The Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is a strepsirrhine native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth with a long, thin middle finger to fill the same ecological niche as a woodpecker. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate, and is characterized by its unique method of finding food; it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood and inserts its elongated middle finger to pull the grubs out.
The Aye-aye is the world’s largest nocturnal primate, and dwells predominantly in forest canopies. It weighs about 2.5 kilograms, with the female weighing in slightly less (by an average of 100 grams) than males. Other than weight and sex organs, aye-ayes exhibit no sexual dimorphism of any kind. They all grow from 30-37 cm from head to body, with a 44-53 cm tail.
The adult Aye-aye has black or dark brown fur covered by white guard hairs at the neck. The tail is bushy and shaped like that of a squirrel. The Aye-aye’s face is also rodent-like, the shape of a raccoon’s, and houses bright, beady, luminous eyes. Its incisors are very large, and grow continuously throughout its lifespan. These features contrast its monkey-like body, and are the likely cause of why scientists originally deemed it to be a rodent.
The Aye-aye’s hands are arguably its most unique feature. Much like other primates, it possesses opposable thumbs, but both the hallux and the fingers are long and thin, and appear to be in a curved position somewhat similar to that of a fairy-tale witch when the muscles are relaxed. The middle finger can be up to three times longer than the others.
The Aye-aye lives primarily on the east coast of Madagascar. Its natural habitat is rainforest or deciduous forest, but many live in cultivated areas due to deforesting. Rainforest Aye-ayes, the most common, dwell in canopy areas, and are usually sighted upwards of 700 meters altitude. The Aye-aye sleeps during the day in nests built in the forks of trees.
Tapirs are large browsing mammals, roughly pig-like in shape, with short, prehensile snouts. They inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. All four species of tapir are classified as endangered or vulnerable. Their closest relatives are the other odd-toed ungulates, horses and rhinoceroses.
Although they frequently live in dryland forests, tapirs with access to rivers spend a good deal of time in and under the water, feeding on soft vegetation, taking refuge from predators, and cooling off during hot periods. Tapirs near a water source will swim, sink to the bottom and walk along the riverbed to feed, and have been known to submerge themselves under water to allow small fish to pick parasites off their bulky bodies. Along with fresh water lounging, tapirs often wallow in mud pits, which also helps to keep them cool and free of insects.
In the wild, the tapir’s diet consists of fruit, berries, and leaves, particularly young, tender growth. Tapirs will spend many of their waking hours foraging along well-worn trails, snouts to the ground in search of food. Baird’s Tapirs have been observed to eat around 40 kilograms (85 pounds) of vegetation in one day.
Tapirs are generally shy, but when they are scared they can defend themselves with their very powerful jaws. In 1998, a zookeeper in Oklahoma City was mauled and had an arm severed by a tapir bite, after she attempted to feed the attacking tapir’s young. In 2006, a 46-year-old man (who was the Environmental Minister at the time) who was lost in the Corcovado National Park at Costa Rica was found by a search party with a "nasty bite" from a wild tapir. However, such examples are rare; for the most part, tapirs are likely to avoid confrontation in favor of running from predators, hiding, or, if possible, submerging themselves in nearby water until a threat is gone.
The Philippine Tarsier
The Philippine tarsier, (Tarsius syrichta) is very peculiar small animal. In fact it is one of the smallest known primates, no larger than a adult men’s hand. Mostly active at night, it lives on a diet of insects. Folk traditions sometimes has it that tarsiers eat charcoal, but actually they retrieve the insects from (sometimes burned) wood. It can be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, and Mindanao in the Philippines.
Scientists were conducting fieldwork in the fast-disappearing forests of Madagascar when they found this new species of bat with sticky suckers on its feet and thumbs.
The creature, dubbed Myzopoda schliemanni, uses the adhesive organs to scale the large, broad leaves of tropical plants where it roosts.
Only one other species of this sucker-footed family is known to science, and it too makes its home on the large African island.
