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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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Posted by WishbonE at 2:27 AM

Friday, September 26, 2008

Zebras are best known for their distinctive black and white stripes and have unique patterns to each individual. The most common species found in Africa that belongs to the Equidae family which is related to the horse. The three species of zebras are the Plains Zebra, the Mountain Zebra and the Grevy’s Zebra.

The Plains zebras are the most common species that can be found in Africa. They are less numerous than before because of human activities such as hunting for its hide and meat. Unlike other ungulates, Plains zebra does not require short grass to graze on. It can eat wide variety of grass preferring young, fresh growth where available, and also browses on leaves and shoots from time to time. The Plains zebra are highly social and forms into groups. Bachelor males either live alone or form a group with other bachelors until they are ready to start their own harem.

Grevy’s Zebra are also known as the imperial Zebra, is the largest. They differ from other two species. Grévy's zebra feed mostly on grasses but they will also eat fruit, shrubs and bark. The Grévy's zebra was the first zebra to be discovered by the Europeans and was used by the ancient Romans in circuses. Later, it was largely forgotten about in the Western world until the seventeenth century. The stripes of Grevy’s zebra are narrow and closer together unlike other zebras. This makes them easier to make a good escape and hide from predators. Adult males spend their time mostly alone in territories.

Mountain zebras lived in dry, stony, mountainous and hilly habitats. Their diet consists of tufted grass, bark, leaves, buds, fruit and roots. They often dig for ground water. They are mostly found in South-western Angola, Namibia and South Africa. Like Plains zebras, mountain zebras do not aggregate into groups. They usually form small family consisting of stallion, several mares and offspring. Bachelor males live in separate groups and attempt to abduct young mares and are opposed by the stallion.

Zebras communicate with each other with high pitched carks and whinnying. Their ears signify their moods. When they are calm, tense or in friendly mood, their ears are usually erect. When it is frightened, its ears are pushed forward. When angry, the ears are pulled backward. When surveying an area for predators, zebras will stand in an alert posture; with ears erect, head held high, and staring. When tense they will also snort.

Zebras are hunted mainly for their skin. There are also attempts in domesticating of this species, however, these attempts failed because of their unpredictable nature and the tendency to panic under stress.

About Flying Fish / Exocoetidae

Posted by WishbonE at 2:02 AM

About Flying Fish / Exocoetidae

Flyingfishes or Exocoetidae are aptly named for their habit of emerging quickly from the water and gliding for long distances. The term Exocoetidae comes from the Greek εξω-κοιτο?? (exo-koitos, "lying down outside" or "sleeping under the stars") and refers to the common occurrence of stranded flying fish lying in boats. The constellation Volans ("flying fish") also refers to this animal. This marine fish family comprising about 50 species grouped in 7 to 9 genera. Flying fish are found in all the major oceans, mainly in warm tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Their most striking feature is their pectoral fins, which are unusually large, and enable the fish to take short gliding flights through air, above the surface of the water, in order to escape predators.

Flying fish can be seen jumping out of warm ocean waters worldwide. Their streamlined torpedo shape helps them gather enough underwater speed to break the surface, and their large, wing-like pectoral fins get them airborne. Some flying fish shed their pectoral fins every 20 to 40 days. In some species the pelvic fins are also unusually large, so the fish appears to have four wings. Most species reach a maximum length of 30 cm, though a few may be as long as 45 cm. Their eyes are relatively larger than those of other fish as well as flatter which improves visual acuity in the air. Flying fish live close to the water surface and feed on plankton.

The process of taking flight, or gliding, begins by gaining great velocity underwater, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) per hour. Angling upward, the four-winged flying fish breaks the surface and begins to taxi by rapidly beating its tail while it is still beneath the surface. It then takes to the air, sometimes reaching heights over 4 feet (1.2 meters) and gliding long distances, up to 655 feet (200 meters). Once it nears the surface again, it can flap its tail and taxi without fully returning to the water. Capable of continuing its flight in such a manner, flying fish have been recorded stretching out their flights with consecutive glides spanning distances up to 1,312 feet (400 meters). In May 2008, a Japanese television crew (NHK) filmed a flying fish off the coast of Yakushima Island, Japan. The creature spent 45 seconds in flight. This is thought to be one of the longest recorded flights by a specimen of that family. The fish was able to stay aloft by occasionally beating the surface of the water with its caudal fin. The previous record was 42 seconds.

