Jan 4
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European eel' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European eel' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European eel' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European eel' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European eel' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European eel' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European eel' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: European eel

European eel swimming

European eel (Anguilla anguilla)

Species: European eel (Anguilla anguilla)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: The first three years of the European eel’s life are spent drifting in the ocean as a larva.

More information:

The European eel has a long, narrow body, with a continuous dorsal, anal and tail fin. The colour of adults depends on the age of the individual, but usually ranges from brown or black to olive-green, with yellowish bellies. Some adults may be silvery, and young European eels are transparent and are known as ‘glass eels’.

The European eel has a fascinating life cycle, breeding in the sea and migrating to freshwater in order to grow, before returning to the sea to spawn. It is thought that all European eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea. The larvae drift in the plankton for up to three years, and are carried by the Gulf Stream towards the coasts of Europe. They then spend between 6 and 20 years in freshwater, before migrating back towards the sea on dark, moonless and stormy nights to mate. European eels can live for up to 85 years.

The European eel is found in the rivers of the North Atlantic, Baltic and Mediterranean Seas. It is also seen along European coasts from the Black Sea to the White Sea in Russia.

The population of the European eel is threatened at present, and eel stocks have declined in recent years. There is currently very little scientific knowledge of this species and the threats it faces. However, pollution, overfishing, habitat degradation, parasite infection and changes in climate have all been suggested as potential causes of the European eel’s decline.

The European Union is currently funding research that aims to halt the decline of the European eel population.

 

Find out more about the European eel at the Zoological Society of London and the Sustainable Eel Group.

See images and videos of the European eel on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

 

Nov 16
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: White-bellied heron' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: White-bellied heron' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: White-bellied heron' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: White-bellied heron' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: White-bellied heron' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: White-bellied heron' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: White-bellied heron' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: White-bellied heron

Image of white-bellied heron

White-bellied heron (Ardea insignis)

 

Species: White-bellied heron (Ardean insignis)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: Also known as the imperial heron, the white-bellied heron is the second largest species of heron in the world, exceeded in size only by the Goliath heron.

More information:

The white-bellied heron is a large, long-necked species, named for its white underbelly and wing linings. It has a blackish head topped with a pale plume of feathers, and a brownish-grey body. The most outstanding feature of the white-bellied heron is its massive pointed bill, which measures about 15 to 18 cm in length.

Although primarily a solitary bird with a large territory, during the winter months the white-bellied heron may fly up to 30 kilometres to join other members of its species.

The white-bellied heron is resident in Southeast Asia, having been seen in Bangladesh and surrounding countries. It is now believed to be extinct in Nepal.

The white-bellied heron favours mature forests, a habitat that has been at risk from deforestation for over a century. It is also under threat from the fragmentation and degradation of its wetland habitats through pollution, over-exploitation of resources and the rapid growth of aquatic vegetation due to leaching of artificial fertilisers. In addition, the white-bellied heron is vulnerable to disturbance and habitat degradation as a result of agricultural expansion, human settlements and poaching, as well as overfishing.

The white-bellied heron population is extremely small, at fewer than 250 mature individuals, and is rapidly declining, putting this species at severe risk of extinction.

In May 2011, the first white-bellied heron chick to be bred in captivity hatched, as a result of a project by The Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN) in Bhutan. There have been reported sightings of the white-bellied heron in protected areas of north-eastern India, and there are more protected areas proposed both in India and Bhutan which might lead to an increase in population size.

 

Find out more about the white-bellied heron at BirdLife International and Heron Conservation.

See images of the white-bellied heron on ARKive.

 

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

Nov 9
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Floreana coral' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Floreana coral' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Floreana coral' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Floreana coral' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Floreana coral' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Floreana coral' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Floreana coral' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Floreana coral

Floreana coral

Floreana coral (Tubastraea floreana)

Species: Floreana coral (Tubastraea floreana)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: The polyps of Floreana coral are bright pink in the water, and dark red-black when dry.

More information:

Found in the Galápagos, Floreana coral is a scleractinian coral, which means that it is a hard coral with a limestone skeleton.  Floreana coral is known as an ‘azooxanthellate’ coral, as this species does not have zooxanthellae, the algae that live inside the tissues of some corals and provide the corals with food. Corals without zooxanthellae instead feed on zooplankton, capturing these tiny aquatic animals in their outstretched tentacles. Floreana coral can be found on ledges, overhangs and the ceilings of caves, at depths of between 2 and 46 metres.