That Myzopoda schliemanni seems to have adapted to the devastation is a sorry testament to the state of Madagascar’s forests, the scientists say. But it also suggests that the rare bats could be out of the woods when it comes to their extinction ris
The Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata) is a small North American mole found in eastern Canada and the north-eastern United States. It is the only member of the tribe Condylurini and the genus Condylura.
It lives in wet lowland areas and eats small invertebrates, aquatic insects, worms and molluscs. It is a good swimmer and can forage along the bottoms of streams and ponds. Like other moles, this animal digs shallow surface tunnels for foraging; often, these tunnels exit underwater. It is active day and night and remains active in winter, when it has been observed tunnelling through the snow and swimming in ice-covered streams. Little is known about the social behavior of the species, but it is suspected that it is colonial.
The Star-nosed Mole is covered in thick blackish brown water-repellent fur and has large scaled feet and a long thick tail, which appears to function as a fat storage reserve for the spring breeding season. Adults are 15 to 20 cm in length, weigh about 55 g, and have 44 teeth. The mole’s most distinctive feature is a circle of 22 mobile, pink, fleshy tentacles at the end of the snout. These are used to identify food by touch, such as worms, insects and crustaceans.
The Sun Bear stands approximately 1.2 m (4 ft) in length, making it the smallest member in the bear family. It is often called the "dog bear" because of its small stature. It has a 5 cm (2 in) tail and usually weighs less than 65 kg (145 lb). Males tend to be slightly larger than females; the former normally weigh between 30 and 60 kg (66-132 lb), the latter between 20 and 40 kg (44-88 lb). The Sun Bear possesses sickle-shaped claws that are relatively light in weight. It has large paws with naked soles, probably to assist in climbing. Its inward-turned feet make the bear’s walk pigeon-toed, but it is an excellent climber. It has small, round ears and a stout snout.
Unlike other bears, the Sun Bear’s fur is short and sleek. This adaptation is probably due to the lowland climates it inhabits. Dark black or brown-black fur covers its body, except on the chest where there is a pale orange-yellow marking in the shape of a horseshoe. Similar colored fur can be found around the muzzle and the eyes. This distinct marking gives the sun bear its name.
Lifestyle and reproduction
The Sun Bear does not hibernate and as a result it can reproduce year-round. It is not uncommon for it to give birth to two cubs at a time weighing approximately 10–12 oz (280–340 g) each. The gestation period is about 96 days, but suckling can continue for about 18 months. The offspring reach sexual maturity after 3-4 years, and live up to 28 years in captivity.
As primarily nocturnal creatures, the Sun Bear tends to rest during the day on lower limbs not far above the ground. Because it spends so much time in trees, the Sun Bear can sometimes cause a good amount of damage to private property. It has been known to destroy coconut palms and cocoa trees on plantations.
Sakis, or saki monkeys are small monkeys with long, bushy tails. Their furry, rough skin is black, grey or reddish-brown colored depending upon the species. The faces of some species are naked, but their head is hooded with fur. Their bodies are adapted to life in the trees, with strong hind legs allowing them to make far jumps. Sakis reach a length of 30 to 50 cm, with a tail just as long, and weigh up to 2 kg.
Sakis are diurnal animals. They live in the trees of the rain forests and only occasionally go onto the land. They mostly move on all fours, sometimes running in an upright position on the hind legs over the branches, and sometimes jumping long distances. For sleeping they roll themselves cat-like in the branches. They are generally very shy, cautious animals.
Sakis live in family federations, which consist of parents and their offspring, with mated pairs usually forming lifelong pair bonds. They are territorial animals, defending their territory in relation to other families. Sakis know a set of communication possibilities: while shrill cries or bird-like twitter serves as a connection among family members, a loud roar serves to warn other animals off their territory.
Sakis are omnivores. They eat fruits, leaves, flowers, insects, and small vertebrates, such as rodents and bats.
