“Female mosquites love the delicious odors given off by humans”


Back in the days of my high school science project, my most memorable one was on mosquitoes. Culex pipien pipiens was the species. My mission was to find out whether they laid more viable (more to hatch) eggs with or without a human blood meal. As I reported the findings in front of an auditorium full of people in Champagne Urbana, Illinois, an unusual reaction spread through my audience. One row at a time each person began scratching as I described how I feed the mosquitoes a human blood meal-my arm stuck in their cage. At the height of the mosquito population, it numbered about 300 hungry females. Research has advanced significantly since my days with the mosquito abatement service. The Culex p.p. did lay more viable eggs on human blood if you are interested.

Why  did all these mosquitoes prefer a human blood meal to the gerbil or guinea pig meal?

Well it seems researchers now understands why humans are such a delicacy. It seems we give off more carbon dioxide and nonanal odors than these other animals. This combination is irresistible to female mosquitoes.
How do they detect these odors?
We give them off through  our skin. Nonanal molecules are an end product of fat digestion and when we breathe our skin exudes the combination of these odors. When it is hot, we sweat and give off heat, CO2 and nonanal odors. These odors are sensed by the receptor sense cells on the antennae of the head of the mosquito and it can hone in on that essence from many feet away. They will land and where ever the concentration of the odors is the strongest they will drill through clothes including jeans to suck the blood that carries the desired chemicals to the surface of the skin.
The UC Davis research on the nonanal odor was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health; a cooperative research agreement with Bedoukian Research, a supplier of specialty aroma and flavor ingredients headquartered in Connecticut; and the National Science Foundation.
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://news.yahoo.com/livescience/whyhumanblooddrivesmosquitoeswild
Excerpts courtesy of   http://www.news.ucdavis.edu

Excerpts courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_receptor

Excerpts courtesy of   http://www.springerlink.com

Image mosquito mouth parts  courtesy of  http://www.vanderbilt.edu/maxpalp.jpg
Image mosquitobloodmeal  courtesy of   http://www.biolib.cz.jpg

“The stork cometh and baby does live!”


The African Shoebill storks are first time parents! Congratulations to everyone involved!

On December 25, 2009, in Tampa Florida at the Lowry Park Zoo the first baby African Shoebill stork was

The Stork cometh!

hatched. Thus Lowry became the first wildlife institution in the North America to hatch a rare African shoebill stork chick, and just the second institution worldwide.
So far the parent birds are involved parents who are sharing in the brooding responsibilities.  Aviary zoo keepers have conducted “dawn to dusk” watches to document feeding by the parent birds and response by the chick. It is thought that the chick will remain in the nest for about 120 days.

There are few Shoebills in captivity. Only 12 adult shoebills live in North American wildlife institutions, four of which are housed at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The population of wild Shoebills is thought to number 8,000-10,000 with the species listed as vulnerable.  “The shoebill population is uncommon in the wild, and rarely seen in zoos.

“Congratulations on this historic achievement in conserving  this rare species.” -Mother Nature

The African Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)or Whalehead belongs to the pelican family.

Known as one of the great bird species of Africa, the Shoebill is a very large bird. The adult is 115-150 cm (45-64 in) tall,  230-260 cm (91-125 in) across the wings and weighs 4 to 7 kg (8.8-15.5 lbs). The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia. darkly colored birds (blue-grey) with unusually large bills up to 12 inches long and 5 inches wide that resemble the shape of a wooden shoe. A broad wingspan and long, strong legs give this rare bird a stork-like appearance.
Common names for Shoebills include shoe-billed stork, whale-headed stork or bog bird, because they are known to nest on the ground near water where they forage in shallow, aquatic environments. preying on fish, frogs, reptiles, such as baby crocodiles, insects and small mammals. They lay 2 eggs in their undisturbed papyrus reed beds in highly vegetated areas.

A unique adaptation for hunting

A shoebill stork will often live in waters that are poorly oxygenated so the fish their prey will have to go to the surface more often for oxygen. This increases their higher chance of getting pleny of fish to eat.
The population is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in Sudan. BirdLife International have classified it as Vulnerable with the main threats being habitat destruction, disturbance and hunting.

