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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Goose: Amazing migratory birds

  • The first bird domesticated by man was the goose.
  • The original and classic foie gras is made from goose liver.
  • Geese are entirely herbivorous, consuming plant material exclusively.
  • Migratory geese flight range 2 – 3 thousand miles.
  • Resident geese flight range: 100 –200 miles to find food, water, and safety.
  • Geese will find a new mate if mate dies or is killed.
  • The Geese eggs in a nest are called a "clutch", avegaring 5 per nest.
  • In the event the clutch is lost to a predator, the goose will lay a new clutch.
  • Baby geese are called "goslings".
  • Natural predators of geese are foxes, raccoons, owls and snapping turtles
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Superorder: Galloanserae
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anserinae
Tribe: Anserini

The most familiar and widespread goose in North America, the Canada Goose, can be found all across the continent, from the tundra in Canada to the Gulf Coast. Many populations are resident in urban and suburban areas, and often come into conflict with people. In appearance, a “resident” Canada goose is identical to a migrant. The only differences between a resident and migrant are that the resident breeds in the United States and does not migrate. The “acid test” to determine residency is the presence of nests and goslings in the contiguous United States during the spring breeding season. In the wild, the birds can eat nearly all plant species and parts, including aquatic, but especially enjoy grasses, clovers, sedges, grain, and berries.
Generally the term foie gras is used for goose liver, although it is also used to refer to duck liver. Goose liver is considered superior by most people.

Mother goose lays 1 egg approximately 1_ days apart until full clutch is obtained. Mother goose waits until all eggs are laid before she begins to sit on nest to incubate eggs. Incubation time: 28 – 30 days. Undeveloped eggs (still fluid) will sink or float vertically with the wider portion of the egg pointing down. All geese eggs in a single clutch hatch on approximately the same day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spiders: amazing hunters and nature balancer

  • The sex organ on a male spider is located at the end of one of its legs.
  • Male spiders are usually smaller than female spiders.
  • Most spiders are very nearsighted.
  • Webs get dirty and torn, so lots of spiders make a new one every day.
  • Spiders have as many as 8 eyes, but some spiders have only 6 eyes and several spiders have fewer or even none.
  • Fear of spiders is called Arachnophobia.
  • Most spiders have fangs, through which venom is ejected.
  • Spiders are invertebrates, which means they don't have backbones.
  • Spiders are not insects. Insects have three body parts and six legs.
  • Spiders have eight legs and two body parts, the abdomen and the thorax.
  • Spiders have silk spinning glands called spinnerets, at the tip of their abdomen.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae

Spiders are air-breathing chelicerate arthropods that have two body segments, eight legs, and no chewing mouth parts. About 40,000 species have been identified. In spiders' bodies the usual arthropod segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax and abdomen, joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel. These small creatures help plants reproduce by pollinating them. They also help recycle dead trees and animals back into the earth. They are also a vital source of food for birds, fish, and small mammals. Without invertebrates, like spiders and insects, many other living things would not survive.

The silk of a spider is mainly composed of a protein very similar to that used in insect silk. It is initially a liquid, and hardens not by exposure to air but as a result of being drawn out, which changes the internal structure of the protein. Most spiders have four pairs of eyes on the top-front area of the cephalothorax, arranged in patterns that vary from one family to another. The pair at the front are of the type called pigment-cup ocelli ("little eyes"), which in most arthropods are only capable of detecting the direction from which light is coming, using the shadow cast by the walls of the cup. However the main eyes at the front of spiders' heads are pigment-cup ocelli that are capable of forming images.

The largest spider is the South American tarantula, as big as a dinner plate and heavy as a stick of butter. The smallest is the Comb-footed spider, smaller than the head of a pin. The smallest, dwarf spiders of the subfamily Erigoninae, are less than 1 mm (about .05 inches) in body length. Cooked tarantula spiders are considered a delicacy in Cambodia, and by the Piaroa Indians of southern Venezuela – provided the highly irritant hairs, the spiders' main defense system, are removed first. Spider venoms may be a less polluting alternative to conventional pesticides as they are deadly to insects but the great majority are harmless to vertebrates. Australian funnel web spiders are a promising source as most of the world's insect pests have had no opportunity to develop any immunity to their venom, and funnel web spiders thrive in captivity and are easy to "milk". It may be possible to target specific pests by engineering genes for the production of spider toxins into viruses that infect species such as cotton bollworms. Possible medical uses for spider venoms are being investigated, for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia, Alzheimer's disease, strokes, and erectile dysfunction.

Arachnophobia is a specific phobia, an abnormal fear of spiders or anything reminiscent of spiders, such as webs or spider-like shapes. It may be an exaggerated form of an instinctive response that helped early humans to survive, or perhaps a cultural phenomenon that is most common in predominantly European societies.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Armadillos: Great body structure for medical research

  • The scientific name of the nine banded armadillo is Dasypus novemcinctus. Dasypus is from the Greek word for rabbit, novem is from the Latin word for nine and cinctus is from the Latin word for a band.
  • The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one."
  • Armadillos spend about 80% of their lives sleeping.
  • Armadillos are not blind, but they do have poor eyesight.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the nine-banded armadillo can not roll itself into a ball to escape predators!! Only one of the twenty-odd varieties of armadillos — the three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) — is able to roll up.
  • Nine-banded armadillos always give birth to four identical young — the only mammal known to do so.
  • Armadillos are used in leprosy research because their body temperatures are low enough for them to contract the most virulent form of the disease.
  • Armadillos like to swim, and they are very good at it.
  • Armadillo teeth have no enamel.
  • Like most insect eating mammals, armadillos have a very long, sticky tongue to slurp up bugs as quickly as possible.
  • Armadillos have a very low metabolic rate, which means they don’t produce much body heat.
  • One way that armadillos conserve energy is through reta mirabila (Latin for “miraculous net”) — a system of veins and arteries in their legs.
  • Baby armadillos have soft shells, like human fingernails.
  • In many parts of the world, including the United States, you might find armadillo meat on the menu.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Xenarthra
Order: Cingulata

Armadillos are small placental mammals, known for having a leathery armor shell. The other types are covered with too many bony plates to allow them to curl up. Other armadillos have to rely on their armored shells for defense while they scuttle away through thick, thorny brush or dig themselves a hole to hide in. They also do not have a very strong immune system, making them an ideal model for many types of medical research.