Mating is non-seasonal, and can happen any time during the year. After approximately 150 to 180 day gestation, females bear single young. The young are weaned after 4 months, and are fully mature in 3 years. Their life expectancy is up to 14 years.
Balaeniceps rex, also known as Whalehead, is a very large bird related to the storks. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill.
The Shoebill is a very large bird, averaging 1.2 metres tall, 5.6 kilograms and a 2.33 metres wingspan. The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.
This species was only discovered in the 19th century when some skins were brought to Europe. It was not until years later that live specimens reached the scientific community. However, the bird was known to both ancient Egyptians and Arabs. There are Egyptian images depicting the Shoebill, while the Arabs referred to the bird as abu markub, which means one with a shoe, a reference to the bird’s distinctive bill.
Shoebills feed in muddy waters, preying on lungfish and similar fish. They nest on the ground and lay 2 eggs.
The population is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in Sudan.
Sloths come from one of the earliest mammalian orders, Xenarthra, and originated about 35 million years ago in the Late Eocene of South America. They are most closely related to armadillos and anteaters. Today, only two genera of sloths with five species exist in South America, whereas there used to be over thirty-five genera of the extinct ground sloths ranging from parts of Antarctica, South America, Central America, Hispaniola, and North America with some even going as far as Alaska.
Modern sloths live upside-down in the forests of South America. Despite their long, sharply curved claws, they are herbivores and mainly eat tree leaves as their teeth are too primitive and weak, due to a lack of enamel, to chew anything else. The claws are part of their adaptation to life in the trees and help them remain sleeping and suspended underneath branches for hours. Sloths are generally nocturnal and move around little when awake. When they do move, it is at a slow and deliberate speed. This slow way of life is necessary to navigate the web of small peripheral tree branches where they feed and is further reflected in their rate of metabolism. Sloths take their sweet time digesting food and consequently, only defecate once or twice in a one week period. The defecation usually takes place at the base of tree where the sloth excavates a spot for it with its short, stubby tail. This event marks one of the rare occasions that sloths will venture to the ground.
The slow or low rate of metabolism in sloths effects their ability to fight off illness. Most sloths have difficulty surviving when in captivity outside of their natural range because they cannot fight off new diseases or adapt to a colder climate. This is unfortunate as three-toed sloths make decent pets, though their status as an endangered species further deters the notion of obtaining one outside of South America. Two-toed sloths, however, would make for poor companions as they tend to have a mean-streak and are quick to bite with their self-sharpening canines.
Pygmy Marmosets are one of the smallest primates and they are the smallest monkey in the world. They have a body length between 12 and 15 cms, a tail length between 17 and 23 cms and they weigh between 100 and 125 g.
Their fur is tawny in colour and they have ringed tails that are at least as long as their body. Much of their time is spent up in the trees and their colouring provides them with camouflage.
They have long, forward turned incisors that are the same length as their canines. They use their specially adapted teeth to gnaw into the bark of trees so they can feed on the sap.
They move quadrupedally and are very agile, active monkeys that are difficult to observe in the wild as they move so quickly through the trees
The proboscis monkey
The proboscis monkey has one of the most unusual appearances of any of the leaf-eating monkeys of the family Cercopithecidae. Both the Latin and common names of this species refer to the mature males’ large pendulous nose that hangs down over their mouth. Local people referred to these large monkeys with their potbellies and red noses as ‘Dutch monkeys‘ as they were considered such a caricature of the Dutch sailors and plantation owners of the area.
Apart from their large noses, male proboscis monkeys are also distinctive by being much larger and heavier than females, and having a bright red, visible penis and black scrotum. The coat is a light brown with red on both the crown of the head and the shoulders; the limbs and tail are grey in colour and there are cream patches on the throat. Infants are born with black fur and a vivid blue face. The cause of the males’ large nose is still a matter of contention but may be a form of sexual selection, with females preferring males with large noses possibly as these enhance their vocalisations.
