CREATURE FEATURE: Blue Tree Monitor Lizard

The Blue Tree Monitor (Varanus macraei) is an arboreal lizard and a reptile. It is also known as the Blue-Spotted Tree Monitor.

The Blue Tree Monitor is black with scattered blue scales. The tip of its nose is light-blue and its lower jaw is white with green scales along its neck, forming a V-shaped pattern. Its legs are spotted with turquoise eye-spots, called ocelli. Its throat is light with dark spots.

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Lake Patzcuaro Salamander

The Lake Patzcuaro Salamander (Ambystoma dumerilii) is an endangered freshwater amphibian. Frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and axoltols are amphibians. It is also called the Lake Patzcuaro Achoque. It is related to the Mexican Axolotl.

The Lake Patzcuaro Salamander remains in its tadpole form for its whole life. It has feathery external gills, which it uses to breath. It is yellowish with a lighter shade on its underbelly. It has a large head, a tail, and short legs. It has four toes on its front legs and five toes on its back legs. It does not have scales – it has moist, smooth skin like the skin of frogs.

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Bluegreen Giant Clam

The Bluegreen Giant Clam (Tridacna derasa) is a marine (saltwater) reef bi-valve mollusk (mollusk). It is also called the Southern Giant Clam. It is related to the Cockle.

The Bluegreen Giant Clam is smoother than most clams, because it lacks ridging. It has a thick shell, called a mantle. Its shell is actually two equal-sized calcareous valves connected with a flexible adductor muscle. The shell can open and close. Bi-valve means two valves (or two shells). It has 6-7 rippled edges, called folds or flute. It does not have scutes (scales). The mantle has stripes or spots and is blue and green, with some white patches. It has a mouth, a heart, kidneys, a stomach, and a nervous system.

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Giant Clam

The Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa) is a marine (saltwater) reef bi-valve mollusc (mollusk).  It is also called the Fluted Giant Clam or the Scaly Clam. It is related to the Cockle.

The Giant Clam has a thick brown, green, or purple-coloured ridged shell, called a mantle. Its shell is actually two equal-sized calcareous valves connected with a flexible adductor muscle. The shell can open and close. Bi-valve means two valves (or two shells). The mantle has 6-7 rippled edges, called folds or flutes. It has scales, called scutes. It has spotted patterns on the mantle. It has a mouth, a heart, kidneys, a stomach, and a nervous system.

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External Covering: from skin and scales to fur and feathers

External covering is the outside appearance of an animal. Animals can have fur, feathers, hair, short hair, long hair, smooth hair, bristles, skin, thick skin, moist skin, dry skin, scales, waterproof scales, small scales, overlapping scales, spikes, hard shells, soft shells, smooth shells, rough shells, wool, or no covering at all.

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Iridescent scales, feathers and shells

Iridescence means shiny with many colours. Many animals have iridescent colours.

Iridescence is structural colour from refracted light (crystals), diffraction gratings (feathers or butterfly wings), thin film (oily surfaces), multiple layer interference (nacre in shells), or 3-D arrays of spheres (opals).

The word iridescence comes from iris, the Greek word for rainbow. An iridescent object has many tones of colour. Iridescence creates colour by splitting and reflecting light from different structures – which is why it is often called structural colour.

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