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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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About Water-Flying Penguin

Posted by WishbonE at 10:27 PM

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Penguins are birds with black and white feathers and a funny waddle, and the only kind of bird that is unable to fly. enguins often are referred to as "flippered flyers" due to their effortless movement through the water and their possible evolution from gull-like birds. Its believed that 40-50 million years ago, while Antarctica breaking away form Gondwanaland, penguins also were separating to form their own species. Originally, indigenous to warmer climates, penguins adapted to the cold as Antarctica made its move southward. There are 17 species of penguins some of which are found as far north as the equator. Penguins are categorized into three families: brush-tail, crested, and king/emperor penguins. Of the 17 species only six are found in Antarctica (Adélies, Chinstraps, Emperors, Gentoos, Macaronis, and Rockhoppers). Penguin ancestry beyond Waimanu remains unknown and not well-resolved by molecular or morphological analyses. What seems clear is that penguins belong to a clade of Neoaves (living birds except paleognaths and fowl) which comprises what is sometimes called "higher waterbirds" to distinguish them from the more ancient waterfowl. This group contains such birds as storks, rails, and the seabirds, with the possible exception of the Charadriiformes.

The word Penguin is thought by some to derive from the Welsh words pen (head) and gwyn (white), applied to the Great Auk which had white spots in front of its eyes (although its head was black); or from an island off Newfoundland known as Pengwyn, due to its having a large white rock. (In the latter case, the name may also have come from Breton.) This theory is supported by the fact that penguins look remarkably like Great Auks in general shape.

Part of Penguins adaptation to the cold snowy weather includes oily, unwettable feathers which cover the outer layers of penguins. Underneath is a layer of soft down feathers and under that a thick layer of fat. This keeps the penguins so warm they will actually fluff their feather to released trapped heat in order to cool down. In addition to their fine attire, penguins are well known for their swimming abilities. Using their flippers for propulsion and their feet as a rudder, penguins can swim in excess of 12 mph (20 kph). Through the use of air sacs to protect their lungs, penguins can stay under water for 15 to 20 minutes and dive as deep as 275 feet (900 meters). Penguins spend as much as 75% of their time underwater, searching for food in the ocean. When they are in the water, they dive and flap their wings. It looks just like they are flying! Penguins are shaped like a torpedo. Their body is built for the most efficient swimming with their average speed in the water being about 15 miles per hour.

Although very near-sighted on land, penguins posses exceptional vision in the water. Their eyes, like the many sea animals, are attuned to the colors of the sea--green, blue-green, and violet. They need this excellent vision to avoid leopard seals and killer whales, which are their primary predators in the ocean. On land their arch enemy are skuas (large birds) which snatch penguins chicks from nests. In the water, penguins typically feed on krill and fish. The dietary habits of penguins are relatively easy to monitor. Krill eating penguins excrete pink quano, while those eating fish leave behind white guano. The yolks of penguins eggs often are red denoting the consumption of krill. All penguins are countershaded for camouflage – that is, they have a white underside and a dark (mostly black) upperside. A predator looking up from below (such as an orca or a leopard seal) has difficulty distinguishing between a white penguin belly and the reflective water surface. The dark plumage on their backs camouflages them from above.

About House Flies

Posted by WishbonE at 11:07 PM

Thursday, December 11, 2008

About House Flies

One of the most common domestic insect, the housefly (Musca domestica) the most common of all flies fluttering in homes, and indeed one of the most widely distributed insects; it is often considered a pest that can carry serious diseases. It has been suggested that this fly came originally from Africa but nowadays it has followed us to all parts of the earth. In Northern Europe it probably didn't become established until man started keeping domestic animals indoors during the winter, a practice that didn't start until about the beginning of the Iron Age, c. 400 B.C.

The housefly has a complete metamorphosis with distinct egg, larva or maggot, pupal and adult stages. The house fly overwinters in either the larval or pupal stage under manure piles or in other protected locations. Warm summer conditions are generally optimum for the development of the house fly, and it can complete its life cycle in as little as seven to ten days, and as many as 10 to 12 generations may occur in one summer. Each female fly can lay up to 500 eggs in several batches of about 75 to 150 eggs, each over a three to four day period. The number of eggs produced is a function of female size, which is principally a result of larval nutrition. The mature larva is 3 to 9 mm long, typical creamy whitish in color, cylindrical but tapering toward the head. The head contains one pair of dark hooks. The pupae are dark brown and 8 mm long. The pupal stage is passed in a pupal case formed from the last larval skin which varies in color from yellow, red, brown, to black as the pupa ages. The emerging fly escapes from the pupal case through the use of an alternately swelling and shrinking sac, called the ptilinum, on the front of its head which it uses like a pneumatic hammer. The house fly is 6 to 7 mm long, with the female usually larger than the male. The eyes are reddish and the mouth parts are sponging. The thorax bears four narrow black stripes and there is a sharp upward bend in the fourth longitudinal wing vein. The abdomen is gray or yellowish with dark midline and irregular dark markings on the sides. The underside of the male is yellowish. The sexes can be readily separated by noting the space between the eyes, which in females is almost twice as broad as in males.

