CREATURE FEATURE: South American Cougar

The South American Cougar (Puma concolor puma) is a large wild cat in the Felidae family. It is a felid. It is a sub-species of the Cougar (Puma concolor). It is also known as the Puma.

The South American Cougar is one colour (concolor means one colour), which is usually tawny brown or reddish-brown. It has lighter patches on its underbelly, chin, and throat.has a rounded head, and a long, slender body with powerful forequarters, larger front feet, and large paws. It has four retractile claws on each hind (back) paw and five retractile claws on its forepaws (front paws), but one is a dewclaw (digit). Retractile claws can extend and retract, protecting them with a sheath of skin when they are not being used. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: South American Cougar”

CREATURE FEATURE: Eurasian Otter

The Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) is a semi-aquatic mammal in the Mustelidae family of weasels and otters. It is also known as the European Otter, Common Otter, Old World Otter, and Eurasian River Otter.

The Eurasian Otter has a streamlined, elongated body, and a long, strong, flat tail. It has two layers of dense brown water-repellent fur, and a cream underbelly. It has a short neck, small dark eyes, a black nose, long white whiskers, and small rounded ears. It has five long toes and webbed feet to swim in water, but it needs air to breathe.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Eurasian Otter”

CREATURE FEATURE: Guianan Brown Capuchin

The Guianan Brown Capuchin (Sapajus apella apella) is an arboreal (tree) primate in the Cebidae family of monkeys. It is also known as the Brown Capuchin, the Guianan Black-Capped Capuchin, and the Pin Monkey.

The Guianan Brown Capuchin has dark brown-grey, rough fur, and a long thick tail. It has black hands and feet. The cap or tuft is a bunch of hair on its forehead that looks like a wig or a hat. It has a prehensile tail that is strong and able to grasp branches.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Guianan Brown Capuchin”

CREATURE FEATURE: Redtail Catfish

The Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) is a freshwater fish in the Pimedodidae family of long-whiskered catfish. It is a pimelodid. 

The Redtail Catfish has a brownish spotted back with yellow sides and underbelly, and a red tail. Its body is elongated with a broad, flattened head. It has a pair of barbels (long fleshy, string structures) on the upper jaw and two pairs of barbels on the lower jaw.

Fish have scales, but the Redtail Catfish does not have scales. Instead of scales, it has slippery mucous-covered skin with bony plates called scutes.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Redtail Catfish”

CREATURE FEATURE: Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray

The Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray (Taeniura lymma) is a marine (saltwater) stingray in the Dasyatidae family of stingrays. It is also known as the Bluespotted Fantail Ray, the Bluespotted Stingray, or the Lagoon Ray.

The Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray has an oval-shaped disc with electric blue spots on a greyish-yellow coloured skin. The spots vary in size. It has a pair of blue stripes on its tail. It has large, bright-yellow, protruding eyes, a rounded snout (nose), and a short, thick tail. It is mainly smooth, except for a few small thorns in the middle of its back. Its belly is white.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray”

CREATURE FEATURE: Green Basilisk Lizard

The Green Basilisk Lizard (Basiliscus plumifrons) is a reptile in the Corytophanidae family of iguana lizards. It is also known as the Plumed Basilisk and the Double Crested Basilisk.

The Green Basilisk Lizard is brilliant green with bright yellow eyes, and small blue spots on the ridge of its back. The male has three crests: one crest on its head, one crest on its back, and one crest on its tail. The female only has the head crest. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Green Basilisk Lizard”

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.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Solitary Disk Coral”

CREATURE FEATURE: Seven-Spot Ladybird

The Seven-Spot Ladybird Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) is a small insect in the Coccinellidae family of ladybird beetles and ladybugs. It is a coccinellid beetle. It is also known as the Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, the Seven-Spotted Ladybug, or the Seven-Spot Ladybug Beetle.

The Seven-Spot Ladybird Beetle has red elytra (two wing cases) with three black spots each and another black spot on the junction of the wing cases (to total 7 spots). Its body is oval-shaped and slightly domed. Its wings are hidden underneath the wing cases. It has black compound eyes. Its antennae are light-brown, quite long, and slightly thickened at the ends. Its neck shield has white spots and usually covers its head. It has little reddish-brown legs. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Seven-Spot Ladybird”

CREATURE FEATURE: Magpie Duck

The Magpie Duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is a bird in the Anatidae family of domestic mallard ducks.