The red panda, panda being the Nepalese name for "small, cat-like animal," belongs to the order Carnivora. Its classification into a specific order is not complete. Scientists are seeking to resolve the confusion through DNA analysis. Recent studies suggest that red pandas are equally related to three different groups of animals that include skunks, weasels and raccoons. The red panda is the only species in the subfamily Ailurinae.
The red panda is named after the fiery color of its long, soft coat. The coat’s red color serves as camouflage to blend with the red lichen that occurs in fir trees of China. Coloration for the upper parts of the coat are rusty to deep chestnut while the underside is darkest in color. The coat is comprised of long, moisture-shedding guard hairs and a dense undercoat of insulating gray-brown wool. The muzzle, lips, cheeks and ear edges are white, and dark red-brown tear tracks run from the eyes to the corners of the mouth. The limbs and underbelly are glossy dark reddish brown to black. The red panda has a bushy, non-prehensile tail that makes up two thirds the length of its body. The tail is faintly marked with dark red-brown rings.
Thickly furred soles of the feet are adapted for walking on snow and ice. Excellent climbers, red pandas have pinkish-white claws that are half sheathed and semi-retractile. The red panda has an enlarged radial sesamoid bone on its forefoot wrist that is opposite its other digits. This "extra thumb" enables the red panda to grip and hold slender branches and leaves in its forepaws.
Red pandas are primarily crepuscular animals, sleeping and relaxing during the day in trees or fallen logs, and foraging for food on the forest floor at dusk and dawn. When asleep, the red panda curls up on a branch with its nose tucked under a hind limb and its tail. They have also been observed in a sleeping position much like the American raccoon, sitting on a branch with head tucked beneath its chest and between their hind feet. On particularly warm days, red pandas can be seen fully stretched with belly pressed on a limb and legs dangling.
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) or Pichiciego is the smallest species of armadillo (mammals of the family Dasypodidae, mostly known for having a bony armor shell). It is approximately 90-115 mm long excluding the tail, and is pale rose or pink in color. It is found in central Argentina where it inhabits dry grasslands and sandy plains with thorn bushes and cacti. It has the ability to bury itself completely in a matter of seconds if frightened.
The Pink Fairy Armadillo burrows small holes near ant colonies in dry dirt. It feeds mainly on ants and ant larvae near its burrow. Occasionally it feeds on worms, snails, insects and larvae, or various plant and root material.
The Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is an Arctic species of cetacean. It is a creature rarely found south of latitude 70°N. It is one of two species of white whale in the Monodontidae family (the other is the beluga whale). It is possibly also related to the Irrawaddy dolphin.
The English name narwhal is derived from the Dutch name narwal which in turn comes from the Danish narhval which is based on the Old Norse word nar, meaning "corpse." This is a reference to the animal’s colour. The narwhal is also commonly known as the Moon Whale.
In some parts of the world, the Narwhal is colloquially referred to as a "reamfish."
In Inuit language the narwhal is named Tuugaalik.
The most conspicuous characteristic of male narwhal is their single extraordinarily long tusk, an incisor that projects from the left side of the upper jaw and forms a left-handed helix. The tusk can be up to 3 metres long (compared with a body length of 7–8 m) and weigh up to 10 kilograms. About one in 500 males has two tusks, which occurs when the right tooth, normally small, also grows out. Although rare, a female narwhal may also produce a tusk. There is a single recorded case of a female with two tusks.
The purpose of the tusk has been the subject of much debate. Early scientific theories suggested that the tusk was used to pierce the ice covering the narwhal’s Arctic Sea habitat. Others suggested the tusk was used in echolocation. More recently, scientists believed the tusk is primarily used for showmanship and for dominance: males with larger tusks are more likely to successfully attract a mate. This hypothesis was suggested by the activity of "tusking", in which two males rub their tusks together.