Resources


Excerpts
courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoebill_stork

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.zandavisitor.com/forumtopicdetail-29-Tampa_Lowry_Park_Zoo

Image 1 and 2. courtesy of   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balaeniceps_rex_-San_Diego_Zoo.jpg

“Nature’s Gallery of blue wonders – really true blue” part 3″


The Blue penguin Eudyptula minor is the smallest of all penguins on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It weighs in at 2.2 lb/1 kg and is only about 18 inches/45 cm in height. Unlike all other penguins, the male is a little larger than the female, although their plumage is similar. The head and upper parts are indigo in color, with slate-grey ear coverts fading to white underneath, from the chin to the belly. The flippers are indigo above and white underneath. The dark grey-black bill, the irises pale silvery or bluish-grey or hazel, and the feet whitish above with black soles and webbing. An immature individual will have a shorter bill and paler upper parts.
These birds feed by hunting fish, squid and other small sea animals, for which they travel and dive quite extensively. They are generally inshore feeders. The use of recording devices has provided information of the diving behavior of Little Penguins. Fifty percent of their dives go no deeper than 6.6 ft /2 m and the mean diving time is 21 seconds.
Little penguins in air had insulative values similar to the emperor penguin. Penguin feathers provide the major component of insulation and their function as a waterproof barrier implies relatively high rates of heat loss on land.

The extent to which the muscles powering swimming in the little penguin utilize aerobic and anaerobic metabolism was investigated by examining oxygen stores, muscle ultrastructure shows that the muscles used to power swimming in the little penguin are basically aerobic (oxygen needed for maximum functioning) with limited capacity for producing ATP during muscle anoxia (oxygen deprivation). This suggests that these birds do not rely extensively upon short bursts of rapid swimming or indulge in prolonged deep diving to a point where oxygen stores available to the swimming muscles are exhausted. hey could not maintain body temperature at water temperatures below 5°C. Their small size,muscle physiology and metabolism has limited their range to a southern distribution primarily to the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand.


The female Blue Dart frog fights for her mate. Then lets the male raise the the young

The Blue Dart Frog Dendrobates azureus is blue through and through and listed as a threatened species.
It is native to southernmost part of Suriname in a region known as the Sipaliwini Savannah in South America.
Weighing about 3 grams, it is about 1.2 to 1.57 in/3 to 4.5 cm in length with four toes each has a wide, flattened tip and a suction cup pad.  The intensely bright coloration tells potential predators to stay away because its skin hosts poison glands all over it that secrete alkaloid poisons capable of paralyzing, even killing some predators.

D.azureus has an azure-blue hue on the limbs, a sky-blue on its dorsal surface, and a darker blue on its ventral surface. An irregular pattern of dark blue and black spots of various sizes cover this background coloration with the majority of the spotting located on its back as well as head. Sometimes, the ventral surface of the body has a dark blue or black midbelly stripe. Its skin is generally smooth, but often portions of the posterior ventral surface and thighs have a granular texture.  This species is also characterized by its hunch-backed posture.
During the breeding season,  Blue Poison Dart Frog  the males sit on a rock and produce quiet calls, which the female follows and tracks down the male. The females then physically fight over the male. The male takes the female to a quiet place by water to mate, which becomes the site of the egg-laying.
Between five to ten offspring are produced, and eggs are laid in the male’s territory, which he defends. The male takes care of the eggs most of the time, but sometimes the female does as well. The eggs hatch between fourteen and eighteen days, and after anywhere from ten to twelve weeks, the tadpoles are fully mature.

The only natural predator of most of the poison dart frog family is a snake called Leimadophis epinephelus, which has developed a resistance to the frogs’ poison.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.springerlink.com/content/t96417446t26571g/

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.jstor.org/pss/30156056

Excerpts courtesy of  http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/Dendrobates_azureus.htm

Excerpts courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrobates_azureus

Image courtesy of  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/Little_Blue_Penguin.jpg

Image courtesy of   http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/blue-poison-dart-frog-two.jpg

“Nature’s Gallery of blue wonders – really true blue” part 1


Nature’s wonders

a variety of colors, but these are really true blue year in and out.

The blue-crowned motmot has a large head with down curved, short, broad beak, which is serrated along the upper edge. Their tarsi (feet) are unique in that they are particularly short with a middle toe almost completely fused to the inner toe and only one rear toe.  The center tail feathers, which twitch like the pendulum of a clock when the motmot is perched, have bare spines at the tip. This makes them easily recognizable. The plumage of the blue-crowned motmot is shades of green and blue. They have red eyes, a turquoise crown and black face.

