Christ Grootzwagers made this video of Alpine salamanders mating.
This video says about itself:
The fossil of two froghopper insects in the act of mating has been uncovered by archaeologists in northeastern China after being buried for around 165 million years.
From World Science:
Bizarre parasite from Jurassic found
June 25, 2014
Courtesy of the University of Bonn and World Science staff
Researchers from the University of Bonn and from China have discovered a fossil fly larva with such a spectacular sucking apparatus, they have named it by the Chinese word for “bizarre.”
Around 165 million years ago, a spectacular parasite was at home in the freshwater lakes of present-day Inner Mongolia in China, researchers say. It was a juvenile fly with a thorax, or “chest,” formed entirely like a sucking plate.
With it, the animal could stick to salamanders and suck their blood with its mouthparts formed like a sting, according to scientists. To date no insect is known with a similar design. The international scientific team is now presenting its findings in the journal eLIFE.
The parasite, a long fly larva around two centimeters (a bit under an inch) long, had undergone extreme changes over the course of evolution, the researchers said. The head is tiny in comparison to the body, tube-shaped with piercer-like mouthparts at the front. The mid-body, or thorax, has been completely transformed underneath into a gigantic sucking plate; the hind-body, or abdomen, has caterpillar-like legs.
The research team believes that this unusual animal lived in a landscape with volcanoes and lakes what is now northeastern China around 165 million years ago. In this fresh water habitat, they say, the parasite crawled onto passing salamanders, attached itself with its sucking plate, and penetrated the thin skin of the amphibians in order to suck blood from them.
“The parasite lived the life of Reilly,” said paleontologist Jes Rust from the University of Bonn. This is because there were many salamanders in the lakes, as fossil finds at the same location near Ningcheng in Inner Mongolia (China) have shown. “There scientists had also found around 300,000 diverse and exceptionally preserved fossil insects,” said the Chinese scientist Bo Wang, a postdoctoral researcher in paleontology at the University of Bonn.
The larva, which has received the scientific name of Qiyia jurassica, however, was a quite unexpected find. “Qiyia” in Chinese means “bizarre”; “jurassica” refers to the Jurassic period to which the fossils belong. A fine-grained mudstone ensured the good state of preservation of the fossil.
After the birds and flowers on the biodiversity day on 31 May 2014, to small animals living in water. Like the flatworm on this photo. This worm was photographed on a small egg spoon with water on it. A macro lens was really necessary to photograph a tiny animal like this. Research still has to find out which flatworm species this is.
Many small animals were caught with a landing net in the ditch near the allotment gardens. Water is rather clean there, so much biodiversity.
And a saucer bug as well.
There were nymphs of various damselfly species.
Crustaceans were represented by an aquatic sowbug.
And mollusks by a common bladder snail.
Meanwhile, a reed warbler sang.
There were various, still small, common newt larvae.
Not in the ditch, but in reed beds along the ditch: a beetle species, Donacia vulgaris.
Edible frog sound.
A water mite. One of scores of species in this ditch.
Finally, a great silver water beetle larva.
After the research, all animals went back into the ditch.
This video from North America says about itself:
The barred tiger salamander may look cute, but to any insects passing by, it’s a deadly predator.
2014 will be the international Year of the Salamander.
In line with other countries, in 2014 all salamander species will be Dutch Amphibians of the Year.
Dutch 2014 various wildlife species of the year: here.
- Nell’s Blog (clappschamps.wordpress.com)
- Decline in hellbender salamanders linked to human activity (greenfudge.org)
- Giant Amphibians?! (wildatheart2013.wordpress.com)
- California Giant Salamander (itech104samsam.wordpress.com)
- The Salamanders Were Out Today (queenofwildcalifornia.wordpress.com)
- The Mighty Amphibians Group (bwfieldbiology.wordpress.com)
- Spotted Salamander (lizaschim.wordpress.com)
9 December 2013. To the botanical garden orchid collection.
We met Ed de Vogel at the recently restored hothouse complex of the botanical garden. The banana plants were flowering.
Eleven plant species are named after De Vogel. also two species of seashells; which he studied before specializing in botany.
He said that now, about 3000 New Guinea orchid species are known. Maybe still a thousand species there are unknown yet.
De Vogel estimates that, all over the world, there are about 30,000 orchid species; a higher estimate than Wikipedia, which estimates, at least today, “between 21,950 and 26,049″ species. De Vogel’s estimate makes orchids the biggest flowering plant family; more numerous than Asteraceae.
Most orchids are epiphytes, growing on shrubs, or high in trees. A minority, including all species native to the Netherlands, grow on ground level.
One of the species in the hothouses is Grammatophyllum speciosum, the biggest orchid species in the world.
A bit further, a related species: Dendrobium spectabile.
In all the botanical garden hothouses together, there are about 3000 orchid species; some not yet described. Mainly from South East Asia; making Leiden botanical garden the garden with most South East Asian orchids in the world.
