“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.


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 2″

Nature’s blue wonders

The biggest and the loudest animal alive today is the Blue Whale.

This giant Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus has a heart the size of a Volkswagon beetle car and weighs about 1,000 pounds (450 kg). A full grown man could crawl through the aorta in this whale and its beating heart causes 14,00o

endangered blue whale

pounds (6,400 kg) of blood to circulate through its body. A adult man could crawl through the aorta (a major blood vessel).Endangered, this blue whale , the largest animal to ever live on Earth can grow to 94 feet (29 meters) in length and weigh more 174 tons, This baleen whale is a filter feeder. They live in family groups called pods.

Large Blues butterflies and red ants unusual partners for life.

As caterpillars the Big Blues Maculinea arion feed on wild thyme or marjoram flowers for the first few days to weeks of development. Once well fed, they drop to the ground and begin secreting sweet fluids to attract red ants Myrmica sabuleti. The ants carry the caterpillar back to their ant nest underground and stroked the caterpillar with its antennae.

Large Blue Butterfly

This stroking causes more sweet secretions to ooze from the caterpillar’s body to feed the ants. This process continues until the Large Blue raises its body half way off the ground. This signals the ants to stop feeding and carry the Large Blue to its winter resting quarters in the ants’ tunnel.

After hibernation is over in spring, the caterpillars will then begin to eat the red ant’s eggs and larvae for up to 3 weeks. It will then hang itself by its legs on the ant nest’s roof and spin a chrysalis around itself. The caterpillar will spend a further 3 weeks transforming into the Large Blue butterfly adult.

When it emerges as a butterfly, red ants will escort the newly emerged butterfly to the surface, taking it to a low plant or shrub nearby. The red ants will encircle the butterfly and ward off any predators that attempt to attack the butterfly as it dries out. After the butterfly is ready to fly away, the ants will return to their nest. For more unusual factoid about the Large Blue Butterflies click here.


Excerpts courtesy of http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/species/Bluewhale.shtml

Excerpts courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Blue_(butterfly)

Image courtesy of http://www.thetechherald.com/media/images/200922/800pxBlueWhaleWithCalf_1.jpg

Image courtesy of http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/06/090615185420-large.jpg

“How pure are your snowflakes?”

Global warming effects everything even the shape of snow flakes. The shape of a snowflake changes if the water as its crystallizing picks up pollutants or other impurities from the air.

These chemicals and temperature changes cause the ice crystal to form a flat plate, a spiky needle, or another shape as it falls towards the earth.

Mathematicians have created an elaborate computer model that shows how feathery ice crystals form in such elaborate patterns, and why. See the slide show featuring some of their snowflakes.
Scientists think that there are really four different shapes of snow crystals.  The simplest shape is a long needle shaped like a spike.  The other shapes all have six sides.  One of them is a long, hollow column that is shaped like a six-sided prism.  There are also thin, flat six-sided plates.  And lastly there are intricate, six-pointed stars.

How high has the snowflake fallen ?

Ice crystal column shaped snowflakes are made in the highest clouds at around -30°F. 

The star shaped crystals are formed when temperature in the clouds is  3° to 10°F

Plate shapes form when the temperature in the clouds is  10°-18°F

Star shaped crystals form.  ,  18°-23°F

Columns form 18°-23°F.

needles form from 23°-27°F

the plates reappear. from 27°-32°F

Each snowflake is made up of from 2 to about 200 separate crystals.

Snow crystals grow and get heavier as they fall towards Earth.  If the crystals spins like tops as their shape may be perfectly symmetrical when they hit the Earth. Falling snow crystals attach other snow crystals as they fall and clump together forming snowflakes.  Not all crystals are proportional. If they have fallen on an angle they may turn out lopsided. Each snowflake is made up of from 2 to about 200 separate crystals.


