External Covering: from skin and scales to fur and feathers

External covering is the outside appearance of an animal. Animals can have fur, feathers, hair, short hair, long hair, smooth hair, bristles, skin, thick skin, moist skin, dry skin, scales, waterproof scales, small scales, overlapping scales, spikes, hard shells, soft shells, smooth shells, rough shells, wool, or no covering at all.

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Amazonian see-through glass frog is under threat of extinction

A newly discovered glass frog species whose beating heart is visible through its chest is already under threat of extinction, because its habitat is threatened by oil exploitation.

The frog (Hyalinobatrachium yaku) lives in the Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador.

“Not all glass frogs have hearts that are visible through the chest. In some, the heart itself is white, so you don’t see the red blood,” said Paul Hamilton, of the American non-profit organisation called the Biodiversity Group. Glass frogs need pristine (pure) streams to breed. “If the stream dries up, or becomes polluted, the frogs can’t survive,” said Hamilton.

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Iridescent scales, feathers and shells

Iridescence means shiny with many colours. Many animals have iridescent colours.

Iridescence is structural colour from refracted light (crystals), diffraction gratings (feathers or butterfly wings), thin film (oily surfaces), multiple layer interference (nacre in shells), or 3-D arrays of spheres (opals).

The word iridescence comes from iris, the Greek word for rainbow. An iridescent object has many tones of colour. Iridescence creates colour by splitting and reflecting light from different structures – which is why it is often called structural colour.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Caucasus Parsley Frog

In Tbilisi, Georgia, in the Botanical Garden is a lily pond. And in that pond is the Caucasus Parsley Frog.

The Caucasian Parsley Frog (Pelodytes caucasicus) has distinctive green markings on their back, just like sprigs of parsley leaves.

Georgia has 11 species of amphibians, most are frogs. Frogs, as opposed to toads, have bulging eyes, no tails, a longer slender body than toads, webbed hind feet, and smooth moist skin.

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