CREATURE FEATURE: Rhino Catfish

The Rhino Catfish (Pterygoplichthys scrophus) is a sail-finned amoured fish. It is also called the Janitor Fish.

The Rhino Catfish is black to dark-brown with a large sailfin dorsal fin (back fin), a ridged, armoured body, and two horn-like protrusions from its head that looks like the horn of a rhinoceros. The protrusions are actualy nostril flaps so that water doesn’t get up its nose. It has a long sac-like lung to breathe air. Its body is completely covered in small plates that look like armour. It has a suckermouth to suck up algae and filter food from the ocean seabed. It has light-coloured eyes.

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Medicinal Leech

The Medicinal Leech (Hirudo verbenaand Hirudo medicinalis) is an invertebrate parasitic worm, and an annelid. It is related to the earthworm. It is called medicinal because doctors have used the leech to draw blood from patients.

There are two types of true leeches: Rhynchobdellida (with a proboscis to puncture the skin of animals) and Arhynchobdellida (without a proboscis). The Medicinal Leech (Hirudo verbena) is a Arhynchobdellida Hirudiniformes (a leech without a proboscis, but with jaws at the front of the mouth).

The Medicinal Leech has a flat, soft, muscular, segmented body without a backbone or skeleton. Therefore, it is an invertebrate. Its upper part is grey with pinkish stripes, or  mottled grey-pink-brown, and its underbelly is pale-grey. Its body can lengthen and contract (i.e. get bigger and smaller) as it moves. It has suckers on it mouth and its tail end (anterior and posterior suckers).

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White-Winged Duck

The White-Winged Duck (Asarcornis scutulata) is a bird related to the diving ducks. It is also called the White-Winged Wood Duck.

The White-Winged Duck has a dark-coloured body with a whitish head and neck, and white feathers on its wings. Males have a yellowish beak, a black-mottled head and upper neck, and wings with white and bluish-grey feathers. Females have a more mottled head and neck. It has red eyes, a reddish beak, and orange-brown webbed feet.

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Spiny-Headed Tree Lizard

The Spiny-Headed Tree Lizard (Plica plica) is an arboreal lizard. It is also called the Collared Tree Lizard, the Collared Tree Runner, or the Harlequin Racerunner.

The Spiny-Headed Tree Lizard is usually olive-green or greenish, with dark-brown mottled markings on its body. Its chin is whitish and its throat is black. Its body is flattened and adapted to living on, and sticking to, the bark of trees. It has a collar, called a ruff, around its neck. It also has spines on its neck. It has green eyes.

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Cave Cricket

The Cave Cricket (Phaeophilacris bredoides) is an insect that looks like a spider, but it is related to the grasshopper.

The Cave Cricket has three segments: head, thorax, and abdomen. It is yellowish-grey to brown with a long body, long antennae and long hind legs (back legs). Its legs are covered with small, dark spots. It needs long antennae to feel surfaces and its prey in the dark. It has three pairs of legs (6 legs) with one pair of antennae, and a pair of false legs near its tail to act as stabilizers.

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What is the difference between the Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle?

What is the difference between the Asian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos daphanea), the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), and the Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)?

The Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle are all large birds of prey, raptors, and accipiters from the Northern Hemisphere.

The Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle all have a dark-grey or black-tipped sharply down-turned beak with a yellow cere (the hard substance at the top of the beak).

The difference between them is mainly due to size, colour, and flight.

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Asian Golden Eagle

The Asian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos daphanea) is a large bird of prey, and one of the most common. It is a raptor and an accipiter. It is also called the Himalayan Golden Eagle or the Berkut.

The Asian Golden Eagle is dark-brown with red-golden-brown feathers on the back of its neck. It is blackish on its back. It has white on its tail and some white markings on its long, strong wings. It has a grey beak with a dark, sharply down-turned tip. Its beak has a yellow cere. It has grey legs, and grey feet with long claws.

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Diana Monkey

The Diana Monkey (Cercopithecus diana diana) is a primate mammal from Africa.

