Jun 5

This year marks Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, and celebrations will be breaking out across the world in honour of the Queen’s 60-year reign. In true ARKive style, we decided to invite you to join in the occasion by choosing our top ten regal residents and telling you a bit about them!

Prince Ruspoli’s turaco

 

Prince Ruspoli's turaco image

With its red, white and blue colouration, this turaco is in the Jubilee spirit!

This beautiful bird would certainly look the part at a Jubilee street party, easily upstaging the red, white and blue bunting lining myriad gardens and parks! A resident of southern Ethiopia, the stunning Prince Ruspoli’s turaco mainly feeds on fruit…strawberries and cream, anyone?!

Queen Alexandra’s birdwing

Queen Alexandra's birdwing

This beautiful insect is the world's largest butterfly

With a wingspan of up to 28 centimetres, the strikingly marked Queen Alexandra’s birdwing is the world’s largest butterfly. This insect is a very picky eater and would be rather difficult to cater for at a Jubilee party, as it feeds from just one particular vine species, Aristolochia schlechteri.

King cobra

King cobra image

Despite its reputation, the king cobra is generally non-aggressive

The magnificent king cobra is the longest of all venomous snakes and, unlike its slithering relatives, this species does not hiss when threatened, but instead makes a distinctive growl. Even young king cobras might be somewhat unwelcome at a street party, given that when they hatch their venom is already as toxic as that of the adult cobra.

Queen triggerfish

Queen triggerfish image

A regal fish, this queen triggerfish has stunning markings

The queen triggerfish is a very regal-looking fish, with a flamboyant mixture of blue, green and yellow markings. This patterning can be light or dark, depending on the fish’s mood…we would hope to see ‘happy’ colours during the Jubilee celebrations!

This gaily coloured fish certainly wouldn’t miss any of the Jubilee action, as it is capable of moving its eyes independently of each other.

King penguin

 

King penguin image

The king penguin is highly gregarious, so would enjoy a big party!

The royally named king penguin is the second largest penguin in the world and, being a gregarious species, certainly knows how to get the crowds gathering! Colonies of this species vary greatly in size, ranging from just 30 individuals to several hundred thousand; a true party animal!

Queen of the Andes

Queen of the Andes image

The flower spike of this species grows to an impressive height

As well as having a spectacular flower spike which can grow up to an impressive ten metres in height, the Queen of the Andes is an amazing plant in many other ways. It can take between 80 and 150 years for it to flower; this means that if an individual had started growing at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation back in 1953, it still may not flower for another 20 or more years!

Atlantic royal flycatcher

Atlantic royal flycatcher image

Check out that crest...no fascinator required!

This dazzling Atlantic royal flycatcher has a fabulous array of brightly coloured crest feathers which would add some jazzy hues to any Jubilee celebration! As a bonus, this species is thought to eat insects, so it might be useful for getting rid of those pesky mozzies as the festivities swing on into the evening!

Queen conch

Queen conch image

It may have a regal name, but the queen conch is not particularly graceful

As the queen conch is most active at night, this species would be a useful addition to a Jubilee gathering, to ensure that the party continues well after the sun has gone down! However, this royal gastropod is not so regal when it comes to moving around; it uses a strange hopping motion, pushing itself off the sea floor and thrusting forwards.

Royal sunangel

Royal sunangel image

The royal sunangel is a master of aerial acrobatics

The shimmering royal sunangel would be ideal for providing aerial entertainment in its elfin scrub home; thanks to a special wing structure, this Peruvian species is capable of performing intricate aerial manoeuvres, perfect for a royal fly-by! However, make sure you have an invite…the royal sunangel is somewhat territorial, and probably wouldn’t take too kindly to gate-crashers!

King protea

King protea image

The king protea is the national flower of South Africa

And finally, all good parties have some form of centrepiece, and as far as floral decorations go, few are more impressive than the king protea. The national flower of South Africa, this large species would be the talk of its fynbos shrubland habitat, providing a celebratory burst of colour fit for any royal event.

We hope those of you celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year have a wonderful time!

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Species Text Author

May 20

After a week of online celebrations, we are thrilled to announce that our 9th birthday is finally here! ARKive would like to say a huge thank you to all of our fans and followers who have been sharing our wild number 9 facts on Twitter this week, helping us unwrap our presents on Facebook and generally spreading the birthday cheer!

