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!

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 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

Great (or Northern) Crested Newts, Triturus cristatus, large for their type, are found across northern Europe from the UK to Western Russia. Females are larger than males and sport a bright yellow and black-spotted underbelly. Males have the bright belly plus two separate crests: a more scalloped or tufted version down their back and two smoother ones on the top and bottom of the tail. You may also be able to spot a silvery stripe running along the sides of the male’s tail. Watch the video below and check out the links to learn about this unique amphibian species!

ARKive
Encyclopedia of Life
Freshwater Habitats Trust

Great Crested Newt

Make a Rainbow

Make your own rainbow at home!

make a rainbow

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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

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

Killdeers are so well known that they almost need no introduction. These medium-sized plovers are well-known for their unique “kill-DEER, kill-DEER!” call and their distracting display, pretending to have a broken wing to lure potential predators away from its nest on the ground. Find out something new about this species or other bird species using the links below — and let this post serve as a gateway for all your bird species wonderings. The last 7 are great for learning about all types of nature topics! 😀

killdeer plover Charadrius vociferus fake broken wing famous birds north america wildlife avian

Audubon Guide to N Amer Birds
Cornell’s All About Birds
WhatBird
BirdWeb
Beauty of Birds

eNature
National Geographic
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life
ARKive
BioKIDS
Nature Works

With oily fur to shed the water with a shake, the water shrew (Sorex palustris) can live a life that few other insect eaters can maintain. These little guys can dive underwater and hunt for insect larvae and small fish, then swim back to the surface and nibble on worms, snails, and even mushrooms. Water shrews are so light and bouyant that they must paddle hard just to stay submerged. They live mostly in mountain streams and nest in logs or underground burrows.

 
water shrew sorex palustris american insectivore mammals arkive

ARKive
ADW
BioKIDS

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

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

The honey locust tree, Gleditsia triacanthos, is easily identified by its combination of thorns, long narrow compound leaves, and long curly seedpods. Found in the eastern United States, this species is actually a legume, in the family Fabaceae. Its long seedpods resemble beans and peas, which are more familiar legumes. Honey locust pods start out green and eventually turn crisp and dark brown, growing up to about 7 inches long. The pods are sometimes eaten by livestock, which digest the pulp and excrete the seeds. Thorns are found on both the trunk and branches of this tree species, again starting out green, but then turning red, and eventually grey. Leaves of honey locust are pinnately divided, similar to mesquite and acacia.

Gleditsia triacanthos honey locust tree eastern united states long curly seed pods thorns trunk

Encyclopedia of Life (pics!)
Images of Honeylocust (some closeups)
Cultivation Info
Detailed Species Info

Fennec foxes are the smallest species in the canine family, only about 8 inches at the top of their shoulder, body about 12 inches long, tail a bit longer… and ears about 6 inches long — up to half the length of its body! Of course, these ears help them hunt, but they also release heat into the air to keep the fox cooler. Their tiny feet are also well padded with hair to protect against hot desert sand. Their coat is roughly the color of sand to help them stay camouflaged in their Sahara desert home. Fennecs live in groups of about 10, digging interconnected burrows at the base of stable sand dunes lined with at least some vegetation. They tend to stay in their dens during the hot desert day, doing most of their hunting at night when it is cooler. Fennecs eat a wide variety of insects, small mammals, and some plant materials such as roots and berries. Click the links below the pic to see so many more cute pics, and to learn more about the world’s smallest fox!

fennec fox vulpes zerda sahara africa desert animals canids

Animal Diversity Web
ARKive
Encyclopedia of Life
7 fun facts about Fennecs
Fennecs as Pets

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

The most famous of the cobras, and the world’s longest venomous snake, is the Indian Cobra (Naja naja). This is the famous “spectacled cobra” seen in snake charmer acts and is responsible for some 10,000 deaths each year. When alarmed, this snake fans out its long, flexible neck ribs to create its iconic “hood”. Indian cobras eat birds, rodents, and reptiles including other snakes. They often hunt in rice paddies and in other cultivated areas — even inside human settlements. Watch the video below to see one cobra that has decided to stick around in one family’s backyard.

Learn more about this beautiful but deadly species:
ARKive
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life

Indian Cobra

Can you believe it?! When an empty shell washes ashore, it triggers the local wild hermit crabs to perform one of nature’s craziest routines: They eventually line up from largest to smallest, and once in place without any significant gaps in sizing, they go down the line, moving into their new homes. The largest takes his new empty shell, the next largest takes his, and down the line until everyone has a new home. What a sense of humor our Creator has! 😀

Hermit Crab Lineup!

If they COULD read, dragonflies would do it almost 4 times as fast as we can! Their reaction time is so fast, they can fly out to catch something they see before we would even register any sight. Watch the short video below to learn more about the dragonfly’s super sense.

Dragonflies Speed Read?!

Up in the rugged, unforgiving mountains of Scotland, can any wildlife make a living? This BBC free full-length documentary film is presented on YouTube by AnimalLife. In these Scottish hills, we see that red deer and pine martens join many hardy bird species such as black-throated divers, hooded crows, ptarmigans, and reintroduced sea eagles. Follow a family of divers from a late second laying to the fledging and beyond. And follow the migration of salmon to the highest points in the river. At the end of the film is an entertaining filming diary.