Thursday, December 13, 2007

Miracles of Mauritius

A bird that couldn’t fly.

Scientists have found bits as a skeleton of one of the most famous of all extinct animals, the dodo. The dodo was a big bird, that couldn’t fly. It died out more than 300 years ago. Scientists say that the fat clumsy dodo was hunted to extinction by people. They also think, that the bird didn’t do much to help itself survive. The dodo was known to be slow-moving and not afraid of people, hunted it. Even the bird’s name, dodo, comes from the Portuguese, word for “fool”.

Gerald Durrell, the famous writer and zoologist, thought that the dodo died out because of human’s irresponsibility. The dodo lived in a Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean. There weren’t predators in the island, so the dodo and many other birds didn’t know what is danger. Their nests were not on the trees but on the ground. People brought dogs, cats, rats, pigs, monkeys in the island. They have suppressed the inhabitants of this little world, and people were the most dangerous predator. They hadn’t thought about salvation of the rare animals.
But now zoologists have taken care of different rare animals and birds of Mauritius. One of them is
the pink pigeon, dawn-color bird

The pink pigeon is inhabitant of Mauritius. They live in the dense forests of island and have sonorous voice. Pink pigeons usually sing their songs in the evening. These charming birds don’t afraid of people. So they also had suffering because of people and especially because of monkeys, which ruined their nests. Roughly 50 years ago they were only 33 birds on the island. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was the first who helped pink pigeons to survive.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Some animals can do much better than the famous sportsmen!
Sea snakes can dive 100 meters deep and stay under the water for up to 5 hours. Some sea snakes can swim at the rate of 1 meter per second.

Incredibly, the sailfish can swim faster than a cheetah can run. Its top speed is 109 km an hour.

Squirrel monkeys sometimes leap straight into the air from the tree tops to catch insects. Sometimes these leaps are up to 60 meters.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Two-headed snake

This wonderful snake have two heads. One day one ten-year-old American boy from Kentucky tried to pick up a snake with a stick and then noticed, that it is two-headed! Imagine how surprised he was when the snake grabbed the stick with both heads!

Two-headed snakes are not as rare as you might think. They have been found in the Unated States, Argentina, Honduras, Sri Lanka and Spain.

Gordon Burdhardt, zoologist at the university of Tennessee, has studied several two-headed snakes. And every time the heads were so independent they even fought for food.
Sometimes the heads become so aggressive they can even try to eat each other!

Two-headed snakes also have a great deal of difficultly deciding which direction to do. That’s probably because one head wants to turn left and the other one wants to turn right.
A lack of understanding between two heads can lead to even greater difficulties: a predator would quickly swallow the hesitant snake.
“So their chances of surviving in the wild are nil”, – says Burdhardt. “They can be easily attacked by predators. Two heads are NOT always better than one”.
Even in captivity, there are problems. Food should be given to one head first and a moment later to the other one. If both months are busy chewing, they won’t attack each other.
On the whole, though, they can do quite well in captivity, says Burdhardt.

Thelma and Louise, a two-headed boa constrictor was born in Ney0York. Experts don’t know why she was born this way. Indy the snake has 26 brothers and sisters but because she’s one of the kind, she could one day be sold for about $500,000 to a zoo or a collector.
Right now Indy’s second head can’t eat, drink or breathe but it flicks its tongue and looks around.

The two-headed monsters of myth may have a basis in reality!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Parrot fish, lionfish and clown fish

The blue parrot fish, as the name suggest, has beaklike jaws. When young, these fish are light blue. They turn darker blue as they get older.

The lionfish is one of the most unusual creatures on the reef. Its spines are very poisonous and can be dangerous even to humans. The lionfish uses its spines to defend itself, not to attack.
On of the biggest dangers to the Great Barrier Reef are the thorny starfish which multiply in huge numbers and crunch their way through the living corals. Few creatures will eat them as they are quite poisonous.

