Monday, October 31, 2011

Hooded Seal Facts

The Hooded Seal (Cystophora cristata) is an arctic seal also recognized as Crested Seal. Belong to the family Phocidae, it can only be found within North Atlantic central and western regions from Svalbard to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, all through the northern areas of Atlantic Ocean, in part near Labrador, and in northeastern Newfoundland down to New England. It lives on ice packs and in the Atlantic Ocean's deep waters.

The Hooded seal is known for and named as such due to the 'hood' of the male, a sole and strange addition that can be inflated to what resembles a red balloon. This appendage hangs from the forehead to the mouth's front and bulges out when the male is either threatened or excited. It is most characteristic, though, when it is mating. Its head is black, and its fur is silvery or grayish with a prototype of dark clouded spots. The front flippers have large claws and darker color than the body. The male is usually 2.6 meters in length and about 400 kilograms in weight while the female is smaller at 2.03 meters and about 300 kilograms on the average.

The hooded seal's most visible and most peculiar behavior still pertains to the male's 'bulge'. It balloons to about twice the size of a football when the male blows it up by closing one of its nostrils. The trunk becomes bigger especially when the male is mating. The hood forms at first in young males that are about 4 years. It become fully developed by the time he reaches 12 years. The bulge size varies according to individual body size although the standard size is around 6.3 liters.

The hooded seal lives alone usually but converges in big groups during mating and reproductive season. This seal species has the shortest period for lactation in the middle of all mammals at four existence only. Feeding mainly on deepwater fish like redfish, herring, Greenland turbot, cod, capelin, flounder, halibut, squid, octopus, shrimp, and mussels, a hooded seal can live as long as 30 to 35 years.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Snail Surfer

A feminine violet snail, Janthina exigua, hangs from a float of home-based mucus.

Scientists have extended observed snails "surfing" the load on such rafts, which can dish up as flotation devices, egg-storage areas, and platform for youthful snails.

But it was unknown how the family of fewer than ten bubble-rafting species evolved their odd lifestyles, said Celia Churchill, a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Churchill had already supposed that bubble rafters evolve from bottom-dwelling snails that create mucus-filled egg masses. To pinpoint the rafting snails' neighboring relatives, the team sequenced DNA from bubble-rafting class and other possible "sister families," using molecular technique to piece jointly an ancestral family tree.

The results exposed that bubble rafters descend from a bottom-dwelling snail call the wentletrap, which still exists today.

Both snail groups exude mucus from their feet-muscular organs at the basis of their bodies. But in its place of making egg masses, the bubble rafters use the quick-hardening mucus to make rafts with the "consistency of bubble wrap,", whose new study appeared recently in the journal Current Biology.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

frill-necked lizard,

Frill-necked Lizard
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Family: Agamidae
Genus: Chlamydosaurus
Species: Chlamydosaurus kingii
Common Name: Frill-necked lizard,frilled dragon,bicycle lizard

The frill-necked lizard, which belongs to the agamid family, can be mostly established in northern Australia and southern New Guinea. Its name derives from the large frill surrounding its neck. The frill necked lizard stays folded for most of the time, though whenever this strange animal is in danger it opens up its mouth and the frill folds out. By responsibility this lizard seem better and scarier to its potential predators. If this fail, the lizard has one more defense mechanism to empoy , its speed. The frilled dragon is very fast and can even "sprint" on its two hind legs. in fact the way it runs is very funny and is the cause this lizard is also called "bicycle lizard" .

The frill-necked lizard is one of the largest lizards in existence. The males can reach up to almost a metre in total length, with females being significantly smaller in size.

Frill-necked lizards are characteristically insectivorous, and their diet consists of cicadas, beetles, temites, butterflies and moths. They also eat spiders, other lizards and some times small mammalls.