“Virgin births” Armadillos are a result of the female’s ability to delay implantation of the fertilized egg during times of stress. This reproductive tactic is one reason why the armadillos are so good at colonizing new areas (such as the United States). Armadillos have a strong dog paddle, and can even go quite a distance underwater, walking along the bottom of streams and ponds. They can hold their breath for four to six minutes at a time. When they need to cross larger bodies of water, they swim across. Because their heavy shell makes it hard for them to float, they gulp air into their intestines to make them more buoyant. The ability to cross streams and rivers has helped armadillos expand their home range. Armadillos also have very few teeth — just several peg-like molars. Since they primarily eat insects, they don’t have to do a lot of heavy chewing, making big, strong teeth a waste of energy to grow. They also are equipped with strong claws to tear open ant nests. Their cousins, the anteaters, have very similar tongues and claws.

Armadillos are not good at living in cold areas, because they can’t keep warm very well! Armadillos don’t have a lot of body fat, so they must forage for food on a daily basis. Just a few cold days in a row can be deadly to an armadillo. Despite this fact, armadillos are steadily moving north. Hot blood going out through arteries is cooled by cold blood coming in through veins, and vice versa. This means that not much heat actually goes out into the legs, keeping it in the body. This also means they will get frostbitten very easily, since they have no way to warm their extremities through blood flow. Marine mammals, like whales, use a similar net of veins and arteries to stop the loss of body heat through the fins.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Crickets: cute body structure

  • The ears of a cricket are located on the front legs, just below the knee.
  • While crickets have wings, the majority of them do not fly.
  • Spiders, some wasps, ground beetles, birds, small rodents and lizards are cricket predators.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Ensifera
Superfamily: Grylloidea
Family: Gryllidae

Crickets have long antennae and hind legs adapted for jumping; organs for hearing are located on their front legs. Solitary by day, crickets remain in crevices, under rocks, or in shallow burrows dug in the soil, emerging at night to feed on plants.
Crickets are omnivores and scavengers feeding on organic materials, as well as decaying plant material, fungi, and some seedling plants. Crickets also have been known to eat their own dead when there is no other source of food available. If left unchecked in houses, especially in large numbers, they will cause damage to clothing and other fabrics. They also have been known to feed on other insects, as in the smaller ones that live among ants.

Crickets do not rub their hind legs together to chirp. The left forewing of the male has a thick rib (a modified vein) which bears 50 to 300 ridges. The chirp (which only male crickets can do) is generated by raising their left forewing to a 45 degree angle and rubbing it against the upper hind edge of the right forewing, which has a thick scraper (Berenbaum 1995). This sound producing action is called "stridulation" and the song is species-specific. There are four types of cricket song: The calling song attracts females and repels other males, and is fairly loud. The courting song is used when a female cricket is near, and is a very quiet song. An aggressive song is triggered by chemoreceptors on the antennae that detect the near presence of another male cricket and a copulatory song is produced for a brief period after successful deposition of sperm on the female's eggs.

The Cricket wings are often too small to be of any use and lie useless across the back. Most get about by jumping from place to place, and through time, have developed legs
that are built for jumping at great heights when put in comparison to their size. Crickets vary in size from specie to specie, with most being in the range of ½” to 1”. One species that appears to clean up after ants in the ant’s own house is smaller than ¼’. The common house cricket is usually on the smaller end, most often not being much over the ½” range. As their name suggests, these are most commonly found around and inside houses.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chameleons: amazing tongue hunting animal

  • A chameleon’s tongue is twice the length of its body
  • The chameleon's tongue extends faster than the human eye can follow, at around 26 body lengths per second.
  • Chameleon's tongue hits the prey in about 30 thousandths of a second
  • Even a small chameleon is capable of eating a large locust or mantis
  • All chameleon species are able to change their skin color.
  • Chameleons are mostly oviparous, some being ovoviviparous.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Chamaeleonidae

More than 160 species of Chameleons are known, arranged in nine genera. The main distribution of Chameleons is in Africa and Madagascar, and other tropical regions, although some species are also found in parts of southern Europe, southern India and Sri Lanka. There are introduced, feral populations of veiled and Jackson's chameleons in Hawaii and isolated pockets of feral Jackson's chameleons have been reported in California and Florida. Chameleons inhabit all kinds of tropical and mountain rain forests, savannas and sometimes semi-deserts and steppes. They are mostly arboreal and are often found in trees or occasionally on smaller bushes. Some smaller species live on the ground under foliage.

The chameleon's tongue's tip is a bulbous ball of muscle, and as it hits its prey, it rapidly forms a small suction cup. Once the tongue sticks to the prey, it is drawn quickly back into the chameleon’s mouth, where the chameleon's strong jaws crush it. Chameleon's eyes are the most distinctive among the reptiles. The upper and lower eyelids are joined, with only a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through. The eyes can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously, giving them a full 360-degree arc of vision around their body. When prey is located, both eyes can be focused in the same direction, giving sharp stereoscopic vision and depth perception. They have very good eyesight for reptiles, letting them see small insects from a relatively great (5-10cm) distance.

Different chameleon species are able to change into different colors which can include pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown and yellow. Chameleons are naturally colored for their surroundings as a camouflage. Chameleons change their color in response to light exposure and ambient temperature, as well as to express their mood (not for camouflage, as is commonly believed). Emotions and attraction of a mate can induce the color changes seen in a chameleon. The color changes also play a part in communication.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sharks: made to hunt predators

  • Sharks have been around for about 400 million years - long before dinosaurs even existed.
  • Sharks apparently are the only animals that never get sick. They are immune to every type of disease including cancer.
  • Sharks have the most powerful jaws on the planet.
  • Sharks never run out of teeth. If one is lost, another spins forward from the rows and rows of backup teeth.
  • A shark may use over 20,000 teeth during its life.
  • A sharks skeleton is made of cartilage, allowing greater flexibility.
  • The most harmless sharks tend to be the largest, such as the Basking Shark, the Whale Shark and the Megamouth Shark.
  • Two-thirds of a Sharks brain is dedicated to the sense of smell.
  • Shark skin is made of denticles instead of ordinary fish scales.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Selachimorpha

Sharks (superorder Selachimorpha) are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. They respire with the use of five to seven gill slits. Sharks have a covering of dermal denticles that protect their skin from damage and parasites and improve fluid dynamics; they also have replaceable teeth. Sharks range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark, Etmopterus perryi, a deep sea species of only 17 centimeters (7 in) in length, to the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, the largest fish, which grows to a length of approximately 12 metres (39 ft) and which feeds only on plankton, squid, and small fish through filter feeding.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lobsters: Incredible animal body

