Archive for May, 2017


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia (Amphibians)
Order: Anura
Family: Pipadae

Genus/species: Pipa pipa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The stout body has a triangular head, small black beadlike eyes and nostrils at the end of two narrow tubes on its snout. Huge, webbed rear feet are used for propulsion. It is dark gray to brown color, along with flaps and projections of skin on the jaw and around the body, helping it blend into the surroundings.

Length up to 20 cm (8 in). Weight: 3.5 to 5.6 ounces.

DIET IN THE WILD: Juveniles are cannibals and predators. Adults  lye patiently in wait locating food with long fingers with star-shaped tactile organs on its fingertips in murky water P. pipa does not have teeth or a tongue, so its large mouth helps it swallow food whole eating  fish, worms, insects, and crustaceans.

 

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Males utilize a rapidly repeated clicking sound to attract mates. Grasping the female from above, the male fertilizes the eggs as they are extruded. The male and female somersault together through the water, as fertilized eggs are released. Given the female’s swimming dexterity and an assist by the male, the eggs are placed on her back where they embed in the skin, which has become soft during mating season. Within 24 hours the female’s skin begins to swell around her eggs forming skin-covered pockets. Larvae mature through the tadpole stage within these pockets for 12–20 weeks, and eventually emerge as fully formed toads, though they are less than 2 cm (0.8 in) long. Surinam toads have reproduced successfully at the Steinhart for many years.

Mortality/Longevity: Though they often seem all skin and no flesh, these toads are eaten by some indigenous Amazonian peoples and other aquatic predators.Lives up to 8 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

REMARKS: Like all Pipidae, it lacks a tongue. The clicking sound they make is produced by snapping the hyroid bone in their throats.
Pipid frogs seem more specialized for an aquatic life style than any other group of frogs as suggested by their flat bodies, dorsal eyes, the lateral line system of the adult, extensive webbing, powerful hind limbs that cannot be folded under the body, and elaborate aquatic courtship behaviors.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium animal attractions 2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3399392575/in/set-72157608456457315

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pipa_pipa/

Amphibiaweb http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Pipa&where-species=pipa

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-pF

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Chaenopsidae (Pike-, tube- and flagblennies)

Genus/Species Neoclinus uninotatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color is usually light to dark brown with black specks and mottling. The jaw is large extending beyond the eye. There is one large ocellus (eye spot) between dorsal fin spines. A few carrier above the eye and one larger (longer than the eye diameter).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: N. uninotatus is found along the California coast from Bodega Bay to the Baja California. It is usually found in rock crevices as well as inside objects, including bottles, cans, and tires which it guards fiercely.
Depth 3-27 m (10-90 ft)
Length up to 25 cm (10 in)

DIET IN THE WILD: Benthic crustaceans

REPRODUCTION: Both sexes guard the eggs with the male circulating water over them.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern.

REMARKS: The Sarcastic Fringhead is similar but has two ocelli on the dorsal fin.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Waterplanet 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32131392083/in/album-72157675574079744/

Pacific Coast Fishes of North America: Eschmeyer and Hearld, The Eaton Press,1983

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Neoclinus-uninotatus.html

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Pn

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Dendrobatidae

Genus/species: Phyllobates lugubris

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: P. lugubris are small frogs, less than an inch in length, with the females slightly larger than the males. The head is longer than wide with a round snout. The back is jet black with paired dorsolateral stripes, of various colors including yellow, orange, gold or turquoise. They also have a thinner lighter turquoise or white ventrolateral stripe on each side from the tip of the snout to and along the front limbs.

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: This species inhabits the humid lowland and the premontane zone along the Atlantic coast of southeastern Nicaragua through Costa Rica to Central Panama. The frogs live in the leaf litter of the forest floor, near slow-moving water.

DIET IN THE WILD: Eat ants, mites, beetles, and spiders.

REPRODUCTION: Breeding occurs in the wet season. Males call to attract females, with a chortle that sounds like a hand rubbing an inflated balloon. A pair works together to create a ground nest in dry leaf litter. The female then deposits her eggs, which the male fertilizes. The male takes over and periodically moistens the eggs in the nest until the eggs hatch. He then carries 5 to 10 tadpoles at a time on his back to aquatic rearing sites. In about 2 months the tadpoles metamorphose into froglets that are about a half an inch long.

Phyllobates lugubris14933390504_dcd8c270b1_o

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Most poison dart frogs can live from 10 to 15 years in captivity. In general poison dart frogs have few predators. Their bright colors warn potential predators that they are toxic, even though in reality many of them merely taste bad because of sour but low potency toxins in their skins. Thus this group provides examples of both aposematic coloration and Batesian mimicry (an edible animal is protected by its resemblance to a noxious one that is avoided by predators).

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least concern (LC) This species is relatively safe due to its wide distribution, tolerance to modification to its habitat, and its fairly large population. Some collected specimens have been found to be infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid fungus), but the pathogenic impacts are unclear.

