Loach Catfish

The Loach Catfish (Amphilius grandis) is a freshwater fish in the Amphiliidae family of catfish. 

The Loach Catfish has an elongated, cylindrical brownish body. It has barbels at the corner of its mouth. It has a broad, flattened head that enables it to dig through the soil for food. Fish have scales, but the Loach Catfish does not have scales. Instead of scales, it has slippery mucous-covered skin with bony plates called scutes.

Continue reading “Loach Catfish”

What is the difference between the African Pied Wagtail and the Mekong Wagtail?

What is the difference between the African Pied Wagtail (Motacilla aguimp vidua) and the Mekong Wagtail (Motacilla samveasnae)?

Both the African Pied Wagtail and the Mekong Wagtail wag their tail up and down.

Both the African Pied Wagtail and the Mekong Wagtail are black and white with a white eyebrow.

Both the African Pied Wagtail and the Mekong Wagtail are closely related to each other.

Continue reading “What is the difference between the African Pied Wagtail and the Mekong Wagtail?”

Great Padloper

The Great Padloper (Homopus femoralis) is a small chelonian reptile in the Testudinidae family of land tortoises.

The Great Padloper Tortoise has a brown domed-shaped shell called a carapace, although it can be reddish-brown or olive-brown. It has darker markings bordering its scutes (scales). As it ages, the dark markings often become thin white lines. The top part of the carapace is slightly flattened. Its pale cream bottom shell is called a plastron. It has a small head and brown eyes. It has four toes on its thick, stumpy legs. 

Continue reading “Great Padloper”

Bowmouth Guitarfish

The Bowmouth Guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma) is a large, rare fish in the Rhinidae family of rays. It is also called the Shark Ray, Mud Skate, or Shortnose Mud Skate. It was difficult for scientists to classify, but now it is classified as a ray.

The Bowmouth Guitarfish has a distinctive appearance, with its back half that looks like a shark and its front half that looks like a ray. It is sandy brown or bluish-grey with white spots. Its underbelly is light-grey or white. It has prominent black markings on its pectoral fins. It has a wide, thick body with a rounded, wide snout (nose) and large shark-like, sickle-shaped dorsal (back) and crescent-shaped tail fins. Its mouth forms a W-shaped undulating line. There are multiple thorny ridges on its head and back. 

Continue reading “Bowmouth Guitarfish”

Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit Bat

The Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit Bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi) is a mammal in the Pteropodidae family of megabats. 

The Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit Bat is brown to tawny coloured with white patches at the base of its ears. The male is darker than the female. The male has epaulettes (shoulder hair). It has large eyes. It has oval-shaped ears. Its lips are folded and expandable. 

Continue reading “Wahlberg’s Epauletted Fruit Bat”

Jackson’s Forest Lizard

The Jackson’s Forest Lizard (Adolfus jacksoni) is a small to medium-sized reptile in the Lacertidae family of wall lizards. It is a lacertid. 

The Jackson’s Forest Lizard is long and slender with shiny scales and a long tail. It has brown stripes on either side of its body with rows of greenish spots. It has a pale underbelly. It has large black eyes with yellow eye rings. It has short legs with five toes on each foot.

Continue reading “Jackson’s Forest Lizard”

Elephant census taken from space

In South Africa, an elephant census – counting the number of elephants – is being conducted by satellite imaging. 

This innovative, cutting-edge technology means that scientists can use the satellite images to count African elephants from space. 

The images are from an Earth-Observation satellite orbiting the planet 600 kilometres (372 miles) above the ground. This could enable scientists to survey up to 5,000 square kilometres of elephant habitat each day – on days without cloud cover.

Continue reading “Elephant census taken from space”

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”

Why does the Avocet have an upturned beak?

Why does the Avocet have an upturned, or upcurved, beak?

The Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) is a small bird in the Recurvirostridae family of waders. It has long legs to wade in water. It lives in wetlands, such as marshes, swamps, lakes, estuaries, and rivers.

The Avocet has a long, thin, upcurved black beak. It measures about 8 centimetres (3 inches) long. Many wetlands birds, such as Ibis and Curlew, have a long, thin downturned beak, but the Avocet has an upturned beak.

Continue reading “Why does the Avocet have an upturned beak?”