28 Pied Bat on Fri May 09, 2014 10:04 pm
We're looking at Niumbaha superba, the Pied Bat. First discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1939, barely anyone in whole world has seen it since. Until now. It's an international celebrity, now
Veteran bat botherer DeeAnn Reeder from Bucknell University is a frequent visitor to South Sudan; she's been going over there with her bat nets and massive, bat-handling gloves since before South Sudan was South Sudan. Since South Sudan became independent in 2011, that's at least a few years. AT LEAST!
She knew she was onto something when she caught this unusual bat with its evidently peculiar and striking black and white patterns. Very much unlike most bats. Quite different. Obviously.
However, DeeAnn Reeder is a professional, so she did a bunch of science by looking at the bat really, really carefully and consulting the scientifical literatum for mention of flying badgers.
It turned out that her leathery mittens contained just the fifth reported sighting of a bat known as Glauconycteris superba, a member of the genus Glauconycteris, also known as butterfly bats. But DeeAnn Reeder knows her butterfly bats, and after looking really, really carefully she knew... this is no butterfly bat!
"Look at that curvy targus!", she howled.
"Look at that zygomatic breadth!", she bellowed.
"And don't even talk about the ratio between the lengths of the 2nd phalanx of the 3rd digit and the 1st phalanx of the 3rd digit!", she demanded.
Thus, a whole new genus was born: Niumbaha, named after the local Zande word for "rare".
29 Re: There is no greater artist than the Creator on Wed May 14, 2014 4:28 pm
A very cool species of Crocodile Newt has been discovered living in northern Vietnam. It was reported back in March by the Herpetology journal that a specimen found tucked away in Tokyo’s National Museum of Nature and Science.
“I was asked by a curator to identify [the new species] and temporarily identified it as Tylototriton vietnamensis (the Vietnamese crocodile newt). However, the morphology was different from the original description of the Vietnamese crocodile newt,” Kanto Nishikawa with Kyoto University stated.
“Because I have never seen the Vietnamese crocodile newt I could not confirm the specimens in Tokyo are undescribed species. In 2012, I had a chance to visit Vietnam and discussed [the specimen] with co-author, Tao Thien Nguyen, and made a conclusion on its taxonomic status, as new species.”
The species was named Ziegler’s crocodile newt (Tylototriton ziegleri) after Thomas Ziegler of Cologne Zoo who works with reptiles and amphibians in Vietnam. The new species is small, with males measuring 5.4 to 6.8 (2 to 2.6 inches) centimeters and females measuring 7.1 centimeters (2.7 inches).
It almost looks as if the crocodile newt was formed in a volcano somewhere, as its rough skin looks just like hardened magma to me. It’s pretty cool that it’s highlighted with bright orange, too (fresh magma?!). With the tips of its fingers sporting the vibrant hue, too, it looks like its got a rockin’ mani-pedi going on. What a cool new species!
The Reticulated Hillstream Loach (Sewellia lineolat) is an incredible creature that resembles an underwater butterfly. Like other loaches, it’s found in the fast-moving currents of streams where it grips tightly to rocks using its modified pectoral fins. Tiny spines line the underside of each fin ray which improves the fish’s “stickability.” < not a scientific term. These ‘butterfly fish’ also use their fins to glide through the current for short distances.
The underside of the hillstream loach is practically transparent – giving us a window into the fish’s internal workings. It’s important to note that this fish can be kept in aquariums, if proper setup and care is provided. However, I would highly recommend NOT purchasing a reticulated hillstream loach if you happen upon one. These fish are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN’s list of threatened species. A population decrease of 30% has been documented within the last ten years alone. This is mainly due to overfishing and habitat destruction. My point here is that unless you know your fish was bred in captivity with 100% certainty… it’s not worth fueling the fire of the aquarium pet trade. I’d much rather admire these gorgeous fish in the wild than in someone’s house, wouldn’t you?
If you’re like me you’ve probably thought to yourself at one point or another, “Why can’t animals stay babies forever? They are so much cuter that way!” Now typically when I think this, I’m referring to puppies or kittens. But it looks like my wish has now come true! (sorta).
The Red-eyed Crocodile Skink is like a miniature version of a crocodile, except that it has a beautiful red patch surrounding both of its eyes – which I think is a bonus. They even behave much like crocodiles, preferring to live by water in swampy areas. The Red-eyed Crocodile Skink is one of the only reptiles that will vocalize when in distress. Aww..
I list them as Vulnerable because I found one website that said that but one site usually isn’t very reliable, and I do know that they are sold as pets to experienced reptile keepers. Let me know in the comments if you have any idea what its conservation status is!
You really never know what you’re going to find when you enter the ocean’s depths. This incredible creature was discovered during a 2007 Census of Marine Life expedition which aimed to discover more of the world’s sea creatures. Little did they know that they would dredge up this tiny monster-clawed creature.
