Apr 3

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, Mar 27, 2015

New species of monitor lizards found on the black market

varanus-bitatawa

Northern Sierra Madre forest monitor

In a black market in Manila, researchers discovered two new monitor lizard species for sale. They obtained the lizards and took them back to the United States for genetic analysis.

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Article originally published on Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

Malawi to burn its £5m ivory stockpile this week – and demonstrate its commitment to wildlife conservation

African-elephant-family

African elephant family

On Thursday (Apr.2), Malawi President Peter Mutharika will lead the march to the incineration of the country’s ivory stockpile. In purely commercial terms a live elephant is worth 75 times more than a dead one.

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Article originally published on Sunday, Mar 29, 2015

Injured tortoise given 3D printed shell

Burmese-starred-tortoise

Burmese starred tortoise

An injured female leopard turtle has been given a prosthetic shell to protect her as she heals. With a healthy diet and optimum temperature, the shell is expected to regrow properly. She belongs to the Testudinidae family that includes the equally stunning Burmese starred tortoise.

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Article originally published on Monday, Mar 30, 2015

Sexy male birds ‘make worse dads’

Male-blue-and-yellow-tanager-perched-on-branch

Blue-and-yellow tanager perched on branch

Among male blue-black grassquits, who  belong to the tanager family Thraupidae, those with more striking coloration provided less food to their offspring when compared to less ornamented males. Attractive males tend to pursue extra pair copulation.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

New Report: Five years after Deepwater Horizon, wildlife still struggling

Pair-of-bottlenose-dolphins-breaching

Pair of bottlenose dolphins breaching

Species are still feeling the effects of the Deepwater Horizon event. In 2014, dolphins on the Louisiana coast, were found dead at four times the historic rate which is connected to the oil spill. After the spill, the number of Kemp’s ridley turtle nests has on average declined.

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kemps-ridley-turtle

Kemp’s ridley turtle

Article originally published on Wednesday, Apr 1, 2015

Warm spring helps endangered butterfly’s numbers soar

High-brown-fritillary-feeding-on-marsh-thistle (1)

High brown fritillary feeding on marsh thistle

The high brown fritillary is one of the UK’s rarest butterflies. Since the 1950’s the butterflies numbers have fallen dramatically. In 2014, however its population increased by more than 180% compared to the previous year.

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Article originally published on Thursday, Apr 2, 2015

Tarantulas’ movements get a ‘little wonky’ if its too hot

Curlyhair-tarantula

Curlyhair tarantula

A recent study looked at the effect of temperature on the locomotion of tarantulas. Higher temperatures caused their coordination to decrease, while cooler temperatures caused them to slow down.

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 Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

 

Mar 8

Attention all you butterfly lovers out there! The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago, Illinois, is dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of Midwestern environmental issues and has made incredible strides in the conservation and restoration of the stunning swamp metalmark. Read this next installment in the Going WILD in Illinois mini blog series to learn just how threatened this butterfly is and how the Museum is working to protect it!

The Swamp Metalmark: An At-Risk Species

The swamp metalmark (Calephelis muticum) is a small yellow and rust colored butterfly from the central United States.  It formerly ranged from Michigan and Ohio south to Kentucky and west to Arkansas, Wisconsin and Iowa.  Populations have recently been discovered in Alabama and northeastern Oklahoma.  It inhabits alkaline wetlands called fens, where its host plant, swamp thistle (Cirsium muticum), grows.

Swamp metalmark photo

Swamp metalmark –  Credit: The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

As a result of destruction of many fen wetlands, swamp metalmarks are now critically imperiled through most of their range.  With the exception of Missouri, the species has received a sub-national heritage ranking of S1 or S2 (critically imperiled or imperiled) in all states where it occurs.  There are more populations in Missouri, however even there it is classified as vulnerable.

The swamp metalmark typically inhabits just a few hundred yards over the course of its lifetime.

Conservation efforts through most of the species’ range consist of monitoring and habitat protection.  Some active restoration efforts are taking place in the upper Midwest.  For example, biologists at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago recently released lab-reared adults onto a fen in northeastern Illinois in an attempt to return the species to that part of its range.  The release site was the known home of a population of swamp metalmarks that disappeared sometime between 1940 and 1980.  Since the early 1980s, extensive ecological restoration work has removed invasive species and restored hydrology to the site, paving the way for the return of the butterfly.

Doug Taron in the field releasing swamp metalmark butterflies raised at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Doug Taron, Curator of Biology and VP of Research and Conservation, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 

I think we can all agree that the valuable work of The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in support of the swamp metalmark can not be understated! To keep up with the conservation efforts and general goings-on at the museum, have a look at their blog and to explore more Illinois species, dive into our new Illinois feature page. Thanks for sharing a wonderful conservation story with us, Doug!

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