Wall lizard on Texel island


This is a wall lizard video from Italy.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Lizard discovered on Texel – 26-08-14

There are no lizards on Texel. So, Texel man Hans van Garderen looked surprised when he found one in his home in Den Burg town. The animal was missing part of his tail, but looked healthy overall. He sent pictures of his special discovery to Ecomare biologist Pierre Bonnet. To find out which type it was precisely, Bonnet asked experts in the field of reptiles. According to RAVON staff member Annemarie van Diepenbeek it’s probably a young wall lizard.

Stony environment

Wall lizards are found in rocky environments in France and neighboring countries in southern Europe. In the Netherlands this species lives in one place, in Maastricht. Texel is not a suitable habitat for a wall lizard. They love a stony environment and not all that sand! Sand lizards do live on Terschelling and Vlieland, and on Terschelling, also the viviparous lizard. These species would also be able to live on Texel, but then you would expect them in the dunes, not in a house in Den Burg!

Alone or more of them

To find out whether this is a lone adventurer or whether there might be a population living on the island, Pierre advised Hans to also look in the garden. Among the stones he turned were there plenty of smooth newts, but no lizards. How the wall lizard came to Den Burg is unknown. It was probably taken along by people accidentally. Maybe it hitched a ride from a French campsite.

New snail species discovered in Malaysia, already threatened


This video says about itself:

The Gastropoda or gastropods are a large taxonomic class within the molluscs, a class of animals that are more commonly known as snails and slugs. The class includes snails and slugs of all kinds and all sizes.

From Mongabay.com:

Scientists name new endangered species after the company that will decide its fate

By: Tanya Dimitrova

August 24, 2014

Scientists have discovered a new snail species on a limestone hill near a cement quarry in Malaysia, which as far as they know lives nowhere else in the world. The animal’s shell is only one tenth of an inch in size. “Narrow endemic species are a common occurrence on limestone hills,” Jaap Vermeulen, lead author of the new study, told mongabay.com. “A good biologist can quite easily discover several species of endemic invertebrates on an isolated, unsurveyed hill.”

Although just unearthed, the miniscule snail is already threatened with extinction. It lives on a limestone hill called Kanthan given as a concession to an international company Lafarge. The cement producer quarries the hill for raw materials. As a result, the snail will be included as Critically Endangered in the next update of the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species.

The scientists who discovered the animal named it Charopa lafargei, after the cement company that will decide its fate.

“I’m not aware of a species threatened with extinction which has been given the name of the company which can determine whether it goes extinct or survives,” said Tony Whitten from Fauna & Flora International.

The new snail is not the only endemic species found on the hill. Kanthan is also home to nine plant species that are on Malaysia’s Red List of Endangered Plants, one Critically Endangered spider (Liphistius kanthan), one gecko (Cyrtodactylus guakanthanensis) and two snails (Opisthostoma trapezium and Sinoennea chrysalis) that are found nowhere else in the world.

Three bug species discovered, new for Texel island


This video is called True Bugs.

Today, warden Erik van der Spek, on Texel island in the Netherlands, writes about bugs.

Recently, biologists discovered three species, new for the island, of this insect group, .

Temnostehus pusillus was found in the Bollekamer nature reserve, in the western dunes.

Rhacognathus punctatus, the heather bug, was discovered in the Horspolder, in the south of Texel.

Cyphostethus tristriatus, juniper shield bug, was found on a juniper shrub in the sand dunes.

This brings the number of Texel bug species to 313; about half of all bug species in the whole Netherlands.

Bugs photos: here.

Sydney spiders bigger than Australian outback spiders


This video from the USA says about itself:

6 June 2011

Get a behind-the-scenes look at this history and creation of this dazzling textile—the only one of its kind in the world—made from the strands of silk from over one million of Madagascar’s golden orb spiders. On view at the Art Institute of Chicago through October 2011.

From Wired magazine:

Cities Are Making Spiders Grow Bigger and Multiply Faster

By Nick Stockton

08.20.14, 2:00 pm

Something about city life appears to be causing spiders to grow larger than their rural counterparts. And if that’s not enough to give you nightmares, these bigger urban spiders are also multiplying faster.

A new study published today in PLOS One shows that golden orb weaver spiders living near heavily urbanized areas in Sydney, Australia tend to be bigger, better fed, and have more babies than those living in places less touched by human hands.

The study’s authors collected 222 of the creatures from parks and bushland throughout Sydney, and correlated their sizes to features of the built and natural landscape. …

To measure urbanization, the authors looked primarily at ground cover throughout the city, at several scales, where they collected each spider: Are surfaces mostly paved? Is there a lack of natural vegetation? Lawns as opposed to leaf litter?

“The landscape characteristics most associated with larger size of spiders were hard surfaces (concrete, roads etc) and lack of vegetation,” said Elizabeth Lowe, a Ph.D student studying arachnids at the University of Sydney.

Humped golden orb weavers are a common arachnid along Australia’s east coast. They get their name from their large, bulging thorax, and the gold silk they use to spin their spherical webs. They typically spend their lives in one place, constantly fixing the same web (which can be a meter in diameter). Each web is dominated by a single female, though 4 or 5 much smaller males usually hang around the edges of the web, waiting for an opportunity to mate (only occasionally does the female eat them afterwards).

Paved surfaces and lack of vegetation mean cities are typically warmer than the surrounding countryside. Orb weavers are adapted to warm weather, and tend to grow bigger in hotter temperatures. The correlation between size and urban-ness manifested at every scale. Citywide, larger spiders were found closer to the central business district. And, their immediate surroundings were more likely to be heavily paved and less shady.

