18 7 / 2014

scienceyoucanlove:

Krill

 

Euphausiacea

The lowly krill averages only about two inches (five centimeters) in length, but it represents a giant-sized link in the global food chain. These small, shrimp-like crustaceans are essentially the fuel that runs the engine of the Earth’s marine ecosystems.

Krill feed on phytoplankton, microscopic, single-celled plants that drift near the ocean’s surface and live off carbon dioxide and the sun’s rays. They in turn are the main staple in the diets of literally hundreds of different animals, from fish, to birds, to baleen whales.

Simply put, without krill, most of the life forms in the Antarctic would disappear.

Alarmingly, there are recent studies that show Antarctic krill stocks may have dropped by 80 percent since the 1970s. Scientists attribute these declines in part to ice cover loss caused by global warming. This ice loss removes a primary source of food for krill: ice-algae.

Pink and opaque, Antarctic krill are among the largest of the 85 known krill species. Their estimated numbers range from 125 million tons to 6 billion tons in the waters around Antarctica. During certain times of year, krill congregate in swarms so dense and widespread that they can be seen from space.

Antarctic krill can live up to 10 years, an amazing longevity for such a heavily hunted creature. They spend their days avoiding predators in the cold depths of the Antarctic Ocean, some 320 feet (100 meters) below the surface. During the night, they drift up the water column toward the surface in search of phytoplankton.

from Nat Geo

16 7 / 2014

lady-borg:

scalestails:

fighting-for-animals:

How dog breeders have “improved” breeds over the past 100 years. 

  1. The basset hound never used to sit so low. The dog has suffered changes to his rear leg structure, has excessive skin, vertebrae problems, droopy eyes that are prone to ectropion and entropion, and excessively large ears. 
  2. The bull terrier used to be an athletic dog, but over the years his snout was mutated to be oversized and bending downwards, leading to respiratory issues. Many bull terriers have supernumerary teeth and are compulsive tail chasers and air biters owing to brain deformities. 
  3. The boxer now has a much shorter face with an extremely short snout. The hindquarters are also lower. Like all brachycephalic dogs, the boxer has difficulty controlling his temperature in hot weather, meaning they are prone to overheating and collapsing in the summer. The boxer also has one of the highest cancer rates among dog breeds and many modern day boxers suffer from seizures. 
  4. The english bulldog has evolved into a creature that suffers from almost every known disease. A kennel club survey conducted in 2004 found that they die on average at only 6 years and 4 months old. They cannot mate without human intervention, and cannot give birth naturally due to their giant heads. There is no such thing as a truly healthy bulldog. 
  5. The dachshund, at one time, used to have functional legs and necks for their size. Their backs and legs have gotten longer, chest jutted forward, and legs have shrunk to such proportions that there is barely any clearance between their chest and the floor. Obese dachshunds usually have to actually drag their bellies across the ground. Their risk for intervertebral disc disease - which can result in paralysis - is extremely high. They are also prone to achrondoplastic related pathologies, progressive retinal apathy, and problems with their legs and joints. 
  6. Pugs are the most inbred breed of dog in existence - an investigation carried out found that amongst the 10,000 pugs found in the UK are so inbred, the gene pool consists of the equivalent of only 50 individuals.  They are extremely brachycephalic, and suffer severely from all the associated problems - the folds in their face frequently get infected, they struggle to breathe (making snoring/snorting/huffing noises even without moving), they have high blood pressure, low oxygenation, often collapse and die in the summer or if allowed to overheat, dentition problems due to their skulls being so curled in, and perhaps most shocking - their double curled tail is actually a genetic defect, and in its most serious forms leads to paralysis and many dogs needed a wheelchair or being euthanised if this progresses. These dogs are usually culled if they fail to produce this ‘attractive’ trait. 

Healthy puppies that do not succumb to these ridiculous modern day breed standards are usually culled. One very heartbreaking example is the rhodesian ridgeback. The ridge is actually a genetic deformity - a mild form of spinal bifida - and puppies born without this ridge are healthy - but since the ridge is their namesake, healthy puppies are normally culled at birth and only those with noticeable ridges are bred from, thus passing the disability down to future dogs. Below is a ridgeback alongside a healthy, ridgeless dog.

3 to 4 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full…. people are choosing to buy from breeders or shops instead of offering them a home. 

