CREATURE FEATURE: Solitary Disk Coral

The Solitary Disk Coral (Scolymia cubensis) is a solitary marine (saltwater) stony coral in the Mussidae family. It is not a plant.

The Solitary Disk Coral is flat and concave with a circular shape, like an inverted cone. It can be light-green, beige, or deep rusty red. It has layers of thick plates called septa that surround a central mouth with spongy polyps.

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Similis Drone Fly

The Similis Drone Fly (Eristalis similis) is a common and widespread insect in the Syrphidae family of hoverflies. It is a syrphid. It is also known as the Hoverfly. Similis is Latin for similar, because it is a bee mimic – it looks like a Honey Bee.

The Similis Drone Fly is bee-like with yellow and orange or reddish markings. It has a distinctive marking on its thorax. It has six legs, a pair of wings, and large brown eyes.

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Round Mouthed Snail

The Round Mouthed Snail (Pomatias elegans) is a small, air-breathing, terrestrial (land) gastropod mollusc in the Pomatiidae family of operculate land snails. It is an invertebrate, because it does not have a backbone. Its shell is its exo-skeleton (outside skeleton).

The Round Mouthed Snail has a thick, whitish, conical shell and wide mouth with a chalky operculum (lid) at the rear of its body. The shell forms a whorl. The top of the spire points upward and the opening of its mouth is on the right – so it has a right-handed whorl, which is called a dextral shell. It can close its shell’s mouth with its lid. Its head extends to form a snout (proboscis). It has only one pair of tentacles on its head (instead of two pairs). Its eyes are at the tip of the tentacles. 

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Dragonfly Eyes

What do dragonfly eyes look like? 

The dragonfly has a large head with three small simple eyes and two extremely large compound eyes that meet in the centre.

Compound eyes have thousands of ommatidia – tiny, independent photoreceptors that have a cornea, lens and light-sensing cells. 

Compound eyes can’t see very well, but they can see all around them and they can sense movement, especially fast movement.

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RESEARCH: Lions yawn when it’s time to get moving

In research conducted in 2020, scientists think that lions have contagious yawns – when one lion yawns, nearby lions yawn too. This is shown in human behaviour too. Also, scientists noticed that a lion’s yawn signals to other lions that it is time to get moving.

Scientist Elisabetta Palagi at the University of Pisa in Italy, and her research students, were collecting hyena data in South Africa. The New Scientist magazine in April 2021 reported that the researchers also filmed lion behaviour. Elisabetta Palagi noticed, when she watched the videos, that the lions were yawning one after the other and then got up and moved in near-synchroncity – that is, they all made similar movements. 

Palagi’s research students, Grazia Casett and Andrea Paolo Nolfo, observed 19 lions living in two social groups at the Siyafunda Wildlife & Conservation Camp, which is a research camp in the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve in Limpopo province in South Africa. They took about five hours of video for each lion, day and night, over four months in 2020. 

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Dock Leaf Bug

The Dock Leaf Bug (Coreus marginatus) is a medium-sized insect in the Coreide family of squash bugs and leaf-footed bugs. It is also known as the Brown Squash Bug. 

The Dock Leaf Bug is light mottled brown with a broad oval abdomen. Its lower abdomen has a lighter amber-brown, oval-shaped marking. At the front of its head, it has two thorns, called antenniferous tubercles, between its dark-tipped, four-segmented antennae. Other squash bugs don’t have these thorns. 

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Pennant Coralfish

The Pennant Coralfish (Heniochus acuminatus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Chaetodontidae family of butterflyfish. It is also known as the Longfin Bannerfish, the Reef Bannerfish, or the Coachman.

The Pennant Coralfish is a laterally compressed black and white striped fish with a white elongated, trailing white filament. Its fins are yellow. Its head is white with black eyes. Its snout (nose) is spotted with black marks. 

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What is the difference between the Eurasian Blue Tit and the Great Tit?

What is the difference between the Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) and the Great Tit (Parus major)? 

The Eurasian Blue Tit and the Great Tit are both in the Paridae family of passerines. 

The Eurasian Blue Tit and the Great Tit both have large white cheeks, a yellowish-green back, and blue-grey wings with white wing-bars.

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Eurasian Blue Tit

The Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) is a passerine bird in the Paridae family of song birds. It is also known as the Eurasian Blue Titmouse.

The Eurasian Blue Tit has a distinctive azure-blue crown and a dark-blue line passing through its eye and encircling its white cheeks to the chin. Its forehead is white, and a bar on its wing is also white. Its nape, wings, and tail are blue and its back is yellowish-green. It underparts are yellow with a dark line down its abdomen. Its beak is black. It has bluish-grey legs. Its eyes are dark brown. 

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Large Housefly

The Large Housefly (Coenosia sexmaculata) is an insect in the Muscidae family of true flies.

The Large Housefly has a head, thorax (chest), and abdomen (stomach). It is black with four dark, longitudinal lines from its head to its tail. Its body and legs are slightly hairy. It has large, red, compound eyes. Near the compound eyes are three small simple eyes, called ocelli, and a pair of short antennae. It has six legs and one pair of membraneous (transparent) wings. Its mouthpart has a proboscis to suck liquid.

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European Tree Frog

The European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea) is a small amphibian in the Hylidae family of tree frogs. 

The European Tree Frog is a light green, slender frog, with a slightly flattened, smooth body. It can also be greyish, olive-green, or tan coloured. It has lightly mottled markings, often with four faint lines or distinctive white spots. It has bulging eyes at the side of its head. Its long hind feet are webbed with cushioned pads. The male has a golden-brown throat and the female has a white throat. 

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Black Spot Piranha

The Black Spot Piranha (Pygocentrus cariba) is an omnivorous freshwater fish in the Serrasalmidae family of serrated fish. It is a serrasalmid. 

The Black Spot Piranha is silvery-grey with black markings and yellowish gills. It has a small mouth with a single row of sharp, serrated, triangular, interlocking teeth. Its bite power is very strong. It has an oval-shaped body with a flattened face and large forehead. 

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Sabre Wasp

The Sabre Wasp (Rhyssa persuasoria) is an insect in the Ichneumonidae family of wasps. It is also known as the Giant Ichneumon Wasp or the Persuasive Burglar.

The Sabre Wasp has a thin black body with several whitish spots on its head, thorax, and abdomen. It has reddish legs. Its antennae are long and thin. It has two pairs of wings. The female has a very long stinger and ovipositor, which is used to lay eggs. The male does not have a stinger or an ovipositor. 

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What is the difference between the Brazilian Tapir and the Malayan Tapir?

What is the difference between the Brazilian or Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) and the Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus)? 

The Brazilian Tapir and the Malayan Tapir are both ungulate (hoofed) mammals in the Tapiridae family of tapirs and bush cows. They are related to the horse and the rhinoceros.

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Common Tree Frog

The Common Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax) is a small amphibian in the Rhacophoridae family of shrub frogs. 

The Common Tree Frog is a light-green, slender frog, with a slightly flattened, smooth body. It can also be greyish, yellowish, or dark brown. It has lightly mottled markings, often with four faint lines or distinctive white spots. It has bulging eyes at the side of its head. Its hind feet are webbed with cushioned pads. 

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