The springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a medium-sized antelope found mainly in southern and southwestern Africa. The sole member of the genusAntidorcas, this bovid was first described by the German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann in 1780. Three subspecies are identified. A slender, long-legged antelope, the springbok reaches 71 to 86 cm (28 to 34 in) at the shoulder and weighs between 27 and 42 kg (60 and 93 lb). Both sexes have a pair of black, 35-to-50 cm (14-to-20 in) long horns that curve backwards. The springbok is characterised by a white face, a dark stripe running from the eyes to the mouth, a light-brown coat marked by a reddish-brown stripe that runs from the upper fore leg to the buttocks across the flanks like the Thomson's gazelle, and a white rump flap.
Active mainly at dawn and dusk, springbok form harems (mixed-sex herds). In earlier times, springbok of the Kalahari desert and Karoo migrated in large numbers across the countryside, a practice known as trekbokking. A feature, peculiar but not unique, to the springbok is pronking, in which the springbok performs multiple leaps into the air, up to 2 m (6.6 ft) above the ground, in a stiff-legged posture, with the back bowed and the white flap lifted. Primarily a browser, the springbok feeds on shrubs and succulents; this antelope can live without drinking water for years, meeting its requirements through eating succulent vegetation. Breeding takes place year-round, and peaks in the rainy season, when forage is most abundant. A single calf is born after a five- to six-month-long pregnancy; weaning occurs at nearly six months of age, and the calf leaves its mother a few months later. (Full article...)
The Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is the largest possum species and is perhaps the most widespread mammal in Australia. It grows to about 32–58 cm (13–23 in) in length, with an additional 24–40 cm (9–16 in) for its prehensile tail (seen here hanging below the branch). It is mainly a folivore, but has been known to eat small mammals such as rats. It is common in cities, having adapted well to human habitation.
The flatworms, flat worms, Platyhelminthes, Plathelminthes, or platyhelminths (from the Greek πλατύ, platy, meaning "flat" and ἕλμινς (root: ἑλμινθ-), helminth-, meaning "worm") are a phylum of relatively simple bilaterian, unsegmented, soft-bodied invertebrates. Unlike other bilaterians, they are acoelomates (having no body cavity), and have no specialized circulatory and respiratoryorgans, which restricts them to having flattened shapes that allow oxygen and nutrients to pass through their bodies by diffusion. The digestive cavity has only one opening for both ingestion (intake of nutrients) and egestion (removal of undigested wastes); as a result, the food cannot be processed continuously. (Full article...)
A soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines), together with an egg, as viewed through a low-temperature scanning electron microscope at 1000x magnification. This nematode infects the roots of soybeans, and the female nematode eventually becomes a cyst. Infection causes various symptoms that may include chlorosis of the leaves and stems, root necrosis, loss in seed yield and suppression of root and shoot growth.
The Atlantic spadefish is a species of marine fish endemic to the shallow waters off the coast of the southeastern United States and in the Caribbean Sea. They are similar in appearance to fresh waterangelfish, but much larger, reaching up to three feet (0.9 m) in length. Due to their reputation as strong fighters, they are popular game fish, especially during the summer months when they are most active.
Anatomical diagram of an adult female chambered nautilus, the best known species of nautilus, a "living fossil" related to the octopuses. The animal has a primitive brain that forms a ring around its oesophagus, has four gills (all other cephalopods have only two), and can only move shell-first (seemingly "backwards") by pumping water out through its funnel. The shell and tentacles are shown here as shadows.
Brittle stars, serpent stars, or ophiuroids are echinoderms in the class Ophiuroidea closely related to starfish. They crawl across the sea floor using their flexible arms for locomotion. The ophiuroids generally have five long, slender, whip-like arms which may reach up to 60 cm (24 in) in length on the largest specimens. The New Latin class name Ophiuroidea is derived from the Ancient Greek ὄφις, meaning "serpent". (Full article...)
The coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) is a medium-sized cephalopod found in tropical waters of the western Pacific Ocean. It commonly preys upon shrimp, crabs, and clams, and displays unusual behaviour, including bipedal walking and gathering and using coconut shells and seashells for shelter.