  • It takes a lobster about seven years to grow to be one pound.
  • Lobster blood is a clear fluid. When the animal is boiled, the blood turns to an opaque whitish gel. It has no discernible flavor and is perfectly safe to eat.
  • Lobsters can regenerate legs, claws, and antennae.
  • Lobsters molt (shed their shells) to grow.
  • Lobster larva will molt about six times while still in the egg.
  • Lobsters exhibit 'handedness'. Some lobsters will have the crusher claw on the right side while others will have it on the left.
  • Lobsters may come in a variety of colors besides the usual blue-green, including blue, yellow, red, and white. ome even come in two colors, having half of their shell one color and the other half a totally different color. Of these only the white ones (true albinos) don't turn red when cooked.
  • The nervous system of a lobster is decentralized and has been likened to that of a grasshopper.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Astacidea
Family: Nephropidae

Lobsters are invertebrates, members of the Class Crustacea of the Phylum Arthropoda. This class includes animals without backbones and with hard shells like crab, shrimp, crayfish, water fleas and wood lice. A male lobster is called a cock and a female a hen or chicken (when she weighs about 1 pound). Lobsters are sexed by examining the first set of appendages behind the walkers. The male (gonopeds) are bony while the same appendages on the female are feathery. In both cases, you have to look closely because sometimes they are folded up tightly under the body. With a little practice, you can also tell by looking at the tail. On females the tail is relatively broad compared to the male's to accommodate the egg mass.

There are two kinds of lobsters, the "true" lobster (also called American lobster) and the spiny lobster. The true lobster has claws on the first four legs, lacking in the spiny lobster. The spiny lobster has a pair of horns above the eyes, lacking in the true lobster. Spiny lobsters also have two large cream-colored spots on the top of the second segment of the tail. Lobsters regenerate, in fact they can amputate their own claws and legs (autotomy) to escape danger. The term 'amputate' can be in the passive sense as well. I've seen a lobster spontaneously drop a claw for no apparent reason. The lobster's body has 19 parts, each covered by a section of the shell. The shell is thin and soft where the parts join, so lobsters can bend their body and move about. Lobsters breathe through gills located beneath the shell on both sides of their thorax (center part). Lobsters eyes are compound eyes, consisting of hundreds of lenses joined together on the ends of pair of jointed organs called stalks. The four small antennae on the front of their heads are used to "smell" their food or chemicals in the water. The tiny sensory hairs along their legs are used to "taste" their food. Lobsters keep their antennae and eye stalks moving constantly to search for food and to watch for enemies.

True lobsters have two very powerful claws. One claw is sharp and used for cutting, the other is bony and used for crushing. Lobsters that have their heavy ("crusher") claw on the right are considered "right-handed" and the others are "left-handed". Some lobsters are ambidextrous, they usually favor the claw that is the largest. Lobsters can lose claws, legs, eyes and antennae through accident or self-defense, but are able to regenerate them. Lobsters often fight with other lobsters for territory. If another lobster seizes their claw, they may drop their claw to escape. Sometimes, the more aggressive lobster will tear the claw of the opponent off. A lobster with a claw missing is called a cull It takes about 3 to 4 molt cycles for the claw to grow back to full size. Lobsters have a sophisticated nervous system that allows it to sense actions that will cause it harm and feel pain. Lobsters don't have an autonomic nervous system that puts it into a state of shock when it is harmed. For this reason, they will feel pain until their nervous system is completely destroyed. After they are released from the mother's swimmerettes and hatch, the larva will float freely in the water column and molt several more times before taking the form that we recognize as a lobster. At this point they may be only 1/4" in length.

Before they shed the old shell, they will form a thin one underneath. Growing lobsters secrete enzymes that soften the shell and connective shell joints. The shell spilts up the back and the creature backs out leaving it behind...including the membrane that covered the eyes. They will increase their size by about 20% at every molt. By the time a lobster is of legal size, it will have molted about 20-25 times, averaging 4-5 molts a year. After a molt the animal is vulnerable because the new shell is very soft. It will hide among the rocks on the bottom for 6-8 weeks until its shell hardens enough to offer some protection. They often eat their old shell which will replenish the lost calcium and speed up the hardening of the new shell. A young, immature lobster (first 5-7 years) will molt about 25 times a year. An adult male lobster molts twice a year and an adult female lobster once a year, usually in the summer. When lobsters get older, they will molt only once every 3-4 years. The only way to gauge the exact age of a lobster would be by their shell. However, since lobsters shed their shells so often, it is impossible to determine their age. Knowledge of body size at age makes scientists believe that lobsters can attain a maximum age of 100 years. The normal life span is about 15 years. Lobsters can grow to be 3 feet long in overall body length.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dragonfly: amazing insect predator

  • Dragonflies are one of the fastest insects, flying 50 to 60 mph.
  • Dragonfly eyes contain up to 30,000 individual lenses. Human eyes only have one.
  • Dragonflies only flap their wings at about 30 beats per second (bps) compared to a bee’s 300 bps.
  • Dragonflies have two sets of wings. They don’t have to beat their wings in unison like other insects do. Their front wings can be going up while their backs ones are going down.
  • Although 80% of the brain is devoted to sight, dragonflies are not able to register detail well.
  • Excellent and strong fliers, dragonfly can loop-the-loop, hover, and fly backwards.
  • There are nearly 2500 different species of dragonflies.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Epiprocta
Infraorder: Anisoptera

Dragonflies have been around 300 million years. One prehistoric fossil had a wingspan of 2 1/2 feet! Today, the largest dragonfly is found in Costa Rica. It has a wingspan of 7 1/2 inches. Below you’ll find more interesting facts about dragonflies.

