Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Geographic have teamed up for a project in New Guinea (in the Asian Pacific) to research all 39 species of the birds of paradise. Cornell scientist Ed Scholes and Nat Geo photographer Tim Laman have spent nearly a decade photographing and studying the crazy plumage and displays of these extremely unique species. Watch an overview of the project in the video below, and use the link to explore the project website.
Type Archive: video
Birds of Paradise Project
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.
The Russian Desman
The silk floss tree, Ceiba speciosa, is related to baobob and kapok trees and features the family’s swollen trunk. Not only does it have huge showy flowers up to 6 inches across, but its bark is covered in spikelets that hold water. As if it weren’t unique enough already, when young the trunk of this tree is green with chlorophyll, performing some of the photosynthesis for the plant. With age, the trunk turns grey.
Watch the nearly silent video tour of a silk floss tree, and click the links below the video to learn more — including how it got its name!
Silk Floss Tree
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.
Europe’s Smallest Rodent
The lowly wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, grows only 4 to 6 inches tall but features bright white nodding flowers that morph into bright red edible berries, and leaves that give us the familiar wintergreen flavor. A North American wildflower, it grows on the forest floor of most of the eastern half of the United States. Watch the video to learn to identify this plant with ease.
The Regal Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma solare, lives in the desert areas of the southwestern United States and Mexico. It eats mostly ants, and it is immune to ant venom. When disturbed by a potential predator, this little lizard squirts its own blood out of its eyeball with precise aim, targeting his attacker’s face. Apparently this blood has some type of odor or taste that repels the predator. Click the links below the video for more videos, pics, and information on this crazy critter with its unique defense!
Blood Squirting Lizard!
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!).
Eastern Barred Bandicoot
David Attenborough narrates this fun little video clip featuring a brightly colored newly emerged “Kung Fu Mantis” facing down a hungry jumping spider. Fun, fun! 😀
Kung Fu Mantis video
Is this the “richest part of the ocean anywhere on the planet”?
According to this video, the Philippines takes this prize!
Check out the biodiversity of this World Hot Spot!
Some insects secrete chemicals that force their host plants to protect them!