Historically the country of Barbados was nicknamed as "The land of the Flying fish." The once abundant flying fish migrated between the warm coral-filled Atlantic Ocean surrounding the island of Barbados and the plankton-rich outflows of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. In Barbados, the flying fish is depicted on coins, as sculptures in fountains, in artwork, or even as part of the official logo of the Barbados Tourism Authority which features a Flying fish in flight. Additionally, the Barbadian coat of Arms features a Pelican and Dolphin on either side of the shield, but the dolphin resembles a flying fish. Just after the completion of the Deep Water Habour in Bridgetown, Barbados saw an increase of international ships, linking the island to the world. As a result the overall health of the coral reefs surrounding Barbados suffered due to ship-based pollution. Additionally, over-fishing by Barbadians has meant the species of flying fish have slowly retreated closer to the Orinico River delta no longer returning around Barbados in large numbers. Today the flying fish only annually migrate as far north as the island of Tobago, around 120 nautical miles southwest of Barbados. Despite the move, Flying fish have remained a coveted delicacy in Barbados. In recent times the flying fish have also been gaining in culinary popularity in other islands, adding fuel to several Caribbean-maritime disputes.

About LionFish

Posted by WishbonE at 1:54 AM

Friday, September 19, 2008

About LionFish / Turkey Fish / Dragon Fish / Scorpion Fish

Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they've found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide. They are notable for their extremely long and separated spines, and have a generally striped appearance, red, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white. The largest of lionfish can grow to about 15 inches (0.4 meters) in length, but the average is closer to 1 foot (0.3 meters) or generally reaches about 30-35cm.
Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, "Don't touch!"

Lionfish are popular in some parts of the world as food, but are far more prized in the aquarium trade. Their population numbers are healthy and their distribution is growing, causing some concerned in the United States, where some feel the success of this non-indigenous species presents human and environmental dangers. The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal. Lionfish have venomous spines that are deadly to their prey, but usually not to humans (though the venom is used purely for defense, not attack). If a human is envenomed, that person will experience severe pain and possible headaches and vomiting. A common treatment is soaking the afflicted area in hot water, as very few hospitals carry specific treatments.

Lionfish are voracious predators. When hunting, they corner prey using their large fins and then use their quick reflexes to swallow the prey whole. In captivity, lionfish can be trained to eat frozen brine shrimp, mysis, and krill.

The Lions

Posted by WishbonE at 1:54 AM

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lions or Panthera Leo are carnivorous mammal that belongs to the family Felidae. They are mostly distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia. Lion is the second largest feline after the tiger. Traditionally 12 sub-species of lion were recognized. The differences between these subspecies mainly are mane, size, location and distribution. Today, only eight subspecies are recognized and there is a small range of hybrids with lions mating with tigers, jaguars or leopards to create unique creatures.

Lions are the only members of the cat family to display obvious sexual dimorphism—that is, males and females look distinctly different, as a consequence of the specialized roles that each play in the pride. Visually, the male is highly distinctive and is easily recognized by its mane. The manes reflects the masculinity and health of male lions. The darker and thicker their mane, the healthier they are. Female lions or lioness are the prime hunters and work together to prey. They lack the thick mane which would impede the ability to camouflage when stalking a prey. White lion is not a subspecies rather a special morph with genetic condition called leucism. Their condition is called leucism meaning they only have pigmentation loss in the skin and fur that causes

Lion spend much of their time resting for about 20hours a day. Burst of activity follow through night till dawn when most of hunting and stalking takes place. They have the devised system f living in groups call the pride which is based around related females. The males associated with a pride tend to stay on the fringes, patrolling their territory. The pride approximately consisting of 15 individuals, they only leave the pride when challenged by other males, forced to leave or killed.

Lions have been known to breed with tigers to create unique creatures; however this is only done in the zoos and now discouraged due to the emphasis on conserving the species and subspecies. The head of the male lion is one of the most widely recognized animal symbols in human culture. It has been depicted extensively in literature, in sculptures, in paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature.

About Bats / Chiroptera

Posted by WishbonE at 2:18 AM

Thursday, September 11, 2008

About Bats

Bats are special, they are the only mammals just like us (bats are warm blooded, nurse their babies with milk and they have fur) but are capable to fly. Several mammals like flying squirrels glide but cannot stay in the air for long like bats can, flying squirrels jump from high in a tree glide through the air like a kite unlike bats who flap their wings and fly like a bird. Though sometimes called "flying rodents", "flying mice," or even mistaken for insects and birds, bats are not, in fact, any of these things. Bats belong to the order of Chiroptera, the word Chiroptera comes from the Greek words cheir "hand" and pteron "wing," as the structure of the open wing is very similar to an outspread human hand with a membrane (patagium) between the fingers that also stretches between hand and body. Bats are about over 900 species living in the world and making up over 20% of all mammals. About 70 percent of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores, with a few species being carnivorous. Bats are present throughout most of the world.

