this is the happiest I’ve been in a long time
Archived photos from a great hike just east of Jasper National Park. I love these people with all my heart. There is nothing like sharing the beauty of the mountains and losing yourself in their splendour with people you count as friends.
X-Ray Image of a Winghead SharK
The distinctive form of a winghead shark (Eusphyra blochii) is revealed by an X-ray image. The Winghead Shark, one of about ten species of hammerhead sharks, has its eyes set at the tips of its wide, T-shaped head, giving it superb binocular vision.
- Credit: Sandra Raredon/Smithsonian Institution
African softshell turtle (Trionyx triunguis)
The African softshell turtle is a large species of turtle from fresh-water and brackish habitats in Africa (larger parts of East, West and Middle Africa) and the Near East (Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey). Nile Soft-shelled turtles are located in the fresh water of rivers and lakes with soft sand or muddy bottoms. They also are found in brackish water as well as salty waters of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Their omnivorous diet includes aquatic insects, molluscs, crustaceans, frogs, fish, and other turtles, live and dead mammals, along with fruit, nuts, and seeds.
Zebra Sharks, Stegostoma fasciatum
Description & Behavior
Zebra sharks, Stegostoma fasicatum (Hermann, 1783), are also known as leopard sharks in Southeast Asia. The zebra shark has a cylindrical body with prominent ridges on the sides and 5 gill slits (slits 4 and 5 overlap). The tail lacks a ventral lobe and it is as long as the body. This shark has a broad head, small barbels, and a transverse mouth located in front of the eyes. Its spiracles are as large as its eyes. The spineless dorsal fins are back to back. The anterior dorsal fin is much larger than the posterior dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin appears above the bases of pelvic fins, the second dorsal fin is about as large as the anal fin. The body is gray-brown with dark spots in adults. Juveniles are darker with light stripes and spots. Maximum size is about 3.5 m, average size between 2.5-3m.
World Range & Habitat
Zebra sharks, Stegostoma fasicatum, are found in the Indo-Western Pacific: South Africa to Red Sea and Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, China, Japan, Australia, New Caledonia, Palau. Lives over the continental and insular (island) shelves. Very common around coral reefs, often on sandy bottoms, but little is known about their biology. It is known that this species props itself up its pectorals in the sand and faces the current with open mouth. Such behavior and its inactivity during the day points towards a more sluggish life style and indicates that it is probably a nocturnal hunter. Recorded to have entered freshwater.
Feeding Behavior (Ecology)
Feeds primarily on snails and other mollusks, but also on crabs, shrimps, and small bony fishes.
Zebra sharks are egg layers (oviparous). Egg cases are large (17 cm long, 8 cm wide, 5 cm thick). It is unknown if the female lays more than one egg at a time, but it is most likely. Pups hatch size is between 20-36 cm. Males reach sexual maturity between about 1.5-1.8m, females around 1.7 m.
Conservation Status & Comments
Harmless. This species is regularly taken in inshore fisheries and a decline is likely (no data) if not in progress. Utilized fresh and dried-salted for human consumption and also for fishmeal; livers processed for vitamins; fins cut off and sold for the asian sharkfin trade.
Iberian Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl)
Also known as the Spanish Ribbed Newt or the Sharp-ribbed Newt, the Iberian ribbed newt is a species of ribbed newt (Pleurodeles sp.) which is endemic to the central and southern Iberian Peninsula and Morocco. They are noted for their ‘sharp’ ribs which puncture through its side and secrete a mild poison, acting as a defense mechanism for the newt while causing the newt no significant harm.
Fun Fact: Pleurodeles waltl has been sent to space at least six times. As they are a good model organism for the study of microgravity.
Puffins on Flickr.
'Glass Gem' corn at Corte Eremo, Mantua.