Flies multiply at an enormous rate; it takes roughly two weeks from the time a female hatches until she is able to lay eggs of her own. Favourite breeding sites are horse and cow dung, exposed human feces, rotting garbage and carrion. In more developed countries, modern sewage systems, refuse removal, and general cleanliness have had a marked effect in controlling the insect's numbers. The potential reproductive capacity of flies is tremendous, but fortunately can never be realized. It has been stated that a pair of flies beginning operations in April may be progenitors, if all were to live, of 191,010,000,000,000,000,000, flies by August.

House flies visit dung, carrion, and offal of all kinds and naturally they pick up bacteria and viruses. They therefore act as carriers of diseases and are wholly undesirable from a hygienic viewpoint. More than 100 pathogens associated with the house fly may cause disease in humans and animals, including typhoid, cholera, bacillary dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax ophthalmia and infantile diarrhea, as well as parasitic worms. Pathogenic organisms are picked up by flies from garbage, sewage and other sources of filth, and then transferred on their mouthparts and other body parts, through their vomitus, faeces and contaminated external body parts to human and animal food. In addition they can be intensely irritating when they occur in great swarms, settling on man and beast alike.

Besides being a nuisance, it is a prime carrier of disease. Its entire body swarms with millions of bacteria. Typhus, dysentery, tuberculosis, and poliomyelitis are only a few of the illnesses for which it is a carrier. General cleanliness have had a marked effect in controlling the insect's numbers. Good sanitation is the basic step in any fly management program. Food and materials on which the flies can lay eggs must be removed, destroyed as a breeding medium, or isolated from the egg-laying adult. Fly traps may be useful in some fly control programs if enough traps are used, if they are placed correctly, and if they are used both indoors and outdoors. House flies are attracted to white surfaces and to baits that give off odors. Indoors, ultraviolet light traps collect the flies inside an inverted cone or kill them with an electrocuting grid. With the increasing incidence of insecticide resistant house fly populations, rising costs of insecticides and a growing public concern about actual or potential problems associated with insecticides, interest in alternative house fly control strategies has increased. When the house fly is a mayor pest in commercial egg production facilities, the control of this insect is by the application of adulticides, or larvicides to directly or indirectly suppress adult densities. Residual wall sprays can be applied where the flies congregate. Resistance to permethrin develops more rapidly in fly populations from farms on a continuous permethrin regime than in farms in which permethrin and diclorvos have been alternated.

Albatross: amazing gliding animal

Posted by WishbonE at 1:13 AM

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

  • An albatross can sleep while flying.
  • An albatross can glide for up to six days in mid-air without beating it's wings, and that it can take a nap while doing so,
  • Wide-winged and long-lived, albatrosses are rarely seen on land, preferring to stay out on the ocean except to mate and raise their young.
  • One Laysan albatross, tracked by biologists at Wake Forest University, flew more than 24,843 miles in flights across the North Pacific to find food for its chick in just 90 days — a flight distance equivalent to circling the globe.
  • Albatross can live up to 80 years.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Diomedeidae

Contrary to popular belief, albatrosses do not sleep while flying. They sleep on the ocean surface.
Albatrosses are efficient long-distance flyers. Rather than flapping their wings to provide lift as most birds do, they glide on air currents. For every meter they drop while gliding, they can travel forward 22 meters. When their wings are fully extended, they are locked into place by a tendon so that the albatross does not have to expend energy keeping its wings outstretched.
Albatrosses feed primarily on squid or schooling fish, but are familiar to mariners because they sometimes follow ships in hopes of dining on handouts or garbage.

The albatrosses are a group of large to very large birds; they are the largest of the procellariiformes. The bill is large, strong and sharp-edged, the upper mandible terminating in a large hook. This bill is composed of several horny plates, and along the sides are the two "tubes", long nostrils that give the order its former name. The tubes of all albatrosses are along the sides of the bill, unlike the rest of the Procellariiformes where the tubes run along the top of the bill.
These feathered giants have the longest wingspan of any bird—up to 11 feet (3.4 meters)! The wandering albatross is the biggest of some two dozen different species. Albatrosses use their formidable wingspans to ride the ocean winds and sometimes to glide for hours without rest or even a flap of their wings. They also float on the sea's surface, though the position makes them vulnerable to aquatic predators. Albatrosses drink salt water, as do some other sea birds.

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