The clown fish lives among the tentacles of large sea anemones. This brightly colored fish is immune to the anemone’s stinging tentacles. It helps to attract other fish that the anemone catches and eats. So the clown fish is in safety and isn’t hungry.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great Barrier Reef, or The magic underwater world

Hello! Today post is not about animals, but about very interesting thing - barrier reef :P

The Australian Great Barrier Reef is a largest coral reef in the world. It’s 2000 km. long and can be seen from space! Just take a look at this natural wonder!

Corals make wonderful shapes. Some look like trees, others look like flowers. There are more than 400 types of coral in the Great Barrier Reef. Corals are tiny animals that live only in warm seas. They need warmth and bright sunlight all the year round. When many corals grow in the same place they make a coral reef.

The edge of the reef facing the ocean often forms a steep cliff. There are more then 1.500
specials of fish and 4000 types of mollusk in the Great Barrier Reef.
They are all the colors of the rainbow.
In spite of its colorful markings, this angelfish can be hard to see among the bright colors.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jellyfish: slippery and wonderful

After some days of inactive the blog comes back :) I hope that new post will be published daily.
New post is about Jellyfish.

Jellyfish have been around for 650 million years. They were here before dinosaurs and sharks! Scientists think there may be 2000 species of jellyfish. They come in all sorts of color: from pale pink or blue to bright orange-red or screaming yellow.
JellyfishSome jellyfish are transparent. Jellies also range in size from about two and a half centimeters to more than two meters long. Jellyfish are more than 95 % water and have no heart, bones, or brain, and no real eyes.
Where there’s water – from icy polar seas to tropical Pacific shores – there are jellyfish.

JellyfishSome of them live in fresh water. All jellyfish sting, but not all jellyfish have poison, that hurts humans. Of the 2000 species of jellyfish only about 70 seriously harm or occasionally kill people.
The most dangerous jellyfish are:
  • - Australian box jellyfish;
  • - Lion’s mane;
  • - Portuguese man-of-war;
  • - Sea Nettle.The
Australian box jellyfish, or sea wasp, is the most dangerous jellyfish in the world. It can kill you within minutes. If it stings you, you can become paralyzed and then drown.
JellyfishA large box jellyfish has enough venom to kill 60 people. Many beaches in Australia have kits with special anti-venom in case it happens to swimmers.
A soup of driver tentacles was once used in a murder attempt – it wasn’t successful.
The Portuguese man-of-war is world-famous for its extremely painful sting. In fact, it is not a true jellyfish, but rather a collection of separate organisms each with a special job to do, working as a unit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The fisherman has caught the monster which has died out 80 million years ago - SENSATION from Indonesia

Some news from Indonesia: :)

Indonesian fisherman has luck: he caught the ancient alive fossil fish. Its length was 1,3 meters and weight was 50kg. Justinus Laama was fishing on the Sulawesi Island, when he caught a Coelacanth into his fishing net. Coelacanth is a fish from Crossopterygii group, extinct in the Cretaceous period.

"That monster have foots and green phosphor eyes", - Justinus told.
Laama sailed to the port and released Coelacanth to pond, which is owned by fish restaurant. Here the fish lives for 17 hours. After this, fish was caught again and, then, has been freeze.

Coelacanth was widespread fishes allover the world in Devonian period - more than 360 millions years ago. That huge, meaty fished, covered by bluish thick scales, with paired find and third-blades tail. They eat other fish by catching the victim with small teeth and entirely swallow it.


As was considered earlier, that kind of fishes has disappeared from the person of the Earth 80 million years ago.
In 1938 on east coast of South Africa, the Coelacanth was caught for the first time.

For the last some years in Tanzania, almost 30 Coelacanth fishes was caught in nets. One fish has been caught a couple of weeks back.
Experts explain it to those that due to impoverishment of resources on Shoaliness fishermen are compelled to throw networks to the greater depth, where ancient fishes are living.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Yellow crazy ants - Australian nightmare

"This tiny ant will destroy our culture, our ground, our life so we should kill it right now" sad the Australian ranger from the Christmas Island. For killing that yellow mad ants, helicopters rise to the sky.

