Here’s a little clip from BBC Earth’s hard-to-find series, Wild Caribbean. It features acrobatic and highly intelligent capuchin monkeys in a coastal forest area of Costa Rica.

Caribbean Capuchins

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

Two days in a row, when I went to my mailbox there was a Zelus nymph — a young assassin bug — on the handle. Each time, I gently lowered the door on the box, trying not to disturb the unique creature that graced my front yard. Each day, it was a different species, too! One day it was the red one shown below, Zelus longipes. The other day it was a smaller, little green guy, Zelus luridus. While some say they look like their adult forms (due to incomplete metamorphosis), I could not find these nymphs in any of my insect books because there is no ADULT insect that has this body shape. My research began by googling “skinny bug”! 😀

assassin bug nymph young zelus longipes milkweed longlegged skinny red black hunter

American Insects: Zelus longipesZelus luridus
Reduviidae: Assassin Bugs (Austin Bug Collection)
Bug Eric blog — Nature at Close Range blog
Arthropods of Maine (blog page on Z. luridus)
Featured Creatures: Zelus longipes
Beneficials in the Garden (mostly on Zelus longipes)

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?

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 tufted capuchin, Sapajus apella, is a social little monkey living in the dry canyons of the Amazon river basin, in South America. This little primate is somewhat famous for its use of stones to break open hard nuts. It also eats a variety of fruits and small animals such as insects and even rats! You can watch a family of tufted capuchins survive and thrive throughout one whole year in the BBC Earth movie, Wild Brazil. Highly recommended viewing!

Sapajus apella tufted capuchin brazil south america monkey primates eating eyes looking brown black tan

Wikipedia
Nature Picture Library
YouTube video
Live Like Dirt
UniProt

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

This is one of the greatest moments of nature film history: BBC and David Attenborough introducing one of the world’s best bird mimics, who can even immitate human sounds such as cameras and chainsaws: the superb lyre bird!

Best Bird Mimic

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

Kaziranga National Park lies in the far northeastern portion of India, just south of the Himalayan Mountains. It is home to two-thirds of the world’s population of endangered one-horned rhinoceroses and has the highest density of tigers of all protected areas in the world. This area also protects Asian elephants, water buffaloes and swamp deer, along with thousands of birds. Check out the links below to learn more about this ecological hot spot!

kaziranga national park india rhino

Kaziranga National Park
Koyeli Tours and Travel
UNESCO listing
Wikipedia

Besides protecting its more than 5000 komodo dragons found nowhere else on the planet, Komodo National Park in Indonesia features over 250 species of coral builders, over 1000 species of fish, plus sponges, sharks, dugong, lobsters, sea turtles, mangroves and seagrass beds, and Timor deer. The park includes three major islands and 26 smaller ones, spread out in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago. Click the links below to explore this natural resource.

komodo island dragon national park indonesia unesco biodiversity hot spot

Komodo National Park website
UNESCO
WWF Global
Wikipedia

Teals are part of the genus of dabbling ducks, Anas, which also includes the familiar mallards and pintails. This small species of dabbler, the Baikal Teal or Anas formosa, breeds in Siberia and overwinters in China and Japan. Individuals are also kept in private waterfowl collections in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere — and sometimes escape into the wild to join flocks of Common Teal. However, the striking head pattern and decorative feathers dangling from the male’s shoulders distinguish this species from other look-alikes. Browse the sites below for more on this beautiful duck!

Anas formosa Baikal teal duck waterfowl bird dabbling species

ARKive
BirdWeb
Oiseaux Birds
Planet of Birds

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

Here’s a long critter cam video — almost 15 minutes in length! of a fishing cat kitten from southeast Asia, exploring its watery habitat.

More about the Fishing Cat

Fishing Cat Kitten

The fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus, lives in the wetlands of India and southeast Asia, where its natural habitat is being replaced with homes and farmland. This endangered species of wild cat is about twice the size of most domestic house cats, about 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder and very stocky. Just like its name implies, this feline is an avid swimmer and hunts fish and other aquatic animals in rivers, streams, and swampy areas.

fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinus asia southeast wetlands big cats feline felids wild

ARKive
Encyclopedia of Life
Wild Cats Magazine
International Society for Endangered Cats
A-Z Animals

My Evening Primrose

This gallery contains 1 photos.

I feel very blessed to have a personal knowledge of this lowly little plant. It was one of the first wildflowers I got to know when I moved here to Texas, and it shows up in abundance in both my … Continue reading

The Pied Butcherbird, Cracticus nigrogularis, has an AMAZING song! And if that wasn’t enough for this Australian songster, he also copies songs of other birds and even imitates human sounds!

Cracticus nigrogularis pied butcherbird birds australia song melodious copycat black and white feathers

Click play to hear this bird’s amazing song. You may enjoy this duet! 😀

Read more on iNaturalist
Handbook of Birds of the World
Birds in Backyards
Critters of Calamvale Creek

I just love this name: the Spiny Cream Spider Flower! This shrub grows up to about 6 feet tall, in the outback of Western Australia. It usually flowers twice per year and its leaves are slightly prickly and finely divided. Straight white hairs line the branches and the fruit looks like wrinkly green bean seeds.

spiny cream spider flower western australia flora grevillea anethifolia bush shrub outback plants

Esperance Wildflowers
Western Australia Flora
Atlas of Living Australia
Plant This

The amazing peacock spider, Maratus speciosus, performs a lively and entertaining dance for the camera…

More on this species:
Amusing Planet
Live Science

Peacock Spider Dance

The Indonesian or Sunda Stink Badger, Mydaus javanensis, looks like a stocky, short-tailed skunk. It has a large white “cap” of fur on top of its head, with the warning coloration extending all the way down its back and onto its stubby little tail. These animals are related to skunks but have an even worse spray — dogs have been known to go blind and humans pass out from the force of the milky green liquid! Making this animal even more unique, it has a snout like a pig! Learn more using the links below.

sunda indonesian stink badger mydaus javanensis illustration

 
Wild Borneo — great photo!
Animal Diversity Web
S.A.F.E. Project
Let’s do some Zoology!