However, recent work by a research team led by Martin Nweeia suggests that the tusk may in fact be a sensory organ. Electron micrographs of tusks revealed millions of tiny, deep tubules extending from the tusk’s surface, apparently connecting to the narwhal’s nervous system. While such tubules are present in the teeth of many species, they do not typically extend to the surface of healthy teeth. The exact sensory purpose of the tusk remains unknown, but scientists now hypothesize that it may detect temperature, salinity, pressure, and/or particulate makeup of the water in which the narwhal swims. Unlike the tusks of elephants, narwhal tusks do not regrow if they break off. However if damaged the tusks can repair themselves to a certain extent.
Male narwhals weigh up to 1600 kg, the female around 1000 kg. Most of the body is pale with brown speckles in color, though the neck, head and edges of the flippers and fluke are nearly black. Older animals are usually more brightly colored than younger animals.
The frilled lizard is obviously designed for climbing, it is a large slender species, two thirds of its body length are made up by its tail. It has a brightly coloured (often blue) frill which is most of the time folded against the neck, it may be extended at times of courtship or alarm. This is a relatively dull coloured lizard, a background of grey or brown with irregular darker marks.
Lives in Australia and Papua New Guinea. Eats Gutloaded insects (crickets, locusts, waxworms, morios, etc).
King of the Hungarian livestock guarding dogs, the Komondor, is one of the most unusual breeds. A big muscular dog covered with dense, white cords. This coat protects the dog against the elements and predators . The Komondor is a large dog with males standing at least 27 1/2" at the shoulders, while females must be at least 25 1/2" tall. Occasionally one may see a Komondor as large as 31" or even bigger, but these cases are rare.
While large, the Komondor is not an overly heavy dog. Males usually weigh more than 80 pounds and females more than 60 pounds. Despite its size, the Komondor is astonishingly fast, agile and light on its feet. The quick movement, large size, unique coat and majestic appearance of the Komondor can be awe inspiring. A fearless dog, the Komondor’s main task is to guard flocks of sheep or other livestock against predators such as wolves, coyotes, feral dogs, or human predators. The nature of the Komondor is that of a calm watchful dog who thrives on responsibility.
Komondors need something to watch over. Be it livestock, children, or a cat, a Komondor is happiest when taking responsibility for another’s well-being. As a pet, the Komondor is quiet around the house, unless it perceives a threat to those entrusted to its care. If challenged, the Komondor becomes a fearless protector knocking down an intruder or breaking windows to protect its "flock". In the field, the Komondor is vigilant and trustworthy, reducing losses and even caring for orphans. It is important to remember that the Komondor is, first and foremost, a stock guard dog.
Hagfish are marine craniates of the class Myxini, also known as Hyperotreti. Despite their name, there is some debate about whether they are strictly fish (as there is for lampreys), since they belong to a much more primitive lineage than any other group that is commonly defined fish (Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes). Their unusual feeding habits and slime-producing capabilities have led members of the scientific and popular media to dub the hagfish as the most "disgusting" of all sea creatures.
Hagfish are long, vermiform and can exude copious quantities of a sticky slime or mucus (from which the typical species Myxine glutinosa was named). When captured and held by the tail, they escape by secreting the fibrous slime, which turns into a thick and sticky gel when combined with water, and then cleaning off by tying themselves in an overhand knot which works its way from the head to the tail of the animal, scraping off the slime as it goes. Some authorities conjecture that this singular behavior may assist them in extricating themselves from the jaws of predatory fish. However, the "sliming" also seems to act as a distraction to predators, and free-swimming hagfish are seen to "slime" when agitated and will later clear the mucus off by way of the same travelling-knot behavior.
Hagfish have elongated, ‘eel-like’ bodies, and paddle-like tails. Colours depend on the species, ranging from pink to blue-grey, and may have black or white mottling. Eyes may be vestigial or absent. The hagfish has no true fins or jaws, and has six barbels around its mouth and a single nostril. Instead of vertically articulating jaws like Gnathostomata (vertebrates with jaws), they have a pair of horizontally moving structures with toothlike projections for pulling off food. There are typically short tentacle-like protrusions around the mouth.
