Crinoid Shrimp (Periclimenes sp.)
As their name suggests, crinoid shrimp are found on the feathery arms of crinoid feather stars. Amazingly, the patterns and colours of the shrimp always resemble that of their host.
Klaus Stiefel on Flickr
Here’s a great American Guide Week dispatch on the amazing Mojave desert.
FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!
Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise
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Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
What’s kinda like a cross between a hermit crab and a beaver, but it’s a moth larva? A Bagworm!
Larvae of moths in the family Psychidae build spiral-patterned cases out of environmental materials such as twigs, leaves, and silk. The Australian on the right, Metura elongatus, uses silk, with bits of leaf. This animal is in an earlier stage, still motile and feeding. The animal on the left, from the Czech Republic, is Megalophanes viciella; this individual is at a later stage, when it is finished growing and feeding. It has anchored its somewhat woodier case, sealed the opening, and begun metamorphosis.
Read more: Encyclopedia of Life
Photographs: left- František ŠARŽÍK via BioLib.cz; right- Donald Hobern via flickr
Threatened Listing Proposal Not Enough to Conserve Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Aggressive Habitat Protection, Ending Threats from Tower Collisions and PesticidesUrgently Needed
ABC MEDIA RELEASE
American Bird Conservancy (ABC), one of the nation’s leading bird conservation groups, says that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposal to list the western population of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act falls short of providing the necessary protections for the imperiled bird species whose numbers have plummeted in recent decades.
The ABC assertions are contained in a December 2 letter to FWS available here.
"The draft rule only proposes to list the species as threatened rather than as endangered, and doesn’t address the threats or propose more effective conservation measures such as removing cattle from riparian areas and restricting the use of pesticides in adjacent agricultural areas,” said Steve Holmer, senior policy advisor with American Bird Conservancy.
"Federal agencies must address water diversion and grazing policies that are disastrous to the cuckoo. They need to reverse direction, stop the degradation, and develop a plan to restore riparian areas and regrow lost Yellow-billed Cuckoo habitat," Holmer added.
In the United States, only 350 to 495 pairs of the bird exist, with a similar number found in Mexico. The birds are isolated in small patches of increasingly degraded riparian forest habitat…
(read more: American Bird Conservancy)
photo: Alfred Yan
Whose Line Is It Anyway Sideways Scenes so far
First Example of Tool Use in Reptiles
As predators go, there are lots of reasons to respect alligators and crocodiles. They hide patiently for hours, then launch a sudden attack with the strongest bite on the planet. Now, add cleverness to the list. In what appears to be the first example of tool use among reptiles, researchers have discovered that both animals use twigs and sticks to attract nest-building birds. In 2007, behavioral ecologist Vladimir Dinets noticed that mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) at a zoo in India would balance small sticks on their snouts near a rookery where egrets compete for sticks to build their nests. Once, one of the crocs lunged at an egret that approached. Intrigued, Dinets studied alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) at four sites in Louisiana. The alligators put sticks on their snouts (upper photo) much more frequently near egret rookeries and during the nest-building season, he and colleagues report online in Ethology Ecology & Evolution. Although Dinets, now at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, observed only one attack over a year, two co-authors who have worked for 13 years at a wildlife park in Florida have seen multiple attacks (lower photo) after alligators lured birds with sticks. “It does not surprise me at all,” says J. Whitfield Gibbons, a retired herpetologist, speaking on his cell phone from a swamp near his cabin in Aiken, South Carolina. “Alligators are amazing creatures.”
| images: Vladimir Dinets, Don Specht
While we can’t say for certain that this frog and beetle are friends, we’re still filing it in the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship because it looks as though they’re in the middle of a great and noble quest. Even Nicolas Reusens Boden, the Swedish photographer who took it, entitled his awesome photo The Knight and His Steed.
Nicolas had this to say about his remarkable photo:
"Although controlled, this shot was not prepared at all, I was performing a workshop with the Agalychnis callidryas treefrog from Costa Rica when the frog managed to jump to the branch where this huge titan was sleeping…I had my gear ready so I only had to change a few settings and shoot…the rest is history.”
This photo is one of over 100,000 photos submitted to the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, which is open to students, amateur photographers and professionals alike. Visit the World Photography Organisation website to view more.
[via My Modern Metropolis]