Rare great Indian bustards seen


This video is called Great Indian Bustard Display.

From Wildlife Extra:

Critically Endangered Great Indian bustards spotted in India

Two Great Indian bustards seen in Karnataka

November 2012. There are thought to be just a few hundred Great Indian bustards left alive in India. They have suffered mostly from hunting and loss of their dry grassland habitat.

According to press reports in India, two Great Indian bustards were seen and photographed near a small village in Karnataka in an area where they haven’t been recorded for 10 years.

Click here to see the reports in The Hindu.

Great Indian Bustard sliding towards extinction – But it isn’t too late: here.

Sea snakes new discovery


This video, from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, is called Shark Vs. Sea Snake.

From Wildlife Extra:

Identical sea snakes are 2 completely different species

Deadly sea snake has a doppelganger

November 2012. Scientists have discovered that the lethal beaked sea snake is actually two species with separate evolutions, which resulted in identical snakes. The University of Queensland’s Associate Professor Bryan Fry said the Australian and Asian beaked sea snakes were originally thought to be from the same species, however, in comparing their DNA, the research team had found these two snakes were unrelated.

Could have been a fatal mistake

“This mixup could have been medically catastrophic, since the CSL sea snake antivenom is made using the venom from the Asian snake based on the assumption that it was the same species,” Associate Professor Fry said.

“Luckily, the antivenom is not only very effective against the Australian new species but actually against all sea snakes since they all share a very stream-lined fish-specific venom.”

Convergent phenotypic evolution phenomenon

Associate Professor Fry said the finding was an example of a situation where two species evolved separately but ended up looking similar, known as the convergent phenotypic evolution phenomenon.

Associate Professor Fry said that the ‘beaked’ morphology of the species could be associated with the extremely specialised niche the snakes occupy, even though both species evolved from different ancestors and were not even close relatives. He added that the two species occupy the same specialised habitat of silt-filled shallows of tropical estuaries throughout the Asian and Australian regions.

Responsible for many deaths

These snakes are responsible for the majority of deaths and injuries to fishermen handling nets in these habitats.

New name

The Asian snake will retain the original name Enhydrina shistosa. Australian beaked sea snake has been given the scientific name [Enhydrina] zweifeli, which identifies the region in New Guinea where it is found. The new snake will be placed in a separate genus to the true Enhydrina genus in a follow up publication that will resolve the complex higher order relationships of sea snakes.

This finding was published in Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution by Associate Professor Fry from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences and colleagues from the University of Adelaide.

This sea snake is unusual as it feeds exclusively on fish eggs: here.

Scottish Conservatives’ double cross logo


Scottish Conservative party old logo

Scottish Conservative party new logo

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Oblivious Scots Tories choose ‘double cross‘ for new logo

Sunday 25 November 2012

Incredulous Scots couldn’t believe their eyes today when the Scottish Conservatives unveiled their new “double cross” logo.

It replaces the tree adopted in 2006 when the party was trying to convince voters that it would pursue green policies.

The Westminster Tory government has largely shirked those commitments.

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said: “There’s something strangely appropriate in the Tories choosing a ‘double cross’ to represent whatever it is they stand for, but I’m not sure it’s what they were aiming for.”

He said that it was understandable the Scots Tories want to distance themselves from Westminster but “a leopard can’t change its spots.”

British government failing in ambition to be ‘greenest ever': here.