Hagfish enter both living and dead fish, feeding on the insides (polychaete marine worms are also prey). While having no ability to enter through skin, they will often enter through current openings such as the mouth, gills or anus. They tend to be quite common in their range, sometimes becoming a nuisance to fishermen by devouring the catch before it can be pulled to the surface. Not unlike leeches, they have a sluggish metabolism and can go months between feedings.
Hagfish average about half a metre (18 inches) in length; Eptatretus goliath is the largest known, with a specimen recorded at 127 cm, while Myxine kuoi and Myxine pequenoi seem to reach no more than 18 cm. An adult hagfish can secrete enough slime to turn a large bucket of water into gel in a matter of minutes.
Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta) is a crustacean discovered in 2005 in the South Pacific Ocean. This decapod, which is approximately 15 cm long, is notable for the quantity of silky blond setae (resembling fur) covering its pereiopods (thoracic legs, including claws). Its discoverers dubbed it the "yeti lobster" or "yeti crab".
The ‘hairy’ pincers contain filamentous bacteria, which the creature may use to detoxify poisonous minerals from the water emitted by the hydrothermal vents where it lives. Alternatively, it may feed on the bacteria, although it is thought to be a general carnivore. Its diet also consists of green algae and small shrimp.
Although it is often referred to as the "furry lobster" outside the scientific literature, Yeti Crab is not a true lobster but is more closely related to squat lobsters and hermit crabs. The term "furry lobster" is more commonly used for the genus Palinurellus.
The Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in superficial appearance.
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of Ecuador, southern Peru, northern Bolivia, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3500 to 5000 meters above sea-level, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike them are not used as beasts of burden but are valued only for their fiber. Alpacas only have fleece fibers, not woolen fibers, used for making knitted and woven items much as sheep’s wool is. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks and coats in other parts of the world. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 22 as classified in America. Alpacas and llamas differ in that llamas have banana shaped ears and long tails and alpacas have straight ears and stubby tails. Aside from these differences, llamas are on average 1-2 feet taller and proportionally bigger than alpacas.
In the textile industry, "alpaca" primarily refers to the hair of Peruvian alpaca, but more broadly it refers to a style of fabric originally made from alpaca hair but now often made from similar fibers, such as mohair, Icelandic sheep wool, or even high-quality English wool.  In trade, distinctions are made between alpacas and the several styles of mohair and luster.
The Axolotl may not a common pet, but it is very unique. The axolotl is a type of salamander, native to Mexico. It’s scientific name is Ambystoma mexicanum. The common pet or laboratory Axolotl refers exclusively to A. mexicanum, although in Mexico the term Axolotl is used in reference to several species of Ambystoma, and is considered an edible food source!
The Axolotl is neotenic, meaning that it doesn’t routinely undergo metamorphosis from the larval to adult form, as happens with most other salamanders. Instead, the larval form (with gills) becomes sexually mature and reproduces, maintaining a strictly aquatic life style. Under some circumstances, the Axolotl can undergo metamorphosis into a terrestrial from, although this can be stressful on the animal.
The Axolotl has amazing regenerative abilities – if injured, even to the point of losing a body part, the Axolotl will heal readily and even regenerate lost bits. They are fairly hardy creatures that can be expected to live up to 10-15 years with attention to proper care, particularly with respect ot water quality. Their skin and gills are very sensitive and quite soft, so handling is not recommended any more than is necessary. Because they can exchange air through moist skin, they can survive outside of water for short periods, as long as their skin is not allowed to dry out.
Juvenile axolotls can be cannibalistic towards each other, so they are best raised in separate enclosures. Adults can potentially be housed together but watch for cannibalistic tendencies. Of course, if a body part gets bitten off by a tank mate, an axolotl can regenerate it over time.
The Angora rabbit is a variety of domestic rabbit bred for its long, soft hair. The Angora is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit, originating in Ankara, Turkey, along with the Angora cat and Angora goat. The rabbits were popular pets with French royalty in the mid 1700s, and spread to other parts of Europe by the end of the century. They first appeared in the United States in the early 1900s. They are bred largely for their long wool, which may be removed by shearing or plucking (gently pulling loose wool).