More food also leads to bigger spiders, and the scientists believe that human activity attracts a smorgasbord of orb weavers’ favorite prey. Although the study wasn’t designed to determine exactly how the spiders were getting bigger, the researchers speculate that things like street lights, garbage, and fragmented clumps of plant life might attract insects. They also believe that the heat island effect might let urban spiders mate earlier in the year, and might even give them time to hatch multiple broods.

The orb weavers could also be keeping more of what they catch. Because they are such prolific hunters, orb weavers’ webs are usually home to several other species of spiders that steal food. The researchers found that these little kleptos were less common in webs surrounded by pavement and little vegetation.

Lowe says quite a few species of spider are successful in urban areas, and she wouldn’t be surprised if some of these other species were also getting bigger. Despite how terrifying this sounds, she assures me that this is actually a good thing. “They control fly and pest species populations and are food for birds,” she said.

Great reed warbler, Eurasian reed warbler ringed, photos


Great reed warbler and Eurasian reed warbler, Oostvaardersplassen, 23 August 2014

This is a photo of a great reed warbler, and of a smaller Eurasian reed warbler, in a bird ringer‘s hands at a ringing station of Dutch SOVON ornithologists in Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in the Netherlands, on 23 August 2014. Like all pictures in this blog post, it is a cellphone camera photo.

Before I will tell you why these two birds are so special, I will tell how we got there.

Walking to the ringing place, we saw a red fox.

A sand martin flying past.

Then, we arrived at the bird ringing. Something really special: a great reed warbler had flown into the ringers’ net. This is a really rare species in the Netherlands. It was the ringers’ only great reed warbler of that day. This young bird was born this year, as its feathers showed.

Great reed warbler and Eurasian reed warbler, in Oostvaardersplassen, on 23 August 2014

The Eurasian reed warbler in the ringer’s other hand was an adult bird. Maybe two years old, maybe ten.

Great reed warbler with ring, and Eurasian reed warbler, in Oostvaardersplassen, on 23 August 2014

80% of the birds caught on 23 August were Eurasian reed warblers. Only two of them adults; the rest juveniles. Adult reed warblers usually start their migration to Africa earlier than juveniles.

Some other bird species were caught on 23 August: bluethroat; tree pipit; sedge warbler.

After the ringing and making of notes, all birds were freed to continue their long journey to Africa. If one of these birds will ever be found again, than that will contribute to more knowledge about that individual bird and its species; helping with conservation.

Bird ringers' net, Oostvaardersplassen, 23 August 2014

A marsh harrier flew over the ringing station.

What happened, as we walked back from the ringing place? Stay tuned!

Rare plant discovery on Ameland island


Rock sea lavender

Dutch Vroege Vogels radio reports that a flowering plant species, new for the Netherlands, has been discovered on Ameland island.

It is Limonium binervosum, rock sea lavender. This species used to be endemic to Britain and Guernsey, Wikipedia says. And Spain and France, Vroege Vogels says.

Over 100 rock sea lavender plants have been found recently on Ameland, making it the most northerly and easterly place for this species.

See also here.

First ever illustrated world bird checklist published


This video is called Beautiful Birds of the World (Nature Documentary).

From BirdLife:

BirdLife and Lynx publish first ever illustrated world bird checklist

By Adrian Long, Fri, 22/08/2014 – 10:00

Lynx Edicíons and BirdLife International have published the first ever Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. The checklist classification uses new criteria and recognises 462 new species which were previously treated as ‘races’ of other forms. The new total of 4,549 non-passerines implies that previous classifications have undersold avian diversity at the species level by as much as 10%.

As a result today the world has 46 ‘new’ species of parrot, 36 ‘new’ hummingbirds and 26 ‘new’ owls.

The work uses new criteria for determining which taxa qualify as species. These criteria are intended to create a level playing field, by which all bird species can be assessed easily and consistently.

For every bird species in the world there are illustrations and distribution maps, many for the first time. Containing 357 colour plates, 8,290 bird illustrations and 4,428 distribution maps, the first of a two-part comprehensive taxonomic review focuses on non-passerine birds – such as birds of prey, seabirds, waterbirds, parrots and owls.

Many of these prove to be highly threatened, and a few, such as the exotically named ‘Blue-bearded Helmetcrest’ Oxypogon cyanolaemus, may already be extinct.

Moreover, new areas of the world have been spotlighted for conservation action by this assessment. The Brazilian state of Para, containing the last fragments of the easternmost Amazonian rainforest, becomes a greater priority for conservation. Small islands between Indonesia and the Philippines, remote and little studied, become another. And the densely populated island of Java proves to hold many more unique species than were believed before, and urgently need[s] help.

It is a work that represents yet another high point in the careers of two of the most well-known figures in the bird world: Josep del Hoyo (Director of Lynx Edicions, Editor of Handbook of the Birds of the World; HBW, the seminal 17-volume encyclopaedia) and Nigel Collar (Leventis Fellow in Conservation Biology at BirdLife International). Coming at this enterprise from different professional perspectives that mingle knowledge, experience, science and style—del Hoyo making and gathering video footage of living birds around the planet, Collar spending months in various museums in Europe and the USA—they have produced this large but elegant book just four years after agreeing on the collaboration.

This project is really two works in one. It is a complete checklist whose taxonomy incorporates the most up-to-date information and an exhaustive methodology in a systematic and consistent way. At the same time, it contains illustrations and distribution maps for every bird species in the world, many for the first time.

This includes the original artwork from the Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) series, as well as hundreds of new illustrations, all in two compact volumes.

This special book is available here at a “pre-publication” offer price and free shipping worldwide is also available for a limited period

Click here to view sample pages of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.