May 29

So you may be a species identification wiz, but how much attention have you paid to your favourite animal’s feet? Do you know those toes? Could you spot that sole a mile off? If you get a kick out of quizzes then why not put your best foot forward and have a guess at the owners of these fancy feet.

Study each image and make sure you ‘paws’ for thought before clicking on the photo to reveal the answer!

Big foot

Big foot

No clues for this easy starter – who could this foot belong to?

Cold feet?

Chilly feet

Despite looking rather chilly these feet have a rich network of veins in the webbing that produce heat to incubate this species’ eggs – but whose feet are they?

Sticky toes

Sticky toes

Thousands of microscopic hair-like hooks on the feet of this species allow it to walk up the slipperiest of surfaces.

Long foot

Long foot

The particularly long ‘foot’ of this antipodian is specially adapted for the species’ peculiar means of locomotion.

Funny feet

Long foot

These funny-looking feet belong to a water-loving species common across Europe and Asia with a closely related species widespread in North America.

Foot comb?

Foot comb

This little nocturnal animal spends almost all its time in the trees and, uniquely among its relatives, uses the raised nails on its hind feet for grooming.

Tiny feet

Tiny feet

This well-known species undertakes a long north-south migration over several generations and spends the winter hanging in the trees in central Mexico.

Slimy foot

Slimy foot

Another character with sticky feet, this animal has permeable skin and likes a moist environment.

Scaly foot

Scaly foot

This unusual marine species deals with excess salt absorbed while eating seaweed by sneezing salt crystals.

Poison foot

Poison foot

This last one is a little tricky – the venomous spur at the back of the foot is a particular clue.

How many did you get right? Step up and share your score!

  •  0 – 3 Pull your socks up! Your identification skills need a little work.
  • 4 – 6 You’ve got your foot in the door but you need to try harder to make a real impression.
  • 7 – 10 What a talon-ted individual you are! Time to put your feet up for a well-earned rest!
Apr 2

It seems that, in many countries, spring has not yet properly sprung, but we hope that our little April Fools’ joke helped cheer you up! The ARKive team had fun coming up with the ‘squabbit’, which was created in the hope that it would raise some awareness of the many incredible (and real!) species that are constantly being discovered around the world. To find out more about these fascinating newly discovered species, including the psychedelic frogfish, the ‘ninja slug’, and the David Bowie spider, visit our informative newly discovered species page.

Grey squirrel image

Original image of the grey squirrel used to create the loveable ‘squabbit’ © E. Shaw

Mar 13

Once again Red Nose Day is almost upon us and around the UK people will be encouraged to ‘Do Something Funny For Money’ to raise funds for charitable projects in both the UK and Africa. Its not just us humans that can raise a laugh with a silly schnoz or two though, the animal kingdom is packed full of hilarious hooters and comical conks. Here are some of our favourites…

Baird’s tapir

The largest indigenous mammal in Central America, Baird’s tapir is well known for its elongated, flexible upper lip that is extended into a proboscis, resembling a shorter version of an elephant’s trunk. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t quite have the ears to match!

Baird's tapir photo

Tennent’s leaf-nosed lizard

Tennent’s leaf-nosed lizard is one of five species endemic to Sri Lanka, commonly known as ‘horn-nosed lizards’ becuase of the elongated projections that the males possess at the tip of their snout. It is thought that these strange ‘horns’ may be important signals in territory defence or courtship – perhaps size really does matter?

Tennent’s leaf-nosed lizard photo

Golden snub-nosed monkey

The nostrils of the golden snub-nosed monkey are wide and forward-facing, creating a bizarre look and certainly making this species a contender for the title of strangest nose. And if that wasn’t weird enough, these remarkable monkeys can produce a wide range of vocalisations without making any facial movements, just like a ventriloquist!

Golden snub-nosed monkey photo

Great spotted kiwi

While its long slender bill may not appear that unusual at first glance, the kiwi is the only bird in the world with external nostrils on the tip of its beak, giving it a highly developed sense of smell. Foraging at dusk, kiwis literally follow their ‘noses’, as prey is found by tapping the ground with their beaks and sniffing the earth.