The Diana Monkey is black or dark-grey with a white throat and a white crescent-shaped band across its eyebrow. It has a white ruff around its neck and a white beard. Its underarms are also white. There is a white stripe down its upper legs. The back of its upper legs and its lower back is chestnut-coloured.

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Garden Fruit Chafer

The Garden Fruit Chafer (Pachnoda sinuata) is a small beetle. It is an insect. It is also known as the Brown-and-Yellow Fruit Chafer. It is related to the scarab beetle and the dung beetle.

The Garden Fruit Chafer is yellow with dark-brown central markings with yellow spots. It has a horizontal yellow bar near the base of its shell. Its shell is called a carapace, which is smooth. Its body has three parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. Its head is small with two short antennae.

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Eastern Imperial Eagle

The Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) is a large bird of prey. It is a raptor and an accipiter.

The Eastern Imperial Eagle is dark-brown with white shoulder patches and pale-cream feathers at the back of its neck. It has a grey base to its bi-coloured tail. It has grey legs with large claws, called talons. Its eyes are brown and its beak is sharply-hooked and grey with a yellow cere.

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Inland Taipan

The Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), native to Australia, is the most venomous snake in the world – it is a venomous elapid reptile. It is also known as the Western Taipan, the Small-Scale Snake, or the Fierce Snake. There are two types of Taipans in Australia: Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus).

The Inland Taipan is dark-tan to brownish light-green, depending on the season. Its colour becomes darker in winter in order to absorb light and heat from the sun (called thermoregulation). Its underbelly is pale-yellowish. It has dark-marked scales in diagonal rows. It has a rounded head wiith dark eyes. It has poisonous fangs.

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Common Marine Hermit Crab

The Common Marine Hermit Crab (Pagurus bernhardus) is a saltwater aquatic decapod (10-armed) crustacean. It is also known as the Soldier Crab.

Hermit crabs include the Marine Hermit Crab, which lives in saltwater, and the Land Hermit Crab, which is terrestrial in tropical regions.

The Common Marine Hermit Crab is a crab inside a shell – its mobile home. It finds empty mollusc shells to live in. It has a long soft body – not like land crabs which have a hard exo-skeleton – which is why it looks for a hard shell to protect it. It can put its whole body inside the shell. As it grows, it looks for larger shells.

The Common Marine Hermit Crab has a spirally-curved soft body (abdomen) with a columella on the tip, which is used to hold onto the shell it occupies. It has 10 appendages (legs, called pereiopods), but two of them are claws, called nippers, pinchers, or chelipeds. Its large black compound eyes are at the end of an eyestalk. It has gills to breathe (like fish).

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Violet-Backed Starling

The Violet-Backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) is a small bird. It is also called the Plum-Coloured Starling or the Amethyst Starling.

The male and female Violet-Backed Starling have very different appearances. The male has an iridescent violet-coloured back with a white underbelly. The female is brown with flecks on her white underbelly. The male has a dark-violet-black face. Both have a dark-grey beak and dark-grey legs. Both have yellow eyes with dark pupils.

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Raggedfin Lionfish

The Raggedfin Lionfish (Pterois antennata) is also called the Spotfin Lionfish. It is a tropical marine (saltwater) fish.

The Raggedfin Lionfish is reddish-brown with white and darker vertical bands on its body. It also has dark spots on its median fins, three dark-brown bars on its head, and an oblique bar through its eyes ending in a large spot on the lower gill cover. It has long, banded tentacles above each eye, and blue-black markings near the base of its fan-like pectoral fins.

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Narrow-Striped Mongoose

The Narrow-Striped Mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata) is a small mammal.

The Narrow-Striped Mongoose has rough light-grey fur with light-brown patches on its underbelly and feet, a dark-grey crown, and very narrow brown stripes on its back. There are small white patches on the sides of its eyes. It has a pointy nose, small ears, and a long furry tail.  Its eyes are small and dark. It has long, strong claws that dig through the soil. Their claws do not retract, so they are always visible.

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