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”
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”
The Gouldian Finch (Erythura gouldiaeor Chloebia goldiae) is a small passerine bird in the Estrildidae family. It is an estrildid. It is also known as the Gould Finch or the Rainbow Finch.
The Gouldian Finch is brightly coloured and varied, with mainly black, green, yellow, and red markings. The male has a purple chest and the female has a light mauve chest. Its head is red, black, or yellow. Its beak is light-coloured with a red tip. It has pale legs and feet.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Gouldian Finch”
The Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) is an aquatic, marine (saltwater) mammal in the Sirenia order of dugongs. It is also known as a Sea Cow, West Indian Manatee, or Caribbean Manatee. It is not a seal. It is related to the dugong and the elephant.
The Antillean Manatee looks like a large, grey seal with flippers and a paddle tail. It has lungs, not gills, because it is a mammal, and therefore it needs to come to the surface to breathe. It has a prehensile snout (nose), like an elephant, so that it can grab water plants and bring them to its mouth. It has 6-8 teeth in each jaw. It has short, sparse, sensitive hairs called vibrissae. Each individual hair is called a vibrissal. The vibrissae around its mouth are like whiskers.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Antillean Manatee”
The Wolverine (Gulo gulo) is a carnivorous mammal in the Mustelidae family It is a mustelid. Gulomeans ‘glutton’ in Latin. It is also known as the Glutton, Carajou, Skunk Bear, or Quickhatch. It is not a wolf and it is not a skunk and it is not a bear. It is closely related to the Weasel.
The Wolverine looks like a small bear. It is stocky and muscular, with thick, oily blackish-grey fur that is naturally frost resistant (hydrophobic). Its face has a light-silver mask. It has small eyes, and short, rounded ears. It has short legs and wide paws that act like snow-shoes. It has sharp claws. Its tail is bushy.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Wolverine”
The African Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) is a sub-species of the African buffalo. It is also known as the Dwarf Buffalo or the Congo Buffalo. It is related to the Cape Buffalo.
The African Forest Buffalo has reddish-brown fur with darker fur around its face. Its ears have long fringes of hair. It has short, backward-facing horns.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: African Forest Buffalo”
The Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) is a large bird. It is also known as the Common Toucan or the Giant Toucan.
The Toco Toucan has a black body, white cheeks, white throat, white chest, and white uppertail coverts, with red undertail coverts. It has a very large, yellow-orange beak with a black band at the base and a large spot at the tip. Its beak is hollow and light. It has bright blue eye-rings. Its tongue is long and flat. Its legs are dark-grey. The male and female have a similar appearance.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Toco Toucan”
The Addax (Addax nasomaculatus) is an ungulate (hoofed) mammal in the antelope family. It is also known as the White Antelope and the Screwhorn Antelope. It is similar to the Scimitar Oryx.
The Addax has pale-coloured (white or sandy blonde) fur in summer that darkens to greyish-brown in winter. It has white hindquarters and legs. The hair on its head, neck, and shoulders is long and brown. Its head has brown or black markings that form an X-shape over its nose. The male and female have long, spiraled, and twisted horns. Long black hairs protrude between its horns, ending in a short mane on its neck. Its tail is short, ending with a tuft of black hair.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Addax”
The Siberian Sturgeon (Acipenser baeri) is a freshwater fish.
The Siberian Sturgeon is elongated, similar to a shark. It has smooth scaleless skin (unlike fish that have scales). It has five lateral rows of bony plates called scutes.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Siberian Sturgeon”
The Golden Mantella Frog (Mantella aurantiaca) is a small poisonous amphibian.
The Golden Mantella Frog is yellow, orange, or red. Its inner leg has red flash markings.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Golden Mantella Frog”
The Binturong (Arctictis binturong) is an arboreal mammal. It is also known as a Bearcat. It is not related to bears and it is not related to cats. It is closely related to the Palm Civet. It is a viverrid.
The Binturong has a grey-black, thick, furry body with short legs. Its tail is long, bushy, curls inwards at the end, and is prehensile, which means that it can wrap around branches. It has a short, turned-up, black rounded nose covered with bristly hairs. It has long whiskers.
