Starry Puffer Fish (Arothron stellatus) -
The starry puffer fish is a medium sized puffer, named after the patterning on its skin. It is relatively uncommon and can be found in subtropical waters near the Indian Ocean all the way to the coasts of Japan.
Like all puffer fish, this fish has three forms of defense. Its skin is covered in small spines, it can inflate its body to prevent being grasped and eaten, and it can secrete an extremely poisonous neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin.
It uses its sharp teeth to feed on invertebrae, polyps, corals, crustaceans and mollusks. The juveniles (2 bottom) look much more colorful, and their stomachs are striped which make them look much more intimidating when puffed. Adults have a paler underside, but make up for it with size and aggression.
Black-winged Lory (Eos cyanogenia) -
This medium sized parrot is endemic to various coastal regions of Indonesia. It has a few other similar looking lory relatives with red plumage, differing mostly in the blue and black patterns across its body.
Males and females look similar, while juveniles are duller in color. They can grow up to about 12 inches from beak to tail. It feeds primarily on berries and fruit, occasionally feeding on flower nectar. They live in pairs or small groups of around 5 birds. Pairs nest on coconut trees.
Because of habitat destruction and poaching, this bird has become vulnerable on the IUCN list.
Named after its two large front teeth, this large koala and wombat relative was the largest marsupial. It lived about 45,000 years ago on wide grasslands, at the same time as early humans.
It grew to about 10 feet in length and was about as tall as a rhinoceros. They probably weighed about 6,200 pounds. It lived on the sparse vegetation of present day Australia.
There are a few arguments on the correlation of humans and the extinction of this animal, some arguing that humans killed them off, while others say they co-existed for over 20,000 years.
Buff-Tip Moth (Phalera bucephala) -
Distributed throughout Europe, this fat moth is quite common at night in June and July. They are a medium sized moth with a wingspan of a little over 2 inches.
These moths have adapted an extremely successful form of camouflage that makes their profiles look like a broken twig. They eat the leaves from birch, hazel and willow trees, without much damage to the plant. The caterpillars are fuzzy and vividly colored, feeding on many different types of plants. They pupate in the winter and emerge in May and June.
Ailao Mustache Toad (Virbrissaphora ailaonica) -
Mustache toads get their name from the small spikes they grow above their mouths. The Ailao mustache toad is one of two species, the other being the Emei mustache toad. Both toads live in China. The Ailao is found near Yunnan and the Emei lives in Szechuan.
During the mating season, the males will grow sharp spikes around the mouth and use them as weapons to fight other males. Their front arms also get beefed up. When the mating season is over, they will shed the spikes. The main difference between the two species aside from their regions is the placement of the spikes on the face. The Ailao toads’ spikes are more numerous, while the Emei only grow about 10 upward pointing spikes that are in a row along its upper lip.
It lives in the cool mountain forests and feeds mostly on worms and snails. Their bodies can grow up to about 3 inches long. It moves to small streams to mate at the end of winter. The males look over the eggs of several females they have mated with until they hatch into tadpoles. They are rare but their regions are currently protected.
Real talk though, that’s disgusting.
Wood Lizard (Enyalioides binzayedi) -
Found only in the Cordillera Azul National Park of Peru, this little lizard was discovered first in 2010.
They can grow up to about 12 inches and both sexes have dorsal spikes on the neck. The males (top and bottom right) have bright green and black patterning while the females (bottom left) are brown. Juveniles are also a dull brown color. Other wood lizards don’t have the prominent dorsal spikes.
Kentrosaurus aethiopicus -
This small stegosaurus lived in the late Jurassic in present day Tanzania. It probably grew to about 15 ft in length, but its tallest spine wasn’t much taller than an adult human.
They were herbivorous, using their large dorsal spikes as defense against larger predators. The tails had over 40 vertebrae which made them extremely flexible, allowing them to nearly touch their tails to either sides of their bodies. They also had large spines on their sides near their shoulders for additional defense.
Caqueta Titi Monkey (Callicebus caquetensis) -
One of about 20 titi monkeys that live in the Amazon, the Caqueta titi monkey was only recently described in 2010. Like some of its titi relatives, it grows a very noticeable red beard. Other species will have slight differences in markings and color.
These monkeys are unique in that they purr when content with each other, being groomed, or being handled by their caretakers (biologists are studying them and some have bred in captivity). Besides cats, these monkeys are the only other animal known to purr. The younger monkeys tend to purr much more than the adults.
In the wild, these small monkeys live in tightly knit groups of 3-5 individuals led by an adult pair. They are monogamous (mostly) and usually have one baby a year. Gibbons are one of the only other monogamous primates.
They feed on fruits and occasionally seeds. Their range is extremely small, and is getting smaller. Like most amazonian animals, habitat destruction is the biggest threat to their fragile populations. The Caqueta titi monkey population is critically endangered with less than 300 individuals in the wild.
Red-Spotted Dorid or Halo Red-Spotted Dorid (Goniobranchus heatherae) -
This little sea slug is a dorid nudibranch which means that it is able to retract its gills into a gill pocket. Its gills are the external “branches” that stick out near its bum. It can grow up to 2 inches long.
This species of sea slug lives along the coast of southern Africa. They live on the rocks of shallow waters and feed on sponges. Some of the identifying features of the red spotted dorid are the eight butt gills and the thick rhinophores (the antennae things). Some nudibranchs’ rhinophores are smooth while most dorid nudibranch have fat, ribbed ones. Most red spotted dorids have an opaque white band around the notum. Species that live in the eastern areas of its region can have a yellow band next to the white one (bottom right). The size of the spots can vary from very small to having one large red spot on its back.