Excerpts courtesy of  The most awesome snow flake site http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos2/photos2.htm
Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.pa.msu.edu/~sciencet/ask_st/100897.html

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/class/class
Image 1. courtesy of  http://aura.gaia.com/photos/10/95804/xlarge/Winter_snow_flakes.jpg

Image 2. courtesy of   http://webecoist.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/snowflakes.jpg

Happy Peaceful & Healthy Holidays

from All of us at Nature’s Crusaders.

Thank you for all your comments and support this year.

“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.


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.


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

“Three strikes and you are out? -Alaskan coast line melting”

The triple threat from global warming is hitting and literally dissolving the coast of Alaska from half way between Point Barrow, the nation’s northernmost spot, and Prudhoe Bay, site of the nation’s biggest oil fields.  If the ocean waters continue to rise and warm, they will thaw the base of frozen bluffs and destroyed natural ice barriers protecting the coast. The constant pounding of warm sea waters on the cliffs is causing large  chunks of earth to erode.  As the Arctic sea ice cover continues to decline, the Arctic air and sea temperatures will continue to rise.

The scientists studied coastline midway between Point Barrow, the nation’s northernmost spot, and Prudhoe Bay, site of the nation’s biggest oil fields. The erosion, if it continues, could ultimately be a problem for energy companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp and BP Plc (Maybe Mother Nature is reclaiming her land from the big energy giants.-editor’s note).

A study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists published in February found that erosion along a stretch of Alaska coastline during 2002 to 2007 was twice as fast as in the period from 1955 to 1979. That USGS study also found erosion occurring at a rate of 13.6 meters (44.6 feet) annually from 2002 to 2007.
The three-year study from the University of Colorado used time-lapse photography, global positioning systems, meteorological monitoring, and analysis of sediment and sea-ice distribution with photographic images snapped every six hours during the around-the-clock sunlight of summer showed the rapid rate of decline were alarming. They showed the cliffs being gouged out one large piece at a time. It looks as if a giant continues to rip out large chunks of the cliffs. The cliffs are more than half ice so warm water, stronger waves and higher wave action quickly carves these cliffs oup.

These conditions have caused 12-foot-high bluffs of frozen silt and peat containing 50 to 80 percent ice to topple into the Beaufort Sea during the summer months. Once the blocks have fallen, the coastal seawater melts them in a matter of days, sweeping the silty material out to sea.

courtesy of  http://www.reuters.com
courtesy of  http://www.physorg.com
Excerpts and Map
courtesy of  http://www.treehugger.com

“Nature’s Crusaders Ice Gallery ’09”

The beauty of Nature – frozen in time

Largest holiday snow/ice cone

Thanks to  http://express.howstuffworks.com/gif/wq-iceberg-underwater.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.)


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

“Does everything babble – the earth and Saturn do?

The Earth and other planets babble and chirp

earth babble

Earth emits an ear-piercing series of chirps and whistles that could be heard by anyone who might be listening, astronomers have discovered. Earth emits an ear-piercing series of chirps and whistles that could be heard by anyone who might be listening, astronomers have discovered. It is created high above the planet, where charged particles from the solar wind collide with Earth’s magnetic field. It is related to the phenomenon that generates the colorful aurora, or Northern Lights.

Our planet is also known to hum, a mysterious low-frequency sound thought to be caused by the churning ocean or the roiling atmosphere.

The radio waves are blocked by the ionosphere, a charged layer atop our atmosphere, so they do not reach Earth. That’s good, because the out-of-this-world radio waves are 10,000 times stronger than even the strongest military signal, the researchers said, and they would overwhelm all radio stations on the planet.

These radio waves fan out from starting points in the atmosphere in a narrow plane rather than a cone shape, as was long expected. into space in an ever-widening cone, like light from a torch.
This means they’re more detectable to anyone who is able to pick up the signals.
Recently launched spacecraft have also spotted auroral lights and AKR coming from Jupiter and Saturn. these are some of the sounds coming from Saturn.
Could we use other stars, asteroids and planets babble to find out if anyone else is babbling in space or …?
What do you think – Is Santa calling or should ET phone home?

Listen to some space babble. Click on the links below.


