'/> Amazing Animals: September 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Stunning Seabirds

Whether on land or flying or across bodies of water, these marine birds demonstrate remarkable and stunning behaviors.

Blue-Footed Booby

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The Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii), is a marine bird that lives off the warm coastal waters of Central and South America, in particular the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Aside from its signature blue feet, the blue-footed booby has whitish head, long neck, a sharp grayish bill, and long pointed wings and tail. It is between 80 to 85 cm long, weighs around 1.5 kg and a wingspan that can reach 1.5 m.

The Blue-footed Boobies are expert plunge divers, diving straight into the ocean from heights of 10–30.5 m, touching the water around 97 km/h. In pursuit of prey, which normally are eaten while underwater, Blue-footed Boobies can swim underwater to a depth of 25 m. Its primary diet is small fish such as; mackerel, sardine, flying fish and anchovies. They also feed on squid and internal organs of animals.

Gentoo Penguin

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The largest among the three species of Pygoscelis penguins, Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua), main breeding colonies are found on South Georgia, the Falkland Islands, and Kerguelen Islands. These laid back penguins whose main features are the wide white stripe running across the tops of their head, average about 71 cm tall and 5.5 kg.

Also, Gentoo penguins have black bodies with white bellies, brown eyes, orange-red bills, and yellow feet. The fastest marine bird (reaching speeds of 36 km/h ), Gentoo penguins venture up to 24 km away from shore searching for food. Krill, squid and fish made up their diet.

Royal Tern

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The Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus), is a large seabird widespread in the Americas and the Atlantic coast of Africa. Royal Tern breeds in colonies on coral islands, coasts and beaches. It has a long, slender orange bill, short forked tail, mostly white upperparts, with pale gray wingtips, and black feet. Adults can reach 45-51 cm in length and can weigh between 320-500 g. Royal Tern are known lunge divers, fly high up in the air and nosedived to catch prey. Its main diet includes squid, crabs, shrimps as well as small fish.

Black-Footed Albatross

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The Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), is a common seabird off the Pacific Coast of North America. Their breeding locations include sandy beaches and open flat islands in and around the Hawaiian islands. Black-footed Albatross has almost black plumage, large bill, and long, narrow wings. Adults average between 71–91 cm long, about 3.2–3.3 kg in weight and have a wingspan of 190–213 cm. They feed in open waters, preying on fish, crustaceans, squid and often floating debris. Once the young leaves the breeding colony, it gets airborne for the next three years at sea; only to return to land again after about 10 years to breed.

Australian Pelican

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The Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), is a medium-sized water bird, widespread throughout Australia, Fiji Islands, Papua New Guinea, and in some Indonesian island. They live in colonies in areas that there is open water ranging from wetlands to freshwater, swamps, lakes, shores, lagoons etc. Australian pelicans have black and white plumage, blue legs and feet.

It has a pale pink bill (the largest in the avian world) and a huge bill pouch that can load up to seven liters of water! Australian Pelicans average 1.6 to 1.8 m long, weigh 4 to 13 kg and a wingspan of 2.5 meters to 3.4 meters. They feed mainly on fish, but also eat shrimp, small turtles, tadpoles, and sea gulls.

Australasian Gannets

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The Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator), is a large seabird found throughout southern Australia, Tasmania up to New Zealand. Both males and females carry similar plumage; white body with dark wing tips. and the head is yellow with a pale blue-grey bill. It has a yellow head and blue-gray bill. Australasian Gannets average about 84 cm to 95 cm tall, with a wingspan of 1.6 m.

They are plunge divers and expert fishers. They fly low above the water surface in searching fish school, then when a target is found, it folds its wings and dive swiftly to catch their prey. They feed on forage fish and squid.

King Penguin

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The King Penguin (Aptenodytes catatonics), live on sub-Antarctic islands, establishing huge colonies at nearby beaches. Standing a meter tall and weighing about 14 kg, they are the second largest species of penguin next to the Emperor penguin. Typical of a penguin, it has a streamlined body with silver-grey back and white to orange belly. King penguins have dark orange cheeks and colorful plumage around their necks and heads.

They are good swimmers that average 6.5–10 km/h as well as good divers that could dive to over 100 meters. They rely on deep water pursuit-diving to catch their prey. Their main food source, includes small fish, krill, squid, and plankton. They don’t a nest, but rather lay a single egg and carry it under their bellies while resting on their feet


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The Razorbill (Alca torda), is a medium-sized marine bird found along coastal and offshore of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Their breeding habitat includes cliffs, rocky shores and islands. Razorbills average 38–43 cm long, with a wingspan of about 60–69 cm. Adults have a black head and upperparts and white bellies. They have thick, round-tipped black bill, and a pointed tail.

They seek food by swimming underwater. They feed mainly on fish, like herring and capelin, crustaceans, mollusks and marine worms. Their short but powerful wings propel them to dive at depth 70 feet or more.

Atlantic Puffin

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The Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), is a common seabird that lives in the North Atlantic Ocean. This species breeds on rocky islands in the North Atlantic, with 95% breed along the coastlines of Newfoundland. The winter months are spent at sea. A distinct feature of this pelagic bird is its brightly colored bill. Atlantic Puffin has black upperparts and white belly.

It also has white cheeks and reddish legs. and red-orange legs. Adults average from 26–29 centimeters long, weigh about 490.5 g, and a wingspan of about 47–63 centimeters. They are good swimmers and excellent divers. In search of food, they can dive up to 61 meters underwater. It feeds on small fish but at times hunt squid and crustaceans.

