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astronomy-to-zoology:

Megarhyssa atrata

…is a species of Giant Ichneumon Wasp (Megarhyssa spp.) which is widely distributed throughout eastern North America, where it occurs in deciduous forests. Adult M. atrata are active from May to July ane are not known to feed. Like other Ichneumon wasps M. atrata are parasitoids of wood-boring insects, with adults using their long ovipositors to pierce tree bark to lay their young in insects inside.

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Hymenoptera-Ichnemonoidea-Ichneumonidae-Rhyssinae-Megarhyssa-M. atrata

Image: ©Larry de March

Source: astronomy-to-zoology
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rhamphotheca:

Eddy, a Southern Three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus), from South America, rolls up into a ball as it is shown to visitors for the first time since its birth on 26 September at the Bergzoo in Halle, Germany… then unrolls.

Photograph: Imago/Barcroft Media

(via: Guardian UK)

Source: rhamphotheca
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rhamphotheca:

White Xenia Crab from Indonesia

“Lembeh Strait is a fantastic place to find species that have evolved to resemble other animals or plants to survive. Because of the lens I was using, I had to get really close to this crab. As I moved in, it retreated into the xenia coral polyps. When I backed up, it came back out. The skittish crab, in addition to having the wrong lens for the task, made this a challenging shot.”

Nature’s Best Photographer, Marli Wakeling

(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

Source: rhamphotheca
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rhamphotheca:

A female Hammer-jawed Jumping Spider (Zygoballus rufipes), a species of jumping spider found from Central America through Canada. First described in 1885 by George and Elizabeth Peckham, there were initially thought to be two species (Z. bettini to the north and Z. rufipes to the south), but they have since been synonymized. Adults reach 4 - 6 mm in length.

Photograph: Ryan Kaldari

(via: Wikipedia)

Source: rhamphotheca
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libutron:

A story of ants, bees and orchids: the Bucket Orchids

The genus Coryanthes (Asparagales - Orchidaceae) has one of the most complex flowers structures of the highly diverse orchid family. Sepals and tepals are usually turned back and soon wither after anthesis (the period during which a flower is fully open and functional).

The fleshy lip of the Coryanthes flower is composed of three parts: the cup shaped hypochil (the lower part of the lip), the partially covered, tubular mesochil (the intermediate or middle part of the lip), and the bucket-like enlarged epichil (the terminal part of the lip), which is filled up to the “exit” with a fluid, secreted by two broadly-falcate protuberances, called pleuridia, at the base of the column.

Coryanthes species grow on trees, and exclusively in ant nests of the genera Azteca, Campanotus, and Crematogaster, in so-called “ant-gardens”. These arboreal communities can reach diameters of 150 cm with the ant nest comprising 80 cm. Both organisms share a destiny because the plant is condemned to death if the associated ant colony dies. The plants offer nectar in extrafloral nectaries and provide a framework for nest construction with their root system, while the ants defend the plants against herbivores and additionally fertilize them with vertebrate feces. This abundant provision of nutrients by the ants allows the plants to grow rapidly.

All Coryanthes species are pollinated by males bees of the genera Euglossa, Eulaema, and Euplusia. The bees are attracted by the odor of the flowers and swarm around them. They land on the hypochil of the flower and try to  get below the hood to seek the fragrance compound. In trying to obtain a footing on the waxy, smooth mesochil they loose their footing and fall in the bucket-like epic hill which is filled with a mucilaginous fluid, where their wings are moistened. The only way to escape is crawling out through a tunnel, formed by the epichil of the lip and the column. The pollinator touches first the stigma and afterwards the sticky viscidium, which glues the whole pollen mass (pollinium) on him. After a second “error”, the flower is pollinated.

These photos show the species Coryanthes speciosa and the Orchid Bees, Euglossa tridentata (Apidae - Euglossini) on Coryanthes speciosa. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Eerika Schulz | Locality: Royal Gardens, Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany, 2013] - [Bottom: ©Ian Morton | Locality: Hickatee Cottages, Punta Gorda, Toledo District, Belize, 2002]

(via rhamphotheca)

Source: libutron
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libutron:

South American Common Toad - Rhinella margaritifera 

The South American Common Toad, commonly known as Sapo Crestado in Spanish, belonging to the species Rhinella margaritifera (Bufonidae) is a medium-sized (up to 81 mm long) ground dwelling toad that shows obvious adaptations to the life on leaf litter of primary and secondary forests.

Their cryptic coloration resembles dark partly decomposed fallen leaves (“dead-leaf pattern”). Effect of this coloration is multiplied by body outline disruptive function of elevated and laterally widely expanded cranial crests, bone protrusions at angle of jaws and neural crests of vertebrae which serve as direct antipredator mechanism.

This is a species complex that occurs throughout the Amazon Basin of South America, the Guianas, and is also present in central Panama and the eastern lowlands and cordilleras of Panama, as well as in Gorgona Island, Colombia.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Frank Deschandol | Locality: Peru (2013)

(via rhamphotheca)

Source: libutron
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fuckyeahcarnivorousplants:

The Pitcher Plant - Nepenthes hamata, endemic to Sulawesi, Indonesia.

(via rhamphotheca)

Source: nitrogenseekers.wordpress.com
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cool-critters:

Spiny turtle (Heosemys spinosa)

The spiny turtle is known from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Sadly this species is highly endangered!

It inhabits lowland and hill rainforest, usually in the vicinity of small streams, mainly in hill areas up to 900 m above sea level.

Mating behaviour appears to be triggered by rain; in captivity, spraying males with water results in them chasing females and attempting to mount. Nothing is known of nesting behaviour in the wild.

photo credits: zooborns, myviadventures

(via rhamphotheca)

Source: cool-critters
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