Sea urchin video


This is a video about a sea urchin, filmed in Grevelingen lake in the Netherlands.

This specimen is a green sea urchin. Not poisonous, unlike some of its relatives in the Mediterranean.

Jos van Zijl made the video.

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Swallowtail, from chrysalis to butterfly


This video from the Netherlands is about a common yellow swallowtail‘s metamorphosis from pupa to butterfly.

Johan van Zijll made the video on 9 April 2014.

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Dutch bird, mammal and caterpillar news


This video is about black terns in the Netherlands.

Dutch conservation organisation Zuid-Hollands Landschap, in their annual report about 2013, mention not only birds of the Zandmotor island, but also birds and other wildlife elsewhere.

In their nature reserves in the Krimpenerwaard region, numbers of black tern nests rose to 76 last year.

In the Zouweboezem reserve, purple heron nests rose from 149 in 2012 to 152 in 2013.

On the Groene Strand beach on Voorne island, there were 284 nesting black-headed gull couples. Figures for other species there: common tern: 196; redshank: 4; ringed plover: 3; little ringed plover: 6; avocet: 17; oystercatcher: 7.

In the sand dunes of Goeree island, more to the south, rare tundra voles were discovered. Other small mammal species in those dunes: wood mouse; common shrew; and greater white-toothed shrew.

In the Voorhofsche polder, near Waddinxveen, in 2013 there were 45 black-tailed godwit nests; 34 northern lapwing nests; and 12 redshank nests. Common terns and tufted ducks nested there as well.

And in Staelduin nature reserve, a caterpillar was found of the rare sycamore moth.

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Hummingbirds and tanagers in Costa Rica


Brown violet-ear, 20 March 2014

In the morning of 20 March 2014 at Arenal observatory in Costa Rica, there were not only woodpeckers and bananaquits, but also, like at many other places in Costa Rica, hummingbirds. Eg, this brown violet-ear.

Brown violet-ear flying, 20 March 2014

Scaly-breasted hummingbird, 20 March 2014

And scaly-breasted hummingbirds.

Palm tanager, 20 March 2014

Also, a palm tanager.

Brown jay, 20 March 2014

The feeders attracted brown jays as well.

Two laughing falcons flying past.

A white-throated thrush.

A buff-throated saltator.

A sulphur-bellied flycatcher.

A male green honeycreeper.

Bay-headed tanager, 20 March 2014

A bay-headed tanager.

Golden-hooded tanager, 20 March 2014

And a golden-hooded tanager.

A black-striped sparrow.

A social flycatcher.

It stops raining. We walk around.

Garden emerald female, 20 March 2014

A garden emerald hummingbird sitting on a bush; then, flying.

A yellow-bellied elenia.

A house wren on the ground.

A variable seedeater.

A chestnut-sided warbler. And a fellow migrant from North America: a Tennessee warbler.

A black-cowled oriole.

A great kiskadee.

A white-necked jacobin hummingbird.

After that small bird, a bigger one: a keel-billed toucan; the second biggest toucan species of Costa Rica.

A hepatic tanager.

A grey-capped flycatcher.

Leaf-mimicking praying mantis, 20 March 2014

As we go back, a special insect: a leaf-mimicking praying mantis. Very probably, the genus Choeradodis. Probably, the species Choeradodis rhomboidea.

Lake Arenal, 20 March 2014

White-collared swifts flying above the lake. Though this is a big species for a swift, they were still too small and too far away to show on the photo.

A turkey vulture flying.

Rufous-tailed hummingbird, 20 March 2014

We started this blog post with a hummingbird. And now we finish it with another one: a rufous-tailed hummingbird.

Stay tuned, as there will be more about Costa Rica on 20 March 2014.

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David Cameron stung by jellyfish


This video is called Vicious Beauties – The Secret World Of The Jelly Fish.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday

David Cameron is reportedly recovering today after being stung by a jellyfish as he relaxed on a luxury holiday on the Spanish island of Lanzarote.

According to reports the Prime Minister ignored warnings from locals after they spotted a number of the stinging marine animals at the island’s Arrieta beach.

The Daily Mirror reported that tourists saw him suddenly run from the water rubbing his arm and yelling: “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!”

Tourists told the newspaper that Mr Cameron came running out of the water immediately in his blue swimming trunks and rubbing his arm.

Local ex-pat Wendy, 59, told the newspaper that one of her friends warned Mr Cameron the sea was full of jellyfish.

“Everyone got out of the water and his kids walked back with their minders around the pier,” she said.

“But then he decided to get back in then suddenly came out shouting in pain after getting stung.”

One Briton on Lanzarote remarked that the traditional cure for a jellyfish sting is to urinate on it. But a Downing Street source told the paper that the sting had not required treatment.

Texel island jellyfish: here.

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British butterflies early this spring


This video from Britain is called Wildlife in our garden.

From Wildlife Extra:

Butterflies have had an early spring into action

Small tortoiseshells not only came out of hibernation a couple of weeks early, they were also seen in incredible numbers compared to previous years

April 2014: UK garden wildlife has sprung into action early this year according to the latest figures from the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) garden birdwatch scheme. This scheme monitors the changing fortunes of birds and other garden wildlife through its network of ‘citizen scientists’. Observations collected by BTO Garden BirdWatchers are analysed by BTO researchers and published in leading journals.

Butterflies demonstrated the most dramatic patterns of emergence. Small tortoiseshells not only came out of hibernation a couple of weeks early, they were also seen in incredible numbers compared to previous years, with 23 percent of Garden BirdWatch gardens reporting them. In comparison, their previous highest emergence peak was 12 percent in 2012.

