The Philippine eagle, Pithecophaga jefferyi, is one of the largest and most rare birds in the world, and is found only on the Philippine islands. This critically endangered species mates for life and only produces offspring every other year. They typically live for about 30 years in the wild, feeding on medium-size animals such as monkeys, civets, lemurs, flying squirrels, other birds, and even small deer. Click the links below to learn more!
Category Archives: Species
The banded linsang, Prionodon linsang, is so elusive that most clear pictures of it feature a stuffed specimen, like the one below. Pictures of live linsangs tend to be either blurry or partially blocked by vegetation – however there are a few decent pics in the links below. Banded linsangs are the rarest species of civet and are sometimes called the tiger-civet due to its stripes or “bands”. These bands break up into spots along the sides, but are still distinct on the long tail. There are two species of linsang — one living on the mainland of southeast Asia, and this one living further south at the edge of the mainland and onto the islands of Indonesia and Malaysia. This species has a body about 15 inches long with a tail about 13 inches. Not much is known about its reproductive habits except that male offspring wander off away from mom soon after weaning, while females tend to hang around a bit longer. Linsangs are mostly carnivorous, eating birds, lizards, squirrels, and rats.
I went out on my porch to take pics of my artwork and found this little guy crawling happily along the porch railing. Knowing my daughter would love to see such a furry little thing, I put him gently on a leaf and carried him inside. I noticed he looked very grub-like beneath his fur, so I put him on a transparent lid and took some pics from both sides. Curious, I looked him up online and found out he is the most venomous caterpillar in America! If I’d have been more aggressive with him, even petting him, the spines buried in his fur might have injected enough poison into me to cause me pain that has been likened to a broken bone, even worse than a scorpion or jellyfish sting! Check out the links below, and be sure to warn the kids around you to NOT pet this furry little dude!!
The colorful and unique Christmas Tree Worm, Spirobranchus giganteus, adds to the excitement of diving in tropical coral reefs all around the world. Their colorful plumes, always appearing as an identical pair, are used for both breathing and feeding. The plumes are covered with tiny hairs that trap food in the water and sweep it towards the animal’s mouth.
Dik-diks are not quite the smallest hoofed critters on the planet, but they are pretty close! The Kirk’s Dik-dik, Madoqua kirkii, lives as pairs of mates with their children, in the savannahs of eastern and southwestern Africa. There are three other dik-dik species, all in Africa. These tiny little horned antelope stand right around one foot (12 to 14 inches) at the shoulder — smaller than most dogs and lighter than many cats! Female dik-diks are larger, but males have horns, often showing distinct rings. Dik-diks are herbivores but do not eat grass, preferring other green plants, plant shoots (new growth), berries, and other fruits.
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.
Bat Eared Fox
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.
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.
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.
Common Heather, Calluna vulgaris, is a dominant plant in European moorland, and can also be found in some bog areas and pine forests. This hardy species of heath has come to be naturalized in parts of North America and Asia and is often cultivated in rock gardens around the world. There are close to 1000 different cultivars of this once-humble species, varying in growth form, flower color, flowering time, and other features. The natural species has tiny scale-like leaves and mostly pink flowers, and blooms in late summer.
Native Americans used the peeling bark of the paper birch, Betula papyrifera, as a waterproof covering or even container (such as a drinking cup or ladle). This hardy tree forms beautiful stands of white-bark trees from the southeast United States, across to Alaska. It is absent from the southwest, but extends far north into Canada. The serrated edge leaves appear alternate on the branches — or in groups of 2 or 3. In the spring, the dangling male catkins are about 3 inches long, female about half that length. The tree produces winged fruits in late summer or early autumn.
The American Goldfinch, Spinus tristis, is one of North America’s last birds to get started building a family. In July, when other bird families include fledglings aplenty, the thistles are just starting to bloom. This signals the conspicuous bright yellow male goldfinch and his olive colored mate to start building a nest, constructed mostly of thistle down. When the eggs finally hatch, the thistles have gone to seed — the perfect time to start feeding chicks! Parent goldfinches serve their nestlings a milky cereal-like substance made of thistle seed — the bird world’s closest thing to mammal milk!