Bulbophyllum medusae is flowering. Various orchids flower in the hothouses throughout the year; never all at once.
Dendrobium victoria-reginae is originally from the Philippines. It was named after Queen Victoria of England.
In a small aquarium in the non-accessible part of the building, many small fish. And three axolotl salamanders: two whitish, one brownish. Will they be exhibited in a bigger aquarium, visible for the public, again, like before the reconstruction of the hothouses. Yes, says Ed de Vogel.
This video says about itself:
Axolotl salamanders continue to intrigue researchers
15 June 2011
Students and professors at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois are studying axolotl salamanders. They are trying to discover why some of the salamanders appear to hold air in their lungs while continuing to get oxygen through their gills. The lungs full of air make the salamanders float to the surface, and the students call them “Floaters.”
- Botanical garden orchids, parakeets and jays (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- New orchid species discoveries on Azores volcano (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Rarest Orchid Species Rediscovered! Recognized After 173 Years (designntrend.com)
- Orchids in Ceramic Art (firingtheimagination.wordpress.com)
This video from the Center for Biological Diversity in the USA says about itself:
20 nov 2013
We love hellbenders. But they’re not the cuddliest of species, with their slimy bodies that look like the 2-foot-long lovechild of phlegm and a rock. Actually these critters — also called (by people not on the Center’s staff) “devil dogs” and “snot otters” — are pretty much a PR nightmare for anyone trying to fight off their extinction due to water pollution and dams. The rallying cry “Save the Snot Otter” doesn’t always go over well.
Happily for the hellbender, a band from St. Louis is now doing this salamander justice through song. They may yet make a rock ‘n’ roll legend out of North America’s largest amphibian.
We think there are few things more rockin’ than raising a little hellbender.
HELLBENDER: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
DESCRIPTION: Hellbenders are considered to be living fossils because they have changed so little over time. They are large, stout-bodied, fully-aquatic salamanders that grow to be two feet long with brown, grey or black skin with lighter markings. Hellbenders have flattened bodies and heads that allow them to cling to the river bottom, as well as a rough pad on their toes for traction on slick rocks. They have paddle-like tails for swimming, and numerous folds of fleshy skin for oxygen absorption. Their eyes are small, without lids, and their skin secretes toxic slime to ward off predators.
HABITAT: This salamander occurs in rocky, clear creeks and rivers, usually where there are large shelter rocks. It generally avoids water warmer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Males prepare nests and attend eggs beneath large, flat rocks or submerged logs.
RANGE: This species is found in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The Ozark subspecies is found only in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.
MIGRATION: The hellbender does not migrate.
BREEDING: Hellbender breeding is aquatic. Males may move short distances within their home ranges to brooding sites. The breeding season is variable but occurs mainly in September and October; a male prepares a nest by moving gravel to create a saucer-shaped depression, then depositing 200-400 eggs in the depression. The male fertilizes the eggs and guards the nests until the young are about three weeks old.
LIFE CYCLE: Newly hatched larvae are approximately 1.2 inches long. Development is rapid, and hatchlings double their size in the first year. Larvae normally lose their external gills in the second summer after hatching. Hellbenders reach sexual maturity at five to six years and may live as long as 30 years.
FEEDING: Crayfish are the most important food items for hellbenders, but the salamanders’ diet also includes fish, insects, earthworms, snails, tadpoles, fish eggs, other hellbenders and other hellbenders’ eggs.
THREATS: This species is mainly threatened by poor water quality, unsustainable collection for the pet trade and scientific purposes, persecution by anglers, disease caused by chytrid fungus, stocking of predatory fish and loss of genetic diversity.
POPULATION TREND: The hellbender is declining throughout its range. The Ozark hellbender in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas is in especially alarming decline.
May 4, 2004 — The Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list 225 candidate species, including the Ozark hellbender.
April 20, 2010 — The Center petitioned to list 404 aquatic, riparian and wetland species in the southeastern United States as threatened or endangered, including the hellbender.
September 8, 2010 — The Service issued a proposed rule to list the Ozark hellbender as endangered but refused to designate critical habitat.
November 8, 2010 — The Center filed comments with the Fish and Wildlife Service urging the Service to designate critical habitat for the Ozark hellbender.
July 12, 2011 — The Center reached a landmark agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service compelling the agency to move forward in the protection process for 757 species, including the Ozark and eastern hellbenders.
October 5, 2011 — The Service issued a final rule listing the Ozark hellbender as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act as part of our 757 species agreement.
January 31, 2013 — The Center and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agencies’ failure to protect the Ozark hellbender, Hine’s emerald dragonfly, Tumbling Creek cavesnail and two endangered mussels on Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest, where logging, road use and other activities are polluting waterways.
Two new species of mini-salamander discovered in Colombia: here.