Female dragonfly lay eggs sometimes as many 100,000 at a time. Dragonflies typically eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants and butterflies. They are therefore valued as predators, since they help control populations of harmful insects. Dragonflies are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic. While underwater they eat mosquito nymphs, tiny fish, and pollywogs. When they have matured to airborne insects, they catch mosquitoes and gnats in mid-air before devouring them. Surprisingly, dragonflies will spend only a very short part of their life span as actual dragonflies. They will live as nymphs for up to four years, shedding their skin up to fifteen times, yet when they finally mature into adults, the dragonfly stage, they will survive only a few months.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Camels: Ships of Deserts

Incredible Facts about Camels:

  • Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand. Camelids lie down to rest and sleep.
  • Camels have a split upper lip, which aids them in grazing.
  • Camels feet are soft and spread out so they won't sink in the sand. They have two toes on each foot joined by a tough web and leathery padded souls.
  • Camel's coat moult in spring and grow a new coat by autumn. A camel sheds around 2kgs of wool every time they moult.
  • Camels eat vegetation and feed on grasses. They frequently seek out plants high in salt content.
  • A camel’s body temperature rises during the heat of the day and then cools down at night.
  • A camels can go for days or weeks with little or no water or food.
  • A camel’s stomach has three sections, similar to a domestic cow (bovine). This makes it a ruminant.
  • The camel's nickname "Ships of the Desert" comes from their walk. Like a giraffe, the camel moves both legs on one side of its body at the same time, then the other side. The rolling motion resembles a ship at sea.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Camelidae
Genus: Camelus

Camels are even-toed ungulates within the genus Camelus. The dromedary, one-humped or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the Bactrian camel has two humps. They are native to the dry desert areas of western Asia, and central and east Asia, respectively. The term camel is also used more broadly to describe any of the six camellike creatures in the family Camelidae: the two true camels, and the four South American camelids, the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña. The camel's average life expectancy of a camel is forty to fifty years. A fully-grown adult camel stands 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) at the shoulder and 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in) at the hump. The hump rises about thirty inches (75 cm) out of its body. Camels can run up to 65 km/h (40 mph) in short bursts and sustain speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph). A female camel is a cow, a male camel is a bull and a baby camel is a calf. When calves are born they weigh 30-40kgs but by the time they're adults, they weigh around 500-600kgs. They get to this size at 6-7 years but can live up to 50 years. Calves remain close to their mother until they are around 5 years old.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Electric Eels - shocking water predators

An electric eel can produce a shock of up to 650 volts.
Electric eels cannot get enough oxygen from water. Approximately every five minutes, they must surface to breathe, or they will drown.
Electric Eels can swim both backwards and forwards.
Electric Eels have poor eyesight, but can emit a low-level charge, less than 10 volts, which they use like radar to navigate and locate prey.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Gymnotiformes
Family: Gymnotidae
Genus: Electrophorus
Species: E. electricus

Electrophorus electricus or Electric Eels are fascinating and famous freshwater predators get their name from the enormous electrical charge they can generate to stun/immobilize prey and dissuade predators. Their bodies contain electric organs with about 6,000 specialized cells called electrolytes that store power like tiny batteries. When threatened or attacking prey, these cells will discharge simultaneously, emitting a burst of at least 600 volts. The electric organ, which consists of a series of modified tail muscles, is similar to a row of batteries connected in a series. It is subdivided into three sections: two small and one large. One small battery is used for navigational signals. The large battery and the other small one is used to generate the stunning discharge. After delivering a strong shock, the electric eel must then allow the electric organ to recharge. Batteries have to be recharged using an external source of energy; in the electric eel the energy to recharge the electric organ comes from the fish's metabolism.

Despite their serpentine appearance, electric eels are not actually eels, their scientific classification is closer to carp and catfish. They are spread in the South America in Guianas then in the Orinoco and the Amazon basin. It has got long and rounded body with small eyes. Its colour is dark brown. The eel can be up to 2.4 m (8 feet) long. The electric eel does not have any pelvic, dorsal or tail fin. Because of that its swimming can also be called as wriggling because its movements are made by the anal fin. An adult eel feeds on small fishes and young eels eat insects.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Woodpeckers - amazing hunting abilities

  • A woodpecker can peck 20 times per second.
  • Most woodpeckers have four toes. Two face forward and two face backward. This arrangement is called zygodactyl.
  • Their short legs and sharp nails make it easier for them to cling to bark.
  • A straight, chisel-like bill is used to excavate holes in trees for nesting and roosting. It is also used for foraging insects, insect eggs and larva.
  • Very long tongues allow the birds to "worm" their way in to hard to reach places. There are hard, saliva coated bristles on the end of the tongue. These aid in grabbing the prey. The tongue can also be used for lapping sap.
  • All woodpeckers have a characteristic wing-beat pattern while flying: 3 flaps and glide, 3 flaps and glide...
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Subclass: Neornithes
Infraclass: Neognathae
Superorder: Neoaves
Order: Piciformes
Suborder: Pici
Family: Picidae

The woodpecker's strong, pointed beak acts as both a chisel and a crowbar to remove bark and find hiding insects. It has a very long tongue, up to four inches in some species - with a glue-like substance on the tip for catching insects. The woodpeckers, piculets and wrynecks are a family, Picidae, of near-passerine birds . Members of this family are found worldwide, except for Australia and New Zealand, Madagascar, and the extreme polar regions. Most species live in forests or woodland habitats, although a few species are known to live in desert areas.

The smallest woodpecker is the Bar-breasted Piculet, at 7 g and 8 cm (3.2 inches). The largest woodpecker was the Imperial Woodpecker, at an average of 58 cm (23 inches) and probably over 600 g (1.3 lb). The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is (or was) slightly smaller at 50 cm (20 inches) and a weight of 500 g (1.1 lb). If both the Ivory-billed and Imperial Woodpeckers are indeed extinct, the largest extant woodpecker is the Great Slaty Woodpecker of Southeast Asia, at about 50 cm (20 inches) and 450 g (1 lb). The woodpeckers range from highly antisocial solitary species which are aggressive to other members of their species to group living species. Group living species tend to be communal group breeders. In addition to these species a number of species may join mixed-species feeding flocks with other insectivorous birds, although they tend to stay at the edges of these groups. Woodpeckers are diurnal, roosting at night inside holes. In most species the roost will become the nest during the breeding season.

The diet of these birds consists mainly of insects, such as ants and beetles, nuts, seeds, berries, some fruit and sap. Species may feed generally on all of these, or may specialize on one or two.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kangaroo : interesting facts about kangaroos

A newborn kangaroo is about 1 inch in length.
Kangaroos are the largest marsupial mammals. It is a macropod which means "big foot".
There are over 40 different types (species) of Kangaroo.
The Red Kangaroo is the largest living marsupial and can grow to two meters. It weighs up to 90 kg (200 pounds).
Kangaroos are the only large animals that move by hopping. They can't move backward.
On land kangaroos can't move their hind legs independently, only together. But when they are swimming (they are good swimmers) they kick each leg independently.

When European explorers first saw these strange hopping animals they asked a native Australian (aborigine) what they were called. He replied "kangaroo" meaning "I don't understand" your question. The explorers thought this was the animal's name. And that's how the kangaroo got its name.

