“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

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