REMARKS: Some South American natives capture other members of this genus (Phyllobates terribilis, P. bicolor, P. aurotaenia) to poison blow-gun darts. However, Phyllobates lugubris is not as toxic as other species in its genus and has not been documented to have been hunted primarily for its poison

P. lugubris is sympatric with another species, Eleutherodactylus gaigeae, known as the “false poison-dart frog.” This species mimics the appearance of P. lugubris in order to fend off predators, by having two paired red stripes running the length of the body. However, E. gaigae is a non-toxic mimic and does not produce batrachotoxins.

References

California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions, Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1t1

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/14933390504/in/set-72157620708938680

Amphibiaweb  amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Phyllobates&…

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/55263/0

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1025277/details

 

TAXONOMY

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Family: Centrolenidae

Genus/species: Cochranella granulosa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They are usually have a dark blue-green dorsum, often with scattered black spots. with the abdominal skin transparent showing internal organs. White stripe is present on the on upper lip.

Length about one inch long, females slightly larger than males.

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Granular Glass Frog is native to Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, They are found Arboreally in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, rivers, and heavily degraded former forest.

Granular Glass Frog9586409513_a9555368e5_k

REPRODUCTION: C. granulosa lays eggs on leaves above water. Upon hatching the tadpoles drop into the water then grow into adults.

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CONSERVATION: IUCN: Least Concern (LC)
Generally threatened by habitat loss resulting from deforestation, and water pollution.

References

California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions

Amphibiaweb www.amphibiaweb.org/cgi-bin/amphib_query?where-genus=Coch...

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/54964/0

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1047969/details

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608456457315/with/9130483407/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-11e

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Syngnathiformes (Pipefishes and seahorses)
Family: Syngnathidae (Pipefishes and seahorses)

Genus/species: Haliichthys taeniophorus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Ribboned Pipefish have elongate scaleless bodies with bony knobs above the eyes and spines on body with a series of bony rings. The body color consists of shades of brown, green and yellow; The snout is tube like with no jaw and a terminal mouth. H. taeniophorus has a single dorsal fin, and its head and body are adorned with leafy appendages. They possess a prehensile tail that is used to attach to seagrass while searching for nearby prey.

Length up to 30.0 cm (11.8 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific: Indonesia south to Australia. Found in protected coastal shallows over or among algae, sea grasses, or floating weeds.

DIET IN THE WILD: Minute invertebrates and small planktonic crustaceans.

REPRODUCTION: They are ovoviviparous. The male carries the eggs in a brood pouch which is found under the tail.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern. This species may be susceptible to being caught as bycatch and/or targeted for use in trade, but this has not been documented. There are no other known threats to this species.

REMARKS: Pipefishes differ from seadragons which lack the brood pouch of seahorses and pipefishes.

References

California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3429248779/in/album-72157608441047857/

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Haliichthys-taeniophorus.html

Arkive  www.arkive.org/ribboned-pipefish/haliichthys-taeniophorus/

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/95882787/0

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Pb

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (Moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (brush footed butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius hecale

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: All Heliconius species have long black wings bearing simple but striking patterns, typically featuring streaks or patches of red and cream, or blue and cream. Several including hecale have subspecies which mimic ‘tiger complex’ orange and black. In fact every one of the 29 hecale subspecies mimics. They are all toxic to birds. Studies have provided strong evidence that birds which eat the them suffer from nausea and vomiting.

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Central America south throughout Amazonia. Habitat: Occurs from sea level to 1,400 m (4600 feet) in tall forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: they nectar at Hamelia, Lantana and Palicourea. Females feed on pollen as well as nectar.

Ventral or wing bottom

Tiger Longwing 3779879064_915dfdc8af_b

REMARKS: Heliconians are brightly colored butterflies with especially long wings, hence the common name. Tiger Longwings and many other Heliconians are communal roosters. Each night a number of butterflies, either of the same or related species, assemble for the night, often on a single branch.

References

California Academy of Sciences 2017

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-13X

AWD http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Heliconius_hecale/classification/

EOL http://eol.org/pages/154228/details

Butterflies of Mexico, USA and Canada. www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/North%20America%20-%20Helic…

Tree of life project www.tolweb.org/Heliconius_hecale/72904

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius sara

Sara Longwing (top wing)Heliconius sara

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Upper wing surface (dorsal) is black with large patch of metallic blue framed by two white bands. Underside (ventral) is brown-black with faded white bars above and small red spots near the body.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Widespread throughout Central America and the tropics of South America, including the Amazon Basin. Usually found  flying  slowly in the middlestory of rainforests.

REPRODUCTION: Pupal maters. Males don’t even wait until the female emerges from the pupa. Instead they physically break open her pupa and copulate as soon as her genitalia are accessible.  Larvae of sara longwing butterflies avoid harm from cyanogenic leaves by metabolizing cyanogenic glycosides enzymatically.