Homeless animals outnumber homeless people by 5:1. 

Only 1 in 10 dogs will ever find a permanent home. 

25 PER CENT OF DOGS THAT ENTER SHELTERS ARE PUREBREEDS. 

Please consider adopting a homeless dog. Please don’t encourage breeding these animals when there are so many being killed every year. Breeding is a profit, not “just” a hobby, and even if you think your breeder is reputable, they are still churning out puppies into a world where pets are seen as disposable. 

This post is EXTREMELY important and I want all of you to read it.

NEVER buy a dog. Adoption should be your only option.

Yes all of this fucking terrible but I jsut wanted to point out one thing, It was actually dog shows that encoruaged this. Breeders are supposed to fall in line with that the shows want because some consider show animals the perfect model of the breeds. If you actually read what they reqire in shows you would see it is incorrect of the breed’s traits. These changes in breeds in both cat and dog only started once shows started gaining popularity. More and more breeders acre actually going AGAINST the requirements of the shows because they seeing the problems being caused. 

I don’t usually post domestic animals, but this is important. Please DO NOT buy dogs from a breeder. Adopt!

(Source: fightingforanimals, via legendofliz)

11 7 / 2014

afro-dominicano:


Chilean Devil Rays Found to Be Among the Deepest-Diving Animals in the Ocean

Divers exploring warm waters around the world often encounter Chilean devil rays, gentle marine creatures that can grow up to ten feet long. The rays bask just below the surface, gliding through sunlight-dappled water, oftentimes in groups. Little is known about the striking creatures, however, and marine biologists have always presumed that they live only near the warm, bright surface.
Scientists have just discovered that the rays harbor an impressive secret, however: they regularly undertake epic dives more than a mile deep.
These remarkable dives came as a surprise to researchers who reported the finding today in Nature Communications. In retrospect, they note, the rays’ physiology did hint at this ability.
Chilean devil rays possess a special organ called the retia mirabilia, which is also found in deep-diving species such as great white sharks. In those animals, the veined structure fills with warm blood that exchanges heat between vessel walls. This helps to keep the marine creatures’ brain warm when they descend to freezing depths. But Chilean devil rays, researchers assumed, spent all of their time at the surface. Why would they need such a structure?
To solve the puzzle, an international team of marine biologists attached satellite tags to 15 Chilean devil rays captured off the northwest coast of Africa, near the Azores archipelago. The team monitored the rays’ movements for nine months and found that the animals were tremendously active. They sometimes traversed up to 30 miles of ocean per day, with each covering a distance of up to 2,300 miles over the nine-month period.
Even more impressive, however, was the rays’ diving abilities. They regularly dove below 1,000 feet, with a maximum-recorded depth of 6,062 feet. This means that Chilean devil rays undertake some of the deepest dives ever recorded for marine animals, the team reports.
The journeys into the deep seem to be no sweat for the animals. One individual, for example, dove nearly 4,600 feet six days in a row, and overall, the rays spent more than five percent of their time in deep water.
The deep dives explain the presence of the previously enigmatic retia mirabilia, the team writes. At the depths recorded by the trackers, rays would encounter temperatures as chilly as 37˚F, so the extra flush of warm blood provided by that organ likely makes those dives possible. Additionally, the researchers found that the rays spend more time basking near the water’s warm surface both one hour before and one hour after a deep dive, implying that the animals are preparing for and recovering from encounters with the cold.
The rays aren’t undertaking these dives just for fun, of course. Based on the animals’ movement patterns—oftentimes a quick bee-line descent followed by a slower step-wise ascent—the researchers think they are probably foraging on fish or squid that live well below the surface.
The unexpected findings, the authors write, demonstrate “how little we know” about Chilean devil rays and the role they play in ocean ecosystems. Given that these animals were recently listed as endangered (largely due to a growing demand for their gills by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine), “this ignorance has significant conservation implications,” the team continues. As with any species, the more we know about them, the better equipped we will be for protecting them—and for knowing what we stand to lose should they disappear.

afro-dominicano:

Chilean Devil Rays Found to Be Among the Deepest-Diving Animals in the Ocean

Divers exploring warm waters around the world often encounter Chilean devil rays, gentle marine creatures that can grow up to ten feet long. The rays bask just below the surface, gliding through sunlight-dappled water, oftentimes in groups. Little is known about the striking creatures, however, and marine biologists have always presumed that they live only near the warm, bright surface.

