigas)

Did you know?

That the Arapaima fish is one of the largest freshwater in the world? They can reach lengths of up to 3 meters and a weight of up to 200 kilograms.

The Arapaima can grow to a length of about 2 meters or more, with a weight of 90-130 kg. It has an elongated body, depressed head and a wide mouth. The lower jaw is prominent and has no barbels. They have more than 50 lateral line scales. The scales on the posterior half of the body to the caudal fin are more and more red-lined. The fins are rounded and without elongated rays. The Arapaima’s breathing regularly comes to the surface of the water for respiration (approximately every 10 minutes). 

In adults the back is colored black to steel-blue, the sides are silvery gray and the underside is yellowish gray. Spawning occurs in shallow lakes, especially during the months of October and November. The “incubation by mouth” seems to take place. The parent guards the eggs are known to carry them in your mouth and move to another location. The youth are led by the male in a group, once they are able to swim. 


Mar 22, 2012

Coral Cup (Turbinaria peltata)

Did you know?

That kind of brown algae is also called Turbinaria? That in the year 2005, 17,191 Coral Cups were exported mainly from Indonesia for the aquarium trade?

The Coral Cup coral polyps are quite small but can grow to over 1 meter. They have two main patterns: one is tall and slender cone, another cup being so kind. They can also be found in the form of leaflets ridges, plates, glasses, or rolls. Colors can be bright yellow, cream, gray, brown, blue and green. The base and the polyps are blue. Depending on the conditions under which it is exposed, it can grow horizontally or vertically. The Coral Cup is nocturnal and hides their polyps during the day in the skeleton. At night, it feeds on plankton. The age of first maturity of most coral is usually three to eight years. This species is particularly susceptible to fading, which is caused by the temperature increase with climate change, diseases, and others. 

Mar 21, 2012

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Did you know?

That monarch butterflies are not captured by birds because they have bad taste? This is due to the toxic sap contained in the leaves eaten by the butterfly in its caterpillar stage. The caterpillars are immune to toxins that remain in their bodies, even after going through pupation and become butterflies.

Unlike most insects in temperate climates, Monarch butterflies can not survive a long cold winter. Instead, they spend the winter lodges in places. Populations in the west of the Rocky Mountains travel to small groves along the coast of California. Populations in the east of the Rocky Mountains fly south to the forests in the mountains of Mexico. The monarch migration is driven by seasonal changes. Day length and temperature changes affect the movement of this kind. The caterpillars only eat milkweed and nothing else. The larvae and adult butterflies retain poisonous glycosides from milkweed to be poisonous to predators. This is a very effective defense strategy, protecting them against almost all predators. Potential predators learn to avoid this kind quickly after trying to eat it.    


Mar 20, 2012

More than 2 million people suffer of water shortages at least one month per year

About 2.700 million people suffer from “water scarcity at least one month each year” due to increased population pressure and economic activities have on the resource, according to the NGO, The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

The analysis entitled, “Global Water Shortage monthly: traces of blue against blue water availability,” says many of the watershedsare in danger and there is a serious depletion of the liquid.

Measurements were made on the variability of water flows in 405 watersheds in the world between 1996 and 2005, and concluded that 201 of them “go through a severe shortage of water for at least one month of the year.”

“In places with several months of water shortage is likely to be serious competition for water in dry season and there will be economic impacts on agriculture, electricity and other industries,” he said in a statement Brian Richter, director of global freshwater program of TNC, one of six researchers behind the study.

The selected areas account for 69% of global water flows, 75% of global irrigated areas and 65% of the population of the planet.

In 223 of the 405 watersheds studied (55% of total) “water consumed exceeds the net water availability for at least one month a year” and in 35 of them inhabited by 483 million people, the liquid failed “to least six months.”

The lack of water basins

The most populous basin cyclic water deficit throughout the year is to Yonding He, in northern China, which supplies fluid to Beijing. This area covers 214.000 square kilometers. Their population has a density of 425 persons per km.

Other basins with water stress are the San Antonio River in Texas (USA) and Groot-Kei River in South Africa, both for eleven months, while in the Penner river in southern India and the Tarim In China, where there are nine months of famine.

Eight months of water stress is in the river Indus, from which 212 million people depend, and the Cauvery, both in India.

So long are the gaps in the Black Sea basin, which includes the Jordan River and covers several Middle Eastern countries, and the Salinas River, California (USA).

Status of the Rio Grande in Mexico

In the Rio Grande: “suffers severe water shortage for seven months” and on that channel, due to the high concentration of pollutants, there have been fish kills.

Furthermore, the high salinity levels have caused 32 fish species have been displaced in an area where economic losses from water shortages are charged 4,000 jobs per year and cost $135 million each year.

The experts recalled that 94% of the water impact of humanity is related to agriculture, for irrigation uses four times more land than cities.

However, cities use more water than the farmers on the basis of area occupied by the basins analyzed.

The future of water

In the future, “continued growth in water consumption due to increased population, changes in eating patterns (more meat intake) and the growing demand for biofuels, combined with the effects of climate change (…) it is likely that increased water shortages in many rivers and watersheds in the coming decades,” warns the text.

The study was sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF initials in English), TNC, the Water Footprint Network, National Geographic Society and the University of Twente and can be accessed at