The blue shark, Prionace glauca, is a carcharhinid shark which is found in the deep waters of the world’s temperate and tropical oceans. They prefer cooler waters and are not found, for example, in the Yellow Sea or in the Red Sea. Blue sharks are known to migrate long distances, from New England to South America for example. Although generally lethargic, they are capable of moving very quickly if the need arises. Blue sharks are viviparous and are noted for their large litters of 25 to over 100 pups. They feed primarily on small fish and squid, although they are perfectly capable of taking larger prey should the opportunity present itself

O Christmas tree

Colorado blue spruce trees

have  silvery-blue needles are prickly to the touch and aromatic. The pyramidal shape of Colorado blue spruce trees makes them a classic choice for Christmas. Height: 90 to 135 feet Spread: 20 to 30 feet.

Blue ice

occurs when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed, and becomes part of a glacier that winds its way toward a body of water (river, lake, ocean, etc.). During its travels, air bubbles that are trapped in the ice are squeezed out, and the size of the ice crystals increases, making it clear.
In some areas, earthquakes have raised the blue ice above the ground and created formations much like large frozen waves. Ice is blue for the same reason water is blue: it is a result of an overtone of an oxygen-hydrogen (O-H) bond stretch in water which absorbs light at the red end of the visible spectrum
Blue ice is exposed in areas of the Antarctic where there is no net addition or subtraction of snow. That is, any snow that falls in that area is counteracted by sublimation or other losses. These areas have been used as runways due to their hard ice surface which is suitable for aircraft fitted with wheels rather than skis.

Glory-of-the-Snow

begins blooming Zone 8 in mid-March in the snow,  by first produced two or three slender basal leaves per bulb, with a single flower stalk no taller than about six or eight inches and these beautiful blue and white flowers.

Resources

Excerpts and Image 1. courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-crowned_Motmot

Excerpts courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picea_pungens

Excerpts courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_shark

Excerpts courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motmot

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.webexhibits.org/causesofcolor/5C.html

Excerpts courtesy of    http://home.howstuffworks.com/glory-of-the-snow.htm
Excerpts courtesy of   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chionodoxa_luciliae

Image 2. courtesy of  http://www.conservationplace.com/Tree2009/images/coloradospruceXS.jpg

Image 3. courtesy of  Maria Stenzel  and National Geographic

Image 4. courtesy of   http://upload.wikimedia.org/Glory_of_the_Snow_in_the_snow.JPG


“Help the Pacific salmon have a Merry New Year”


When Mark Rockwell, our Pacific Coast Representative, retired as a doctor, he planned to spend his time fishing and guiding along the crystal clear wild rivers of the American West. As he explored these rivers, he observed first hand the dams and pollution, and saw the once mighty fisheries slipping to extinction. He realized that he had to dedicate his time to saving salmon and other endangered species.

You can help support the work of Mark Rockwell, in the Pacific Coast to protect endangered species such as the Pacific salmon, steelhead trout, red-legged frog and California condor from habitat loss and global warming. Your donation will go directly to support Mark’s work to protect endangered species and habitat.

This year, Mark led our campaign to defeat a effort in Congress that would have weakened protections for endangered fisheries in the California Bay Delta. This ecosystem is crucial to protect Chinook salmon, Green sturgeon, Delta smelt, killer whales, and many other species.

The challenges we face

Industrial agriculture, big water users and even some members of Congress oppose the Obama administration’s attempt to restore the ecosystem. Let Congress know that you want the Endangered Species Act to be enforced not only to help fisheries, but also the fishermen and local communities that depend upon them.

How one dedicated person can make a difference.

Mark helped to organize a response from fishermen, scientists, and conservationists to support strong protections for endangered species. Working with our member organizations and allies, he helped fly fishermen back to Washington DC to speak to their representatives and succeeded in convincing Congress to keep the Endangered Species Act protections in place.

Who opposes this protection?

Tea Party activists are fanning out across the country to try to attack endangered species protections again.

Join Mark’s team and help protect the wild fish and endangered animals of the Pacific Northwest.