They named it Ausubel’s Mighty Claws Lobster and its scientific name, Dinochelus ausubeli, appropriately means “terrible claw.” The lobster was discovered about 300 meters (984 feet) deep but oddly enough it had rather well-developed eyes. Maybe it wants to be able to see exactly how it terrifies the bajeezes out of other sea creatures it encounters. Although, at only 3cm in length, its toothed claws might be the only intimidating thing going for this guy.
Endemic to the Montagne d’Ambre National Park near the northern tip of Madagascar Furcifer timoni. It was only just recently discovered back in 2009 by researchers Glaw, Köhler and Vences. It is only one of 11 new species of chameleon described since 1999.
Both males and females are bright green with blue spots and have an orange-yellowish underside but females can be identified (other than by lifting up their skirts!!… hah… Jurassic Park joke…) by the vivid red patch of skin dotted with blue spots on their heads:
Males, on the other hand, are distinguished from the lack of red but still have those pretty spots, though these are more purple than blue:
Furcifer timoni‘s range extends to 385 square kilometers (149 square miles) at a height of between 750 and 900 meters (2,460 and 3,000 feet) above sea level. What an incredible scaly discovery!
30 Re: There is no greater artist than the Creator on Wed May 14, 2014 4:51 pm
So I know a lot of people have a fear of bats and I can see where that can come from, since the bats that you typically think of probably aren’t the most attractive or friendly. But if you don’t think this little bat is cute then I’m sorry there’s really something much more serious wrong with you.At just 37-47 mm long, this teeny-tiny bat reminds me of those marshmallows you put in your hot cocoa.
These little marshmallows are quite the craftsmen which is why their other name is the Honduran White Tent Bat. They cut the side veins of the Heliconia plant, causing them to fold down and form a large “tent.” They cling to the roof of the tent in small colonies (usually around a dozen) with one male and several females.
This bat really had a “camping theme” going on. Tents. Marshmallows. What a cute animal!
Now I want to go camping in hopes to find them!
This odd creature is called the Elephant Trunk Snake (Acrochordus arafurae) – and for very good reason! It really does look just like an elephant’s truck; you know, except for the fact that it’s a got a forked tongue and lives underwater (among other things). It’s a primitive, non-venemous aquatic snake species and there are 3 recognized species within the Acrochordidae family.
It’s thick, baggy skin looks like it’s almost too big for the snake itself. Females grow larger than males and the maximum size of an individual can reach 8.25 ft (2.5 m) in length! If you notice (click the photo above to enlarge), the snake has a very interesting texture to it, too. Rather than overlapping one another as regular scales would, these are almost like tiny pyramidal projections with sharp points that aid the snake in catching its food.
Elephant Trunk Snakes are ambush predators, meaning they will lie in wait until something delicious swims within its reach. When it finds a fish suitable for a meal, the snake will wrap its body around it very tightly, using the scales to act like grips which dig into the fish’s skin. Even the squirmiest, slipperiest of fish (even those covered in a protective mucous coating) can’t escape from that!
Habitat: Arctic and circumboreal. In northern Europe known from Öresund, Skagerrak, western Norway, Helgoland, Shetland and Wales
Status: Not Listed
This is one of those creatures that took my breath away the first time I saw it. And that usually doesn’t happen when I’m dealing with marine worms. Terrestrial worms, on the other hand, are another story…
This stunning thing is called a Yellow Dragon worm (Phyllodoce citrina) and I’m sure you can see why. This guy looks exactly like the mythological Chinese Dragon, albeit a much smaller version.
These marine worms are members of the class Polychaete which are defined by their segmented body that features a pair of bristle-covered fleshy outgrowths called parapodia on each segment. While it may look like an intimidating specimen, these Chinese dragon look-alikes only grow to about 10 cm (4 in) in length. Still, the resemblance to a golden dragon is uncanny:
31 Re: There is no greater artist than the Creator on Wed May 14, 2014 5:37 pm
Habitat: Northwest Pacific: northern Japan and Gulf of PoHai to Peter the Great Bay
Status: Not Evaluated
Would you take a look at the face on this guy? Truly only a mug that a mother could love… well, and me. But I’m just weird so don’t really take that into account. This is a Fringed Blenny (Chirolophis japonicus) that was expertly photographed by Alexander Semenov, a marine biologist who graduated from Lomonosov’s Moscow State University in the department of Zoology in 2007, he currently works at White Sea Biological Station (WSBS). You can check out more of his outstanding work here, here, and here.
This particular creature reminds me of an animal embodiment of Hemingway’s famous novel. Also with a hint of Gandalf the Great thrown in for good measure.
Habitat: deep sea; specimen has been collected in the Tropical Eastern Pacific
Status: Not Evaluated
This bizarre species of fish is known as Prince Axel’s Wonder Fish (Thaumatichthys axeli). They are found at extreme depths, with specimens being recorded at over 11,700 feet deep (in the abyssal zone)! Because of this, very little is known about the species. The only specimens caught were around19 inches in length, though no one really knows just how big these fish can get.
