Hornbill Nest Video

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.

The Bat Eared Fox, Otocyon megalotis, is about the size of your average domestic house cat, and eats a diet of insects in the African savannah. Check out the video and links below for more on this endearing fox species.

Siyabona Africa
ARKive (fox kit pics!)
Animal Diversity Web
The Animal Files

Bat Eared Fox

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

The Green Spore Parasol mushroom, Chlorophyllum molybdites, is poisonous and can often grow in backyards and forest “fairy rings”. Watch the video and explore the links below to educate yourself and your loved ones about this common fungi.

Fungus of the Month
Urban Mushrooms
Mushroom Expert

POISONOUS Green Spore

Kenilworth Ivy or Ivy-Leaved Toadflax, Cymbalaria muralis, was originally native to Mediterranean Europe but has been naturalized to the UK and parts of the USA for hundreds of years. It is widely planted in rock gardens and along garden pathways. This hardy snapdragon-like plant is an edible and a Stepable Plant that matures to just a few inches tall, but is often found creeping along or cascading over a stone wall or ledge, the whole plant being several feet long. The purple toadflax-like flowers have two lips with bright yellow spots on the lower one. Flowers draw back into the soil or rock crevice once fertilized.

Cymbalaria muralis climbing toadflax kenilworth ivy vine purple lipped wildflowers rock garden steps

Climbers by U of M
First Nature
Wild Plants of Malta
Get seeds on Amazon!

The Oriental Sweetlips, Plectorhinchus vittatus, lives in reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, near Indonesia. They have rather puffy lips, hence the name. 😛
This species really looks different between its juvenile and adult form! Young sweetlips are rather speckled with dark splotches on a light background. Eventually, these markings morph to black and white stripes with yellow tail, fins, and face. The bright yellow shows the splotches of youth, although they are smaller overall, more like spots. Check out the links below the pic to find out more about this unique species of grunt fish.

Plectorhinchus vittatus oriental sweetlips marine fish fishes yellow stripes morph change juvenile adult ocean reef indonesia pacific indian
Saltwater Smarts
Encyclopedia of Life

The crown-tipped coral fungus is white to yellowish and about an inch or two tall with little spikey crown-shaped tops on its “branches”. It grows on long-dead wood in North America and is edible, with a peppery taste that tends to disappear when cooked. The video below describes where to find this fungus species, how to identify it, and how to harvest and cook it. The links below the video feature more pics and species information.

Artomyces pyxidatus
Crown-Tipped Coral
Mushroom Expert

Crown Tipped Coral Fungus

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

This crazy frog from the Amazon has a mouth that is one and a half times the length of its body!

surinam amazon horned frog ceratophrys cornuta face amphibian brown leaf

Learn more about this species:
Encyclopedia of Life (more pics!)
Animal Diversity Web
National Geographic

Snow Fleas are not fleas at all but useful tiny springtails!

Find out more!
FCPS: Snow Fleas
WIRED: Snow Fleas

Snow Fleas!

The Dracula Ant (Adetomyrma venatrix) is blind, AND it drinks the “blood” of its young!

adetomyrma venatrix dracula ant blind closeup head insects fun

More on this species:
Arkive
Mad Mike’s America
Encyclopedia of Life

The bateleur eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) has amazing colors — check out some of those links below the pic!

arkive bateleur terathopius ecaudatus black eagle africa wild birds of prey world

Siyabona Africa (best pic!)
ARKive (pics and videos!)
The Eagle Directory
The Peregrine Fund

The Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus, lives in the rainforests of western Africa below the Sahara desert. It has a bit of a crazy appearance, with its bright red fur, tufted ears, and scalloped skull complete with knobby tusks on the larger males. It even has a white stripe down its back and extra long fur on its flanks. Males have whiskers. Unlike domestic pigs, this cousin is covered in fur with no areas of visible skin. However, like most pig species, red river hogs are omnivorous, eating just about anything they can find while rooting around in the soil and leaf litter with their sensitive snouts.

Wikipedia   |   EOL   |   ARKive   |   ADW
Smithsonian Zoo   |   Ultimate Ungulate

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

The thorns of acacias can grow so large that people use them to make dolls!
How crazy is that?! Awesomely creative! 😀

acacia thorns doll toys natural products seeds fun stuff diy

Acacia Trees
Acacia Trees and Shrubs

If you like to watch meerkats, you’ve got to check out this website devoted to their cousins, the banded mongoose!

banded mongoose research project website support

The Banded Mongoose Research Project website

Here’s a fun, free, full-length documentary on turtles and tortoises. Can YOU tell the difference?

Most red-eyed vireos (Vireo olivaceus) breed in North America and overwinter in the Amazon basin of South America. During the breeding season, a single male may sing constantly, up to 10,000 times each day! Because of this and their canopy-feeding lifestyle, these little birds are often heard rather than seen, and their song is part of most forest soundtracks. If you can zoom in on an adult, you may be able to see its bright red eyes, but most commonly you will have to settle for its song and its olive green body with grey, black, and white head pattern for identification.

Vireo olivaceus red eyed vireo neotropical migration bird songbird forest

Find out more!
All About Birds
Encyclopedia of Life
BioKIDS
Audubon Field Guide

The Hoopoe reminds me of a woodpecker who uses his bill to dig.

Hoopoe Bird Digging