Its eyes are large and black, with a vertical pupil. It has short, rounded ears, edged with white, with tufts of black hair. It has six short rounded incisor teeth in each jaw, two long sharp canine teeth, and six molar teeth on each side of its jaw. Its five toes have long claws. It has musk glands that emit a scent.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Binturong”
The Luzon Bleeding-Heart Dove (Gallicolumba luzonica) is a medium-sized bird in the dove and pigeon family of ground birds.
The Luzon Bleeding-Heart Dove is grey with iridescent purple, blue, or green feathers. It has a whitish-buff underbelly that has a reddish stripe that looks like blood on its chest. The male has a brighter red patch than the female. Its wings are grey with black bands. Its body is rounded, with a short tail and long pink legs.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Luzon Bleeding-Heart Dove”
The Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is a large, marine invertebrate (soft-bodied) mollusc in the Octopoda order. Octopoda means eight limbs. It is a cephalopod, related to the squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus.
The Octopus has a greyish, soft hollow body called a mantle. Its body can change shape and squeeze into small gaps. The mantle has gills (to breath), a brain, and a parrot-beaked mouth. Surrounding the mouth is eight limbs with suckers. It has two large eyes with excellent sight.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Giant Pacific Octopus”
The Blyth’s Loach (Syncrossus berdmorei) is a tropical freshwater fish. It is in the Botiidae (botiid) family of pointface loaches, such as the Tiger Botia.
The Blyth’s Loach has an elongated body with red fins that have dark spots. It has regular dark greyish vertical stripes and black spots near its head. Its face has thin horizontal greyish stripes. It has short whiskers, called barbels, on its snout (nose). It has a downward-facing mouth.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Blyth’s Loach”
The Large Hairy Armadillo (Chaetophractus villosus) is a mammal related to the Anteater and the Sloth.
The Large Hairy Armadillo has a series of thin, grey bony plates along its head and back. This leathery shell is called a carapace. Its pinkish-white underbelly is covered in long, coarse hair. It has long, powerful claws on its front legs for digging. It has a long snout (nose), small beige ears, and small eyes.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Large Hairy Armadillo”
The Phantasmal Poison Frog (Epipedobates tricolor) is an endangered amphibian. It is a Poison Dart Frog.
The Phantasmal Poison Frog has smooth, dark-red to red-brown skin with three yellow-white side stripes from its head to its tail. It has white spots on its hind (back) legs. It has large dark eyes. It has webbed feet with one digit (toe) longer than the others.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Phantasmal Poison Frog”
The Red-Billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythrorhyncha) is a bird in the corvid family of crows and magpies.
The Red-Billed Blue Magpie has a black head, black neck, and black chest with bluish spots on its crown. Its shoulders and rump are duller blue and its underparts are greyish-cream. Its long tail is brighter blue with a broad white tip. Its undertail has white bands. Its beak is bright orange-red. Its legs, feet, and eye-rings are also orange-red.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Red-Billed Blue Magpie”
The Argentine Horned Frog (Ceratophys ornata) is a non-venomous amphibian. It is also known as the Pacman Frog, the South American Horned Frog, or the Argentine Wide-Mouthed Frog.
The Argentine Horned Frog has a thick, round, bright green body with dark or red markings that look like an artist’s palette of paint. It camouflages itself well in its environment. It has a wide mouth, which is why it is named after the video character Pac-Man.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Argentine Horned Frog”
The Shield-Tailed Scorpion (Apistobuthus pterygocercus) is a venomous arachnid. An arachnid, like the spider, has eight legs. It is not an insect, because an insect has six legs.
The Shield-Tailed Scorpion has grasping front claws, called pedipalps, and a narrow, segmented tail that curves over its back. At the end of the tail is a venomous stinger. It is usually a sandy-yellow colour. It does not have an inner skeleton (bones). Instead, like the spider, it has an exo-skeleton – an outer skeleton or shield that protects its body. The exo-skeleton is called the ecdysis.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Shield-Tailed Scorpion”
The Caracal (Caracal caracal) is a medium-sized carnivorous felid mammal in the Felides family of wild cats.
The Caracal has reddish, tan-coloured or sandy-coloured fur. Its sides are lighter with small, reddish markings, and its underbelly is white. It has a strong build, and long legs with large broad paws. It has a short face with black markings on its whiskper pads and around its green, grey, or golden-brown eyes. It has long canine teeth. It has large black ears with ear tufts. It has a short tail. The female is lighter in colour than the male, and shorter.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Caracal”