So, why that ants is so dangerous?
yellow crazy ant

Crazy, and also mad (Yellow Crazy Ants), these ants have been named for feverish behavior and chaotic movements.
On scientific classification, a name of those ants is "Anoplolepis gracilipes".
This yellow long-lagged small insect, according to the "Database of the most dangerous aggressors on a global scale" (Global Invasive Species Database), is the one of the most aggressive species on a planet and included into the "100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species".

Entomologists consider, that the native land of these insects is the Western Africa, India or China. They spread all over the world with help of human being. Development of trade assists to the invasion of the ants because these aggressors can travel practically in everything: in ground, wood, packing materials, in coconuts, coffee, cocoa, and on any vehicles - cars, ships, planes.

yellow crazy ants yellow crazy ants

They eat everything that saw. Though the ant also is considered as "a predator cleaning garbage", it does not prevent to hunt on
spiders, crabs, birds, mammals and reptiles. In addition to this "foodstuff" rich with fibes, the wrecker receives carbohydrates and amino acids from plants.

One of the vivid examples of ant's destructive abilities is an attack to Christmas Island in Indian Ocean.
Here yellow mad ants, since 1989, have created supercolonies and have killed 15-20 million red crabs - 30% of all population.
It has led to the serious changes in ecosystem of the island and has threatened weight of rare and dying out kinds.

The same occurs now on peninsula Arnhemland(Arnhem Land) where the wrecker has invade, apparently, during the Second World war.
American vessels often plied between Australia and islands, occupied by the mad ants, in the south of Pacific Ocean.

yellow crazy ants

For today invaders have grasped 25 thousand square kilometers of the ground, severely competing with "spineless" residents or killing them. The density in the ant’s supercolonies is surprising - its reaches 1 thousand insects on square meter or 79 million on hectare of a bush.

By the way, ant hills of yellow mad ants named supercolonies knowingly: 300 queens and 2,5-36 thousands ant-workers can live lumpsum just in one "jack"!
yellow crazy ants

The periods of duplication can alternate during the year, but in most cases the posterity is born to the beginning of a damp season.

Eggs appear in 18-20 days after pairing and larvas of the workers demands approximately 20 days, and queen-larvas - 30-40 days. Ants live 76-84 days.

yellow crazy ants
Ant queen

However we shall return to the north of Australia, where billions yellow mad ants will be poisoned by ecologists from state organization, named CSIRO (Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) for the sake of rescue other inhabitants of peninsula.

It is necessary to note that to destroy Anoplolepis gracilipes is necessary not only for the sake of native ants, being on the decline and rare kinds of butterflies(Euploea alcathoe enastri).

Large animals, like a kangaroo and opossums also should struggle for a survival, because of an aggressor.

People can suffer too: local residents already speak about reduction of stocks of food, as tastes of aggressors and natives sometimes coincide, for example, if it is berries.

yellow crazy ants

By then way, we have not explained, how yellow mad ants could kill so much crabs.

The matter is that they inject an ant acid into eyes of the victims, blinding them, and, that, dooming on starvation. Then predators snatch on a defenseless essence and devour it.

yellow crazy ants
Crab, killed by ants

In general, CSIRO plans to fight with ants, dumping granules of specially created poison to the colonies from helicopters.
Granules are balls under name "Presto", containing a fish flour which ants, like as, love, and other animals cannot suffer.
It mixed with a Fipronul in small concentration for the ant has had time before death, to drag bait in a colony and to poison all in the being.

On Christmas island, poison has proved perfectly, therefore people in CSIRO hopes to destroy up to 75% of yellow ants within the nearest year and, then, completely to exterminate aggressors.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A tiny scorpion - pseudoscorpion

That post is about funny insect - pseudoscorpion.

