RESEARCH: Three factors why big-eyed frogs have big eyes

In September 2020, the New Scientist magazine reported on research to determine why frogs have evolved big eyes. 

Some frogs have the biggest eyes of all vertebrates (animals with backbones), in relation to their body size, and zoologists did not know why. Now researchers have found that the size of the eyes of these vertebrates seems to depend upon their environment.

Eyesight requires a lot of energy to function – focusing, adjusting peripheral vision, calculating distance, determing what the object is, and so on. There is a lot of things the eye must do quickly to ‘see’ what is in front and around it. Scientists think this is why animals living in dark environments, such as caves, often evolve to have smaller eyes.

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RESEARCH: Tracking Red Pandas in Nepal

Research scientists are satellite tracking the movements of Red Pandas in the mountains of Nepal. 

Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens) are endangered and there are only a few thousand individuals in their native environment in the eastern Himalayas and in southwestern China. The population numbers are declining due to habitat loss, poaching (illegal hunting), and inbreeding. 

In Nepal, Red Pandas are a protected species. The conservation scientists have put Global Positioning System (GPS) collars on 10 Red Pandas to remotely monitor their range of movements in the forests near Mount Kangchenjunga. 

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What is a rocky outcrop?

What is a rocky outcrop?

A rocky outcrop is an area of land that has exposed rocks, usually made naturally by the environment. It is a geological feature in the landscape.

Rocky outcrops encompass a wide variety of physical environments, including escarpments, overhangs, cliffs, tors, boulder-heaps, and insular domes (inselbergs).

A rocky outcrop has an ecological role in nature. The area is usually hard, steep, and less fertile for human agriculture and therefore less disturbed. This provides an ideal habitat for a range of unique plants and animals.

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Animal Habitats and Climate Types

Habitat refers to the natural home of an animal. An animal can live in a nest, a burrow, a hole, a kennel, a tree, in the sea, in a lake, in a mound, on another animal, inside another animal, a hive, a cave, or in a tunnel.

These habitats may be in different climate zones, such as warm locations or cold locations.

Often when zoologists discuss habitat, they also mention climate, seasons, and weather. Climate and weather are different. Climate includes temperature (heat), humidity (moisture in the air), atmospheric pressure (air pressure), wind, hours of sunlight, and rainfall. Weather is the present condition of these elements in a specific place (usually daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly).

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