There are many individual breeds of Angora rabbits, four of which are ARBA recognized. Such breeds include, French, German, Giant, English, Satin, Chinese, Swiss, Finnish, to name a few.
Angoras are bred mainly for their wool because it is silky and soft. Most are calm and docile but should be handled carefully. Grooming is necessary to prevent the fiber from matting and felting on the rabbit. Because they are prone to hairballs, they should be groomed everyday or every other day. A condition "wool block" is common in angora rabbits and should be treated quickly. Sometimes they are shorn in the summer as the long fur can cause the rabbits to overheat.
Also known as the "Grimpoteuthis", is a benthic mollusc found on the ocean floor at depths of 300-400 meters. Dumbo octopuses, which can grow to up to 20 centimeters, are soft-bodied or semi- gelatinous octopuses with a pair of fins located on their mantle and webbing between their arms. Grimpoteuthis swim by moving their fins, pulsing their webbed arms, pushing water through their funnel for jet propulsion, or all three at once. They can swim up off the bottom and hover a bit just above the seafloor looking for snails, worms, and other food.
The blobfish (Fathead, Psychrolutes marcidus) is a fish that inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania. Due to the inaccessibility of its habitat, it is rarely seen by humans.
Blobfish are found at depths where the pressure is several dozens of times higher than at sea level, which would likely make gas bladders inefficient. To remain buoyant, the flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; this allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. The relative lack of muscle is not a disadvantage as it primarily swallows edible matter that floats by in front of it.
Blobfish don’t need muscles – they have a feeding strategy that consists of sitting and waiting for something edible to go by. As well as that, their jelly-like flesh is slightly lighter than water, so they don’t need to expend energy or scarce oxygen to stop themselves from sinking towards the sea floor. This low-density flesh is an alternative to a gas-filled swim bladder, a feature of many fish in less deep waters. However, at 800 metres deep the pressure is about 80 times higher than at sea level, so any gas would be too compressed to serve the purpose. Also in this photograph is a small red snailfish, another deep-water species with a jelly-like layer.
The Emperor Tamarin (Saguinus imperator) is a tamarin allegedly named for its similarity with the German emperor Wilhelm II. The name was first intended as a joke, but has become the official scientific name.
This tamarin lives in the southwest Amazon Basin, in east Peru, north Bolivia and in the west Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas.
The fur of the Emperor Tamarin is predominantly grey colored, with yellowish speckles on its chest. The hands and feet are black and the tail is brown. Outstanding is its long, white mustache, which extends to both sides beyond the shoulders. The animal reaches a length of 24 to 26 cm, plus a 35 cm long tail. It weighs approximately 300 to 400 g.
This primate inhabits tropical rain forests, living deep in the forest and also in open tree-covered areas. It is a diurnal animal, spending the majority of its days in the trees with quick, safe movements and broad jumps among the limbs.
The Emperor Tamarin lives together in groups of two to eight animals. The oldest female leads the group above several mature males. The mutual grooming plays an important role for bonding and socializing. The animals often associate themselves with other tamarins like the Brown-mantled Tamarin. It has various cries which help them to promptly recognize interlopers.
The diet of the Emperor Tamarin is similar to that of other tamarins. It is an omnivore, primarily eating fruits, insects and sap. It also eats bird eggs and small vertebrates (such as tree frogs). Due to its small weight it can reach food at the far end of branches, which are not accessible to heavier animals.
The Emperor Tamarin lives a polyandrous life, i.e. the mature female mates with all of the males of her harem. Gestation is 140 to 145 days, and births are typically twins (although triplets happen on occasion) as is typical of tamarins. All the males, father or not, help with the birth, care, and support the young, carrying them and bringing them to the mother to nurse. At approximately three months they are weaned, and towards end of the second year they are fully mature. Its life expectancy is over 15 years.
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