ARKive's gifts

While it has been an exciting week here in the office, our real highlight has been reading all the lovely birthday messages you sent us, and as promised, here are some of our favourites:

erikanoelia7

 erikanoelia7: i learn sth new everyday with @ARKive! info is concise, yet thrilling and engaging. pics are simply delightful. cheers guys! #HBARKive :)♥

 

ThatBlokeMyk

ThatBlokeMyk: @ARKive Happy Birthday, here’s the best birthday caique available for you… pic.twitter.com/q2ZkTasC

 

saunieindiego

saunieindiego: Happy 9th Birthday to @ARKive. Thanks for bringing so many plants and animals into my life every day.#wildlife #endangered #photography

 

MrsAltham

MrsAltham: Happy 9th birthday #Arkive! We’re hoping your party is a black tie affair. bit.ly/hNJIQJ

 

Emperor penguin photo

 

We would also like to say a special thank you to Crest Star for our birthday card!

crest_star

crest_star: Happy 9th Birthday @ARKive – so glad you are in our world! pic.twitter.com/uJTLgbSE

 

ARKive Birthday Card

We hope you have enjoyed the celebrations as much as we have. If you have a birthday message for ARKive please post it using the comment form below, we would love to hear from you!

The ARKive Team

May 16

After such a great response to our Animal Bands game on Twitter, we decided to do another one! This time, though, the topic was Animal TV Shows, and you sent in some crackers! Here are ten of our favourites…did your idea make the cut?!

Chimp My Ride

Young chimpanzee image

This young chimpanzee appears to be a bit of a back-seat driver!

This young chimpanzee has no need for the show that decks out cars with all the latest and greatest gear…he seems quite happy with his ride!

The Only Way is Essex Emerald Moth

Essex emerald moth image

Saltmarshes are the preferred habitat of the Essex emerald moth

This Essex emerald moth is looking rather reem, and we would forgive other invertebrates for being well jel of its beautiful green wings. Sadly, this species is now classified as Extinct in the UK.

Seal or No Seal

Galapagos fur seal image

The scientific name of the Galapagos fur seal comes from Greek words meaning 'bear headed'

Seal or No Seal describes the history of this Endangered species rather well. The Galapagos fur seal was hunted extensively in the 1800s, and was thought to be extinct until a small colony was rediscovered in the 1930s.

The Weakest Skink

Chevron skink image

The chevron skink can grow up to 30 cm in length

The chevron skink is New Zealand’s largest living endemic lizard, and one of its rarest. We think it does a pretty mean impression of the infamous Anne Robinson glare…is it about to wink?!

Orang M’Lord

Bornean orangutan image

The Bornean orangutan is a predominantly solitary creature

This female Bornean orangutan doesn’t seem to have grasped the concept of ladylike behaviour! However, we’re not sure she’d be any better as a maid if that’s how she’s planning on carrying the sandwiches and scones!

Gnu Wants to be a Millionaire

Blue wildebeest image

As it forms huge herds, the blue wildebeest should have no trouble finding a 'Phone a Friend' candidate!

These blue wildebeest, commonly referred to as gnus, seem to be gathering to watch an episode of their favourite show: Gnu Wants To Be A Millionaire! Or perhaps they’re eagerly awaiting the call to be a ‘Phone a Friend’?

Neighboars

Visayan warty pig image

The Visayan warty pig is a rainforest-dwelling species

Although not from Australia, we’re featuring this Visayan warty pig, as he would be a very rare neighbour to have. Found on just two islands of the Philippines, this species is extinct over at least 98% of its former range.

Troutnumbered

Kunming snout trout image

The Kunming snout trout lives in rapids and pools in fast-flowing streams

The Kunming snout trout is Critically Endangered as a result of water pollution, overfishing, and being Outnumbered by introduced fish species.

Miami Mice

Arabian spiny mouse image

The Arabian spiny mouse can shed its tail when attacked

The heroes of Miami Vice would have needed to don a special bulletproof vest to protect themselves during drug raids, but this Arabian spiny mouse has its own inbuilt protection against predators. When brushed against the direction of growth, this mouse’s fur becomes coarse and spine-like.

Would Aye-Aye to You?

Aye-aye image

The aye-aye has strong upper incisors to tear through wood

This rather odd-looking aye-aye hid a secret from scientists for years! This nocturnal species was originally classified as a rodent, but it is, in fact, a primate. Perhaps the aye-aye could use its unusually long middle digit to point out liars?!

This blog turned out to be harder to write than I’d expected, as I could only pick ten shows to feature, and there were so many fantastic ideas! So, I shall leave you with a quick mention of a few more that tickled us here in the ARKive office: Chicks Feet Under; Louse MD; Bok the Week; Have I Got Shrews For You; Home and A Whale; Starfish and Hutch; Whose Lion Is It Anyway?

Thanks, everyone! Look out for more wildlife-related fun and games soon!