Female kangaroos enter into heat within a few days after giving birth they mate and conceive, but after only one week's development the microscopic embryo enters a dormant state that lasts until the previous young leaves the pouch. All kangaroos have a chambered stomach similar to cattle and sheep. They regurgitate the vegetation they have eaten, chew it as cud, and then swallow it again for final digestion. The Red kangaroo grazes during the night on a wide variety of grasses and low herbaceous plants, though sometimes this grazing period starts late evening and ends early morning. Kangaroos mate again as soon after a joey is borne, but the development of the second embryo stops, or rather, is paused after a few days. So in a way kangaroos are permanently pregnant. If a joey is lost, or if one has grown up and left the pouch, they can immediately give birth again.

The Kangaroo moves by hopping on its powerful hind legs. It uses its thick long tail to balance its body while hopping. A kangaroo can hop at up to 60kmh (40mph). It can also leap over obstacles up to 3m (10ft) high. Because of the unusual shape of its legs and its bulky tail a kangaroo can't walk or move backwards very easily. Kangaroos are found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. The Kangaroo moves by hopping on its hind legs using its tail for steering and balancing while hopping at speed up to 40mph/60kmh. When kangaroo is moving slowly the tail is used as an extra leg and supports the kangaroo when it is standing on its hind legs. Most kangaroos can only move both back legs together and not one at a time.

A male kangaroo is called a buck or a boomer or an old man.
A female kangaroo is called a flyer
A baby kangaroo is called a joey
A group of kangaroos is called a mob.
"Roos" is a colloquial name used for any kangaroos or wallabies.
Eastern Grey Macropus giganteus 3 - 8ft (0.9 - 2.4m) 40 - 200 lbs (18 - 95kg)
Red kangaroo Macropus Rufus 3 - 9ft (0.9 - 2.7m) 40 - 150 lbs (18 - 70kg)
Western Grey Macropus fuliginosus 3 - 7ft (0.9 - 2.1m) 63 - 120lbs (28 - 54kg)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Spine-Tailed Swift / White-Throated Needletail - the fastest flying bird

The fastest bird, the spine-tailed swift, can fly as fast as 106mph.

White-throated Needletail is capable to drink water in flight.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Apodidae
Genus: Hirundapus
Species: H. caudacutus

Spine-Tail Swift, commonly known as White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus) has long curved wings and white markings. It is the fastest-flying bird in level, flapping flight, being capable of 170 km/h (105mph), faster than other swifts. The plumage of the White-throated Needletail is predominantly grey-brown, glossed with green and the wings are long and pointed. The tail is short and square, with the protruding feather shafts giving a spiky appearance. The throat and undertail are white. It was formerly known as the Spine-tailed Swift, but it is now placed in its own genus. It is also sometimes known as the Storm-bird or Stormbird.

White-throated Needletails often occur in large numbers over eastern and northern Australia. White-throated Needletails are aerial birds and for a time it was commonly believed that they did not land while in Australia. It has now been observed that birds will roost in trees, and radio-tracking has since confirmed that this is a regular activity. The White-throated Needletail feeds on flying insects, such as termites, ants, beetles and flies. They catch the insects in flight in their wide gaping beaks. Birds usually feed in rising thermal currents associated with storm fronts and bushfires and they are commonly seen moving with wind fronts. While feeding, the White-throated Needletail protects its eyes with a special membrane and a small ridge of feathers. The birds also drink in flight.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Snail - great sleeping time and other facts

A snail can sleep for 3 years, others even recorded that some snail species can sleep up to six (6) years.
  • Garden snails evolved from sea snails about 600 million years ago.
  • The largest land snail ever found was 15 inches long and weighed 2 pounds!
  • Snails' bodies produce a thick slime. Because of this slime, they can crawl across the edge of a razor and not get hurt.
  • Some snails have been known to live up to 15 years.
  • Snails are hermaphrodites which means that they have both male and female reproductive organs.
  • Snails usually travel in irregular paths, often traveling in a circle.
  • Snails reply mainly on their sense of touch and smell when finding food because they have very poor eyesight.
  • Snails cannot hear.
  • Snails can retract one or both of their tentacles at a time.
  • Because of the suction created by their slime, a snail can crawl upside down.
  • Snails are nocturnal animals which means they are more active at night.
  • Garden Snails mainly eat garden plants and vegetables, but they will also eat decaying plants and soil.
  • The fastest snails are the speckled garden snails which can move up to 55 yards per hour compared 23 inches per hour of most other land snails.
  • Garden snails hibernate during the winter and live on their stored fat.
  • Garden snails breathe with lungs.
  • The garden snail is cooked and eaten as a delicacy called escargot.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Molluska
Class: Gastropoda
Sublcass: Herterobranchia
Family: Stylomatophora
Genus: Helix aspersa

Generally speaking, snails don't sleep. They will become inactive for short periods at certain times, and will actually hibernate under some conditions. They hibernate in winter and estivate in the summer, dropping their heart rate from 56bpm to just three or four. This hibernation occurs during dry periods so that the snail can maintain the moisture within its shell.

There are thousands of species of snail (most of which are marine - not the land snails we are used to seeing). Which is what they do for most of the day- sleep. Because snails as members of the mollusk family, need moisture to keep their bodies going. The heat of the sun is very drying, so they usually don't come out until nighttime. This same behavior is followed by species that live in desert areas when there is a shortage of water. They will withdraw into their shells, and hibernate or sleep, for as much as 2-3 years, until conditions improve.
The eye is on the tip of the tentacle or at the base of the tentacle for marine species. The snail has two pairs of tentacles on its head. One pair is longer than the other pair. The eyes are on the longer pair. The shorter pair is used for smelling and feeling its way around. The tentacles are very important to the snail. A snail have something called a radula in its mouth for grinding up its food. This radula is like a rough tongue, something like a file with rows of tiny teeth which it uses to scrap off leaves and flowers to eat. Many people get upset and farmers get angry when snails eat their plants and crops. Snails can cause serious damage to crops. Snails eat mostly living plants as well as decaying plants. They also chew on fruits and young succulent plant barks. The largest known land snail named Gee Geronimo was a Giant African Snail collected in Sierra Leone in 1976. It weighed about 2lb (900g) and measured over 15 inches (39.3cm) from snout to tail. The snail is both male and female. Therefore, it can produce sperms and eggs at the same time ! Isn't that incredible ? However, to fertilize the eggs, the snails need to exchange sperms with each other. An animal which is both a male and a female is called a hermaphrodite. The brown garden snail lays about 80 spherical shaped white or yellowish colored eggs at a time into the topsoil of the ground. It can lay eggs up to six times a year. Snails take about 2 years to become adults. Some pond snails have gills to breathe in water. Those with gills will live at the bottom of the pond. Those that do not have gills, will come up to the surface to breathe. These snails will live on the surface so that they can come up to breathe easily.

