Dec 15

In case you missed the last instalment, the ARKive team have been having some fun putting a wildlife twist on the popular ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ game, in which you link actors through their films to Kevin Bacon in just six steps.

Last week I challenged everyone to get from the narwal to the pika in six wildlife-themed steps, using only those species that are on ARKive. Well, the chains we received were pretty varied, with steps involving Ricky Gervais, David Attenborough, and the faeces-eating behaviour of young elephants – lovely!

After much debate we have decided that the winner is….cue drum roll….Mike T! Congratulations Mike, it was the cunning use of the magpie’s Latin name that swung it. Although I have to disagree on one point – pikas are much cuter than chinchillas! Obviously there’s no right or wrong answer, but here’s the solution that I came up with:

Narwhal

Narwhal

Due to their long single tusk, narwhals have long been associated with unicorns and in fact, part of their Latin name (Monodon monoceros) actually means unicorn in Greek. The stuff of legends also, dugongs are thought to be the origin for many mermaid tales.

Dugong

Dugong

Dugongs are the only entirely marine mammal to feed exclusively on plants, a trait that means they are sometimes referred to as ‘sea cows’. Another cow-named species is the….

Cow parsley

Cow parsley

Cow parsley is insect-pollinated and is often favoured by hoverflies, who have small mouths and therefore like the small flowers of the cow parsley.

Wasp hoverfly

Wasp hoverfly

The aptly named wasp hoverfly, thanks to its body shape and black and yellow markings, is a wasp mimic. Wasps are social insects (of the order Hymenoptera), and so is the…

Australian ant

Australian ant

This ant of ancient lineage is sometimes called the ‘dinosaur ant’. Also known for its dinosaur-like qualities and prehistoric look is the alligator snapping turtle.

Alligator snapping turtle

The alligator snapping turtle is endemic to the south-eastern region of the USA. The adorably cute and fluffy American pika is also found in…..can you guess? Yes indeed, the USA.

American pika 

American pika

Getting the hang of it now? This weeks challenge is to hop, step and jump from the spectacular manta ray to the comedic secretary bird in six furry, scaly, or feathery steps. Again, post your chains as comments on this blog and we’ll decide the winner.

Bonnie Metherell, ARKive Media Researcher

  • Dovie E. (December 20th, 2010 at 2:03 am):

    1) Manta ray – only vertebrate with six limbs
    2) Monarch butterfly – typical six-limbed INvertebrate
    3) Owl butterfly – particularly interesting butterfly species
    4) Barn owl – owl-named species, feeds on
    5) Mouse – consumed by…
    6) Viper, meets its fate at the talons of…
    7) Secretary bird!

  • Ben Roberts (December 21st, 2010 at 11:09 am):

    1) MANTA RAY – Ray Charles… Who else is called Charles?
    2) DARWIN’S FOX – Foxes… they’re quite foxy, and could be the inspiration behind the classic Jimi Hendrix song:
    3) Foxy LADY(BIRD SPIDER) – Is there a famous spider with a classic song of its own?
    4) Yes, Spider-Man, who once encountered WOLVERINE in this Marvel cross-over: http://bit.ly/fMBz62. Wolverine’s traditional outfit looks very much like
    5) The COMMON WASP, which regularly makes an appearance in the British countryside. They are very annoying if you’re trying to eat a jam sandwich whilst walking your pet…
    6) …GOLDEN RETRIEVER (not yet assessed by the IUCN). The star of Disney’s animated film “Up” was Dug, a talking Golden Retriever, but the second-most memorable animal character was without a doubt Kevin (http://bit.ly/2KgyP), who bares a striking resemblance to a
    7) SECRETARY BIRD!

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