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Species Text Author

May 14

In the ARKive office we love a good celebration, and what better reason is there to celebrate than our 9th birthday? The 20th May 2012 will mark 9 years since the launch of ARKive, during which time the website has grown to include over 14,500 species profiles! To mark the occasion, we have taken a look through the vault to find some real party animals to help get the fun and games started…

Clowning around

All good parties need some entertainment, and when a birthday comes around it is time to bring out the clowns! While it may be lacking in huge feet (or any feet for that matter) and a big red nose, we think that the colourful common clownfish would be a welcome guest at any gathering.

Common clownfish photo

A good sing-song

When the cake arrives, it is pretty much mandatory to belt out happy birthday as loud as you can. While the animal kingdom has a variety of talented vocalists, we have decided that this western meadowlark could probably out-sing most of the ARKive staff!

Western meadowlark photo

Make a wish

It is traditional to make a wish as you blow out the candles on your cake, and while there might not be any real candles in the ARKive collection, we think the firefly squid is just as pretty! Perhaps you could try wishing on a squid instead?

Firefly squid photo

Party games

If you are as competitive as most of the ARKive team, you probably love a good party game, and one of our favourites has got to be musical statues. Mind you, I think the male sharp-tailed grouse could give us a run for our money with its stop-start display, check out this video!

Sharp-tailed grouse photo

You’re invited too!

Of course, you can’t have a party without your friends, so we want to invite all of our fans and followers to get involved in our birthday celebrations.

*Like* ARKive on Facebook to help us unwrap our 9th birthday presents and Pass the Parcel to your friends! Keep an eye out for some cryptic clues and see if you can guess which animals have been wrapped up!

ARKive's Birthday Presents

Plus, as it’s our 9th birthday, on Twitter we’ll be sharing cool facts about the 9th species added to ARKive each year, starting from the launch of ARKive back in 2003! Once each fact gets 9 retweets, we’ll reveal the 9th species added on our next birthday, along with another fun fact to retweet.

The 9th species ever added to ARKive was the giant panda. Here’s the first fact to retweet:

Known for feeding on bamboo, did you know that the giant panda is technically a carnivore & occasionally eats meat too? #HBARKive

Why not send us a birthday message too? Post why you *like* ARKive on our Facebook wall. Our favourite 9 reasons for *liking* ARKive will appear in a 9th Birthday blog on Sunday 20th May. Plus you’ll win a special birthday party hat Twibbon so that you can celebrate on your Facebook and Twitter profiles too.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr  and Google Plus to check out wild number 9 facts – make sure you get involved!

Apr 1

The natural world is full of trickery, with many species proving to be masters of deception, not just on April Fools’ Day, but every day.

Amphibious antics

This master of disguise has got the leaf-look down to a tee, with its twisted body, veined skin and tail which appears to have been nibbled by insects or decayed amongst leaf litter. If its name and physical appearance doesn’t deter predators, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko can also flatten its body to reduce shadow, shed its tail and open its mouth to reveal a shocking red mouth. It seems this critter has plenty of tricks up sleeves!

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko image

Nature’s stink bomb

The Palawan stink badger lives up to its name by its method of defence. When attacked, a putrid-smelling yellow fluid is squirted from its anal glands, which will linger on the unfortunate victim for quite some time. Sometimes this species even ‘plays dead’ before ejecting the stinking secretion over the unsuspecting intruder.

Palawan stink badger image

Comical coney

Juvenile coneys are known to adopt a rather sneaky hunting technique known as ‘agressive mimicry’. By joining a group of similarly-sized and coloured brown chromis (Chromis multilineata), they are able to sneek up on prey unnoticed.

Coney image

Swindling snake

The juvenile Mexican cantil has a cunning method of attaining its next meal. By wiggling the tip of its yellow tail, it tricks other snakes and lizards into thinking it is an invertebrate. What comes next is definitely not a pleasant surprise!

Mexican cantil image

Is it a bird, a plane or a car alarm?

An expert impersonator, the African grey parrot is known to repeat everything from car alarms and human speech to calls of mammals and other birds. This species is considered to be one of the smartest animal species in the world and is thought to have the same intelligence level as a five year old human!

 

African grey parrot image

The plants are doing it too!

In certain populations, the peacock moraea flowers bear a striking resemblance to two different pollinating beetles, the glittering monkey beetle and the P. rufotibialis beetle. The plant is thought to have developed this remarkable mimicry to attract male beetles to the flower, enabling the plant to spread its pollen. This trickery must be rather disappointing for any would-be suitors.

Peacock moraea image

Can you think of anymore mischievous mammals, roguish reptiles, badly behaved birds, playful plants or impulsive insects? Let us know!

We wish you a happy and incident-free April Fools’ Day!

Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Species Text Author Intern

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