Sunday, 19 August 2012

Wildlife stuff from the week 13-19/8/12

'Yangtze dolphin's decline mirrored by other animals'
The decline of wildlife in the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), extends beyond the Yangtze River Dolphin, but the dolphin's been claiming all the attention.
Researchers think fishing is responsible for all their declines, because it is a common factor, and yet the species exist in different ecological niches.

'Rare golden mongoose found in Aceh, Indonesia'
After hundreds of thousands of days of camera 'trapping time', a three-day trainee workshop has managed to 'shoot' what is believed to be a golden-brown variant of the collared mongoose Herpestes semitorquatus.
How's that for probability, LOL? Reminds me of a story about Douglas Adams, who arrived in Madagascar, found the Aye-Aye and photographed it, on his third day there, and returned to base camp, where someone had been unlucky after three months!
Probability might be regular - but it isn't fair :D

'Cayman's imperiled blue iguanas on the rebound'
Wow - blue iguanas? How did i not know about these?!?
I knew about blue-footed boobies, though:

'Stickleback fish show initiative, personality and leadership'
I'm really not surprised by this -- surely *all* social animals are going to have systems of social reflex.
In events of high stress, it will be beneficial for a group to have a default leader, because time spent deliberating could cost the entire group's survival.
But most of the time, in low stress environments, these hierarchies become problems, because one individual bullies another, to no group benefit.
Similarly, in humans, as social animals, who very rarely (in modern, self-domesticated climes - civilisation) experience high-stress, time-sensitive events in which hierarchy is necessary for survival. Basically the only time is during military activity, and also medical emergency - for firefighters and paramedics, for example.

On Monday, 13th, a 2.5 metre sand tiger shark was found washed up on the north french coast (la manche - the English Channel)
How's that for a surprise!

[video] Years of work has confirmed that two new populations of owl in the Phillipines are both their own species
"The first owl, the Camiguin Hawk-owl, is found only on the small island of Camiguin Sur, close to northern Mindanao. Despite being so close geographically to related owls on Mindanao, it has quite different physical characteristics and voice. At night, it gives a long solo song that builds in intensity, with a distinctive low growling tone. Pairs of owls give short barking duets that start with a growl. They also are the only owls to have blue-gray eyes."
"The second new discovery was the Cebu Hawk-owl. This bird was thought to be extinct, as the forests of Cebu have almost all been lost due to deforestation. But it had never been considered a distinct form. Study of its structure and vocalizations confirmed that it was a new species. In fact, it was the unique calling or vocalizations of both owls that confirmed that the new classifications were warranted."

Unlike the humanoid bigfoot, the bigfoot spider actually exists - Trogloraptor - but nobody yet knows how it uses its feet for hunting

How about this for weird biology? Bendy teeth:
Hard teeth might be good for cutting into things, but hardness goes with brittleness, so it's wasteful to grow teeth that are just going to break off.
Some suckermouth catfish have bendy bits in their teeth, allowing them to bend away from hard surfaces - off which, they scrape their food.

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