Killdeers are so well known that they almost need no introduction. These medium-sized plovers are well-known for their unique “kill-DEER, kill-DEER!” call and their distracting display, pretending to have a broken wing to lure potential predators away from its nest on the ground. Find out something new about this species or other bird species using the links below — and let this post serve as a gateway for all your bird species wonderings. The last 7 are great for learning about all types of nature topics! 😀

killdeer plover Charadrius vociferus fake broken wing famous birds north america wildlife avian

Audubon Guide to N Amer Birds
Cornell’s All About Birds
WhatBird
BirdWeb
Beauty of Birds

eNature
National Geographic
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life
ARKive
BioKIDS
Nature Works

Chimney Swifts cannot perch! Their tiny legs are only good for clinging to vertical surfaces.

chimney swift Chaetura pelagica babies look down inside

Learn more about this unique species:
Cornell’s All About Birds
National Geographic Birds
Audubon Guide to Birds
BioKids Inquiry of Species
ChimneySwifts.org

2010 full documentary:
Tarsier: The Littlest Alien

carlito syrichta tarsier night eyes eerie spooky animals videos documentary species philippines fauna wildlife

Great (or Northern) Crested Newts, Triturus cristatus, large for their type, are found across northern Europe from the UK to Western Russia. Females are larger than males and sport a bright yellow and black-spotted underbelly. Males have the bright belly plus two separate crests: a more scalloped or tufted version down their back and two smoother ones on the top and bottom of the tail. You may also be able to spot a silvery stripe running along the sides of the male’s tail. Watch the video below and check out the links to learn about this unique amphibian species!

ARKive
Encyclopedia of Life
Freshwater Habitats Trust

Great Crested Newt

This spikey little amphibian lives in Japan. At one time it also could be found in Taiwan, but has become extinct there due to habitat loss and capture for the pet trade.

Crocodile Newts grow to only about 6 to 7 inches long including their tail, and their ribs actually end in protruding spikes that serve as protection against predators.

echinotriton andersoni alligator crocodile newt andersons japan salamander moss dark spikes amphibians wild

ARKive: Anderson’s crocodile newt
Alligator Newt: St. Louis Zoo
CC: (great pics!)

Can you spot the quarter? Underwater Viewer

Here’s something for all ages: Make your own underwater viewer!

make your own underwater viewer can you find the quarter

Continue reading

Chitwan National Park, at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, is one of the last refuges for the Bengal tiger as well as home to the largest population of one horned rhinoceros in the world. Visitors to the park are encouraged to explore the area by boat, by foot, or by elephant. There are also several breeding areas such as for vultures, elephants, and crocodiles.

chitwan national park nepal himalyas one horned rhinoceros calf mother baby

Wikipedia   |   WikiVoyage
UNESCO   |   Official Park Site
Lonely Planet   |   YouTube Video

The Pine White Butterfly, Neophasia menapia, is the only white species that features its unique black banding on the outside edge of its upper wings. The lower wings also feature black highlights on the wing veins — but only on the underside! So when you look at it from above, with its wings stretched out, it looks mostly white with black only along the outsides of the upper wings. Yet when it is at rest, with its wings closed, it morphs into a black-and-white beauty! 😀

pine white butterfly west united states canada north america neophasia menapia

Learn more about this unique butterfly species:
Encyclopedia of Life
Art Shapiro’s Butterfly Site
Butterflies & Moths of N Amer
Butterflies of America
Butterflies of Canada
Raising Butterflies

This uniquely patterned flower goes by several names including Checkered Lily, Snake’s Head Fritillary, and Guinea Hen Flower. It is Fritillaria meleagris, the genus name meaning (basically) checkered and the species name referring to guinea fowl. This plant is native to Eurasia from the UK across into western Russia. It is also widely grown as a spring bulb in gardens all across the USA. Certainly planting a few of these bulbs would provide a new conversation starter for any garden!

Snake's Head Fritillary Fritillaria meleagris checkered lily ornamental eurasian france red purple spotted checkerboard pattern unusual

KEW Botanical Gardens
Encyclopedia of Life
Wikipedia
Pacific Bulb Society
Paghat’s Garden

Is this the “richest part of the ocean anywhere on the planet”?
According to this video, the Philippines takes this prize!
Check out the biodiversity of this World Hot Spot!

Philippine Biodiversity!

Some insects secrete chemicals that force their host plants to protect them!