Northern Lights sounds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHvdZdsIZxg

Saturn babbles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3fqE01YYWs

Excerpts courtesy of http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/istp/polar/polar_pwi_descs.html

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

Image 1. courtesy of http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/fast_epo/images/plane_nug.JPG

Image 2. courtesy of http://www.dailygalaxy.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/06/29/jupiters_radio_emissions.jpg

“Progress on improving climate in Copenhagen”

Forests are efficient absorbers of carbon dioxide, the primary heat-trapping gas linked to global warming. When forests and bogs and wetlands are destroyed daily around the world carbon dioxide stored in trees, bogs and wetlands is released into the atmosphere. This release accelerates global warming., When 20% of our rainforests are destroyed annually, it is estimated to account for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

saving the forests

If this agreement is achieved some progress towards providing a system through which countries can be paid for conserving disappearing natural assets based on their contribution to reducing emissions.

Today the final draft of Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD, will be distributed to some 200 ministers to hammer out a framework for a global climate treaty. Negotiators and other participants said that though some details remained to be worked out, all major points of disagreement — how to address the rights of indigenous people living on forest land and what is defined as forest, for example — had been resolved through compromise.

A final agreement on the program may not be announced until the end of the week, when President Obama and other world leaders arrive — in part because there has been so little progress on other issues at the climate summit meeting, sponsored by the United Nations.

For poorer countries, the payments will provide a much-needed new income stream. For richer nations, the lure of the program is not cash but carbon credits that can be used to cancel out, in part, their industrial emissions under a carbon trading system, like the cap-and-trade plan currently under consideration by Congress.

The agreement is also being closely watched in Congress, where climate legislation passed the House in June and is currently stalled in the Senate.

Under the cap-and-trade system preferred by Democratic leaders and the Obama administration, companies that cannot meet their greenhouse gas pollution limit could buy extra permits by investing in carbon-reduction programs abroad. Plans to preserve forests under REDD would presumably qualify. This could help U.S. companies to reduce emissions at lower cost.

For more information on the progress on international climate reform in Copenhagen.


Excerpts courtesy of http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/science/earth/16forest.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Images courtesy of  http://earth.rice.edu/mtpe/bio/biosphere/topics/biomes/forest.jpg

“Record number of nearly frozen sea turtles wash ashore”

Sea turtles were freezing and washed ashore  on Cape Code shoreline this past week. Until last weekend the waters off the Eastern seaboard were warm. When this first winter storms blew through water temperatures off shore plummeted below the turtle’s optimum activity temperature of 50 degrees.

Saving freezing turtles

On December 7, 2009 a record number of sea turtles, twenty four were washed ashore. Their body temperatures registered as low as 30 and 40 degrees when found.

All were endangered. Most were Kemp’s Ridley the smallest endangered turtle, 1 loggerhead and some green sea turtles made up the rescued population. Turtles are cold blooded but this decrease in water temperature threw their bodies into shock. They became too sluggish to swim and they float ashore with the prevailing winds. There will be many more to save over these next few months.

Washed ashore freezing and dying

There are three groups  helping save marine creatures in Cape Code area. They are The National Marine Life Center (who are opening a sea turtle ward to save  severely debilitated sea animals),  MassAudubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (who are authorized and trained volunteer beach respondants) and the New England Aquarium (they are the trained medical authorized intensive care facility).

The National Marine Life Center is in desperate need of your support to finish their new care facility. The donations to date have been generous, but they still need significant contributions to finish the rehabilitation facility.

Will you help save a turtle this holiday season? Give the gift that keeps giving for years to come. This facility can save thousands with your help.

Click here.


Excerpts courtesy of  http://nmlc.org/2009/12/record-number-of-sea-turtle-strandings

Excerpts courtesy of https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=14079

Image 1. courtesy of  http://nmlc.org/2009/12/record-number-of-sea-turtle-strandings

Image 2. courtesy of  http://www.turtlejournal.com/wp-content/.jpg

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