Jul 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, Jun 26, 2015

More endangered pygmy sloths discovered in Panama than previously estimated


Pygmy three-toed sloth

Researchers estimate that there are between 500 – 1500 pygmy sloths residing on the Isla Escudo de Veraguas. At this time, the sloth’s island habitat is only partially protected.

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Article originally published on Saturday, Jun 27, 2015

First lions to return to Rwanda after two decades


Asiatic lion and lioness

Seven lions, two males and five females, are being transported to Rwanda’s Akagera National Park from South Africa. The lions were chosen based on their future reproductive potential and ability to contribute to social cohesion.

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Article originally published on Sunday, Jun 28, 2015

Will animals of the future only be safe in captivity?


Indri infant clinging to branch

In the future, perhaps lemurs, rhinos, and tigers will only survive with constant surveillance and protection. While it may seem excessive, it has already happened for the last remaining northern white rhinos. However, it may not work for all animals, like the indri that has a complex diet of leaves eaten at different times.

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Southern white rhinoceros getting up off ground

Article originally published on Monday, Jun 29, 2015

The truth about tarantulas: not too big, not too scary


Curlyhair tarantula

Tarantulas are often erroneously believed to be big, deadly and prone to attacking humans. In actuality, the original tarantula (Lycosa tarantula) is actually a small, innocuous wolf spider. The spiders mistakenly called tarantulas belong to the family Theraphosidae.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015

Meet Hades, the centipede from hell


Amazonian giant centipede on branch

A newly discovered centipede has been named Geophilus hadesi, after the mythological god of the underworld. The centipede spends it entire life in its dark, underground environment. One specimen was collected from a depth of 3,609 feet.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, Jul 1, 2015

Australia commits to saving the Great Barrier Reef – but still plans to mine more coal


Catalaphyllia jardinei colony

Australia has made a 35 year agreement with the United Nations to restore the Great Barrier Reef. Corals have diminished by 50 percent in the last three decades. Despite the agreement, Australia is still attempting to become the world’s leading producer and exporter of coal, which has led to the reef’s decline.

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Article originally published on Thursday, Jul 2, 2015

Climate change: Lizards switch sex


Dwarf bearded dragon

It appears that increasing temperatures have led male central bearded dragons to change their gender and become females. These new females can produce twice as many eggs as standard females. These lizards belong to the genus Pogona that includes the dwarf bearded dragon.

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Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA


Jan 17

Australia has been hit hard by the devastating Queensland floods, but as the murky waters start to recede, what will be the environmental impact to Australia’s major tourist attraction and natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef?

Photo of Acropora coral reef

The Staghorn corals (Acropora spp.) are among the most common type of coral found on the Great Barrier Reef.

Growing concerns over flood impact

Although floods are a seasonal occurrence in this area of Australia, the huge volume of water in this year’s flood could result in major coral bleaching and coral deaths.

Fresh water entering the reef environment lowers salinity, which can bleach the coral (cause it to expel the zooxanthellae that live within the coral tissues), or kill the coral polyp directly.

Flood waters also carry sediment which settles on the coral, blocking sunlight and preventing photosynthesis, while fertiliser and pesticides which have been washed off local farms disrupt the balance between corals and macro-algae, such as seaweeds.

Photo of group of crown of thorns starfish group feeding on coral

The crown of thorns starfish is a predator of corals on the Great Barrier Reef.

Scientists monitoring corals on the reef say they have already seen indications of coral damage, but that it is too early to tell what the long-term effects of the flood will be. The corals of the Great Barrier Reef are also already under threat from overfishing, climate change, disease, pollution, shipping and from coral predators, such as the crown of thorns starfish.

Hope for the future

However, Dr Alison Jones, based at the Centre for Environmental Management in Rockhampton says that there is hope.

Even if some corals are lost from local reefs, pockets of corals will survive, acting as a source for reef regeneration over the next few years.  

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system, stretching for 2,600 kilometres along the coast. It is home to 30 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise, as well as 6 breeding species of sea turtle, 215 species of birds, 17 species of sea snake and over 1,500 fish species, as well as hundreds of corals and other marine species.

Dugong photo

The dugong, nicknamed the ‘sea cow’, feeds on marine plants around the Great Barrier Reef.

Find out more about the research Central Queensland University is doing on the Great Barrier Reef following the floods.

To read more on this story, see the BBC article.

Explore more ARKive species that are found on the Great Barrier Reef.

Helen Roddis, ARKive Species Text Author


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