The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a medium-sized bird in the Cardinalidae family of passerine (song bird) cardinal birds.

The Scarlet Tanager male is crimson-red with black wings and a black tail. The female is olive on her upperparts and yellowish on her underparts with yellow-olive wings and tail. In winter, the male looks similar to the female, except that its wings and tail remain darker. Both the male and female have a pale, stout, smooth beak, pale legs, and small dark eyes.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Scarlet Tanager”

Great Mormon Butterfly

The Great Mormon Butterfly (Papilio Memnon agenor) is a large insect in the Papilionidae family of swallowtail butterflies. 

The Great Mormon Butterfly male has blue-black upperparts. The female has brownish upperparts, streaked with greyish white. She has red patches on her wings near her body.  Both the male and female do not have a tail, even though it is a swallowtail. Its body is black with medium-sized black antennae. 

Continue reading “Great Mormon Butterfly”

Sea Fan Coral

The Sea Fan Coral (Pinnigorgia sp.) is a marine (saltwater) soft coral in the Gorgoniidae family of sea fans. It is not a plant. 

The Sea Fan Coral has calcareous spicules (horny nodules) on branchlets. The branchlets are usually slender. It can be whiplike, bushy, or spread out like a fan. The polyps are retractable with eight tentacles. It can be purple, red, or yellowish.

Continue reading “Sea Fan Coral”

Atlantic Wolffish

The Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Anarhichadidae family of wolffish. It is also known as the Seawolf, Atlantic Catfish, Ocean Catfish, Devil Fish, or Wolf Eel.

The Atlantic Wolffish has a long eel-like, smooth, slippery body. It can vary in colour, from purplish-brown to dull olive-brown, olive-green, or grey. It has a dorsal (back) fin and side fins. It has rounded caudal fin. Its teeth are strong, conical, and fang-like. Behind the conical teeth in the upper jaw, there are three rows of crushing teeth. The central row has four pairs of molars and the outer rows of teeth are blunted and conical. The lower jaw has two rows of molars behind the conical teeth. The wolffish’s throat is also scattered with serrated teeth.

Continue reading “Atlantic Wolffish”

Plate Coral

The Plate Coral (Lithophyllon repandaor Fungia repanda) is a large marine (saltwater) polyp stony coral in the Fungiidae family of mushroom, disc, or plate coral. It is not a plant.

The Plate Coral is a colony of organisms, each with a separate mouth. It is shaped like a plate with a round, flat body, which is raised a little in the centre where the mouth is. It is covered with short tentacles, less than 2 centimetres (less than an inch) in height. It can be a variety of colours, from brownish to yellow, red, blue, or orange.

Continue reading “Plate Coral”

Wels Catfish

The Wels Catfish (Silurus glanis) is a large freshwater fish in the Siluridae family of catfish. It is also called the Sheatfish. 

The Wels Catfish has a camouflaged colour similar to its environment, from black to greenish-brown. Its underbelly is whitish-yellow. It has a broad, flat head and a wide mouth. It has two long barbels (whisker-like flesh) at the corners of its upper jaw and four shorter barbels on its lower jaw. It has three or four rows of small teeth.

Continue reading “Wels Catfish”

What is the difference between natural mulch and organic mulch?

Organic mulch is a thin layer of natural material placed on top of soil to keep it moist, and to prevent the soil from drying out. People usually buy it from a plant nursery or garden shop.

Organic mulch can be leaf litter, bark chips, manure, hay, straw, kitchen food scraps, wool, shells, sawdust, pine needles, coconut husks, and grass clippings. 

Continue reading “What is the difference between natural mulch and organic mulch?”

Black Sea Scad

The Black Sea Scad (Trachurus mediterraneus ponticus) is a small marine (saltwater) fish in the Carangidae family of mackerel. It is also known as the Mediterranean Horse Mackerel, the Black Sea Horse Mackerel, or the Mediterranean Scad.

The Black Sea Scad has an elongated, flat body with a large head and a projected lower jaw. It is blue, grey or black on the upper part of its body and white to silver on the lower part of its body. Its caudal (tail) fin is yellow and forked. It has small nostrils and big eyes.

Continue reading “Black Sea Scad”

RESEARCH: Sparrows are healthier when living in groups with diverse personalities

House Sparrows are healthier when living in groups with diverse personalities. Research scientists think that House Sparrows that live in groups in which different individuals have different personality types are healthier than those that live in groups with the same personality type.

The “surprising” findings suggest that personality diversity promotes not only a healthier society of sparrows, but also better physical and mental health for each individual within that society, says Zoltan Barta at the University of Debrecen in Hungary.

Continue reading “RESEARCH: Sparrows are healthier when living in groups with diverse personalities”

Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit Bat

The Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit Bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi) is a mammal in the Pteropodidae family of megabats. 

The Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit Bat is brown to tawny coloured with white patches at the base of its ears. The male is darker than the female. The male has epaulettes (shoulder hair). It has large eyes. It has oval-shaped ears. Its lips are folded and expandable. 

Continue reading “Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit Bat”