Mark is an expert at engaging hunters, fishermen, farmers, ranchers and other people to speak out in support of endangered species protections. Here is a little bit about what people are saying about him:

“Mark Rockwell has also been on the forefront of the defense in California’s “water wars,” playing a key roll in protecting our waterways and endangered animals so that dewatering major California rivers and killing off several ESA-listed aquatic species does not take place. The once abundant Pacific salmon desperately need undammed water in the rivers to rebuild their numbers that have crashed in the last two years, putting many commercial fishing families out of business

Without the Endangered Species Coalition’s help in general, and Mark Rockwell’s in particular, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and many other groups’ efforts to roll back these anti-environmental bills, restore more water to California’s rivers — and to save many Pacific salmon runs from extinction — would likely have failed.”
- Glen Spain, NW Regional Director, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA)

“I have come to greatly respect Mark’s work. I am a fishing equipment manufacturer and a board member of the American Sportfishing Association. I have worked with hundreds of people and organizations on fishery issues for over thirty years. I place Mark in the top tier of people I have met who can rise above the fray and get things accomplished.”
- Richard B. Pool, President, Pro Troll Fishing Equip. Company

“Working with Mark Rockwell has been a pleasure. Mark has facilitated connecting a number of grassroots networks, which has created more support for myriad efforts on behalf of fish, streams, and groundwater. Using his network again, he has increased the effectiveness of Endangered Species Coalition campaigns by locating scientists to bolster efforts to protect the Endangered Species Act. Mark’s work is essential for the numerous special status species in California.”
- Barbara Vlamis, Former Executive Director, California Endangered Species Habitats Association (CESHA)

“Dr Mark Rockwell and the Endangered Species Coalition provide essential organizing and strategic support for protecting endangered species in California. They have assisted us locally in fighting for California gnatcatchers and coastal cactus wrens on former military lands in Orange County. The Coalition has also given our group a voice on issues throughout the state, as well as inputs to federal issues of concern.”
- Dan Silver, Executive Director, Endangered Habitats League, Los Angeles, Calif.


If you would like to contact Mark to learn more about his work or to thank him for his service, you can email him at mrockwell@stopextinction.org

Without talented and experienced organizers like Mark, there would be no one to speak up for animals, birds, fish and plants on the brink of extinction. Through the Endangered Organizer Fund, you can provide valuable resources for our grassroots organizing work.

I hope you will take this opportunity to join us in supporting Mark’s work to protect endangered species

Give the gift that keeps on giving become a volunteer, lend your hand and heart and if you can your financial support to helping Mother Nature.

(Nature’s Crusaders would enjoy finding a few good writers and web and office support. Thank you -Mother Nature.)

Resources

Excerpts and Images courtesy of http://www.stopextinction.org

“The secret life of bird droppings”


A very underrated substance and for many the last body substance to be talked about is poop. Historically bird droppings have been used and sold by many peoples. There is one very unusual ancient use for nightingale wastes.

Guano or excrement (feces and urine) from seabirds, bats and seals is big business. Guano consists of ammonia, along with uric, phosphoric, oxalic, and carbonic acids, as well as some earth salts and impurities. Guano also has a high concentration of nitrate is that make it popular for making an effective fertilizer and gunpowder ingredient due to its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen and also its lack of odor. Super phosphate made from guano is used for aerial topdressing. Soil that is deficient in organic matter can be made more productive by addition of this manure.

How does bird poop differ from animal dung?

Mammals urinate or pee, but birds’ kidneys remove the nitrogenous wastes from the bloodstream, but instead of excreting it as urea dissolved in urine as mammals do, they excrete it in the form of uric acid. Uric acid has a very low solubility in water, so it emerges as a white paste. All waste products the uric acid and the wastes from the intestines leave the bird’s body through the same opening called the cloaca.

Guarney Cormorant

The best producers of guano that is high in nitrogen is the Guarney Cormorant.

Its guano is richer in nitrogen than guano from other seabirds.

Guano is still used by organic gardeners and farmers.

In ancient Japan, the Geisha women found that the bird poop facial made from powdered nightingale droppings is the best.

