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Painting of Octavius by Benjamin West
Painting of Octavius by Benjamin West

Prince Octavius of Great Britain (1779–1783) was the thirteenth child and eighth son of King George III and his queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. King George and Queen Charlotte were much more involved in rearing their fifteen children than was usual for aristocratic parents of the time. George was extremely devoted to Octavius, who was too young to cause the kinds of trouble that his elder brothers did by this time. Contemporary accounts describe Octavius as having a sweet nature, and being particularly close to his sister Sophia. Six months after the death of his younger brother Prince Alfred, Octavius was inoculated against the smallpox virus. He became ill and died several days later. His death at the age of four devastated his parents, and in particular his father. King George III had been very fond of his two youngest sons, Alfred and Octavius, and his later bouts of madness involved hallucinations of the two dead princes. (Full article...)

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Dendropsophus branneri
Dendropsophus branneri

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Jiang Zemin in 2002
Jiang Zemin

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December 1: World AIDS Day; Great Union Day in Romania (1918)

Francis Walsingham
Francis Walsingham
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Today's featured picture

Red-bellied piranha

The red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri), also known as the red piranha, is a species of piranha native to South America, found in the Amazon, Paraguay, Paraná and Essequibo basins, as well as the coastal rivers of northeastern Brazil. They are omnivorous foragers and feed on insects, worms, crustaceans, and fish. Red-bellied piranhas often travel in shoals as a predatory defense but rarely exhibit group hunting behavior. Acoustic communication is common and is sometimes exhibited along with aggressive behaviors. They are also often kept as an aquarium species. This fish was photographed at Karlsruhe Zoo in Germany.

Photograph credit: H. Zell

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