Dead Monitor Lizard Decomposition Time Lapse


This video says about itself:

Monitor Lizard Decomposition Time Lapse – BBC Earth

8 October 2017

When an animal dies its body becomes food for a whole host of species. Watch as this monitor lizard decomposes using time-lapse photography.

Advertisements

Chameleon tongue slow motion video


This video says about itself:

Shooting Chameleon Tongue In Super Slow Motion – BBC Earth

18 August 2017

In super slow motion you can see how a chameleon’s tongue is such a formidable weapon.

Blue lizards less scared of humans with blue T-shirts


This video says about itself:

California Wildlife — Western Fence Lizard, “push-ups”, blue neck/undersides

20 August 2014

Ronald Caspers Wilderness Park, San Juan Capistrano, Orange County, California, USA.

From PLOS:

The color of people’s clothing affects lizard escape behavior

Lizards with blue patches tolerate closer approaches when people wear dark blue T-shirts

August 9, 2017

The color of T-shirts people wear affects escape behavior in western fence lizards, according to a study published August 9, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Breanna Putman from University of California, Los Angeles and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, U.S.A., and colleagues.

Animals often see people as predators, and animal behavior can be affected by nuanced aspects of human behavior including gaze direction, camera shutter noise, and clothing color. For example, several species of birds with orange or red body patches are more tolerant of people wearing orange or red. This tolerance has been explained by the species confidence hypothesis, which suggests that birds are less fearful of colors found on their own bodies. However, most of these bird studies tested responses to observers wearing bright orange versus dark gray, making it impossible to determine whether the birds responded to the color itself or to its detectability against the background environment.

Putman and colleagues tested the species confidence hypothesis further on western fence lizards in Southern California. Males of this species communicate with blue patches on the abdomen and throat. Putman wore T-shirts of different colorsm dark blue, light blue, red and gray, and measured how close she could approach lizards before they fled. After they fled, she determined how easy they were to catch. She approached lizards that were already used to human presence as well as lizards that had little experience with humans in their protected nature reserve. Altogether, she did nearly 30 trials for each T-shirt color. In addition, the researchers used reflectance spectroscopy to determine the conspicuousness of the T-shirts in the environment.

Irrespective of the lizard’s previous interactions with human, the study found that western fence lizards are preferentially biased toward dark blue, supporting the species confidence hypothesis. Notably, lizards fled at shorter distances when Putman wore dark blue than when she wore red (an average of roughly 100 versus 200 centimeters, respectively). In addition, she captured lizards about twice as often when wearing dark blue than when wearing red (84% versus about 40% of the time, respectively). Importantly, because the pattern by which lizards fled from different colored T-shirts does not associate with their conspicuousness (based on spectral sensitivities), this suggests that they are responding to color and not detectability.

The researchers suggest that the colors scientists wear in the field could affect ease of capture as well as behavior of study species. Moreover, the colors ecotourists and hikers wear could minimize disturbances to animals, which is critical because fleeing long distances when there is no threat could have fitness consequences. As Breanna Putman says: “What we wear can have indirect effects on animals through changes in their behavior.”

Three chameleon species discovered in Africa


This video says about itself:

West Usambara Blade-horned Chameleon (Kinyongia multituberculata) in situ.

8 August 2015

Taken with Canon eos 70D at Irente Biodiversity Reserve, West Usambara Mtns. Tanzania.

From the University of Texas at El Paso in the USA:

Three chameleon species discovered

June 19, 2017

University of Texas at El Paso doctoral candidate Daniel Hughes liked to catch lizards when he was little, but never imagined he would be catching and discovering new species of chameleons. The Ph.D. candidate in UTEP’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program has discovered three new species of chameleons. The reptile trio, historically thought to be a single species, was found in different parts of the Albertine Rift in Central Africa.

The findings recently were published in Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

“We are hopeful that the formal descriptions of these three endemic chameleon species will be used to increase conservation awareness and galvanize transboundary protection efforts across these irreplaceable regions,” Hughes said.

The specimens were collected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 2009 and 2014, mainly by Hughes’ mentor Eli Greenbaum, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences. The location is rich with biodiversity, but because of political unrest, researchers have been reluctant to go there. Greenbaum has been traveling and conducting research in the area for about 10 years.

“We had this really nice dataset with samples collected all throughout the range of a particular species which meant we could really figure out its true diversity,” Hughes said. “We took to the next step and ultimately described three new species.”

Hughes joined Greenbaum three years ago in the field, and specifically came to UTEP to study under Greenbaum in 2013. The new scientist was able to describe the three new chameleon species after carefully analyzing geographical, morphological, and DNA data; a process that was followed by nearly two years of external confirmation.

Two of the new chameleons, Rugege Highlands Forest Chameleon (Kinyongia rugegensis), and Itombwe Forest Chameleon (Kinyongia itombwensis), are named after the mountain ranges in which they’re found. The third chameleon, Tolley’s Forest Chameleon (Kinyongia tolleyae), is named after herpetologist Krystal Tolley. Tolley, principal scientist at the South African National Biodiversity Institute in Cape Town, South Africa, has contributed significantly to chameleon research and first taught Hughes how to catch chameleons in Uganda.