Great spotted kiwi photo

Long-nosed tree frog

The long-nosed tree frog was first discovered in 2008, and this strange looking amphibian is instantly recognisable by the long protrusion on its nose, which has given rise to its alternative name, the ‘Pinocchio frog’. Only the males have this long nose, which becomes inflated when calling.

Long-nosed tree frog photo

Shield-nosed leaf-nosed bat

Leaf-nosed bats such as this shield-nosed leaf-nosed bat certainly have some of the most elaborate noses in the animal kingdom. While the exact function of the leaf is not know for certain, it is thought that is may help the bats with echolocation.

Shield-nosed leaf-nosed bat photo

Golden-rumped elephant-shrew

The snout of the golden-rumped elephant-shrew is long, pointed and flexible, and is used to forage for invertebrates among the leaf litter of the forest floor. Despite the name they are not actually closely related to shrews, and are more closely linked to elephants, hyraxes and golden moles, amongst others.

Golden-rumped elephant-shrew photo

Siberian sturgeon

The Siberian sturgeon lives for up to 60 years and can reach weights of up to 210 kg. Like other sturgeon species, it has sensitive barbels which are positioned on the lower jaw and are used to locate prey, which is then sucked into the mouth. What a handsome fellow!

Siberian sturgeon photo

King vulture

The king vulture occurs from Mexico to Argentina, and is easily distinguished from other vulture species by its colourful head. While the yellow fleshy wattle on its face may not technically count as a nose, we just couldn’t leave this weird looking bird out of our top ten.

King vulture photo

White-nosed saki

It wouldn’t be Red Nose Day without a red nose or two, and thankfully we’ve found just that in the form of the white-nosed saki. In spite of its common name, the white-nosed saki actually has a red nose and upperlip in contrast to its shiny black fur, as well as a stylish centre parting!

White-nosed saki photo

Will you be taking part in any Red Nose day activities this year? Or perhaps you have a favourite strange-nosed species you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Claire Lewis, ARKive Researcher

Feb 14

What will you be doing to impress your loved one this Valentine’s Day? Are chocolates and flowers too cliché? Are all the good restaurants fully booked? Is the whole event just too commercial? If you are short of ideas then fear not! Here at ARKive we’ve dug up some of the most weird and wonderful romantic strategies from the natural world for a little inspiration…

Shot by cupid’s arrow (sort of)

If you are struggling to win the affections of your sweetheart, you might like to consider the strategy of the long-tailed ‘ninja’ slug. Slugs are hermaphrodites, possessing both male and female reproductive organs, and when it comes to finding a partner these slugs will fire harpoon-like ‘love darts’ at each other – who needs cupid?

Long-tailed slug photo

An adrenaline-fuelled date

If dates are starting to feel a little too tame, why not spice things up by trying out some action-packed extreme sports together? Bald eagles reinforce the bond with their mate by undertaking spectacular, acrobatic flight displays that include the pair flying to a great height, locking the talons, and cartwheeling towards the ground, only breaking off at the last moment. Unleash your inner thrill seeker!

Bald eagle photo

You smell divine!

When it comes to impressing a partner we all know the importance of smelling your best, and huge amounts of money are spent on perfumes and aftershaves each year. However, some of our counterparts in the animal kingdom take things a step further. For example, during the breeding season the male moose wallows in urine-soaked mud in order to attract females. A word of warning though, we’re not sure this strategy will work for everyone…

Moose photo

Dress to impress

A stylish outfit is a sure way to catch the eye of that special person in your life. If you need some fashion inspiration, look no further than the magnificent frigatebird. The male has a bare patch of skin on his neck which can be inflated into a bright red balloon to impress the ladies during the breeding season. Accessorise to stand out from the crowd!

Magnificent frigatebird photo

Win her over with a rock

If you really want to dazzle this Valentine’s day, you could try presenting your significant other with a big shiny rock. After all, we all know the saying, diamonds really are a girl’s best friend. This male gentoo penguin seems to have the right idea and doubtless his offering will be a fine addition to the nest, but we think your human couterpart might have something a little more sparkly in mind.

Gentoo penguin photo

And if all else fails

If romance is still evading you, or all of this sounds a little too much like hard work, why not take a leaf out of the Brahminy blind snake’s book and embrace single life? The Brahminy blind snake is one of only a few snake species known to reproduce through parthenogenesis, a process where the female lays unfertilised eggs which hatch into a new generation of females without the need for a mate!