Scientists have just discovered that the rays harbor an impressive secret, however: they regularly undertake epic dives more than a mile deep.

These remarkable dives came as a surprise to researchers who reported the finding today in Nature Communications. In retrospect, they note, the rays’ physiology did hint at this ability.

Chilean devil rays possess a special organ called the retia mirabilia, which is also found in deep-diving species such as great white sharks. In those animals, the veined structure fills with warm blood that exchanges heat between vessel walls. This helps to keep the marine creatures’ brain warm when they descend to freezing depths. But Chilean devil rays, researchers assumed, spent all of their time at the surface. Why would they need such a structure?

To solve the puzzle, an international team of marine biologists attached satellite tags to 15 Chilean devil rays captured off the northwest coast of Africa, near the Azores archipelago. The team monitored the rays’ movements for nine months and found that the animals were tremendously active. They sometimes traversed up to 30 miles of ocean per day, with each covering a distance of up to 2,300 miles over the nine-month period.

Even more impressive, however, was the rays’ diving abilities. They regularly dove below 1,000 feet, with a maximum-recorded depth of 6,062 feet. This means that Chilean devil rays undertake some of the deepest dives ever recorded for marine animals, the team reports.

The journeys into the deep seem to be no sweat for the animals. One individual, for example, dove nearly 4,600 feet six days in a row, and overall, the rays spent more than five percent of their time in deep water.

The deep dives explain the presence of the previously enigmatic retia mirabilia, the team writes. At the depths recorded by the trackers, rays would encounter temperatures as chilly as 37˚F, so the extra flush of warm blood provided by that organ likely makes those dives possible. Additionally, the researchers found that the rays spend more time basking near the water’s warm surface both one hour before and one hour after a deep dive, implying that the animals are preparing for and recovering from encounters with the cold.

The rays aren’t undertaking these dives just for fun, of course. Based on the animals’ movement patterns—oftentimes a quick bee-line descent followed by a slower step-wise ascent—the researchers think they are probably foraging on fish or squid that live well below the surface.

The unexpected findings, the authors write, demonstrate “how little we know” about Chilean devil rays and the role they play in ocean ecosystems. Given that these animals were recently listed as endangered (largely due to a growing demand for their gills by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine), “this ignorance has significant conservation implications,” the team continues. As with any species, the more we know about them, the better equipped we will be for protecting them—and for knowing what we stand to lose should they disappear.

(via ichthyologist)

09 7 / 2014

montereybayaquarium:

Is it a Fish? A Snake? A Jelly? Actually, it’s a Mimic Octopus—and We Have One on Exhibit in Tentacles!

Ever wish you could become someone else? The mimic octopus can. In less time than it takes to say “alter ego,” this curious cephalopod can become a poisonous lion fish. Or a sea snake. Or a jelly.

“It will mimic these other animals when it’s threatened,” says Aquarist Chris Payne. “To become a snake, for instance, it will display black-and-white bands, extend two arms lengthwise and bury the other arms in the sand.”

In another favorite trick, it outspreads all its tentacles like a big prickly ball, to resemble the spines on a lion fish. Or it expands its mantle to look like a giant jelly. It all says one thing to a potential predator: Stay clear!

We’re one of the few aquariums to display this fascinating species (Thaumoctopus mimicus), which was only discovered in 1998, says Chris. Ours came from Japan, and is almost two feet from tip to tip. Its native habitat is sandy estuaries in the Indo-Pacific region.

 Come find it if you can!

Learn more about our Tentacles exhibit

Watch the mimic octopus become four different animals


08 7 / 2014

kazuha159:

flashinglightsandecstasy:

musicalbunny:

I think this is necessary to post. I see a lot of people “saving” bunnies.

"*Bunnies are one of the most frequently “kidnapped” mammal species.*Mothers dig a very shallow nest in the ground that is easily uncovered when mowing or raking the yard. If you find a rabbit nest-leave it alone!!*Mother rabbits only return to the nest two or three times a day, usually before dawn and right after dusk. *To determine if they are orphaned, either place a string across the nest in a tic-tac-toe shape or circle the nest with flour. Check the nest the next day. If the string or flour is disturbed, the mother has returned. If not, take the bunnies to a rehabilitator.* A bunny that is bright eyed and 4-5 inches long is fully independent and does NOT need to be rescued!*If you find a bunny that does need to be rescued, put it in a dark, quiet location. Bunnies are a prey species and while they may look calm, they are actually very, very scared!”