Bats perform a vital ecological role by pollinating some flowers, and also have an important role in seed dispersal; indeed, many tropical plants are entirely dependent on bats. This role explains environmental concerns when a bat is introduced in a new setting. Bats range in size from the Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat measuring 29–33 millimetres (1.14–1.30 in) in length and 2 grams (0.07 oz) in mass), to the Giant golden-crowned flying fox with a wing span of at least 1.5 m or 5 ft and weighs approximately 1.2 kg or 3 lbs. Bat wings are made of two thin layers of skin stretched over the bat's arm and fingers. Bats have a thumb and four fingers, just like people. The bat's fingers are very long compared to its body. If we had fingers like a bat, they would be longer than our legs! When bats fly, they don't just flap up and down. If you watch them closely, it almost looks like they're pulling themselves through the air -- the movement is similar to the butterfly stroke in swimming. Bats use their wings for more than just flying. They can wrap their wings around insects or fruit to hold it while eating.

Bats are classified between two sub orders, the Megachiroptera (Megabats) and the Microchiroptera (Microbats/echolocating bats). Megabats eat fruit, nectar or pollen while microbats eat insects, blood (small quantities of the blood of animals), small mammals, and fish. While megabats have a well-developed visual cortex and show good visual acuity, microbats rely on echolocation for navigation and finding prey. Although some of these bats are pests to people who own orchards, they play an important roll in nature. The fruit bats spread the seeds of the fruit they eat -- they are responsible for scattering up to 95% of the seeds needed for new trees in tropical rain forests. There are also a number of bats who eat insects, fish, frogs and small animals. Meat eating bats fly out at night (they are "nocturnal") to hunt for their food when many of the other predators are fast asleep. Vampire bats prey mainly on cows, horses and other large mammals. They make a shallow wound with their razor-sharp teeth then they lick up the blood. Each bat only drinks about an ounce of blood each night.

Bats feed at night (they are "nocturnal") and spend the day sleeping in caves or in tree tops, hang upside down from their roosts to sleep. The place where a bat sleeps is called its "roost". Although some bats roost in groups of only one or two, for the most part bats are very sociable animals. They usually sleep together in huge groups. The largest bat colony in the world is in Bracken Cave, Texas. During the summer, this cave is home to as many as 20 MILLION Mexican free-tailed bats.

The Crocodiles

Posted by WishbonE at 2:07 AM

Friday, September 5, 2008

Crocodiles are the world’s largest aquatic reptile that lives throughout America, Africa, Australia and Asia. They are cold blooded animals and have a body temperature that is similar to their surrounding. Crocodiles have streamlined body that enables them to swim swiftly. They stuck their feet at their sides while swimming which also makes them faster by decreasing water resistance.

The distinctive features of crocodiles are long jaws, protective amour, streamlined body and long tail, which make them perfectly suited to aquatic and predatory lifestyle. Crocodiles have a palatal flap, a rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entry of water. The palate has a special path from the nostril to the glottis that bypasses the mouth. The nostrils are closed during submergence.

Saltwater crocodiles are found in warm climate from India and Sri Lanka to South-East Asia and Australia. They have a broader jaw line and snout and larger than the fresh water crocodiles. Fresh water crocodiles have narrow snout and straight jaw line. One of the huge captive specimens of salt water crocodile named Gomek. Gomek was captured in Papua New Guinea and sold to St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida, USA. It has been observed that crocodiles may possess a form of homing instinct. Three rogue saltwater crocodiles were relocated 400 kilometers by helicopter in northern Australia but had returned to their original locations within three weeks, based on data obtained from tracking devices attached to the reptiles.

Their webbed feet are advantage in shallow water where the animals sometimes move around by walking. Even out of water, crocodiles are very fast over short distances. They have powerful jaws that are capable of biting down with immense force. They have the tendency to retain indigestible objects in their stomach.

Crocodiles are protected in many parts of the world, but they also are farmed commercially. The skin of the saltwater crocodile, especially from the belly surfaces, is the most prized of all crocodile skins for fashion leather. Their skin is tanned and used to make leather goods such as shoes and handbags, whilst crocodile meat is also considered a delicacy.

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