The Pyrenean Desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, is one of only two species of desmans in the world. This small aquatic insectivore lives in Spain and northern Portugal, near the Pyrenees mountains. They use their long, sensitive, flexible snout to search for underwater prey — tiny invertebrates such as insects, snails, and small shrimp. Desmans are related to moles and share several characteristics with them, including poor eyesight. Desmans, however, have more powerful hindquarters for propelling them through water.

snout funny mole desman pyrenean Galemys pyrenaicus

ARKive: fun video! plus pics and info
The Mole Tunnel

There are about 40 to 50 different species of plants in the Yucca genus.

yucca tall plants white flowers bells desert spikey leaves

Native Americans used every part of this plant for either food, medicine, or fiber. It is often cultivated in semi-arid regions: I have three of them growing in my front yard in Texas!

The Yucca Page
Mojave Yucca
The Yucca and its Moth

Vorticella are fun to watch under the microscope!
They are like tiny rosebuds on delicate stalks, that keep contracting in quick little unpredictable spasms, springing down and traveling back. Watch the video to see what I mean!

Vorticella

Dwarf Mongoose “beds”

Dwarf Mongooses live in Africa. Wikipedia says they sleep at night in…

  • “disused” termite mounds
  • rock piles
  • hollow trees

… along with other such cubby hole hideouts in their part of Africa. Continue reading

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

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

Hornbill Nest Video

Friendly nuthatch feeds from hand and dish!

 
Also: Nuthatch nest cam!

Alfred the Nuthatch

What I like best about this tiny bird is its name: Have you ever heard of a gnatwren?! It is not a wren, yet it has the cocked tail and general appearance of one. It IS a type of gnatcatcher, but it doesn’t quite LOOK like one. This unique species is the only one in its genus, yet it has over a dozen subspecies. It lives in Central and South America, with an isolated population along the east coast of Brazil. Read more about this little feathered friend using the links below the pic.

long billed gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus central south america brazil forest tiny birds of the world

Birds of the World
iNaturalist
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Animalia Life

The Hoopoe (Upupa epops) is quite a unique-looking bird, don’t you think?
This species is widespread across Europe, Asia, and Africa.
It gets its name from its call: “Ooop! Ooop! Ooop!”

hoopoe crazy flashy colorful bird crest mohawk woodpecker roadrunner black and white feathers

More on this amazing bird:
Arkive
Eurasian Hoopoe
Encyclopedia of Life (hundreds of pics!)

The smallest whale, Kogia sima, grows to only about 9 feet long (about 2.7 meters). They are hard to spot, but are found most commonly in the waters near the southern United States.

NOAA dwarf sperm whale leaping small kogia sima

Find out more!
CMS: Whales & Dolphins
Cascadia Research
MarineBio

The American Bittersweet vine, Celastrus scandens, is native to central and eastern North America, but is unfortunately being replaced by a non-native invasive species, the Oriental Bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus. Our native species has alternate, oval, fine-toothed leaves and berry-like fruits that start out green, change to yellow then orange, then finally split open to reveal the 3-part fruit interior shown below. The fruits are poisonous to humans but eaten widely by birds and mammals, from wild turkeys to eastern cottontails. When growing up a young sapling, bittersweet vines can choke out and even kill their host, but typically it causes no real damage.

american climbing bittersweet yellow red orange berries north america plants vines woods forest Celastrus scandens

Climbing Bittersweet
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
Minnesota Wildflowers
NC State University Extension
Missouri Botanical Garden

Perhaps the least known and most vulnerable species of bear is the Malayan Sun Bear or Honey Bear, Helarctos malayanus. This species grows to be only about half the size of black bears and lives in southeast Asia. They eat mostly insects, honey, and fruit, but will also eat small reptiles and rodents as well as eggs and a few plants such as sugar cane. Each sun bear has a unique lighter patch of fur on its chest, making it relatively easy to distinguish between individuals.

sun honey bear asia southeast java malayan Helarctos malayanus tongue out

ARKive     WWF     Nat Geo     ADW
A-Z Animals     EOL     Bears of the World

 

Malayan Sun Bear

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

My favorite animal of all time is the Rufous Sengi! How can anyone not be tickled by that long flexible snout and those huge black eyes?

This is just one type of elephant shrew
Find out more about this species

Rufous Sengi

A short video featuring the beautiful Pine Grosbeak and its call:

More on the Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak’s Call

The Dwarf Mongoose

Best Dwarf Mongoose Video

This full-length (51min) nature documentary by National Geographic is in high definition and free on YouTube!
Be entertained and learn a LOT about these amazing reptiles. 😀

The Regal Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma solare, lives in the desert areas of the southwestern United States and Mexico. It eats mostly ants, and it is immune to ant venom. When disturbed by a potential predator, this little lizard squirts its own blood out of its eyeball with precise aim, targeting his attacker’s face. Apparently this blood has some type of odor or taste that repels the predator. Click the links below the video for more videos, pics, and information on this crazy critter with its unique defense!

Discovery Channel Video
SW Center for Herp Research
California Herps

Blood Squirting Lizard!

Jabiru are storks that live in Central and South America, especially in the wetlands of Brazil and Paraguay. They are the tallest flying bird in their range, with adult males sometimes reaching 5 feet in height — about as big as the flightless rhea! Jabiru means “swollen neck” and both males and females have their namesake. Males tend to be about 25% larger than females, however.

ARKive   ADW   EOL
Cornell Lab   Oiseaux-Birds

Jabiru