The Gall Makers

The Crucifix Toad, also called the Holy Cross Frog, Notaden bennettii, lives in the dry outback of eastern Australia. When it gets too dry, this little guy burrows deep underground and goes into a semi-hibernating state, like many of his neighbors. However, it is the substance secreted by this little amphibian that makes it special. When disturbed by insects or other threats, the Crucifix Toad secretes a sticky substance known to be one of the strongest natural adhesives in the world. It will even stick metal to metal! Even more valuable, it is being used inside human bodies for medical purposes, far exceeding the usefulness of limited protein-based and synthetic bonding agents currently being used. Check out the links below for more interesting tidbits!

Notaden bennettii crucifix toad holy cross frog australia desert glue adhesive medical wonder natural products

Australian Geographic
iNaturalist
Glue Protects from Insect Bites…
Frogs of Australia

The Dhole or Asiatic Wild Dog, Cuon alpinus, is an endangered canine with only about 2500 to 3000 individuals left in the wild. This unique species does not fit neatly into either the wolf-like nor fox-like canids, and therefore has its own genus. Dholes have two extra teets… and two less teeth than other wild dogs! They hunt in packs like wolves, but communicate with a whistle rather than a howl. Dholes are now mostly found in India and parts of China, but also can be found on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java.

dhole Cuon alpinus asiatic indian wild dog red canids asia indonesia china

ARKive   ADW
A to Z Animals
Dhole Fact File

Of course, the Green Anole is not always green, as it can change to brown in order to hide from predators (like humans!). This has earned it the nickname “American Chameleon” although it is NOT a chameleon but rather is one of over 350 species of Anolis which is often studied for their biodiversity as well as for their neurology. Remarkably, this latter study is conducted to further our understanding of human physiology and medicine. Green anoles, Anolis carolinensis, are native to the southeastern United States, often found around low buildings with exposed wood, or in bushes near homes.

green anole carolina Anolis carolinensis lizards reptiles common north america florida south

NatureWorks   ADW   EOL
iNaturalist   Harrel House
Backyard Nature: Naturalist Newsletter

There are thought to be seven distinct subspecies of Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii). The map below shows distribution and examples of the wide variety of colorations for this single species in its genus. The ensatina is a lungless salamander who breathes through its skin and therefore must remain in moist habitat. When times get a bit dry, they can burrow down under logs and leaf litter until the above ground habitat becomes more moist once again.
Click the links below the map to find out more about this amazing species, and to see more pics of its variety! Scroll down on the first linked-to page to see entire pages of pics and videos for each of the seven subspecies! 😀

ensatina salamander species subspecies map california oregon washington canada spotten red black yellow brown tan

California Herps
Ensatina Natural History
Wild Herps

The St. Lucia or iSimangaliso Wetland Park in the southeastern corner of Africa features a wide variety of wildlife habitats including forest, inland lake, swamp, sand dunes, and coastal waters where whales make their annual migrations.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

The Chinese White Dolphin starts out grey, then is spotted, then white, then if it lives long enough it may even turn pink!

pink dolphin sousa chinensis chinese white dolphin baby mother swim indian ocean china marine mammals

More on this amazing marine mammal:
Sousa chinensis
Chinese White Dolphin

This highly variable species, Aleuria aurantia, can grow as distinct cup-like individuals or as a mass of curly orange forms — or anywhere in between! The upper, shinier side of this amazing fungus is fertile, while the underneath, more spongy-looking side is infertile. Click Here for an awesome web page explaining this species in detail.

bright orange peel fungus aeuria aurantia mushroom moss fleshy transparent translucent

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Pics with Locations

The Ohio Buckeye, Aesculus glabra, is one of a couple dozen different species of horse chestnut tree. It grows up to about 80 feet tall and is native to the Eastern United States. The five-finger (palmately compound) leaves are nearly as famous in its region as its poisonous, shiny brown nuts. Although the nuts cannot be eaten, they have been used to tan leather (high tannin content) or are dried and strung as beads on a necklace. The name “Buckeyes” is given to all inhabitants of the state of Ohio, along with its state university sports teams. There is also a special candy made of peanut butter dipped in chocolate with a little ring of gold left uncovered at the top — made to resemble the buckeye nut. The Ohio Buckeye is the state tree of Ohio, and the name buckeye comes from one of the area’s early explorers being dubbed “Eye of the Buck” by local Native Americans.

ohio buckeye tree nuts leaves garden north america midwest Aesculus glabra horsechestnuts

Virginia Tech
Missouri Botanical Garden
LBJ Wildflower Center
What Tree is it?

Leave it to Beavers is a full length, free movie on YouTube, posted by AnimalLife. This documentary is 48 minutes long and full of fun scenes and interesting information on beavers and their effect on the enironment. Very entertaining! 😀