Brahminy blind snake photo

Don’t forget, this Valentine’s Day we are asking you to share your love for the world’s endangered animals and plants with our #LoveSpecies campaign. Tweet us your favourite species and tell us why you love it. It’s easy to join in:

  • Follow @arkive on Twitter
  • Explore over 15,000 species on ARKive to find your favourite
  • Tweet about the species you love and tell us why using the #LoveSpecies tag
  • Is it the cutest or creepiest? Does it make you smile? Be informative, funny or plain outrageous!! Get involved and tweet now!

Claire Lewis, ARKive Researcher

Jan 26
Australia Day is an annual celebration held on the 26th January every year to mark the first arrival of ships in Sydney Cove from Great Britain in 1788. Every year on the eve of Australia Day, the Australian of the Year awards are given out. To celebrate, we thought we would give out some of our own awards to the animals found in Australia.
 

Most unique appearance

There are some very unusual looking animals in Australia, making this a tough category. Strong contenders included the Javanese cownose ray and the narrow-breasted snake-necked turtle. However the award went to the platypus; a creature so unusual looking that the first specimens brought back to England were though to be the work of a fraudulent taxidermist! With its duck-like bill, webbed feet and broad flattened tail, the platypus certainly has a very distinctive and unusual appearance.

Platypus photo

The platypus has a very unique appearance with its duck-like bill, webbed feet and broad flattened tail

 

Best camouflage

The winner of this award, the pygmy seahorse, is so well camouflaged in its coral reef habitat it was not discovered until the coral in which it lives in was being examined in a lab! The pygmy seahorse is found in the coral reefs around Australia, and it is not only the same colour as the coral in which it lives, it is also covered in small swellings which resemble the polyps of the coral. This results in the seahorse being very well camouflaged. Can you see the pygmy seahorse in the picture below?

Pygmy seahorse photo

Can you spot the pygmy seahorse?

Most dangerous

Australia is renowned for having some of the world’s most dangerous animals! There are poisonous snakes, spiders, jellyfish, sharks, crocodiles even the platypus has a venomous spur on the back of its rear ankles! However this award goes to one of Australia’s less well known venomous animals – the southern blue ringed octopus. This octopus may be small in size, but it has enough venom in its saliva to kill 26 adults! Its venom, which contains tetrodotoxin, causes neurological problems such as breathing troubles and paralysis. Normally brown in appearance, when threatened it develops blue ringed shape markings. There is currently no antivenom available for the blue ringed octopus.

Southern blue ringed octopus

Southern blue ringed octopus displaying its blue ringed shape markings

Best dressed

Colouration in animals has a wide range of functions. Whether for defence or for attracting a mate, Australia has some beautifully coloured animals including the sunset frog with its bright orange belly, and the multicoloured superb parrot. However the winner of this award is the Gouldian finch. This multicoloured finch, endemic to northern Australia, has a green body, a blue rump, a purple breast, a yellow belly and a red, black or yellow head. The very colourful adults are however upstaged by the chicks with their elaborate and colourful blue, yellow, black and white gape.

Gouldian finch chick

Gouldian finch chick gape

Life time contribution award

This category was very difficult with Australia having so many iconic animals. In the end, the winner was the koala. Koalas, endemic to Australia, are one of Australia’s best known animals. Though bear like in appearance the koala is actually a marsupial. The koala is mainly nocturnal, spending most of its time up in the trees where it can feed and rest, whilst gaining some protection. Koalas have fairly sedentary lifestyles with their diet mainly consisting of eucalyptus leaves. Koalas vary depending on where about in Australia they are found, and those found in south Australia are larger and have thicker fur than those in the north.

Photo of a koala relaxing in a tree

This koala is relaxing after its big win!

 

The Auzzie award

Like the Oscars have the Razzies, we have our own Auzzie award to give out.

Most unusual faeces

This result was unanimous - it had to go the wombat for having cubic poo!

Photo of a northern hairy-nosed wombat

This northern hairy-nosed wombat does not seem to want to collect its award!

Happy Australia day!

Let us know of any other awards you would like to give out to other Australian species.

Jemma Pealing, ARKive Media Researcher

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