Like other species of anglerfish, Prince Axel’s Wonder Fish has a special distinctive forked light organ inside their mouth, which they use to lure prey. They also possess large, curved teeth that “fringe the upper jaw like a comb”.
The fish was first discovered during the Galathea expedition of 1950-1952. Anton Bruun described it as “unquestionably the strangest catch of the Galathea Expedition, and altogether one of the oddest creatures in the teeming variety of the fish world.”
The fish was given its name as a tribute to Prince Axel of Denmark. Because really, what better way to honor a prince than to name a freaky looking fish after him? I know I would be more than pleased. “Here ye, here ye! Cupcakes for all!”
Normally when you think of a lobster, a big red crustacean comes to mind (at least for me). I’d like to replace that image with this species of gorgeous squat lobster, Galathea pilosa. The intricate patterns and colors on this little guy are simply amazing. It’s got to be one of the most beautiful lobster species on the planet!
Habitat: Sydney Basin of New South Wales
Status: Not Evaluated
This cryptic creature is the Broad-tailed Gecko or Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko (Phyllurus platurus). It truly is a master of disguise – and deception. First of all, it will lay perfectly flat on the bark of a tree to camouflage itself when not hunting. With it’s big, leafy-looking tail, the gecko blends in perfectly. Its tail is used for extra fat storage and also as a useful defense mechanism. You see, when and if the lizard feels threatened, it has the ability to detach its tail to confuse predators. It will regenerate later on, though the color and details will be entirely different from the original body. Here’s a photo of a detached tail being used as a decoy:
Interesting, isn’t it? Southern Leaf-tailed Geckos grow up to 80mm in length, which isn’t that large as evidenced by the photo showing a coin in comparison. They are apparently pretty easy to keep as pets, too, so you may see them in your local reptile shop (if it’s cool enough to carry these weird guys!).
This hairy little beast is called (as it very well should be) a Hairy Crab (Pilumnus vespertilio). And this thing doesn’t look like it just stepped out of the hair dressers in Beverly Hills. Oh no, more like it had been stranded on a desert island without a good pair of clippers for a decade. Personally, I think it kind of looks like Chewbacca in crab form. But that’s just me.
Some people refer to them as the “teddy bear” of crabs since they do look so cute and fluffy when they fluff up in the water. When taken out, their hairs all stick to their carapace, making them look more like something the cat dragged in:
So what exactly do those hairs come in handy for? I mean, other than making it look perfectly fabulous in the billowing currents, the hairs trap sediments allowing the crab to blend perfectly with its surroundings. When ‘fluffed’ in the water, this also helps to break up the crab’s actual outline so that predators can’t really tell where the seaweed-like hair starts and the crab begins. They reach anywhere between 3-5cm in length.
I’d like to find one some day and cuddle the crustacean right out of it. tehe.
These caterpillars of the genus Arsenura are probably some of the weirdest caterpillars I’ve seen in a while (I know, I always say that… but I just keep topping myself!!). These caterpillars in the photos above are, I believe, different species from one another, though all of them are definitely within the genus Arsenura. They might even be instars of the same species… honestly, I have no idea.
I just know that they are really, really, weird-looking. I believe that the projections on the caterpillars are to mimic a fungal infection because, after all, what predator wants to eat a meal laden with a very unpalatable fungus? Come to think of it, it might even be mimicking a Ophiocordyceps fungi…you know, the type that turns ants into living, breathing zombies? Ya, if they’re mimicking fungus then they definitely are weird caterpillars alright. “Look Ma! I’m Fungi!”
32 Re: There is no greater artist than the Creator on Wed May 14, 2014 5:46 pm
The Commander Buttefly (Moduza procris)is your classic ugly duckling turned swan story. These handsome butterflies begin their lives as ugly, spikey, creepy crawlies. Technically, I guess, the caterpillars have an excuse as to why their lacking in appearance – the chestnut and dark brown spikes help to break up the caterpillar’s outline, preventing predators from easily picking it out.
No matter the reason, the caterpillars (I’m sure) certainly relish the day when they can bundle themselves on up into pupae and transform into their beautiful adult versions. I know I do…
34 Re: There is no greater artist than the Creator on Wed May 14, 2014 6:36 pm
37 Re: There is no greater artist than the Creator on Thu May 29, 2014 5:42 pm
The saw-snouted wax bug, a relative of the cicadas, has a toothy hollow projection on its face whose function is unknown
The extremely curved beak of the sicklebill hummingbird exclusively fits into certain curved flowers where it collects the nectar it feeds upon
38 Re: There is no greater artist than the Creator on Thu May 29, 2014 8:42 pm
This strange-looking insect which resembles a fuzzy-headed Troll doll toy has got scientists scratching their heads.
The 7mm-long creature has hair-like feelers sticking out of its rear and orange dots on its body.
It was discovered by a team of US-led researchers in the South American rainforest.
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