Nightingale droppings are the best for beauty treatment

This ancient use of bird guano combines traditional and natural Japanese ingredients to soften, brighten and nourish the complexion. Geisha were known for their iconic porcelain complexion-clear, unblemished and pale as a camellia blossom. However, their beautiful appearance came at a price as the lead and zinc in their face powder caused chronic skin care problems until the discovery of a unique remedy -nightengale droppings
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guano

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.shizukany.com/geisha-facial.html

Image G. Cormorant courtesy of http://www.heptune.com/poop.html

Image courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/Nachtigall_%28Luscinia_megarhynchos%29-2.jpg

“Dino eggs here there and everywhere in Tamil Nadu”


Dinosaur researchers heaven has been found in Tamil Nadu in southern India. Simply lying in large catches sticking out of the ground sand beds on grazing land are many nests of dinosaur eggs.

These eggs about 5 to 8 inches in diameter dating back 140 million years. These clusters containing eight eggs of spherical eggs of dinosaurs. They were lying in sandy nests of about four feet under volcanic ash from the Deccan eruptions.

Museum specimen dino eggs Museum specimen dino eggs. These are not the Indian fossil eggs.

The eggs, which may be 65 million years old, were from both the Carnosaur, an aggressive, predatory dinosaur, and Sauropods, long-necked herbivores that became extremely large.

How long would it take to hatch a dibnosaur egg if you had a viable egg?

No one knows for certain how long dinosaur eggs needed to incubate. Since birds are derived from dinosaurs the incubation period of dinosaurs can be is strongly correlated and guessed from the bird data. Length of incubation of avian-like dinosaur eggs is often correlated with egg weight. Here is a chart of the estimated incubation times for various the dinosaur egg types known.

You never know what you will find right below your feet if you observe carefully.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of

http://www.terradaily.com/repor/Nest_of_dinosaur_eggs_found_in_India_999.html

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/anatomy/Repro.shtml

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/earthhistory/eggs.html

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.nationalgeographic.com/features/96/dinoeggs/hunt/hunt1.html

Image courtesy of http://www.inst.ncecho.org/photos/00052/00052013.jpg

“Dressing for Halloween -natural for this bird”


Did you ever wish that you would have the best Halloween costume ever?

Well this parakeet through no fault of his own was born with the perfect head covering or mask.

Feather Duster Budgiesfeatherduster
This baby parakeet began life as a normal looking baby bird, but as soon as the little bird began growing feathers they come out all over. Including places birds do not need a covering of curly feather over its eyes and and mouth. This overgrowth of feathers is referred to as a “feather duster” . These feathers continue to grow and curl covering the bird’s head, face and entire body. This condition makes it difficult for the bird to feed and clean himself normally. The food that would sustain a normal parakeet may not be high enough in nutrition to compensate for the excessive growth, so many may die young. The excessive feather growth taxes the body’s energy and ability to nourish itself. The bird is also unable to fly or even to perch normally. So many feathers cover the bird’s face and eyes that seeing can be difficult.

This is a genetic mutation.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art58398.asp

Image courtesy of http://forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au/lofiversion/index.php/t23257.html

“Endangered now -fish and animals once abundant”


Once upon a time animals and plants were not endangered…

In colonial times, there were so many trees, game and fish in the ocean and on the lands that their bounty seems endless. So much so that when the colonists and guides decided to move further inland from the coastal areas they did not worry about food. They cut down the forests without a thought, to build homes and forts and to supply the increasing lumber demands of England.

Destroying old growth forests

Destroying old growth forests

They did not reforest or know anything about the effects that clear cutting the land for farming would have on the future of life on earth. Life was good and bountiful.

From the diaries of travelers from the 1600s, they wrote of rivers were

Spawning Atlanticc salmon

Spawning Atlanticc salmon

“so full of fish that a spear thrown into the water only rarely missed one, salmon runs that spanned the whole width of a river, and fish so plentiful that they were used as pig feed. “

Then, within a few decades, they started constructing weirs (low flow dams) and mills (for grinding grain) that impeded the migration of fishes and put further pressure on stocks. Stocks of fish and shellfish rapidly declined.

White man did not know how to live in harmony with the land and ignored the dwindling supplies.

Now in the last centuries, we have accelerated the cycle of extreme reduction of fish, shellfish, other aquatic fauna and thousands of land animal and plants species. Historical records show that species in rivers and lakes worldwide are dwindling.

Mining: The strip mining and mountaintop removal mining has destroyed the mountain water sheds around the world and created ugly scars that will take centuries to heal. Once the land is torn apart all life suffers. None of the life that called the mountain home can live in harmony again. The waters get angry and tear down the mountain in torrent when it storms carrying with it all the junk and poisons the mines left behind. The people and the animals and plants, insects and even the air suffers for a long time.