“I think I went into shock when I found out, but also really happy,” Tolley said. “I have been working on chameleons for many years, and they really are my main topic of research. So to have a species named after me, for a group of animals where I’ve invested most of my research career is such a privilege. I’ve also been lucky enough to actually see this species in Uganda, together with both Danny and Eli. It’s a sassy little thing, which really makes it a good fit.”

Hughes said the Albertine Rift (AR) is not only geologically unique, it also harbors more endemic vertebrate species than any other area of similar size on continental Africa.

“In these remote regions that are sometimes thousands of miles away from many people, it can be hard to relate,” Hughes said. “So, hopefully with our work we can start to bridge that gap to broaden our awareness that everyone’s actions have implications for these species from threatened regions they may never see. If conservation efforts in the various countries of the Albertine Rift cannot rapidly improve, many rare and potentially other new species will be lost.”

There are 206 described species of chameleons on the planet and Hughes hopes to continue finding many more.

“A recent modeling study demonstrated that many habitats in the Albertine Rift, including those where the new species of chameleons are endemic, will likely be destroyed in the coming decades,” Greenbaum said. “As chronicled in my forthcoming book “Emerald Labyrinth: A Scientist’s Adventures in the Jungles of the Congo,” the coming years will almost certainly be the last opportunity to discover new species in the rapidly declining forests of Central Africa.”

Ocellated lizards, new research


This 24 April 2017 video is called Watch how scales change color on real vs. simulated [ocellated] lizard skin.

It says about itself:

The scales on an ocellated lizard change color as the animal ages (more than three years of growth shown in first clip). Circles highlight four instances of color-flipping scales. Blue circles indicate a scale that switches from green to black, the green circle indicates a black to green transformation, and the light blue circle marks a scale that flip-flops from green to black to green. Researchers used a cellular automaton to simulate the adult lizard’s color-swapping scales (second clip), and re-create the labyrinthine patterns that develop on its skin.

From Science News:

The scales of the ocellated lizard are surprisingly coordinated

Lizard grows into its flashy skin using a computer-like process

By Emily Conover

6:00am, April 27, 2017

A lizard’s intricately patterned skin follows rules like those used by a simple type of computer program.

As the ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus) grows, it transforms from a drab, polka-dotted youngster to an emerald-flecked adult. Its scales first morph from white and brown to green and black. Then, as the animal ages, individual scales flip from black to green, or vice versa.

Biophysicist Michel Milinkovitch of the University of Geneva realized that the scales weren’t changing their colors by chance. “You have chains of green and chains of black, and they form this labyrinthine pattern that very clearly is not random,” he says. That intricate ornamentation, he and colleagues report April 13 in Nature, can be explained by a cellular automaton, a concept developed by mathematicians in the 1940s and ’50s to simulate diverse complex systems.

A cellular automaton is composed of a grid of colored pixels. Using a set of rules, each pixel has a chance of switching its shade, based on the colors of surrounding pixels. By comparing photos of T. lepidus at different ages, the scientists showed that its scales obey such rules.

In the adult lizard, if a black scale is surrounded by other black scales, it is more likely to switch than a black one bounded by green, the researchers found. Eventually, the lizards’ scales settle down into a mostly stable state. Black scales wind up with around three green neighbors, and green scales have around four black ones. The researchers propose that interacting pigment cells could explain the color flips.

Computer scientists use cellular automata to simulate the real world, re-creating the turbulent motions of fluids or nerve cell activity in the brain, for example. But the new study is the first time the process has been seen with the naked eye in a real-life animal.

Does this endangered lizard hold the key to fighting superbugs?

Cuba, lizards and world’s smallest hummingbird


This video is called Cuba Playa Larga 2016.

On 13 March 2017 we went from Cayo Coco, where we had been on 12 March, to Playa Larga on the south coast of Cuba.

On Cayo Coco: white ibis (after which the island is named). Black-necked stilts. Short-billed dowitchers. Tricoloured heron. Snowy egret. Flamingos flying.

White pelicans.

At a restaurant in central Cuba: Cape May warbler.

Anolis lizard, on 13 March 2017

There were anolis lizards on the inside of the thatched roof of the restaurant.

Anolis lizard, Cuba on 13 March 2017

Cuban emerald hummingbirds were present as well. So were Cuban grassquits: they live only in Cuba and in the Bahamas.

At 17:30, we stopped at a place not far from the Zapata peninsula.

Bee hummingbird, 13 March 2017

The smallest bird in the world, the bee hummingbird, lives there. The photo shows a male.

Bee hummingbird and flowers, 13 March 2017

The bee hummingbird drank from white flowers. On the branch above it sat a Cuban pewee.

Cuban emerald hummingbird, 13 March 2017

There were also bigger relatives of the bee hummingbird: Cuban emerald hummingbirds, both males and females.

Still bigger: a Cuban oriole.

Stay tuned for more entries about Cuba on this blog!