Pseudoscorpion (false scorpion), common name for any of a group of small arachnids that look like little scorpions but have no scorpion's long tail and sting. You can meet Pseudoscorpions in leaf litter and soil, under rocks, and on intertidal algae. Some are phoretic-that is, they "travel" on other insects, such as beetles and flies. Some pseudoscorpion species live together with other arthropods, such as large beetles or ants. ~2000 species of pseudoscorpions are known.

pseudoscorpion insect blind pseudoscorpion tooth cave pseudoscorpion
the pseudoscorpion

The abdomen is elliptic with wide junction with the rectangular carapace, the shell-like covering of the head and top part of the body. The chelicerae, or grasping pincers, are little and are equipped with structures for cleaning the mouthparts. The pedipalps, smaller, pincerlike appendages, have poison glands opening at the tips. On some parts of the body are numerous trichobothria, or sensory hairs, which can sense small air currents. Pseudoscorpions move slowly, holding their pedipalps in front of them. They feed on small arthropods, which they subdue with poison and then tear apart with the chelicerae. Pseudoscorpion respiration occurs through 2 pairs of spiracles, or openings to the outside, leading to a tracheal system, branching tubes that bring air to the system. The third pair of walking legs has excretory glands near the coxae, or base segments. Pseudoscorpions are from one to several millimeters long (0,04 to 0,25 in).
insects insects
The sexes are similar in appearance. They display a number of complex mating rituals. In some species, the male deposits a spermatophore, or sperm bundle, in the shape of a stalk on the ground. The female is attracted to the stalk chemically, or she may follow a strand of silk laid down by the male. She then positions herself over the spermatophore and takes it into her genital opening. In other species, the male may guide the female to the spermatophore and then position her over it by grasping her pedipalps. He then pushes against her to aid in the uptake of the sperm. The female produces eggs after successful sperm transfer. The eggs are held in a membranous sac attached to the female, and she gives them nourishment from her ovaries. The young emerge from the sac after shedding their skin, or molting, twice and undergo two more molts before becoming adults, which may take up to a year. From two to 50 young may be hatched per brood cycle. Pseudoscorpions live 2 to 5 years.
insects photo

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Photos of sea monsters

Today i find some photos of water creatures. Hope you will enjoy this. Sometimes its really incredibly :)

1. Chimaeras. Shark-ghost or Rabbitfish. Poisonous thorns on fins.
Chimaeras Chimaeras

2. Viperfish. Viper. All is clear: canines and a jaw.
Viperfish Viperfish

3. Pelican eel. Grig.

The squid found in a stomach.

5. Colossal Squid. The giant. Ktulhu fhtagn!

6. –ěcean sunfish. Moonfish. Mola mola. Reaches at length of 3 m and weights of 1410 kg. Capture of a supergiant in length of 5,5 m is fixed.

7. Stargazers. Poison, canines, electroshock. A hypnotizing sight.

8. Grenadiers (rattails). The grenadier. A rat tail.

Male sounds similar to drumbeat to involve female.

9. Oarfish. Oar. A greater fish, 11 meters.

10. Megamouth shark. Deep-water.

11. Fangtooths. Canines.

12. Firefly squid. A glowworm. Scientists approve, that it is only one of cephalopoda,
which have color sight.

13. Handfish. A small fish with handles. It is covered by poisonous thorns, walks on a bottom.

14. Coffin fish. A coffin. The dangerous ugly creature. In case of danger, swallows of water and it is inflated so, that it cannot be swallowed.

15. Dragonfish. The Way of life is precisely unknown.

16. Blobfish. A droplet.The air bubble does not work for it, develops gel which density is less, than at water. By means of this magic gel rises and falls. Muscles a weak, therefore simply swallow all alive on the way.

17. Sea cucumber. Breathes through the priest, receiving oxygen from sea water

18. Lizardfish. Lizard.

19. Not clear draw.