Sara Longwing Heliconius sara 3142858049_b1047eaf55_o

LONGEVITY: Adult life span: 2–3 months.

REMARKS: Passion flowers contain toxic compounds to which caterpillars are immune; like monarchs, the caterpillars concentrate the toxin in their tissues and pass it along to the adult during metamorphosis. Research suggests that adult Heliconian butterflies may be able to synthesize their own toxins with the amino acids they absorb through the protein-rich pollen they feed on.

References

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/with/3143686808/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-13P

EOL eol.org/pages/151535/details

Tree of Life tolweb.org/Heliconius_sara/72943

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius sapho

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GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: H. sapho and H. cydno are Müllerian mimics (two or more unrelated noxious, critters exhibit similar warning systems), which is exhibited in the mimetic wing pattern. NOTE: Batesian mimicry differs because one critter of two similar critters is not noxious. In this case the predators avoid all organisms with a given or similar warning, thus making the resemblance a protective mechanism for the non noxious organism.
Heliconius sapho is black and white but has a blue metallic sheen when seen under the right lighting conditions. It can be distinguished from its co-mimic H. cydno by the ventral surface of the hind wings, which exhibit basal red rays and no brown bars.

Wing span 3-3.5 inches

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Sapho longwings are found in central and northwestern South America to the west of the Andes in dense rainforests.

DIET IN THE WILD:  H. sapho  have a complex coevolved relationship with only one host plant, Passiflora pitteri.  Heliconius spp. caterpillars eat the plants that making their tissues poisonous. The butterflies are usually unpalatable to predators.

Wing bottom

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REPRODUCTION: Also a pupal-mater (see Zebra Longwing)

LONGEVITY: Relatively long-lived

References

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/with/4427846137/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-13C

Tree of Life Project http://www.tolweb.org/Heliconius_sapho/72940

EOL http://eol.org/pages/153873/details

Missouri Botanical Garden http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/visit/family-of-attractions/butterfly-house/butterflies-and-plants/our-butterfly-collection/butterfly-collection-article/article/250/iheliconius-saphoi.aspx

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed or four-footed butterflies) The first pair of legs are small or reduced, giving the family the other names of four-footed or brush-footed butterflies.
Subfamily: Heliconiinae (passion-vine butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius melpomene

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GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Postman has large long wings with an orange stripe down each forewing and is famous for the geographic diversity of its color pattern, having around 30 named subspecies. These factors, in combination with its co-mimicry with Heliconius erato, make an individual sometimes difficult to identify.

Postman (wing bottom)Heliconius melpomene

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: H. melpomene is widespread in the Neotropics of Central and South America to southern Brazil. They are found in open areas, also locally common along river edges and streams.

DIET IN THE WILD: A plant specialist on passion vine flowers (Passiflora spp.). In Central America, focuses on only two species; in other areas, is more of a generalist, feeding on several Passiflora species.

Postman butterfly 3128914991_1200b58be7_o

LONGEVITY: Heliconius spp. are among the Methuselahs of the butterfly world. Most butterflies live only days; some Heliconians in the adult (butterfly) stage, including the Postman, live for as long as 8 months.

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REMARKS: The Postman is reportedly named after its habit of flying a route that allows visitation of all the nectar plants in a given area like a postman delivering the mail.
In Greek mythology, Mt. Helicon was sacred home to the Muses; Melpomene is the Muse of Tragedy.

References

California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  wp.me/p1DZ4b-12R

Tree of Life web project tolweb.org/Heliconia

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/154557/details

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius charithonia

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The wings are long, narrow, patterned with black and yellow stripes. Wing span: 2 3/4 – 4 inches.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropics and subtropics of Central and South America. Also West Indies, Mexico, southern Texas, Florida, and occasionally as far west as New Mexico and north to the Carolinas.  H. charithonia are found in moist forests, edges, and fields.

 

DIET IN THE WILD: Adults feed on flower nectar and pollen. Larvae feed almost exclusively on the leaves of a few host species of passion flowers (genus Passiflora).

REPRODUCTION: Almost half of the Heliconian species, including the Zebra Longwing, practice a unique mating behavior known as pupal mating. The male seeks out larval host plants to find female pupae of its species, and may fend off other males from one or more pupae for up to a week before the female butterfly emerges. Mating takes place before the female is fully hardened. With the exception of one other species, Heliconians are the only butterflies known to practice this behavior.

PREDATORS:  Taken by birds and larger insects.

REMARKS: Declared the Florida State Butterfly in 1996. Species name refers to the Charities, or Graces, of Greek mythology, known as the epitome of charm and natural beauty. The Zebra Longwing, because of its striking pattern and long life, is a favorite species for butterfly exhibits. This species also practices communal roosting.

References

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/with/3259463506/

EOL http://eol.org/pages/147104/details

Bug guide http://bugguide.net/node/view/533

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-13m

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