The Peacock flounder (Bothus mancus) is a species of lefteye flounder found widely in relatively shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific. This photomontage shows four separate views of the same fish, each several minutes apart, starting from the top left. Over the course of the photos, the fish changes its colors to match its new surroundings, and then finally (bottom right) buries itself in the sand, leaving only the eyes protruding.
Canidae is a family of mammals in the orderCarnivora, which includes domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, dingoes, and many other extant and extinct dog-like mammals. A member of this family is called a canid; all extant species are a part of a single subfamily, Caninae, and are called canines. They are found on all continents except Antarctica, having arrived independently or accompanied human beings over extended periods of time. Canids vary in size, including tails, from the 2 meter (6 ft 7 in) gray wolf to the 46 cm (18 in) fennec fox. Population sizes range from the Falkland Islands wolf, extinct since 1876, to the wolf, whose domestic dog subspecies has a worldwide population of over 1 billion. The body forms of canids are similar, typically having long muzzles, upright ears, teeth adapted for cracking bones and slicing flesh, long legs, and bushy tails. Most species are social animals, living together in family units or small groups and behaving cooperatively. Typically, only the dominant pair in a group breeds, and a litter of young is reared annually in an underground den. Canids communicate by scent signals and vocalizations. One canid, the domestic dog, entered into a partnership with humans at least 14,000 years ago and today remains one of the most widely kept domestic animals.
The 13 genera and 37 species of Caninae are primarily split into two tribes: Canini, which includes 9 genera and 20 species, comprising the wolf-like Canina subtribe and the South American Cerdocyonina subtribe; and Vulpini, the fox-like canids, comprising 3 genera and 14 species. Not included in either tribe is the Urocyon genus, which includes 2 species, mainly comprising the gray fox and believed to be basal to the family. In addition to the extant Caninae, Canidae comprises two extinct subfamilies designated as Hesperocyoninae and Borophaginae. Extinct species have also been placed into Caninae, in both extant and extinct genera; at least 80 extinct Caninae species have been found, as well as over 70 species in Borophaginae and nearly 30 in Hesperocyoninae, though due to ongoing research and discoveries the exact number and categorization is not fixed. The earliest canids found belong to Hesperocyoninae, and are believed to have diverged from the existing Caniformia suborder around 37 million years ago. (Full article...)
A brilliantly-colored oriental sweetlips fish (Plectorhinchus vittatus) waits while two boldly-patterned cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) pick parasites from its skin. The spotted tail and fin pattern of the sweetlips signals sexual maturity; the behaviour and pattern of the cleaner fish signal their availability for cleaning service, rather than as prey
Idealised bilaterian body plan. With an elongated body and a direction of movement the animal has head and tail ends. Sense organs and mouth form the basis of the head. Opposed circular and longitudinal muscles enable peristaltic motion.
The following table lists estimated numbers of described extant species for the animal groups with the largest numbers of species, along with their principal habitats (terrestrial, fresh water, and marine), and free-living or parasitic ways of life. Species estimates shown here are based on numbers described scientifically; much larger estimates have been calculated based on various means of prediction, and these can vary wildly. For instance, around 25,000–27,000 species of nematodes have been described, while published estimates of the total number of nematode species include 10,000–20,000; 500,000; 10 million; and 100 million. Using patterns within the taxonomic hierarchy, the total number of animal species—including those not yet described—was calculated to be about 7.77 million in 2011.[a]
^The application of DNA barcoding to taxonomy further complicates this; a 2016 barcoding analysis estimated a total count of nearly 100,000 insect species for Canada alone, and extrapolated that the global insect fauna must be in excess of 10 million species, of which nearly 2 million are in a single fly family known as gall midges (Cecidomyiidae).
^Sluys, R. (1999). "Global diversity of land planarians (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Terricola): a new indicator-taxon in biodiversity and conservation studies". Biodiversity and Conservation. 8 (12): 1663–1681. doi:10.1023/A:1008994925673. S2CID38784755.