Strip mining ruined this desert

Strip mining ruined this desert

Mountaintop Removal Mining

Mountaintop Removal Mining

Plastics and throwaway containers have clogged our water systems and oceans around the world. The plastics degrade and dissolve in the water and those toxins are eaten by invertebrates and in turn the fish eat the small critters and the toxins end up in their body tissues to be eaten by us. Other plastics end up in the guts of larger animals and birds and this will kill them and or their offspring they feed it too. Do help clean up the junk everywhere you find it and dispose of it safely and recycle as much as possible. Buy things in biodegradable containers.

plastic killing fields

plastic killing fields

Corporate and personal level: People collectively have refused generally to live responsibly and sustainably. Turning off lights and replacing old bulbs energy efficient one and paper products with recycled goods and drive less or car pool and bike to work.

Restoring and respecting all life and living in harmony with it will remove man from the endangered species list.

The effects of this early loss of wildlife and the ongoing destruction of our ecosystems, endangered nature of our animal and plant populations around the river/waterways ecosystems has not been adequately considered. Top predators and keystone species recently extirpated from freshwaters must be reintroduced. The creation of freshwater protected redevelopment areas are needed.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of terradaily.com/reports/Shifting_Baselines_Confound_River_Restoration_999.html

Excerpts courtesy of terradaily.com/Homes_Pollute_Our_Water_999.html

Image 1. stump http://www.cathedralgrove.eu/pictures/01-3-stump-1.jpg

Image 2. salmon spawning courtesy of photography.nationalgeographic.com/Photography/spawning-atlantic-salmon-738342-ga.jpg

Image 3. AZ. Strip mine in desert courtesy of http://www.carlmaples.com/Arz_Strip_Mine.jpg

Image 4. Mountaintop removal mining courtesy of http://media.tricities.com/tricities/gfx.php?max/NP-Strip_mining_StateLineRidge-080808.jpg

Image 5. Plastic pollution courtesy of http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_plasticocean3.jpg

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Homes_Pollute_Our_Water_999.html

“Still flying high ‘extinct booby’ lives!”


Thanks to a few dedicate researchers working together have rediscovered the Masked Booby, Sula dactylatra. It is a large seabird of the gannet family, Sulidae. This species breeds on islands in tropical oceans, except in the eastern Atlantic; in the eastern Pacific. This is the largest booby, at 81-91 cm long, and with a 152 cm wingspan and 1500 g weight. Adults are white with pointed black wings, a pointed black tail, and a dark grey face mask. The sexes are similar, but the male has a yellow bill, and the female’s is greenish yellow; during the breeding season they have a patch of bare, bluish skin at the base of the bill. Juveniles are brownish on the head and upper parts, with a whitish rump and neck collar. The underparts are white.Masked_booby_(Sula_dactylatra)_in_flight_-Ecuador

The Masked Booby is silent at sea, but has a reedy whistling greeting call at the nesting colonies. While on the breeding grounds, these birds display a wide range of hissing and quacking notes.

Masked Boobies are spectacular divers, plunging diagonally into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat small fish, including flying fish. This is a fairly sedentary bird, wintering at sea, but rarely seen far away from the breeding colonies. However, Caribbean birds occasionally wander north to warm southern Gulf Stream waters off the eastern seaboard of the United States. More remarkably, there have been three Western Palaearctic records of Masked Booby, presumably dactylatra, all from Spanish waters, although one of these also entered French territorial areas.

Masked booby lives

Masked booby lives

Thought extinct; researchers had long suspected that the “extinct” Tasman booby and the living masked booby of the North Tasman Sea were closely related. So researchers compared fossilized and modern bones and DNA from specimens identified as Tasman and masked boobies.

Physically, the fossil bones looked strikingly similar to their modern counterparts and after some DNA analysis -a perfect correlations was found between extinct Tasman booby and the Masked booby of today.

Welcome back or should we just say hello and glad to meet ya, Mr.Booby.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of En.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masked_Booby

Excerpts courtesy of News.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/08/090811-extinct-booby-masked.html

Images courtesy of En.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Masked_booby_(Sula_dactylatra)_in_flight_-Ecuador.jpg

Images courtesy of Upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Masked_booby_with_chick.JPG

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