Tag Archive: Color of Life

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae

Genus/species: Crotalus adamanteus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have a large head with a light bordered dark stripe running diagonally through the eye and a large pit between the nostril and eye.. The body is bulky with a row of large dark diamonds with brown centers and cream borders down its back. The ground color of the body ranges from olive, to brown, to almost black. The tail has a well-developed rattle. Maximum length to 7 feet (average length 33 to 72 inches).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to the southeast of the United States. Found in in the coastal lowlands, barrier islands. Occasionally it may venture into salt water, swimming to the outlying Keys off the Florida coast.

DIET IN THE WILD; C. adamanteus is crepuscular and are most active in the evening or early morning. They feed primarily on small mammals, from mice to rabbits. Location of the prey is by odor, as well as by sensing the infrared waves (heat) given off by their warm-blooded prey.


REPRODUCTION: Brood size ranges from 6 to 21. The gestation period is six to seven months. Young are born live, in retreats such as gopher tortoise burrows or hollow logs and can live over 20 years.

PREDATORS: Young are taken by hogs, carnivorous mammals (the gray fox), raptors (the red-tailed hawk), and other snakes (especially king snakes). Adults have no natural predators.

CONSERVATION: Red List (LC) Least concern but the population is decreasing due to fragmentation by agriculture, forestry practices and urbanization.

REMARKS: It preys on rats, mice, rabbits, and other small mammals, many of which are pests to humans.
It can strike up to 2/3 its body length; a 6-foot specimen may strike 4 feet. It has potent venom with a mortality rate for humans is nearly 40 percent. The only acceptable treatment for venomous snakebite, involves the use of antivenom.

Color of Life note: Pit vipers, boas and pythons have heat sensing organs which detect infrared (IR) wavelengths on their face.  The snake can tell the direction from which a signal originates, depending on where the nerve signal strikes a membrane. This partnership between heat detection and visual sensory inputs allows the snake to detect its warm-blooded prey, even when it is too dark to pick out prey from the background.

Ref: California Academy of Sciences Color of Life Exhibit 2015.


Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8359753686/in/album-72157652559028013/

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

Florida Museum of Natural History www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/crotalus-ada…

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/64308/0

Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Crotalus_adamanteus/

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Salmoniformes (Salmons)
Family: Salmonidae (Salmonids)
Subfamily: Salmoninae

 Genus/Species: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Chinook Salmon aka King Salmon14630212572_bab25a96d9_b

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Largest species in the Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus) genus. Max length :150 cm.(59 inches). Max wt. 64 kg (140 pounds). They average 10 to 50 pounds (4.5 to 22.7 kg.
Small black spots on the back and on the upper and lower lobes of the caudal fin, and the black gums of the lower jaw. In the sea are dark greenish to blue-black on top of head and back, silvery to white on the lower sides and belly; numerous small, dark spots along back and upper sides and on both lobes of caudal; gum line of lower jaw black.
In fresh water, with the approach of the breeding condition, the fish change to olive-brown, red or purplish,

Chinook Salmon 14444106928_8b07130949_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT:, Native areas include Alaska, Canada, northwestern USA, Russia, and Japan. Introduced in New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and the Great Lakes along the USA-Canada border. Found in marine, freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic. (swim just above the seabed at depths below about 200 m, 650 feet (the edge of the continental shelf). Benthopelagic river fish are found near the bottom of the water column, feeding on benthos and zooplankton

DIET IN THE WILD: Young may feed on insects and crustaceans. Adults feed primarily on other fishes.

 REPRODUCTION: Onset of fertility 4.0 years. At breeding time, the head of the male is transformed into a ‘kype’, with a deformed, upturned jaw and a hooked nose. Anadromous (migrate from the sea into fresh water to spawn; or, ones that stay entirely in fresh water and migrate upstream to spawn). May also spawn in lakes.
Max age 9yrs.

 PREDATORS: Young are preyed upon by fishes and birds (such as mergansers and kingfishers); adults are prey of large mammals and large birds.

