Mar 17

This week is Climate Week in the UK, and here at ARKive we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some amazing species and the different ways they may be affected by climate change. 

Lemuroid ringtail possum image

Lemuroid ringtail possum (Hemibelideus lemuroides)

Species: Lemuroid ringtail possum

Status: Near Threatened (NT)

Interesting Fact: The lemuroid ringtail possum has folded layers of skin along the sides of its body which, once unfolded, enable this species to glide up to three metres between trees.

The lemuroid ringtail possum is a rare marsupial found in the cool rainforests of northern Australia. It has soft, woolly, chocolate-brown fur and a bushy, prehensile tail with a hairless patch on the underside. This bald area helps this species to grip branches while moving through its arboreal habitat. The diet of lemuroid ringtail possum is mainly composed of leaves, preferably from the Queensland maple (Flindersia brayleyana) or the brown quandong (Elaeocarpus coorangooloo), although flower buds and seed coverings are also taken. A nocturnal species, the lemuroid ringtail possum spends its days sleeping in tree hollows filled with foliage.

Climate Change: The lemuroid ringtail possum could potentially become Australia’s first victim of climate change. Unable to control its body temperature, extensive exposure to temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius can be lethal for this species. Being subjected to these temperatures is an unfortunate consequence of global climate change, which is causing heatwaves and leading to the untimely demise of this species. The high altitude habitat of the lemuroid ringtail possum means that it is unable to escape to cooler, more elevated areas.

For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.

Take part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge or find out how you can get involved in Climate Week.

View images and footage of the lemuroid ringtail possum on ARKive.

 Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Species Text Author Intern

Mar 16

This week is Climate Week in the UK, and here at ARKive we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some amazing species and the different ways they may be affected by climate change. 

Loggerhead turtle image

Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Species: Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: The sex of baby loggerheads is determined by temperature.

The loggerhead is one of the most widespread of all the marine turtles and also the most highly migratory, with individuals known to cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This turtle’s common name comes from its relatively large head, which contains powerful jaws. Adults are primarily carnivorous, using their powerful jaws to crack open crustaceans such as crabs and even seemingly impenetrable molluscs such as the queen conch and species of giant clam. Loggerheads may reach sexual maturity at around 35 years old, and females appear to nest an average of three to five times in one breeding season, returning to breed every couple of years. Nesting occurs at night throughout the summer, when females drag themselves out onto beaches beyond the high-tide mark and dig nests into which around 100 eggs are laid.

Climate Change: The gender of hatchling loggerhead turtles is determined by temperature, so an increase in global temperature could lead to a skew in the sex ratio of turtles. Rising sea levels caused by climate change are another potential threat, resulting in the loss of turtle nests through flooding.

For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.

Take part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge or find out how you can get involved in Climate Week.

View images and footage of the loggerhead turtle on ARKive.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

Mar 15
This week is Climate Week in the UK, and here at ARKive we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some amazing species and the different ways they may be affected by climate change.  
 
American pika image

American pika (Ochotona princeps)

Species: American pika (Ochotona princeps)

Status: Least Concern (LC)

Interesting Fact: The American pika stores its own piles of ‘hay’ for the winter months.

The American pika is a small member of the rabbit family that inhabits alpine regions of south-western Canada and the western United States. This endearing mammal is well-adapted to cold climates, with short, dense fur and feet with densely furred soles. It feeds primarily on grasses and herbs, and, during the summer, the American pika collects and stores food in haypiles on rocks or in crevices. The food is stored for winter periods, when food is scarce and difficult to find. As a result of its haying behaviour, which modifies its habitat, the American pika is often called an ‘ecosystem engineer’.

Climate Change: The American pika is particularly vulnerable to climate change as it inhabits areas with cool, relatively moist climates in alpine regions. As temperatures rise, montane animals may seek higher altitudes in an attempt to find suitable habitat. The American pika, however, already occupies high altitudes, meaning it has little refuge from the pressures of climate change.

For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.

Take part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge or find out how you can get involved in Climate Week.

View images and footage of the American pika on ARKive.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

Mar 14
This week is Climate Week in the UK, and here at ARKive we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some amazing species and the different ways they may be affected by climate change. 
 
Dragon's blood tree image

Dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari)

Species: Dragon’s blood tree                       (Dracaena cinnabari)

Status: Vulnerable (VU)

Interesting Fact: The dragon’s blood tree is named for its dark red resin, a substance which has been highly prized since ancient times.

Arguably the most famous and distinctive plant of the island of Socotra, the evocatively named dragon’s blood tree has a unique and bizarre appearance, its upturned, densely-packed crown having the shape of an upside-down umbrella. The bizarre shape of the dragon’s blood tree helps it to survive in often arid conditions and on mountaintops with little soil. Morning mists condense on the waxy, skyward-pointing leaves, the water then channelling down the trunk to the roots. The huge, densely packed crown also provides highly effective shade, so reducing the evaporation of any water drops that fall to the ground, and giving shade to the tree’s roots. In addition, this shading allows seedlings to survive better beneath the adult tree than in full sun, which could be why many dragon’s blood trees grow close together. Dragon’s blood trees are reported to be slow-growing and potentially long-lived.

Climate Change: The main threat to the dragon’s blood tree is thought to come from the gradual drying out of the Socotra Archipelago, a process that has been ongoing for the last few hundred years, but which may be exacerbated by global climate change. Increasing aridity is predicted to cause a 45 percent reduction in available habitat for this species by the year 2080.

For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.

Take part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge or find out how you can get involved in Climate Week.

View images of the dragon’s blood tree on ARKive.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

Mar 13

This week is Climate Week in the UK, and here at ARKive we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some amazing species and the different ways they may be affected by climate change. 

Common clownfish image

Common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Species: Common clownfish                       (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Status: Not Assessed

Interesting Fact: The common clownfish can change from male to female!

Most famed for inspiring the character Nemo in the Walt Disney film ‘Finding Nemo’, the common clownfish is the most familiar of the clownfish species. Clownfish are the only fish known to be able to live amongst the tentacles of anemones. The tentacles of the anemones normally sting other fish, but clownfish excrete a mucus over their skin that protects them among the anemone’s tentacles. The anemone and clownfish live in a symbiotic relationship, with the clownfish feeding upon parasites and debris amongst the anemone’s tentacles, and in return scaring away animals that may prey upon the anemone. Clownfish are highly territorial, living in groups that guard their host anemone against other clownfish.

Climate Change: The greatest threat to the common clownfish is global climate change, which threatens this species through a combination of habitat loss, disruption of its senses and direct effects on its behaviour. Increases in ocean acidity levels have been shown to affect clownfishes’ ability to detect the chemical signals necessary for navigating to anemones.

For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.

Take part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge or find out how you can get involved in Climate Week.

View images of the common clownfish on ARKive.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

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