The Monthly Species: May

It’s the end of May already! This months species has been in the news for reintroduction in Denmark. This is of course the grey wolf.

Canis lupis

VHawAWe

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: C. lupus

Size:

Grey wolves can measure up to 160cm in length and 85cm from shoulder height, however these sizes vary globally.

Diet:

As wolves are known globally diets do vary dependent on which continent they are found. That being said wolves generally feed on herbivorous mammals for example deer, goats and even bison. Wolves have been known to supplement this diet with berries and vegetable matter. This can include things like blueberries and melons but again varies on the location.

Life Expectancy:

Generally 7-8 years in the wild but wolves have been known to live up to 12 years or longer in remote locations and in protected areas.


Reproduction:

Breeding season occurs once a year late January through March. Pups are born blind and defenseless and there can be between 4 and 7 pups per litter. The pack cares for the pups until they fully mature at about 10 months of age when they can hunt on their own. Once grown, young wolves may disperse. Dispersing wolves have been known to travel 50 to 500 miles.

Conservation: 

Wolf populations worldwide decreased in the 19th century mainly through hunting. The populations are threatened from habitat loss and continued conflict with humans. On the other side populations have began to increase through an increase in protected areas and wolf populations have began to grow in places which were recently extinct from wolves.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species:

Wolves have unique howls, like fingerprints, that scientists (and other pack members) can use to tell them apart.

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The Monthly Species: April

Hello and welcome to Day 24 of BEDA, the end is in sight! Today I’m bringing you one of my favorite plants in the whole world. Fun fact when I go to Kew I always make a trip to the carnivorous plants room because they are just that cool! It is of course the Venus Fly Trap.

Dionaea muscipula

Venus_Flytrap_showing_trigger_hairs

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Droseraceae
Genus: Dionaea
Species: D. muscipula

Size: Plants are built with a rosette of four to seven leaves. Each stem reaches a maximum size of about three to ten centimeters. The longer leaves with robust traps are usually formed after flowering. Flytraps that have more than seven leaves are colonies formed by rosettes that have divided beneath the ground.

Habitat: Bogs and wet savannah, or areas are nutrient poor. Its actually only native to North and South Carolina in the US. However it has been transplanted to several locations across the world.

Conservation: The species are currently classed as vulnerable in the IUCN red list. In North Carolina there is a law stating that the removal of naturally growing venus fly traps are is a felony.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species:

The coolest thing about venus fly traps is of course there carnivorous capabilities. The venus fly trap is adapted to living in poor nutrient soils because it gains nutrients from the insects. The leaves have very sensitive adapted trigger hairs that when they feel pressure the movement is activated. This then closes the two leaves together and the poor insect is trapped. Digestive enzymes are then released which then turns the insect into a kind of mush and the plant can then obtain the nutrients. It’s a bit gory but I find it so cool! I’m sure that says alot about me in some way!

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The Monthly Species: March

March has come and gone and here’s this months species. They are my favourite species from this particular group so I had to include them this year. Its the Sumatran orangutan!

Sumatran Orangutan

Scientific Classification:

Scientific Name : Pongo abelii

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Hominidae

Genus: Pongo

Size: 

Male orangutans grow to about 1.4m and weigh around 90kg. The females are smaller.

Diet:

Orangutans have a diet consisting of five categories:

  • Fruits
  • Insects
  • Leaf material
  • Bark
  • Other miscellaneous items

They find water from natural bowls created in the trees but have also been known to drink the water from the hair on their arms when rainfall is heavy.

Life Expectancy:

Orangutan species can live for decades. The oldest known orangutan lived until the age of 55.
Reproduction:

Male orangutans live mostly alone and female orangutans live with their offspring although it is suggested that sumatran orangutans have stronger ties than bornean orangutans.

Conservation:

There current population is about 7,300 individuals and they are considered to be critically endangered.  This is because of deforestation and also illegal animal trade. They are an endemic species coming only from Sumatra. There are 9 populations unfortunately only 7 are deemed viable for a gain in the population.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species:

You’ll rarely find sumatran orangutans on the ground. Female orangutans exclusively travel through the trees and the males rarely come too travel on the ground.

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The Monthly Species: February

Another month has flown by, as they always do! I’m really excited for spring to finally roll around. So to celebrate that my species of the month is actually a genus! Commonly known as the snowdrop! This genus actually has 20 species and have been cultivated to produce giant snowdrops and even yellow ones! The traditional snowdrop as we know it has the scientific name of Galanthus nivalis.

Galanthus nivalis.jpg

Scientific Classification:

Genus: Galanthus

Size: 7-15cm tall. Natural snowdrops only have one flowerhead growing on one stem.

Habitat: Woodland areas and damp areas

Conservation: 

Some species of snowdrop are under threat in there natural habitats due to habitat destruction, illegal collecting and climate change. Some species have regulation in their trade under CITES.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species:

The snowdrop is often considered to be a wildflower in the UK but they weren’t recorded as growing wild until the 1770s and the snowdrop plant may be said to look like three drops of milk hanging from a stem. This accounts for the Latin name Galanthus which means “milk-white flowers”.

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The Monthly Species: January

Hello! Welcome to this brand new series! Its the Monthly Species. That’s right every month I’ll be giving you a profile for a new species! Alternating predominantly between the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom! This month it’s….

Southern Royal Albatross

375px-diomedea_epomophora_-_se_tasmania

Scientific Classification:

Scientific Name : Diomedea epomophora

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Procellariiformes

Family: Diomedeidae

Genus: Diomedea

Size: Albatross are huge. Gigantic in fact! They have an average length of 112 cm and an average weight of 8.5 kg. Males are slightly heavier than females. There wingspan is around 3 metres! Thats around 10ft.

Diet: Just like many sea dwelling birds, these birds have a diet based around squid, fish and other crustaceans. They eat within a 1250km radius of their breeding site.

Life Expectancy: They can live into their 40s!

royal-albatross3-223Reproduction: Pairs of albatross nest on grasslands and then both parents will incubate the egg. They breed in New Zealand and raise a chick every other year. The chick hatches in February to March and will then take flight for the first time in October to early December. The fledgling process is helped by the strong winds New Zealand experiences at that time.

Conservation: Currently these birds are classed as vulnerable according to the IUCN red list. This is because the population is still recovering after it was predated on heavily by humans in the 1930s. Other threats to these birds include farming on breeding grounds and animals like pigs and cats taking their eggs. Another threat to the albatross is being caught as bycatch in fisheries which could amount to the death of thousands of birds every year. However the population is currently stable and there are efforts to protect their breeding grounds.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species: The albatross are migratory birds and some have been reported to cover 190,000km a year! One migration of a bird was calculated to cover 13,000km in just two weeks!

I guess to summarise these birds are big and beautiful. They deserve protecting and are an important part of terrestrial and marine ecology. Thats why they had to be the species of the month!

southenroyal_tcm9-198821

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