 CONSERVATION: IUCN not evaluated

 REMARKS: The Alaska Salmon fishery of this species has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as well-managed and sustainable.

Color of Life note: The salmon’s  rich marine diet gives them their iconic pink hue. Farmed salmon raised on manufactured, aquaculture feed (pellets) tend to have a gray tone. The color pattern of salmon demonstrates countershading, where the dark back and light belly allows the fish to blend into the darker water when seen from above and into the lighter sky when seen from below.

Reference: Shepherd, B. 2015. Color of Life Public Engagement and Education presentation. California Academy of Sciences. March 26, 2015.

 California Coastal Marine


Margarita Upton, Biologist II
Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences

Ron’s flickr pro  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/14630212572/in/album-72157652559028013/

 ADW  animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Oncorhynchus_tsha…

 eol  eol.org/pages/205252/hierarchy_entries/44694307/details

 fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/244

WordPress Shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1in



Color of Life note: The blackish-grey top surface of the African Penguin camouflages it from predators above it and the mostly white underside does the same for predators below it.

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves (birds)
Order: Sphenisciformes (Penguins )
Family: Spheniscidae

Genus/species: Spheniscus demersus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like most birds with shared parental duties, sexes are similar in appearance. Adults: upper parts blackish-grey, underparts mostly white with inverted black horseshoe extending down flank to thigh. Feet and legs black. Chicks arrive with secondary down feathers. Juveniles are grey blue and immatures gradually come to resemble adults in approx. 3 years..
Length up to To 70 cm (28 inches) tall.
Weight up to 3.5 kg (7.7 lb)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found off the Coasts of South Africa and
Namibia. Nests in colonies mainly on offshore islands. Rarely encountered more than 8 km from islands or mainland.4545404530_496c8cf6b1_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Piscivorous. They feed primarily on shoaling fishes such as anchovies, mackerel and herring. They can reach a top speed of close to 20 km/h (12 mph). On the west coast a typical foraging trip could range from 30 to 70 km (18-44 miles) for a single trip. On the south coast, foraging birds cover an average of 110 km (68 miles) per trip.

Academy diet: Vitamin fortified herring, and capelin.


REPRODUCTION: S. demersus are monogamous colonial nesters. They dig nesting burrows.and lays 2 eggs which are then incubated by both parents for about 40 days. The pair feeds their young for about one month by regurgitating food into the hatchling’s mouth.The average time to independence is 80 days.

LONGEVITY: May live to at least 25 years.

PREDATORS: Seals in the water and mongooses, large-spotted genets and leopards on land. Eggs and chicks are eaten by feral cats, Kelp gulls and Sacred Ibises.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: Vulnerable (VU) 2010

Threats: Depleted fish stocks, human collection of penguin guano fertilizer, oil pollution and collection of eggs in the past have resulted in a 90 percent drop in the population since 1900.

REMARKS: The alternate common name “jackass” is a reference to its donkey-like vocalization.

California Academy of Sciences penguins
Wing bands identify males females and couples. Males right, females left and couples are the same color.

African penguins are finding a strong ally in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program sponsored by the California Academy of Sciences and 53 other zoos and scientific institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The captive population acts as a reservoir for genetic diversity, and could eventually be used to bolster wild penguin populations.
See the Academy web site below for more information and a 24 hour web cam.


Penguins constantly work to keep their feathers clean, well-oiled, and waterproofed. They preen their feathers by nipping at an oil glad at the base of their tail to express oil which transferred to their beaks and then to their body feathers.


Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4569783089/in/album-72157623916364716/

California Academy of Sciences  www.calacademy.org/explore-science/common-penguin-behaviors

California Academy of Sciences www.calacademy.org/explore-science/live-penguin-cams

BirdLife International www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3861

ARKive  www.arkive.org/african-penguin/spheniscus-demersus/

Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Spheniscus_demersus/

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/22697810/0

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


%d bloggers like this: