Thursday, March 24, 2011
Elk tracks are longer and more robust than those of deer. Scat is similar to deer scat, but much larger. It can be ¾ inch long. Elk also leave distinctive wallows where they dig into the ground with their hooves and antlers and wallow in the dirt.
During rutting season, elk will tear apart shrubs and saplings with their antlers. They also rub their antlers on small trees to remove the velvet. The antlers branch off from a main beam that can be up to five feet long. An adult bull can weigh over 1000 pounds. They feed on plants, leaves, bark, grasses, grains, and also eat lichen. In winter, they eat buds, bark, and twigs.
Despite their large size, bulls can run 35 miles per hour. Both bulls and cows are good swimmers.
Elk are active at dusk and dawn and are frequently seen feeding in prairies during the day. Elk can also be nocturnal. They inhabit woods and pastures.
The rutting season occurs from August until November. During this time, the bulls join the cows in a herd. They are the most polygamous member of the deer family in America. A bull can collect a harem of up to 60 cows. In the fall, rutting bulls bugle or whistle as a challenge to other bulls. The whistle can carry for long distances.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The application of a naturally occurring pheromone to honey bee test colonies increases colony growth resulting in stronger hives overall.
The study, which appeared this week in the journal, PLoS ONE, comes amid national concern over the existence of honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) - a combination of events that result in the death of a bee colony. The causes behind CCD remain unknown, but scientists are focusing on four possible contributing factors: disease, pests, environmental conditions and nutrition.
As per Ramesh Sagili, coauthor on the study, "Division of labor linked to brood rearing in the honey bee: how does it translate to colony fitness?" resiliency to CCD appears to be increased through -better hive management and the use of optimal dose of brood pheromone -- a chemical released by honey bee larvae that communicates the presence of larvae in the colony to adult bees. Optimal dose of brood pheromone that can stimulate colony growth may vary depending on the colony size, time of application and several other factors.
The number of larvae present in the hive affects the ratio of adult foraging bees to non-foragers in favor of foragers, said Sagili. In our study, when low levels of brood pheromone were introduced to experimental hives foragers collected more pollen.........
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The Platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal widespread to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. It is the only mammalsthat lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. Males have a venomous spur on their hind legs. The calcaneousspur found on the male platypus's hind limb is used to deliver venom. Platypus is one of the few venomous mammalsthat can deliver venom capable of causing severe pain to humans.
Although the venom is not lethal to humans, it is so excruciating that the victim may be incapacitated. Oedema rapidly develops around the wound and gradually spreads throughout the affected limb. Information obtained from case histories and anecdotal evidence indicates that the pain develops into a long-lasting hyperalgesia that persists for days or even months.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Sharks are famed for extraordinary hearing, motion sensing and smell, but new research shows some shark species can also navigate with pinpoint accuracy over long distances.
"Many people could walk to a known destination six to eight kilometers (five miles) away -- but imagine doing it in deep water and at night."
US ecologists analyzed data from eight tiger sharks, nine black-tip reef sharks and 15 threshers which had been tagged with trackers and released off Hawaii, Palmyra atoll in the Pacific or southern California before being followed for between seven and 72 hours.The blacktip reef sharks all swam apparently randomly within a narrow home range, while the tiger and thresher sharks travelled longer distances, often with a clear sense of direction.
The biggest voyagers were the tiger sharks, which during the study period swam over eight kilometres. Some research has tracked this species heading to a goal 50 kilometres away."Directed movement" reflects terrain that is familiar for the sharks, given that they have an interest in saving energy by heading straight towards a target, such as food, says the study.
The mystery remains, though, of how sharks are able to accomplish navigational feats."
Theories to explain the sharks' tricks include "cognitive maps" built on knowledge of ocean currents and temperatures, which act in the same way as visual landmarks on the ground, or perhaps navigation by Earth's magnetic field.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Life span: 15-25 years Weight: 550-700 kg (1200-1500 lbs) Body length: 2.5-2.7 meters
Moose are large even-toed herbivorous mammals, the largest of the deer family.
Moose vary in size and shape. Their color varies from a little brown to a dusty black depending on the season and age of the animal. Calves, in comparison, are often a light rusty color.
Moose have long, lighter-colored legs with the front pair longer than the hind ones. Other features include a long nose, drooping lip, hump at the shoulders and small tail. The flap of skin that hangs beneath the throat is called a BELL.
Males weigh on average over 550 kg (1200 lbs) and females often more than 400 kg (900 lbs). New born calves weigh around 15 kg but quickly increase in size, around 300 or 400 pounds by its first winter. An Alaskan moose, one of the largest sub-group, discovered in 1897 holds the record for being the largest known modern deer. It was a bull standing 2.34 meters and weighed 816kg. Its RACK (or antler spread) was 199cm.
Height at the shoulders generally ranges between 6 ½-7 ½ feet (over 2 meters).
The other end of the size scale is the smaller Shiras moose, also known as the 'Wyoming' or 'Yellowstone' moose. These animals are lighter in colour around the ears and back and have smaller hooves and antlers. Unlike other subspecies they are comfortable at higher elevations.
Moose Skull & Teeth
The skull length is 63cm or 24.5 inches. A moose's teeth are specially designed for eating plant materials and for browsing on bushes and small trees. In all they have 32 teeth made up of 12 ridged molars, 12 premolars, 6 incisors and 2 canines: