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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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ClownFish/Clown Anemonefish

Posted by WishbonE at 12:45 AM

Monday, May 19, 2008

ClownFish/Clown Anemonefish

Clown fish (also called the Clown Anemonefish) are small fish that live among anemone (fish-eating animals that look like undersea flowers and have hundreds of poisonous tentacles). The anemone's tentacles kill other fish that touch them, but the Clown fish seems to be immune to its poison. Scientists think that the Clown fish may be coated with a mucous that protects it from the poison. The anemone protects the Clown fish from most predators, who know not to go near the anemone's tentacles. The clown fish helps the anemone by cleaning it (as it eats detritus) and perhaps by scaring away predators of the anemone.

The clownfish is a type of fish that lives in salt water habitats. It is also called an Anemonefish. Clownfish are typically very bright, orange fish that have three white stripes, one at the head, middle and tail. If you look really closely, you may notice that there are thin black lines around the white stripes. Also, the tips of their fins have a thin black rounded stripe.
Clownfish can grow to be from 2 to 5 inches long. The males tend to be significantly smaller than the females. However, there are various types of clownfish that range in colours from blue to yellow.

Clownfish live in a "symbiotic" relationship with certain anemones. This means they benefit from living with the sea anemone, and the sea anemone benefits from the presence of the clownfish. They are the only fish that are able to live in sea anemones and not get stung by their tentacles. Clownfish are very active fish and are extremely aggressive. Because they are quite active, the clownfish are thought to be "clowning around". They defend their territory and the sea anemone that they live in. Clownfish eat the leftovers from fish on the anemone and algae. The leftovers include copepods, isopods and zooplankton.

The clownfish is best known for its ability to come in contact with the stinging tentacles of the sea anemone, and not be harmed. Not only are the clownfish not harmed by the anemone, they live among the sea anemone and use its tentacles as protection from enemies. The clownfish also feed the anemone by leaving waste that is left behind in its tentacles, or actually gathering the food. This is a perfect example of symbiosis, which is defined as being different species of the animal kingdom living off of each other.

The exciting thing about studying this fish is that it comes in so many different sizes and brilliant colors. There seem to be hundreds of different markings and color combinations. It definitely makes it an eye-catching exhibit. Another thing that uniquely stands out is the active and aggressive nature of the fish. When watching them, it is definitely easy to see how they get their name. Looping through the waving hands of the anemone, they play tag with each other with seemingly endless energy.

The spawning season of the clownfish, a time when they breed, is year round in tropical waters. Males attract the females by courting. Courting behaviours include chasing, biting and extending fins. Clownfish lay their eggs in batches on coral, rock or next to the sea anemone that they call home. The male clownfish will build a nest on the rock or coral near the anemone in order to be provided with protection from predators. Breeding starts by the male chasing the female to the nest where the eggs are released. One hundred to one thousand eggs are laid. The male clownfish guards and protects the eggs until they hatch. They hatch within 4 to 5 days. Clownfish have a few ocean predators, but their greatest threat is humans. People who catch clownfish and keep them as pets in aquariums are making a mistake. There are only ten out of more than one thousand types of anemone that are able to host these fish. Many people put the fish in a tank with the wrong anemone. In captivity, the clownfish can live from 3 to 5 years. In the wild, they live 6 to 10 years.

In a group of clownfish, there is a strict hierarchy of dominance. The largest and most aggressive female is found at the top. Only two clownfish, a male and a female, in a group reproduce through external fertilization. The clownfish are hermaphrodites, meaning that they develop into males first, and when they mature, they become females. Also, as mentioned earlier, more than one clownfish is able to live in a sea anemone. If the female clownfish is removed from the group, such as by death, one of the largest and most dominant males would become a female. The rest of the remaining males will move up a rank on the hierarchy.

This fish eat the anemone's leftovers. It waits until the anemone paralyzes and eats a fish, then helps itself to bits that the anemone leaves uneaten. It also eats dead anemone tentacles and plankton.

About Guinea Pig or Cavy/Cuy

Posted by WishbonE at 12:26 AM

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

About Guinea Pig or Cavy/Cuy

Guinea Pigs are mammals which belong to the rodent family having large incisor teeth that are continually growing necessitating gnawing to prevent the teeth from overgrowing. The word 'rodent' is derived from the latin word 'rodere' which means 'to gnaw'.

Guinea Pigs form the Family Caviidae which is broken down into different Genera and then Species. There are 8 species of guinea pigs but only one is widely kept as a pet.

Guinea Pigs have a compact body and no tail and are native to South America where they live in burrows in mountain and grassland areas

The Guinea pig (also commonly called the cavy after its scientific name) is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not pigs, nor do they come from Guinea. They are native to the Andes, and while no longer extant in the wild, they are closely related to several species that are commonly found in the grassy plains and plateaus of the region. The guinea pig plays an important role in the folk culture of many indigenous South American groups, especially as a food source, but also in folk medicine and in community religious ceremonies. Since the 1960s, efforts have been made to increase consumption of the animal outside South America.

In Western societies, the guinea pig has enjoyed widespread popularity as a household pet since its introduction by European traders in the 16th century. Their docile nature, their responsiveness to handling and feeding, and the relative ease of caring for them, continue to make the guinea pig a popular pet. Organizations devoted to competitive breeding of guinea pigs have been formed worldwide, and many specialized breeds of guinea pig, with varying coat colors and compositions, are cultivated by breeders.

Guinea pig is also used as a metaphor in English for a subject of experimentation; this usage became common in the first half of the 20th century. Biological experimentation on guinea pigs has been carried out since the 17th century; the animals were frequently used as a model organism in the 19th and 20th centuries, but have since been largely replaced by other rodents such as mice and rats. They are still used in research, primarily as models for human medical conditions such as juvenile diabetes, tuberculosis, scurvy, and pregnancy complications.

Guinea pigs are large for rodents, weighing between 700 and 1200g (1.5-2.5 pounds), and measuring between 20 and 25cm (8–10 inches) in length. They typically live an average of four to five years, but may live as long as eight years. According to the 2006 Guinness Book of Records the longest living guinea pig survived 14 years, 10.5 months.

Food
Grass is the guinea pig's natural diet. Their molars are particularly suited for grinding plant matter, and grow continuously throughout the animal's life. Most grass-eating mammals are quite large and have a long digestive tract; while guinea pigs have much longer colons than most rodents, they must also supplement their diet by coprophagy, the eating of their own feces.
Guinea pigs benefit from feeding on fresh grass hay, such as timothy hay, in addition to food pellets which are often based from timothy. Alfalfa is also a popular food choice; most guinea pigs will eat large amounts of alfalfa when offered it, though there exists some controversy over the feeding of alfalfa to adult guinea pigs. Some pet owners and veterinary organizations have advised that, as a legume rather than a grass hay, alfalfa consumed in large amounts may lead to obesity, as well as bladder stones due to excess calcium, in any but pregnant and very young guinea pigs.

Health
Common ailments in domestic guinea pigs include respiratory infections, diarrhea, scurvy (vitamin C deficiency, typically characterized by sluggishness), abscesses due to infection (often in the neck, due to hay embedded in the throat, or from external scratches), and infections by lice, mites or fungus.
Mange mites (Trixacarus caviae) are a common cause of hair loss, and other symptoms may also include excessive scratching, unusually aggressive behavior when touched (due to pain), and, in some instances, seizures. Guinea pigs may also suffer from "running lice" (Gliricola porcelli), a small white insect which can be seen moving through the hair; the eggs of these lice, which appear as black or white specks attached to the hair, are sometimes referred to as "static lice". Giving a bath with neem oil soap is a gentle and effective way of ridding the pig of lice. Other causes of hair loss can be due to hormonal upsets caused by underlying medical conditions such as ovarian cysts.

As Pets
A guinea pig can be one of the most endearing and wonderful pets. They may live as long as 9 years (the average is 5 to 7), so the decision to bring one into your home must be made carefully.

If handled correctly early in their life, guinea pigs become amenable to being picked up and carried, and seldom bite or scratch. They are timid explorers, and rarely attempt to escape from their cages, even when an opportunity presents itself. Guinea pigs who become familiar with their owner will whistle on the owner's approach; they will also learn to whistle in response to the rustling of plastic bags or the opening of refrigerator doors, where their food is stored.
Domesticated guinea pigs come in many breeds, which have been developed since their introduction to Europe and North America. These varieties vary in hair and color composition. The most common varieties found in pet stores are the English shorthair (also known as the American), which have a short, smooth coat, and the Abyssinian, whose coat is ruffled with cowlicks, or rosettes. Also popular among breeders are the Peruvian and the Sheltie (or Silkie), both straight longhair breeds, and the Texel, a curly longhair.
Cavy Clubs and Associations dedicated to the showing and breeding of guinea pigs have been established worldwide. The American Cavy Breeders Association, an adjunct to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, is the governing body in the United States and Canada. The British Cavy Council governs cavy clubs in the United Kingdom. Similar organizations exist in Australia (Australian National Cavy Council) and New Zealand (New Zealand Cavy Club). Each club publishes its own Standard of Perfection and determines which breeds are eligible for showing.



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