Now classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List, and listed on Appendix II of CITES, the Floreana coral is thought to have once been fairly widespread around the Galápagos Islands. However, since the El Niño event of 1982-1983, this coral has only been seen at Cousins Rocks and Gardner Islet. Despite searches specifically for this species, the Floreana coral has not been seen at Cousins Rocks since 2001. This indicates that any alterations to the water temperatures surrounding the Galápagos Islands are likely to threaten this coral and cause further mortality.

The unique biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands and the surrounding waters is recognised and valued, and the region is protected by being designated a Marine Reserve and World Heritage Site. Any international trade involving the Floreana coral is carefully regulated thanks to CITES. Unfortunately, neither of these measures protects this Critically Endangered coral from the threats of natural, or man-induced, climate change.

 

Find out more about the Floreana coral at Earth’s Endangered Species, and more about the Galápagos Islands at the Charles Darwin Foundation.

See images of the Floreana coral on ARKive.

 

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

 

Jun 1
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Parana pine' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Parana pine' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Parana pine' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Parana pine' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Parana pine' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Parana pine' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Parana pine' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Parana pine

Parana pine  (Araucaria angustifolia)

Parana pine (Araucaria angustifolia)

Species: Parana pine (Araucaria angustifolia)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: The Parana pine is one of Brazil’s rarest trees.

Historically a widespread species, the Parana pine is now only found in about 3% of its former range. Today relic populations of this species can be found in areas of Brazil,Argentina and Paraguay. The Parana pine is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. This species is wind pollinated, and two years after pollination, large cones containing the seeds develop in the upper branches of mature trees. The seeds produced by this majestic tree are an important food source for a wide variety of animals, including birds and small rodents as well as local human populations, who have been exploiting them for centuries.

The Parana pine suffered from intensive, unsustainable logging throughout the 20th century as its high quality wood was exploited for the timber trade. Its fruit and seeds were also heavily exploited. Amongst the remaining population, there is a significant lack of fruiting trees, and so the reproduction potential of this species is low. Sale of this species was banned in 2001, and a number protected areas have been established where remaining populations of this species is found.

See more information about the Parana pine on the Gymnosperm Database website

View photos of the Parana pine on ARKive.

Jan 19
Share 'The ARKive Team’s Favourite Species – Lauren Pascoe' on Delicious Share 'The ARKive Team’s Favourite Species – Lauren Pascoe' on Digg Share 'The ARKive Team’s Favourite Species – Lauren Pascoe' on Facebook Share 'The ARKive Team’s Favourite Species – Lauren Pascoe' on reddit Share 'The ARKive Team’s Favourite Species – Lauren Pascoe' on StumbleUpon Share 'The ARKive Team’s Favourite Species – Lauren Pascoe' on Email Share 'The ARKive Team’s Favourite Species – Lauren Pascoe' on Print Friendly

The ARKive Team’s Favourite Species – Lauren Pascoe

With George Bradford previously showing his admiration for the small and mighty side of the animal kingdom, will this week’s ARKive staff member favour fluffiness over ferocity?

Lauren Pascoe – ARKive Media Researcher

Favourite species? Leatherback turtle

Why? The leatherback turtle is one of the ocean giants. Perhaps not the prettiest of species, the leatherback turtle’s elegance comes to form in the water. It can perform swimming feats that I’m in awe of – diving up to 1,000 metres (which, by the way, no other reptile could do – the leatherback can maintain an elevated body temperature at cold depths) and travelling thousands of kilometres across the oceans.

Favourite leatherback turtle image on ARKive?

Leatherback turtle image

Male leatherback turtle in open ocean

The leatherback turtle is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List. Its threats include climate change changing the sex of the embryo throughout the incubation period and rising sea levels decreasing the amount of suitable nesting areas. Ocean currents changing is also a major threat to migrating juveniles of this species as well as habitat loss, boat traffic accidents and ingestion of discarded plastic.

See more pictures and videos of the leatherback turtle.

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