The snail is one of the greatest works of geometry in nature. It consists of chalky material and one specific organic substance – CONHIOLIN – that is the basic substance for shell formation. Numerous shapes of shell help us easily differentiate between many species.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goldfish - incredible eyesight

A goldfish is the only animal that can see infrared and ultraviolet light.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Carassius
Species: C. auratus
Subspecies: C. a. auratus/C. a. gibelio

Goldfish are one of the most common types of fish. They come in different varieties such as Ryukin, Fantail, Oranda and many others. Some goldfish look like they have bubbles of skin covering their eyes. Goldfish can live to be 5 to 10 years old. The average goldfish lives to be around 4 years old and can grow to be 6 inches plus. Goldfish originated in China with several hundred varieties developing over the years. They arrived in the United States somewhere between the 18th and 19th century and have became the most common pet found in households today! They have been kept as pets longer than any other species of fish. Although there are many varieties, all goldfish actually belong to just one species: Carassius auratus. Because of this, goldfish are similar in their behavior, required care, and habits. Goldfish are not tropical fish; therefore, they do not require tropical temperatures such as some fish with temperatures of 80F and higher.

Goldfish are quite intelligent and will recognize the person who feeds them, research show that goldfish have a memory-span of at least three months and can distinguish between different shapes, colors and sounds. They will show they know you by swimming rapidly back and forth when you are near the tank or splashing. Goldfish like to play and benefit from the exercise, so having two fish is better than one. There are several varieties of goldfish; however, they all stem from the original stocks developed by Chinese, Korean, and Japanese breeders. Names are sometimes a hard thing to decide on due to the fact that different cultures call the same fish by different names. Goldfish come in many variations with different colors, single-tails, double-tails, various body shapes, head shapes from pointed to square, and various other mutations such as telescoped eyes.

Goldfish Vision:
Vision that is seen in the goldfish may not seem important to many people, but it is actually quite fascinating in that it is much more developed than most people would expect it to be for the size and apparent intelligence of the creature. Overall, goldfish have developed full-spectrum vision so that they will be able to see the micro-flashes of static electrical charge and bio-luminescence that appear when a creature hunting with sonar sends sound waves through waters rich in micro-fauna in order to search for its prey. This full-spectrum vision has also proved to be very effective in sensing many and various tell-tale signs that come from the bow-wave that a rapidly moving predator makes as it cuts through the water.

Goldfish, in particular, have been widely used as a model system for the study of color vision. The goldfish retina contains rods and four cone types in juveniles, three cone types in adults. The majority of goldfish retina ganglion cells have center-surround organization and many are wavelength opponent goldfish evidence photopic spectral sensitivity functions reflecting both wavelength additive mechanisms and wavelength opponent mechanisms. Goldfish wavelength discrimination has been reported in many studies and found out to exhibit color constancy. the goldfish first developed full spectrum vision in order to see the micro-flashes of bio-luminescence and static electrical charges that tend to discharge when a sonar-hunter sends sound waves through micro-fauna rich waters in search of prey. It also proved effective in sensing various tell-tales that result from the bow-wave of a fast moving predator... Only later did they realize that they could track submarines, intercept trace reflections of communication lasers that took bad bounces of atmospheric interference, and even decode the ultra-faint eminations that are shed of trans-oceanic communication cables, and so much more.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wood Frogs - freeze, thaw back to life

Some frogs (Rana Sylvatica) are able to be frozen and then thawed, and continue living.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae
Genus: Rana
Species: R. sylvatica

Frogs can survive multiple freeze/thaw events during winter if not more than about 65% of the total body water freezes. The terrestrial wood frog, Rana sylvatica, can tolerate sub-freezing environmental temperatures because of biochemical adaptations that protect cells from freezing.

the ability to endure the actual formation of ice within the body. Ice forming in body tissues can do a lot of harm. Ice crystals can puncture small blood vessels, squeeze and deform cells to the point of breaking, and scramble the micro- architecture inside cells so that upon thawing, organs are severely damaged. Freezing of the blood also interrupts the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to organs and so also causes severe metabolic damage. Any animal species that adopts a freeze tolerance strategy for winter survival must, therefore, find ways to overcome all of these types of injuries that can be caused by ice. Few animals like the Wood Frog can deal with horrendous structural damage that is caused by ice formation inside of cells, so freeze tolerant animals typically confine ice growth to extracellular spaces of their bodies while using protective mechanisms to keep the water inside their cells from freezing (extracellular freeze tolerance plus intracellular freeze avoidance). Their soft, water-permeable skin is no barrier to ice and so, whenever frost penetrates into their winter home, they freeze. Ice penetrates though all of the fluid compartments of the animal and within just a few hours a mass of ice fills the abdominal cavity encasing all the internal organs. Large flat ice crystals run between the layers of skin and muscle, and the eyes turn white because the lens freezes. Their blood stops flowing and as much as 65% of the frog's total body water is converted to ice. Breathing, heart beat, and muscle movements all stop and the frozen "frog-sicle" exists in a virtual state of suspended animation until it thaws.

Firstly, wood frogs and other freeze tolerant animals take active control over freezing. Rather than wait for spontaneous ice formation to begin, they employ special ice nucleators that actively seed ice formation in their bodies. In this way the animals can start freezing just below 0·C.

Second part of freezing survival is the same as that for freeze avoidance - the animals build up high concentrations of sugars or sugar alcohols in their tissues. In this case, however, the sugars are used to keep just the insides of cells from freezing, rather than the whole organism. So ice forms all around the outsides of the internal organs, sucking water out of them, but leaving behind a thick syrupy solution inside cells which can't freeze.

Third part to freeze tolerance is the need for all organs to survive through the freeze without any deliveries of oxygen or nutrients via the blood, which is frozen. The low body temperature during freezing helps, for metabolic rate is also very low, but all freeze tolerant animals have also enhanced the abilities of their organs to survive without oxygen.

