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5 Notes

Woodland Walks

Now really is the best time to be visiting your local woodland…

Beautiful carpets of violet blue bluebells and burst of white as Wood Anemone and Greater Stitchwort come into flower.

Or perhaps your woodland is filled with the aroma of Wild Garlic…

So get exploring your nearest woods now before this spectacle disappears for another year…

1 Notes

Butterfly of the Wood - by J-Barnes

Butterfly of the Wood - by J-Barnes

232 Notes

rhamphotheca:

What’s that growing in your fur? Sloth fur is a messy business. Their long, coarse hairs, riddled with deep grooves or cracks, provide a place to live for a wide variety of organisms ranging from algae, fungi, ciliates, and nematode roundworms to cockroaches, moths, and beetles. Sloth fur often shows a greenish tint which is due to symbiotic green algae. This discoloration is thought to provide camouflage for the sloths among the foliage of their arboreal habitat.Image by Steve Garvie via Flickr 

rhamphotheca:

What’s that growing in your fur?

Sloth fur is a messy business. Their long, coarse hairs, riddled with deep grooves or cracks, provide a place to live for a wide variety of organisms ranging from algae, fungi, ciliates, and nematode roundworms to cockroaches, moths, and beetles. Sloth fur often shows a greenish tint which is due to symbiotic green algae. This discoloration is thought to provide camouflage for the sloths among the foliage of their arboreal habitat.


Image by Steve Garvie via Flickr 

433 Notes

rhamphotheca:

Absurd Creature of the Week:  Emei mustache toad

This Toad Grows a Spiky Mustache and Stabs Rivals for the Ladies

by Matt Simon

This dapper little amphibian doesn’t just walk into the breeding season unarmed. For one chaotic month a year in China, males grow extremely sharp facial spikes, which they use to shank rivals for the choicest nesting sites.

Some 90 percent of all males end up injured. Victors win the right to mate. Losers shuffle away and seriously consider never growing a mustache again, because maybe it wasn’t a good idea in the first place and they were just curious how it would look, like that one time when I was in high school.

Their weapons are called, no joke, nuptial spines, and they’re made of keratin — the same stuff as your fingernails. The spines grow straight through the toad’s skin, and although they will at times pop off in combat, they’ll simply sprout once again, only to fall off at the end of the breeding season.

And if you think that mustache is handsome, wait until you hear about the toad’s other transformations. Its forearms will actually buff up considerably in the mating season, like a bro during a Jersey Shore summer. This, according to evolutionary biologist Cameron Hudson, likely aids both in combat and in amplexus: the amphibian sexy-time, in which strong forelimbs will help the male grasp the female…

(read more: Wired Science)

photographs by Cameron Hudson

871 Notes

Spider Tailed Horned Viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides)

This rare and understudied viper has adapted a different type of hunting strategy.  Unlike its cousins who use their tails as warning rattles, this small viper uses its strange looking tail as a caudal lure.  The growth on the end of its tail resembles a spider crawling about, and it twitches it in such a way that captures the attention of animals that prey on spiders such as small mammals and birds.  

Although this snake is extremely well adapted and special, specimens found for study are few and far between, so not much is known about its behavior, reproduction habits and lifestyle.  It was not described officially until 2007.  The first specimen found in 1968 was thought to have an abnormal growth on its tail.  Another was not collected until 2003.  Both were found in the deserts of Iran.

4 Notes

hampshirewildlife:

Mosaic on Flickr.

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans). These vary in colour although I’ve never seen one looking as vibrant as this before!

hampshirewildlife:

Mosaic on Flickr.

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans). These vary in colour although I’ve never seen one looking as vibrant as this before!

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The Incredible Puzzle Solving Abilities of Crows

From the BBC’s Inside the Animal Mind

2 Notes

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) 

Outside my house this morning, Coventry city centre, UK.

Awesome to see this juvenile take down an adult Woodpigeon equal its size. I took this with my phone, that’s how close I got!

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Outside my house this morning, Coventry city centre, UK.

Awesome to see this juvenile take down an adult Woodpigeon equal its size. I took this with my phone, that’s how close I got!

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Dolphins purposely 'getting high' on Pufferfish

Another excellent wildlife documentary by the BBC.
Dolphins - Spy in the pod.

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Conservation Course Update 3

I’ve finished it! I handed in the last bits of paperwork last week to complete my portfolio and it has now been sent off to the exam board to be marked.

My wildlife report went really well. I ended up writing 5000 words about the nature reserve I was surveying. I enjoyed every minute surveying and also writing the report as it threw up some unexpected results and I found researching fascinating again. The nature reserve produced some really positive wildlife sightings which I think is great for a small reserve situated on a hospital site. I recorded 27 species of birds, 16 species of butterflies and 9 species of Odonata on my survey days.

The wetland management module didn’t cover as much as I was expecting as it remained pretty much restricted to pulling Himalayan balsam and clearing rivers of blockages and litter. I’m not complaining though because I acquired a lot of new knowledge about health and safety and environmental issues I wasn’t aware of before. I also developed a lot of confidence with leading groups of volunteers, giving advice and safety talks which I think has been the most valuable experience this course has given me.

I’ve enjoyed doing the course despite all the paperwork which makes me even more certain I want a career in this sector. There’s still no job for me to apply for but when it does come I know I will have a better chance of getting it with this added experience Warwickshire Wildlife Trust was able to offer me.