Signal Crayfish

The Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) is a freshwater crustacean. Crustaceans include shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. 

The Signal Crayfish has a hard, bluish-brown to reddish-brown exo-skeleton (outer shell), called a carapace. It has a white to pale blue-green patch near its claw hinge like a white signal flag. It is a decapod because it has 10 clawed limbs, with two large, smooth, front claws called nippers. It has eye stalks. It has gills to breathe oxygen from the water. Its abdomen has six segments, ending with a fan-shaped tail called a telson. 

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European Crayfish

The European Crayfish (Astacus astacus) is a freshwater crustacean. It is also known as the Noble Crayfish, the Broad-Fingered Crayfish, the European Crawfish, or the European Freshwater Lobster. Crustaceans include shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. 

The European Crayfish has a hard, reddish-orange exo-skeleton or outer shell, called a carapace. It is a decapod because it has 10 clawed limbs, with two large front claws called nippers. It has eye stalks. It has gills to breathe oxygen from the water. Its abdomen has six segments, ending with a fan-shaped tail called a telson. 

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Mandarin Duck

The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) is a medium-sized freshwater bird in the perching duck family. It is related to the Wood Duck.

The male Mandarin Duck has a red beak, large white crescent above his eye, and a reddish face with ‘whiskers.’ His chest is purple with two vertical white bars, with ruddy sides, and two orange sails at the back. Sails are large feathers that stick up like boat sails. The male has orange legs.

The female has a white eye-ring and a stripe from the eye to her back. She has a paler underbelly, a small white side stripe, and a pale tip on her beak. The female has grey legs.

Both the male and female Mandarin Duck have crests, but the purple crest is larger on the male. When the male moults (sheds feathers), he looks similar to the female, except that he has a bright yellow-orange or red beak. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Blyth’s Loach

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. 

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Matamata Turtle

The Matamata Turtle (Chelus fimbriata) is a large, freshwater reptile. 

The Matamata Turtle has a brown or black upper shell, called a carapace, that looks like the bark of a tree. Its lower shell, called the plastron, is creamy-yellow or brown, narrow, and without a hinge. 

It has a large, triangular-shaped, flattened grey-brown head, with spiky, ridged scales called tubercles. It has flaps of loose skin. It has a horn-like structure on its head and a long, tubular snout (nose). There are three barbels (similar to thick whiskers) on its chin and another four barbels at its upper jaw. Its neck, tail, and legs are grey-brown. Its feet have five webbed claws to enable it to walk on land, dig and swim. 

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Chestnut Teal

The Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea) is a freshwater bird in the dabbling duck family. 

The male Chestnut Teal has an iridescent green-feathered head and a mottled chestnut brown body. The female is grey-brown with white-edged feathers. It has light beige legs with webbed feet. Its beak is light-grey. It has red eyes.

It grows to 40-51 centimetres (16-20 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 65-80 centimetres (26-31 inches). Its beak measures 3-4 centimetres (1-1.5 inches) long. 

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Snapping Turtle

The Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentine) is a freshwater, aquatic reptile. It is also known as the Snapper or the Common Snapping Turtle. 

The Snapping Turtle has powerful beak-like jaws. It has a slightly domed, serrated-edged (saw-toothed) upper shell, called a carapace. The lower shell, called the plastron, is narrower than the upper shell. It has a long tail – as long as the upper shell – and a long, snake-like neck. It is mostly greyish-brown. It has stumpy legs with claws, and webbing between the claws, which enable it to walk on land and swim in water. It does not have flippers like the sea turtle. 

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Convict Cichlid

The Convict Cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) is a freshwater fish. It is also known as the Zebra Cichlid or the Black-Striped Cichlid. 

The Convict Cichlid has an oval-shaped bluish-grey body with 8 or 9 vertical black and white stripes. British convicts wore black and white uniforms, which is why it is called Convict Cichlid. The male has a lump on its forehead. The female has darker black bands. 

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Eurasian Teal

The Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) is a freshwater dabbling duck, and a freshwater wetlands bird. It is also called the Common Teal. 

The Eurasian Teal is named after its blue-green colour, called teal. The male has a chestnut-coloured head and upper neck, with a wide iridescent dark-green patch near its eyes. The patch is bordered with thin yellowish-white lines. It has a buff-coloured chest with small, round, brown spots. The centre of its belly is white. Its tail is black with a bright yellowish patch. 

The female is yellowish-brown, and darker on its wings and back, with a dark grey-brown upper head. The male has a dark-grey beak, whereas the female has a pinkish or yellowish beak, that is darker at the tip. It has short legs. The male has dark-grey feet, whereas the female has grey-olive feet. It has brown eyes.

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Northern Shoveler

The Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) is a freshwater, wetlands dabbling duck. It is a bird. Spatula means spoon – it has a spoon-shaped beak.

The Northern Shoveler has a large, broad, greyish spoon-shaped beak, called a spatulate beak. It often has an orange colour on the cutting edge of its beak and lower jaw. The male has an iridescent dark-green head, white chest, chestnut belly, and chestnut side feathers. In the breeding season, the male has a white crescent on each side of its face. The female is pale mottled brown.

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Eurasian Common Merganser

The Eurasian Common Merganser (Mergus merganser merganser) is a freshwater bird – a large duck. It is also known as the Goosander or a Sawbill.

The Eurasian Common Merganser has a whitish-cream body with a salmon-pink tinge. Its head is black with an iridescent green sheen. It has a crest, but it usually lies flat, and is not often raised. Its rump and tail are grey, and its wings are white on the inner half and black on the outer half. Its beak and legs are red to brownish-red. The female is mainly grey with a reddish-brown head, white chin, and white feathers on its wings.

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Northern Caiman Lizard

The Northern Caiman Lizard (Dracaena guianensis) is a semi-aquatic freshwater reptile. It is also known as the Guyana Caiman Lizard. It is related to the Tegu.

The Northern Caiman Lizard has a heavy bright green body with short legs. It has dark bands on its body. Its head is large and usually red or orange. Its jaws are muscular and powerful. It has a long tail. It has a clear third eyelid, which is like a pair of goggles when it swims underwater.  It has five toes, and its fourth toe is longer than its other toes.

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Sunburst Diving Beetle

The Sunburst Diving Beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus) is a small, soft-bodied, aquatic, freshwater insect. It is also known as the Spotted Diving Beetle.

The Sunburst Diving Beetle is black with bright yellow spots. The bright spots act as a defence mechanism to warn away predators. It has a black shell, called a carapace. It has wings that are protected by the carapace. The male has a suction cap on each foreleg (front leg).

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Paroon Shark

The Paroon Shark (Pangasius sanitwongsei) is a critically endangered freshwater fish in the Pangasiidae family of shark catfish. It is also known as the Giant Pangasius or the Pangasid-Catfish.

The Paroon Shark has a silver, curved underside and a dark-brown back. It has a wide, flat, whiskerless head. Its dorsal, pectoral and pelvic fins are dark-grey. Its dorsal fin is long and trailing.

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