Never knew this, keeping this for reference

As a student of Veterinary Medicine I can completely confirm this! Do NOT take them out of their nest unless you’re 100% sure that the mother did not come back for them after at least one day!

kazuha159:

flashinglightsandecstasy:

musicalbunny:

I think this is necessary to post. I see a lot of people “saving” bunnies.

"*Bunnies are one of the most frequently “kidnapped” mammal species.
*Mothers dig a very shallow nest in the ground that is easily uncovered when mowing or raking the yard. If you find a rabbit nest-leave it alone!!
*Mother rabbits only return to the nest two or three times a day, usually before dawn and right after dusk. 
*To determine if they are orphaned, either place a string across the nest in a tic-tac-toe shape or circle the nest with flour. Check the nest the next day. If the string or flour is disturbed, the mother has returned. If not, take the bunnies to a rehabilitator.
* A bunny that is bright eyed and 4-5 inches long is fully independent and does NOT need to be rescued!
*If you find a bunny that does need to be rescued, put it in a dark, quiet location. Bunnies are a prey species and while they may look calm, they are actually very, very scared!”

Never knew this, keeping this for reference

As a student of Veterinary Medicine I can completely confirm this! Do NOT take them out of their nest unless you’re 100% sure that the mother did not come back for them after at least one day!

(via moreagaara)

01 7 / 2014

biomorphosis:

The African bullfrog is the biggest frog in Africa and very aggressive. But in spite of that, it’s a devoted father. Bullfrogs spawn in little pools around the margins of larger ponds and after mating is over one male stays to keep watch over the newly hatched tadpoles. If the pool begins to dry up the dutiful dad digs a channel to a new water source.

24 6 / 2014

scienceyoucanlove:

forestkingdomsPowerful Animal Ads

"These advertisements address different types of issues, but they’re all about giving a voice to the voiceless. Most of us love animals, and yet we remain ignorant of or apathetic towards the abuse of domestic or circus animals or the extinction, poaching and over-harvesting of wild populations."

(via rhamphotheca)

22 6 / 2014

The Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) is the mascot of FIFA 2014, and it is also an endangered species. Most armadillos can partially roll up to protect their vulnerable underbellies, but this species is special because it can roll up into a near-perfect ball.  However, illegal hunting and habitat destruction continue to threaten its existence. The vastly profitable FIFA tournament should pledge increased aid in a show of support towards its mascot.

21 6 / 2014

allcreatures:

Pangolin and baby
Picture: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati (via Pictures of the day: 19 June 2014 - Telegraph)

allcreatures:

Pangolin and baby

Picture: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati (via Pictures of the day: 19 June 2014 - Telegraph)

19 6 / 2014

conservationbiologist:

by Shreya Dasgupta

image

In 2008 and 2009, severe droughts killed numerous elephants, hippos and rhinos in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park. But the tiny population of the Critically Endangered Hunter’s hartebeest or hirola (Beatragus hunteri) survived without any catastrophic consequences, a recent study has found. 

"Hirola are native to very dry areas and have numerous physiological adaptations to survive in these environments," said James Probert, currently an Assistant Conservation Officer at Chester Zoo in the UK, and lead author of the study published in Oryx. “So it’s not surprising that they were able to withstand the drought better than some of the other species in Tsavo.” 

The hirola is unique in many ways. It is the only surviving member of the mammalian genus Beatragus, occurring in a small area at the Kenya-Somalia border. It is also one of the most threatened and least known antelopes in the world. Since the 1970s, its population has crashed by more than 90 percent, with only between 350 and 500 individuals currently in the wild. To prevent complete extinction, a small population of about 20-30 hirola was moved to Tsavo in 1963, outside its natural range, in what was called “Operation Hunter’s.” This was followed by translocation of an additional 29 individuals in 1996. Surveys of hirola in 1995 and 2000 yielded estimates of 76 and 77 individuals respectively. 

(read more: Mongabay)
(photo: James Probert)