Like other deciduous larches, the subalpine larch, Larix lyallii, sheds its needles each year. The trees make a grand show up there near the treeline, with their yellow needles and often twisted form. Further down the mountains, they tend to be taller and grow straighter. Fresh new twigs have single needles, whereas older twigs have clusters of needles growing from a little raised knot along the twig. Cones are spherical with long bracts extending out past each scale, giving the cones a shaggy appearance. These trees grow along with their very close and very similar relative, Larix occidentalis, in the upper Rocky Mountains and Cascade range in the northwestern United States and nearby regions of Canada.

Larix lyallii subalpine alpine larch northwest canada united states trees treeline mountains deciduous needles

The Gymnosperm Database
The Wild Garden
Burke Museum
Virginia Tech

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!)

Is the Bateleur Africa’s most colorful eagle?

Bateleur Eagle Video

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

This furry little cup fungi is only about 1/4 inch wide, on a stem only 1mm wide. It grows on partially buried twigs of oak trees in Asia and North America.

microstoma floccosum hairy cup fungi minute tiny pezizales north america asia oak

Microstoma floccosum

Full length (52 min) documentary from Secrets of Nature:
Return of the Hoopoe

movie video documentary return of the hoopoe bird austria vienna fauna wildlife

There are two species of Desman — aquatic insectivores that use their sensitive, flexible long snout to hunt for prey in the riverbed. The Russian Desman, Desmana moschata, lives in a small area of northwestern Asia and was once hunted for its thick, water-resistant pelt, even though the whole animal is only about 8 inches long! Besides insects, this desman eats crayfish and amphibians. Desmans are related to moles.

ARKive: Russian desman

The Russian Desman

This unique Superfamily of insects, the Cercopoidea, has nymphs that encase themselves in what looks like spit (= spittlebugs) in order to protect them from heat and cold as well as from predators and parasites. The young insects use plant juices to make their own acrid concoctions. As adults, these insects can hop many times their length, thus gaining them the alternative name, Froghoppers. Click the links below the pic for more pics and info on these resourceful bugs!

spittlebug froghopper nymph cercopoidea family of insects tiny cute bug

iNaturalist: Spittlebugs
The Bug Guide
Encyclopedia of Life

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

Learn about Dwarf Mongooses (BBC video)

dwarf mongoose helogale parvula species bbc planet wild video learning african animals

Dwarf Mongoose resources on this site

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

The Eurasian harvest mouse, Micromys minutus, is not only Europe’s smallest rodent, but it is also the continent’s only animal with a prehensile (grasping) tail. The nest this tiny one weaves also takes the prize for the most complex of any European mammal. The little harvest mouse splits and bends stalks of grass, eventually forming a spherical structure about 4 or 5 inches wide. These tiny rodents live only about 6 months, and even in captivity 18 months is the record.

More pics & info on Encyclopedia of Life
More pics & video on ARKive

Europe’s Smallest Rodent

The Kellet’s Whelk, Kelletia kelletii, is a type of sea snail that is common to the middle and southern coast of California, on down to Baja California. This seemingly harmless shelled creature is both a predator and a scavenger, and it has quite a strange feeding apparatus: a long proboscis twice the length of its shell can dangle down to reach its prey that may be hiding in a rock crevice or on the sea floor. It uses a handy rasp to scrape off tissue, and sucks it up into its shell for digestion. Each whelk has only one of these feeding tubes, and you’d be amazed how many creatures have some type of proboscis!

Kelletia kelletii kellets whelk proboscis feeding rasping sucking shells california

iNaturalist
Encyclopedia of Life
SiMoN

Watch this fun BBC video featuring David Attenborough and a band of banded mongooses (Mungos mungo).

More on this charming species:
Arkive
Animal Diversity Web
BBC Nature
Siyabona Africa

Band of Banded Mongooses

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Perameles gunnii, is a small endangered species in Australia. It has one of the shortest gestation periods (pregnancy) of all mammals — it gives birth after only 12 to 13 days! This fun video from an Australian zoo will tell you more, as will the links below it (more pics, too!).

Wildscreen ARKive
Werribee Zoo (Australia)

Eastern Barred Bandicoot

An old animal classic on YouTube

rudyard kipling jungle book rikki tikki tavi movie old animal classics for kids animated

Step inside a working ant production line when BBC films an entire colony of leaf-cutter ants from South America brought indoors in this remarkable project! This 89-minute documentary film is available for FREE on YouTube.

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

A well-made slideshow portraying the beauty and wildness that is The Camargue:

The Camargue in Pictures

Smilax species are shrubby vines that can climb up trees using curly tendrils and hooked thorns. Many are evergreen, and 20 species are found in North America north of Mexico. Of these, the most common are catbriers or greenbriers. Sarsaparilla is a medicinal plant native to Mexico. Its common name means “little bramble vine”. Click the links below to learn more about this useful species.

sarsaparilla smilax aristolochiifolia vine tendrils red berries mexican zarzasparilla

Wikipedia
iNaturalist
Tropical Plant Database