Most freeze tolerant insects use the sugar alcohol, glycerol, for antifreeze as do their freeze avoiding insect cousins, but the wood frog, and other frogs, use glucose which is the normal blood sugar of all vertebrate animals. What is unique for wood frogs, however, is that they easily tolerate blood sugar levels that are 100-fold or higher than normal and show none of massive injuries that are suffered by human diabetics when their blood sugar rises by only 2-10 fold. Hence, these frogs may have some important lessons to tell us about how an animal can manage hugely high sugar levels in its tissues without ill effect.

Interesting aspect to freeze tolerance of animals which has not yet been explored is the fact that, while frozen, organ functions cease - heart beat stops, breathing halts: what signals these organs to shut off and how they are reactivated after thawing.

Finally, freeze tolerant animals also appear to enhance their body's damage repair mechanisms in order to deal with any physical injuries to organs that may be caused by ice while they are frozen. In wood frogs, for example, the levels of clotting proteins rise in the blood so that any bleeding that is detected during thawing can be quickly halted.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Polar Bears - world's largest land predator

Polar Bears are capable of jumping as high as 6 feet and can run as fast as 25mph. The polar bear or the sea/ice bear are the world's largest land predators.

Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Species: U. maritimus

The world's largest land predator, Polar bears grow twice as big as the Siberian Tigers. Male polar bears may grow 10 feet tall and weigh over 1400 pounds. Females reach seven feet and weigh 650 pounds. In the wild polar bears live up to age 25. Their skin, nose and lips are black in color. Their fur is thicker than any other bears’ even covering their feet, for warmth and traction on ice. Polar bears also have a thick layer of blubber which provides buoyancy and insulation. Despite what we think, a polar bear's fur is not white. Each hair is clear hollow tube. Polar bears look white because each hollow hair reflects the light. On sunny days, it traps the sun's infrared heat and keeps the bear warm at 98 degrees F (when they're resting). Polar bear fur is oily and water repellent. The hairs don't mat when wet, allowing the polar bears to easily shake free of water and any ice that may form after swimming.

They have wide front paws with slightly webbed toes that help them swim. Polar bears’ long neck and narrow skull aid in streamlining the animal in water, and their large, flat and oar-like front feet make them strong swimmers. They paddle with their front feet and steer with their hind feet. Paw pads with rough surfaces help prevent polar bears from slipping up on the ice. The Polar bears have been known to swim 100 miles (161 kilometers) at a stretch.

Polar bears primarily eat seals. They often rest silently at a seal’s breathing hole in the ice, waiting for a seal in the water to surface. Once the seal comes up, the bear will spring and sink its jagged teeth into the seal’s head. Sometimes the polar bear stalks its prey. It may see a seal lying near its breathing hole and slowly move toward it, then charge it, biting its head or grabbing it with its massive claws. A polar bear may also hunt by swimming beneath the ice.

Humans are the polar bears only predator. Baby polar bears often starve. In fact, 70 percent do not live to their third birthday. Sometimes seals are hard to find, especially in the summer when the ice has melted. All across the Arctic, man is moving in to mine oil and coal and there is less space for the polar bear to live. Oil spills can be very dangerous. A bear with oil on its coat cannot regulate its body temperature properly. If the bear eats the oil while grooming it could die. Man made pollution is also a cause of death. At each stage of the food chain, pollutants get more concentrated. By the end when the polar bear eats the seal and it could be lethal.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Whale Shark - teeth of the largest living fish

The whale shark has over 4,000 teeth. Each tooth is only 3mm long.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Orectolobiformes
Family: Rhincodontidae
Genus: Rhincodon
Species: R. typus
Common Name: Whale Shark

Teeth minute, about 300 rows in each jaw. An individual tooth has a single, hooked cusp. Teeth appear to play no role in feeding. Instead, it is a suction filter feeder - it sucks in a huge volume of water and plankton. The water is strained through spongy tissues supported by cartilaginous rods between the whale shark's gill arches. The plankton, trapped in the gill rakers, is then swallowed. Sometimes larger fishes - such as mackerels, anchovies, and tunas - are sucked in as well. A whale shark can filter 1.5 million liters (400,000 gallons) of water an hour when feeding. The whale shark has unique denticles (tooth-like scales structures), each with an extremely strong central keel, no lateral keels, and a tri-lobed rear margin. It would appear that the denticles are hydrodynamically important in its pelagic lifestyle.

About Whale Sharks:
The whale shark is the largest living fish today. Maximum size is thought to be 20m. The smallest free-living individuals are from 55cm (21.7 inches) long. Sexual maturity in both sexes may not occur until the sharks are over 9m in length. Age estimates for whale sharks are as high as 60 years, but no one really knows how long this species lives.
Based on the study of a single egg recovered off the coast of Mexico in 1956, it was believed to be oviparous, but the capture of a female in July 1996 which was pregnant with 300 pups indicates that they are ovoviviparous. In 1995, an 11-meter female whale shark was harpooned off the eastern coast of Taiwan and 300 fetal specimens, ranging in length from 42 to 63cm, were taken from the two uteri. This discovery proved that the species is a live bearer, with an ovoviviparous mode of development. The egg-capsules of this whale shark were amber colored, with a smooth texture, and possessed a respiratory fissure (opening) on each side.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cockroach - incredible life survival

A cockroach can survive for about a week without its head before dying of starvation.
A cockroach can survive a month or more without food, but less than two weeks without water.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Dictyoptera
Order: Blattaria

Cockroaches (or simply "roaches") are insects of the order Blattaria. This name derives from the Latin word for "cockroach", blatta. Cockroaches are one of the oldest insects. There are cockroach fossil remains which date back 200 million years. Cockroaches have wings, six legs, and two antennae. A cockroach likes to eat sweet and floury foods and hang out in dark, wet places. Cockroaches are one of the most commonly noted household pest insects. They feed on human and pet food and damage and can leave an offensive odor. They can also passively transport microbes on their body surfaces including those that are potentially dangerous to humans, particularly in environments such as hospitals. Cockroaches infestations have been shown to be linked with allergic reactions in humans.