The Magpie Duck stands erect with a moderately long neck and a broad, heavy body. It is white with distinctive black markings. It has two large black areas on its back and black on the top of its head, which are the colours of the Magpie bird.

As it ages, the black cap is usually replaced with flecks, and then becomes completely white. Its beak is yellow or orange, and becomes greenish with age. Its eyes are small and dark. Its legs and feet are orange. The male has curled tail feathers and the female has straight tail feathers.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Magpie Duck”

CREATURE FEATURE: Scarlet Tanager

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”

CREATURE FEATURE: Eastern Vine Snake

The Eastern Vine Snake (Thelotornis mossambicanus) is a venomous reptile in the Colubridae family of vine snakes. It is also known as the Eastern Twig Snake, African Creep Snake, or the Savanna Vine Snake. It is a colubrid snake.

The Eastern Vine Snake is a thin, grey snake, with a beige underbelly. The top of its head is green, often with black speckles. Its body also has speckles. Its eyes have horizontal pupils, often in the shape of a keyhole. When startled, it inflates (swells) its throat to show black spots between its scales. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Eastern Vine Snake”

CREATURE FEATURE: Red-Crowned Parrot

The Red-Crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis) is a bird in the Psittacidae family of parrots. It is also called the Green-Cheeked Amazon Parrot or Mexican Red-Headed Parrot. 

The Red-Crowned Parrot is green with a bright red forehead and crown, dark-blue streak behind the eyes, and light-green cheeks. Some have red and blue feathers under their wings. It has a white eye-ring with bright yellow eyes. It has a beige beak and cere. It has grey or beige legs. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Red-Crowned Parrot”

CREATURE FEATURE: True Glass Snail

The True Glass Snail (Aegopinella nitidula) is a small, air-breathing, land pulmonate gastropod mollusc in the Gastrodontidae family of glass snails. It is an invertebrate, because it does not have a backbone. Its shell is its exo-skeleton (outside skeleton).

The True Glass Snail has a spiral, heliciform shell that is flattened and disc-shaped with a low spire, like it is a bit squashed. The opening lacks a thick margin like other land snails have. Instead, its shell is thin and light. The shell is almost transparent, as if made of glass, but it usually has light-brown, amber, or dark-brown markings. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: True Glass Snail”

CREATURE FEATURE: Amazon Tree Boa

The Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus) is a reptile in the Boidae family of non-venomous, colubrid, boa constrictor snakes. It is a boid (pronounced bo-id). It is also known as the Garden Tree Boa or the Macabrel. 

The Amazon Tree Boa is long and slim. It varies in base colour from black, brown, grey, red, and orange to yellow. Its patterns can be banded, speckled, rhomboid shapes, or completely plain with no patterns or markings. It has a distinct head and it has dark, rounded eyes. It has sharp, long, needle-like teeth. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Amazon Tree Boa”

CREATURE FEATURE: Wonga Pigeon

The Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) is a medium-sized bird in the Columbidae family of pigeons.

The Wonga Pigeon is plump with a short neck, broad wings, and a long tail. It is pale blue-grey with black feathers, and a creamy-white head. Its underbelly is white with dotted dark-grey spots, with a white V-shape on its chest. Its eys are dark red-brown with pink eye-rings. Its legs are red. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Wonga Pigeon”

CREATURE FEATURE: Barred Catfish

The Barred Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) is a large freshwater fish in the Pimelodidae family of long-whiskered catfish. It is also called the Barred Sorubim. It is related to the Tiger Shovelnose Catfish. 

The Barred Catfish is dark-grey with black loop-like stripes and spots. Its head is depressed with a wide mouth and long whiskers, called barbels. Its eyes and teeth are small. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Barred Catfish”

CREATURE FEATURE: Common Leopard Gecko

The Common Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis Mascularis) is a small ground-dwelling reptilian lizard. 

The Common Leopard Gecko is pale beige with dark-brown markings and spots. Its back is covered with small lumps. It has short legs with short nails on its toes, which are used for gripping objects (it does not have sticky pads on its feet). It has movable eyelids. It has about 100 small teeth. It has a thick, fleshy tail.

It can regenerate its tail if if drops off. This is called caudal autotomy. It regularly sheds its skin (about once a month). This is called moulting. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Common Leopard Gecko”