Kittiwake Bird

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The Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), is a coastal breeding seabird widespread throughout North America and Europe. It established its breeding grounds on rocky cliffs and spend winters at sea. Black-legged Kittiwakes are medium-sized gull with white head and body, a dark eye, a small yellow bill and short black legs. Adults are about 40 cm long with a wingspan of 90–100 cm, and weigh from 305–525 g. They are surface feeders, feeding mostly on fish but also consume shrimps and worms.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Seven Colorful Aquarium Fishes with Unique Fins Part 2

More colorful fishes with flamboyant display of fins.

Here’s an additional list of colorful aquarium fishes with wonderful fins. Almost all these fishes occasionally make their way into the aquarium trade.

Scooter Dragonet

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Scooter Dragonet (Synchiropus ocellatus) is a colorful fish species with a large-sail like dorsal fin and distinctively beautiful horizontal pectoral fins. This tropical marine fish is endemic to the southwest Pacific Ocean. It can grow up to 8 cm in length and can be found from Japan to Australia.

Mandarinfish Dragonet

The lovely and pretty Mandarin Dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus)or just Dragonet is a small but brilliantly-fish which is well-known as an aquatic pet. It is endemic to the Pacific Ocean from Ryukyu Islands in Japan to Australia. This colorful fish that feed on small crustaceans and invertebrates can reach a length of 6 cm only.

Rhinopias aphanes

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One of the most unique-looking fish is the Rhinopias aphanes. This brightly-colored scorpionfish is peculiar for its unique fins and appendages all over its body. It can grow to a length of up to 25 cm. It inhabits the Western Pacific Ocean and occasionally makes its way into the aquarium trade.

Oriental Flying Gurnard (Dactyloptena orientalis)

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Another fish species that looks awesomely unique and beautiful for having wings is the Oriental Flying Gurnard (Dactyloptena orientalis). This fish can grow up to 40 cm long and lives in the Indo-Pacific region. Its large, round pectoral fins, which are usually held against the body, has a bright blue edge. When excited or threatened the fins are expanded in to scare predators. It can also walk along the bottom of the ocean through its pelvic fins.

Orange M Sarawut – Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens)

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The colorful Siamese Fighting Fish with flamboyant fins is a popular freshwater aquarium fish species. The wild ancestors of betas are endemic to the rice paddies of Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. It is also known simply as Betta or just Fighter. The name of this well-known aquarium pet is derived from Ikan Bettah, taken from a dialect of Thailand which is formerly known as Siam. This fish is called Trey Krem or Pla-kad in Thailand. Both names mean “fighting Fish”.

Butterfly Tail Goldfish

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The Butterfly Tail is a breed of goldfish that is distinguished by the butterfly-shaped caudal fins when viewed from above. The name of this goldfish to extravagant displays of tails that spread 180 degrees is just short for the many names this variety has, such as Butterfly Tail Demekin, Butterfly Tail Telescope, Top View Telescope and Butterfly Tail Moor. This fancy-looking goldfish variety is also called Butterfly Telescope.

Oranda Goldfish

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The Oranda, one of the most popular aquarium fish, is a brightly-colored variety of goldfish that is distinguished by the long quadruple tail and by a prominent raspberry-like headgrowth or hood encasing its head. The headgrowth, which is also as wen, is noticeably remarkable because encases the entire head except for the eyes and mouth. Oranda’s four-lobed and contracted tail normally spreads out broadly when it stops swimming. A very rare ‘blue scale’ Oranda have been developed recently.

8.) Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)

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The Banggai Cardinalfish is an attractive aquarium fish that can be found exclusively in the Banggai Islands of Indonesia. This small tropical fish with a tasseled first dorsal fin, elongated anal and second dorsal fin rays and deeply forked caudal fin, is among the relatively few marine fish to have been bred regularly in captivity.

Check out:
Seven Colorful Aquarium Fishes with Unique Fins Part 1

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bizarre Insects and Arachnids: 30 Surprising and Fascinating Facts Part 3

Here’s our final entries on our long list of the most amusing and awesome insects and arachnids in the world.

Insects are the most numerous species of animals in the world. Here’s a long list of the most amusing and awesome insects and arachnids in the world.

1.) Wasp

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Wasps are awesome insects. They construct a fortress out of paper.

2.) Burying Beetle

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Burying Beetles make a home out of the dead for their young and the male’s home attracts the mate.

3.) Caddisfly

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This is one of the most peculiar insects in the world – the Caddisfly. Their larvae can build jewelry.

4.) Spider

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Spiders are considered creepy by many. They cause Arachnophobia to many people.

5.) Firefly

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Fireflies are among the most amazing insects in the world. A female Firefly attracts males with its bioluminescence not to make love, but to get food. The moment the male gets near, the female ambushes and eats him.

6.) Dung Beetle

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Dung Beetles are so named because they eat dung.

7.) Stick Insect

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Stick Insects are amazing creatures. They undergo three transformations into ants, scorpions and leaves.

8.) Dust Mite

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Dust Mites eat dead skin cells of human beings.

9.) Bombardier Beetle

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This is truly extraordinary; the rockets missile-type weapons of Bombardier Beetles can be released more than 700 times a second when they are threatened.

10.) Killer Bee

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The ultimate way to defend the hive for Killer Bees is to use their stingers, because when they use it; it will detach and the Killer Bees or Africanized Bees will bleed to death which is why people are afraid of swarms.

Check out:
Bizarre Insects and Arachnids: 30 Surprising and Fascinating Facts
Bizarre Insects and Arachnids: 30 Surprising and Fascinating Facts Part 2