Some of the earliest writings with regards to cockroaches encouraged their use as medicine. Pedanius Dioscorides (1st century), Kamal al-Din al-Damiri and Abu Hanifa ad-Dainuri (9th century) all offered medicines that either suggest grinding them up with oil or boiling them. The list of ailments to be treated included earaches, open wounds and "gynecological disorders."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hummingbird - their incredible diet

Hummingbird’s consume half of their weight in food daily.
With the exception of insects, hummingbirds while in flight have the highest metabolism of all animals, a necessity in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. Their heart rate can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute, a rate once measured in a Blue-throated Hummingbird. They also typically consume more than their own weight in nectar each day, and to do so they must visit hundreds of flowers daily. At any given moment, they are only hours away from starving.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Subclass: Neornithes
Infraclass: Neognathae
(unranked) Cypselomorphae
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae

Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of plants and are important pollinators, especially of deep-throated, tubular flowers. Like bees, they are able to assess the amount of sugar in the nectar they eat; they reject flower types that produce nectar which is less than 12% sugar and prefer those whose sugar content is around 25%. Nectar is a poor source of nutrients, so hummingbirds meet their needs for protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. by preying on insects and spiders, especially when feeding young. Hummingbirds do not spend all day flying, as the energy costs of this would be prohibitive; the majority of their activity consists simply of sitting or perching. Hummingbirds feed in many small meals, consuming many small invertebrates and up to five times their own body weight in nectar each day. They spend an average of 10-15% of their time feeding and 75-80% sitting and digesting.

Myth and Culture about Hummingbirds: Wikipedia Article
  • The Aztec god Huitzilopochtli is often depicted as a hummingbird. The Nahuatl word huitzil (hummingbird) is an onomatopoeic word derived from the sounds of the hummingbird's wing-beats and zooming flight.
  • One of the Nazca Lines, displayed at right, depicts a hummingbird.
  • The Ohlone tells the story of how Hummingbird brought fire to the world. See article at the National Parks Conservation Association's website for a recounting.
  • Trinidad and Tobago is known as "The land of the hummingbird," and a hummingbird can be seen on that nation's coat of arms and 1-cent coin as well as its national airline, "Caribbean Airlines".

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dog's Smell - One of kennest in nature

A dog’s sense of smell is 1,000 times stronger than humans.
A dog's sense of smell is one of the keenest in nature. The big difference with dogs and humans is that dogs are not as interested in seeing the objects that surround them, they rather smell them. Smelling is a way of recognizing the world.

Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: C. lupus
Subspecies: C. l. familiaris

Dog's nose consists of 120 to 220 million cells compare to humans with just 5 million cells, also their smelling receiver made up of mucous cover an area of 130 square compare to human with jast 3 square meter. Dogs can detect even lightest environmental changes, a distant object, also even changes in hormonal levels around them. They can sense signals many other things around unnoticed by humans through their noses.
Important use of dog's acute smell sense is detection. They can tract missing persons, search for buried people under decries or snow, they can trace criminals or escaped prisoners through smelling their tract. Military use police dogs to detect drugs and explosives or buried mines in wars.

About Dogs : Wikipedia
The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domesticated subspecies of the wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term encompasses both feral and pet varieties and is also sometimes used to describe wild canids of other subspecies or species. The domestic dog has been one of the most widely kept working and companion animals in human history, as well as being a food source in some cultures. There are estimated to be 400 million dogs in the world. The English word dog can be traced back to the Old English docga, a "powerful breed of canine". The term may derive from Proto-Germanic *dukkōn, represented in Old English finger-docce ("finger-muscle").

Friday, August 1, 2008

Giant Squid - world's larget eyes

"A giant squid’s eyes have a diameter of 15 inches which are the largest of any animal."
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Subclass: Coleoidea
Order: Teuthida
Suborder: Oegopsina
Family: Architeuthidae
Genus: Architeuthis

Giant squid have a sophisticated nervous system and complex brain, attracting great interest from scientists. They also have the largest eyes of any living creature except perhaps colossal squid — over 30 centimeters (1 ft) in diameter. Large eyes can better detect light (including bioluminescent light), which is scarce in deep water. Architeuthis) is a deep-ocean dwelling squid in the family Architeuthidae, represented by as many as eight species. Aristotle, who lived in the fourth century B.C., already described a large squid, which he called teuthus, distinguishing it from the smaller squid, the teuthis. He mentions that "of the calamaries the so-called teuthus is much bigger than the teuthis; for teuthi [plural of teuthus] have been found as much as five ells long."

- Researchers defrosting two colossal squid at New Zealand's national museum
- The larger one has eyes around 27 cm across, believed to be world's biggest
- It weighs almost half a tonne and measures about 32 feet (10 meters) in length
- Scientists believe that there may be even larger colossal squids in existence

Article from Wikipedia about Giant Squid:
The giant squid (genus: Architeuthis) is a deep-ocean dwelling squid in the family Architeuthidae, represented by as many as eight species. Giant squid can grow to a tremendous size: recent estimates put the maximum size at 13 metres (43 ft) for females and 10 metres (33 ft) for males from caudal fin to the tip of the two long tentacles (second only to the colossal squid at an estimated 14 metres (46 ft), one of the largest living organisms). The mantle is about 2 metres (7 ft) long (more for females, less for males), and the length of the squid excluding its tentacles is about 5 metres (16 ft). There have been claims reported of specimens of up to 20 metres (66 ft), but no animals of such size have been scientifically documented.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Humpback Whales - World's loudest Creature

Humpback whales create the loudest sound of any living creature.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Mysticeti
Family: Balaenopteridae
Genus: Megaptera
Species: novaeangliae

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a Baleen whale. One of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from 12–16 metres (40–50 ft) and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 lb). The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is an acrobatic animal, often breaching and slapping the water. Males produce a complex whale song, which lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated for hours at a time. The purpose of the song is not yet clear, although it appears to have a role in mating.

Wikipedia Article - Whale song

Both male and female humpback whales can produce sounds, however only the males produce the long, loud, complex "songs" for which the species is famous. Each song consists of several sounds in a low register that vary in amplitude and frequency, and typically lasts from 10 to 20 minutes. Songs may be repeated continuously for several hours; humpback whales have been observed to sing continuously for more than 24 hours at a time. As cetaceans have no vocal cords, whales generate their song by forcing air through their massive nasal cavities.

Whales within an area sing the same song, for example all of the humpback whales of the North Atlantic sing the same song, and those of the North Pacific sing a different song. Each population's song changes slowly over a period of years —never returning to the same sequence of notes.

Scientists are still unsure of the purpose of whale song. Only male humpbacks sing, so it was initially assumed that the purpose of the songs was to attract females. However, many of the whales observed to approach singing whales have been other males, with the meeting resulting in a conflict. Thus, one interpretation is that the whale songs serve as a threat to other males. Some scientists have hypothesized that the song may serve an echolocative function. During the feeding season, humpback whales make altogether different vocalizations, which they use to herd fish into their bubble nets.

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