Brimstone butterflies also had a very good start to the year. The first few individuals were not seen much earlier this year than in previous years but the peak emergence in 2013 was just four percent compared to 21 percent of gardens reporting them in March this year.

Hedgehogs were also seen far earlier in the year than is usual, with the first individuals … being reported during late February, almost a month earlier than was the case in 2013, and up to two weeks earlier than in any of the last five years.

In contrast, amphibians, such as common frog and smooth newt, were not seen earlier than usual, but there appeared to be something of a mass emergence, with a surge in reports from participants’ gardens. From early March, both species were seen in more Garden BirdWatch gardens than they have been for the last five years.

Clare Simm, from tBTO’s Garden BirdWatch team, commented: “As you can see, Garden BirdWatch is not just about birds. Our volunteers provide us with vital information on other taxa too, helping us to understand how important gardens are as a habitat for all wildlife. It’s too early to tell how the early emergence of these species will affect them, but it is an exciting contrast to the patterns of emergence that we saw last year.”

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New sponge species discovery in the Pacific


This video from California in the USA says about itself:

Four new species of carnivorous sponges: Adapting to life in the deep sea

14 April 2014

This video describes four new species of carnivorous sponges from the Northeast Pacific Ocean that were discovered by MBARI scientists. Carnivorous feeding in sponges is an adaption to the food poor deep-sea environment, where filter feeding — the typical way sponges feed — is energetically expensive. Instead, these sponges trap small crustaceans with microscopic hooks. Once trapped, sponge cells mobilize, engulf the prey, and rapidly digest it. In addition to consuming small crustacean prey, one of these species appears to be consuming methane-oxidizing chemosynthetic bacteria.

For more information visit here.

From Wildlife Extra:

Four new species of killer sponges discovered

April 2014: Four new species of carnivorous (killer) sponges living on the deep seafloor, from the Pacific Northwest to Baja California have been discovered by scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

It was only discovered that some sponges are carnivorous about 20 years ago. Unlike other sponges most carnivorous sponges do not have specialised cells called choancytes, whose whip-like tails move continuously to create a flow of water which brings food to the sponge. Therefore these sponges, explains lead marine biologist Lonny Lundsten “trap larger, more nutrient-dense organisms, like crustaceans, using beautiful and intricate microscopic hook.”

These animals look more like bare twigs or small shrubs covered with tiny hairs. But the hairs consist of tightly packed bundles of microscopic hooks that trap small animals such as shrimp-like amphipods. Once an animal becomes trapped, it takes only a few hours for sponge cells to begin engulfing and digesting it. After several days, all that is left is an empty shell.

The four new sponges are named as Asbestopluma monticola, (which was collected from the top of the extinct underwater volcano Davidson Seamount off the coast of central California), Asbestopluma rickets (named after the marine biologist Ed Ricketts), Cladorhiza caillieti, (found on recent lava flows along the Juan de Fuca Ridge, a volcanic ridge offshore of Vancouver Island), and Cladorhiza evae, which was found far to the south, in a newly discovered hydrothermal vent field along the Alarcon Rise, off the tip of Baja California.

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Orchids, dippers and tarantula in Costa Rica


Maxillaria ringens, 19 March 2014

The morning of 19 March 2014 on Costa Rica. There were not only orchids along the mountain road yesterday, but in the cloud forest today as well. Like Maxillaria ringens on the photos.

Maxillaria ringens orchid, 19 March 2014

Flower, 19 March 2014

And other species.

Before we went to the cloud forest, a rufous-collared sparrow singing. Hummingbirds at the feeders.

A flock of three-striped warblers on a bush.

A bright-rumped attila in a tree.

A monarch butterfly on flowers.

Chestnut-capped brush finch, adult, 19 March 2014

Like yesterday, a chestnut-capped brush finch.

Inca dove, 19 March 2014

An Inca dove.

Central American agouti, 19 March 2014

And a Central American agouti.

Tarantula, 19 March 2014

This tarantula is of the Brachypelma genus.

Butterfly, Costa Rica, 19 March 2013

About this butterfly, I don’t even know the genus.

Magenta-throated woodstar, 19 March 2014

A male magenta-throated woodstar hummingbird flying. A species which lives only in Costa Rica and Panama.

In the forest, a ruddy-capped nightingale thrush on a branch.

A spotted woodcreeper climbs up a tree trunk.

A tufted flycatcher in a tree.

An American dipper on a rock in the stream.

A sulphur-bellied flycatcher.

American dipper, 19 March 2014

11:35. Two American dippers on rocks in the stream. Unfortunately, just at a time when the camera was acting up. So, just this one photo.

We left, to the Arenal volcano.

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Endangered North American butterfly fights back against climate change


This video is called The Endangered Quino Checkerspot Butterfly.

From Wildlife Extra:

Endangered butterfly fights back against climate change

April 2014: The endangered Quino Checkerspot butterfly, found in Mexico and California, is defying climate change by adapting both its habitat and diet, a study has revealed.

The butterfly suffered dramatic population collapses during the last century along the southern edge of its range in Baja California as a result of climate change and agricultural and urban development.

But rather than heading toward extinction the butterfly has adapted to the changing climate by shifting to a higher altitude and changing its host plant to a completely new species.

Other species have been seen changing either habitat or diet to cope with a changing climate but the Quino Checkerspot may be amongst the first butterfly species to change both.

Professor Camille Parmesan from Plymouth University, explained:

“Quino today is one of the happy ‘surprises’, having managed to adapt to climate change by shifting its centre of abundance to higher elevation and onto a plant species that was not previously known to be a host.”

See also here. And here. And here.

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