- Hellbenders good for Ohio waterways (ohio.com)
- ODNR brings back endangered amphibian (newsnet5.com)
- Inmates work with Ohio zoo restore salamander (crescent-news.com)
- Unknown Danger: Large and Slimy Salamander (sierraclub.typepad.com)
- Changing Public Attitudes towards Wildlife with Education and Outreach (wildlifesnpits.wordpress.com)
- The first plant recovered under the Endangered Species Act…Drumroll please! (usfwsnortheast.wordpress.com)
From Wildlife Extra:
Odd location for wildlife – More newts in a dog bowl again
Smooth and palmate newts appear in a dog bowl!
October 2013. The Wildlife Extra office is near a large pond, and there is plenty of wildlife in and around that pond, but we were taken aback in August when two small, immature newts appeared in the dog’s water bowl that sits outside our front door. We relocated the newts to the edge of the pond, but 2 months later, we now have 4 small newts in the dog bowl, apparently 3 palmate newts and a smooth newt.
Newts actually spend much of their year on dry land, so it isn’t unusual to see them away from the pond, but how and why they ended up in the dog’s water bowl is a mystery.
Even more surprising, it appears that they are two different types of newt; a smooth newt and a palmate newt! Once we had taken a couple of pictures, we released the newts back into the wild (before a dog could drink them.).
This video from Britain is called Palmate Newt displaying to a female.
- 33% of the newts of my country (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Salamander Figures: Iberian Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl) (galileoramos.wordpress.com)
- Rich wetland site on Brown Clee (shropshirewildlifetrust.wordpress.com)
- Newts (betweentheweave.wordpress.com)
- 9th to 15th September 2013 (lyciellaentomology.wordpress.com)
- The Amazing World of Salamanders (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- The wetlands and its creatures (wildlifecorrespondentmhp.wordpress.com)
This video from the USA says about itself:
A nationwide group is working to save the declining Hellbender species and hopes it can rally others to do the same. Hellbenders are North America’s largest salamander, typically 11-24 inches long with flat green or brown bodies that have noticeable wrinkles on the sides. They are long-lived and spend up to 30 years under flat rocks in rivers and streams across Appalachia, parts of the Midwest and the northern tips of several southern states.
But the eastern hellbender is endangered in five states, and protected or of special concern in many others. This video shows how a team from several state, national, and university groups (including Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources) are working together with the goal of increasing the Hellbender population in Indiana. For more information, visit: http://www.helpthehellbender.org.
By Jennifer Viegas in the USA:
Loch Ness Monster-Like Reptile Returns to NY
Sorry, Ms Viegas, a hellbender is an amphibian; not a reptile.
The researchers and their colleagues raised the Eastern hellbenders from eggs collected in the Allegheny River.
Eastern hellbenders, also known as devil dogs, Allegheny alligators and snot otters, are among the world’s largest salamanders. They can grow to around 2 feet in length. (The world’s two largest salamanders, the Japanese giant salamander and the Chinese hellbender, can both grow up to six feet long).
“The hellbender is an important part of our state’s aquatic biodiversity and it’s clear that we have to take dramatic steps to ensure its continued presence in New York,” Patricia Riexinger, Director of the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said in a press release.
According to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, the big salamanders have been in decline due to pollution in their aquatic habitat and damming of rivers and streams, which lowers the dissolved oxygen content and eliminates some of their habitat. Siltation of streams and rivers resulting from agricultural practices and construction work, such as bridges and roadwork, is yet another problem.
Another issue is “the unintentional or intentional and senseless killing by fishermen who accidentally catch hellbenders and erroneously fear that they are venomous.”
Let’s face it. The Eastern hellbender won’t win any beauty contests. They have flattened heads and bodies, small eyes, and slimy, wrinkly skin. They are typically a brown or reddish-brown color with a pale underbelly. Their tails feature a narrow edge that helps to propel them through water.
But the Eastern hellbender is a gentle creature that spends most of its time searching for crayfish, insects, small fish and other prey. Studies show that it doesn’t favor game fish, so there’s no real conflict with humans.
It is actually a good sign to spot one, since studies show hellbenders have a preference for clean streams and rivers. When they are around, it’s generally an indication that water quality is very good.
Indiana and other states are home to hellbenders too, as you can see in this video [top of the post].
- 38 salamanders from Bronx Zoo released back into the wild… of western New York state (nydailynews.com)
- Zoo releases salamanders into western NY streams (sfgate.com)
- Rustling River Monsters for Science (pbs.org)
- What’s Swimming In The River? Just Look For DNA (npr.org)
- 12 Facts About Hellbender Salamanders (pbs.org)
- 170 Million Year Old Barometer For River Water Quality (raxacollective.wordpress.com)
- Rarely seen hellbenders subject of ongoing investigation (triblive.com)
- Unknown Danger: Large and Slimy Salamander (sierraclub.typepad.com)