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The European hare (Lepus europaeus), also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is among the largest hare species and is adapted to temperate, open country. Hares are herbivorous and feed mainly on grasses and herbs, supplementing these with twigs, buds, bark and field crops, particularly in winter. Their natural predators include large birds of prey, canids and felids. They rely on high-speed endurance running to escape predation, having long, powerful limbs and large nostrils.
Generally nocturnal and shy in nature, hares change their behaviour in the spring, when they can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around in fields. During this spring frenzy, they sometimes strike one another with their paws ("boxing"). This is usually not competition between males, but a female hitting a male, either to show she is not yet ready to mate or to test of his determination. The female nests in a depression on the surface of the ground rather than in a burrow and the young are active as soon as they are born. Litters may consist of three or four young and a female can bear three litters a year, with hares living for up to twelve years. The breeding season lasts from January to August. (Full article...)
The common clam worm (Alitta succinea) is a widely distributed species of marine polychaete worm. The photograph shows an epitoke specimen, the worm having turned into a form capable of reproduction. After releasing its sperm or eggs, the animal will die.
Brittle stars, serpent stars, or ophiuroids are echinoderms in the class Ophiuroidea closely related to starfish. They crawl across the sea floor using their flexible arms for locomotion. The ophiuroids generally have five long, slender, whip-like arms which may reach up to 60 cm (24 in) in length on the largest specimens. The New Latin class name Ophiuroidea is derived from the Ancient Greek ?, meaning "serpent". (Full article...)
A caterpillar of Lymantria dispar dispar, also known as the gypsy moth. First described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, the gypsy moth is found throughout Eurasia, where it is considered a pest. The larvae emerge from egg masses in the spring, and then are dispersed by the wind and begin feeding on leaves. They are initially diurnal, but become nocturnal after their fourth molting.
The Peacock flounder (Bothus mancus) is a species of lefteye flounder found widely in relatively shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific. This photomontage shows four separate views of the same fish, each several minutes apart, starting from the top left. Over the course of the photos, the fish changes its colors to match its new surroundings, and then finally (bottom right) buries itself in the sand, leaving only the eyes protruding.
A female Calliope Hummingbird (Stellula calliope), the smallest bird found in Canada and the United States, feeding insects to chicks. Found mostly in western North America (although vagrants have been found in New York and Connecticut), it is migratory and winters in southwestern Mexico.
Anatomical diagram of an adult female chambered nautilus, the best known species of nautilus, a "living fossil" related to the octopuses. The animal has a primitive brain that forms a ring around its oesophagus, has four gills (all other cephalopods have only two), and can only move shell-first (seemingly "backwards") by pumping water out through its funnel. The shell and tentacles are shown here as shadows.
The paddyfield pipit (Anthus rufulus) is a passerine bird in the family Motacillidae, comprising pipits, longclaws and wagtails. About 15 cm (6 in) in length and native to southern Asia, its plumage in both sexes is greyish-brown above and paler yellowish-brown below, with dark streaking on the breast. A bird of open country, pasture and cultivated fields, it sometimes makes short flights, but mostly runs on the ground, foraging for insects and other small invertebrates. The paddyfield pipit builds its cup-shaped nest in a concealed location on the ground, and may have two or more broods in a year. This A. r. rufulus individual was photographed in Kanha Tiger Reserve, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
The flatworms, flat worms, Platyhelminthes, Plathelminthes, or platyhelminths (from the Greek , platy, meaning "flat" and (root: -), helminth-, meaning "worm") are a phylum of relatively simple bilaterian, unsegmented, soft-bodied invertebrates. Unlike other bilaterians, they are acoelomates (having no body cavity), and have no specialized circulatory and respiratoryorgans, which restricts them to having flattened shapes that allow oxygen and nutrients to pass through their bodies by diffusion. The digestive cavity has only one opening for both ingestion (intake of nutrients) and egestion (removal of undigested wastes); as a result, the food cannot be processed continuously. (Full article...)
Velodona togata is the only species in the octopus genus Velodona; the genus and species names come from the large membranes that connect its arms. It was first described by Carl Chun in his book Die Cephalopoden (from which this illustration is taken) in 1915. A second subspecies was described by Guy Coburn Robson in 1924.
A soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines), together with an egg, as viewed through a low-temperature scanning electron microscope at 1000x magnification. This nematode infects the roots of soybeans, and the female nematode eventually becomes a cyst. Infection causes various symptoms that may include chlorosis of the leaves and stems, root necrosis, loss in seed yield and suppression of root and shoot growth.
The Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is the largest possum species and is perhaps the most widespread mammal in Australia. It grows to about 32-58 cm (13-23 in) in length, with an additional 24-40 cm (9-16 in) for its prehensile tail (seen here hanging below the branch). It is mainly a folivore, but has been known to eat small mammals such as rats. It is common in cities, having adapted well to human habitation.
A macro view of a Gonia capitatafly feeding on honey, showing its proboscis and pedipalps (the two appendages protruding from the proboscis), two types of insect mouthparts. The proboscis actually comprises the labium, a quadrupedal structure, and a sponge-like labellum at the end. Flies eat solid food by secreting saliva and dabbing it over the food item. As the saliva dissolves the food, the solution is then drawn up into the mouth as a liquid. The labellum's surface is covered by minute food channels which form a tube leading to the esophagus, and food is drawn up the channels by capillary action.
Mephitidae is a family of mammals in the orderCarnivora, which comprises the skunks and stink badgers. A member of this family is called a mephitid. The skunks of the family are widespread across the Americas, while the stink badgers are in the Greater Sunda Islands of southeast Asia. Species inhabit a variety of habitats, though typically grassland, forest, and shrubland. Most mephitids are 20-50 cm (8-20 in) long, plus a 10-40 cm (4-16 in) tail, though the pygmy spotted skunk can be as small as 11 cm (4 in) plus a 7 cm (3 in) tail, and some striped skunks can be up to 82 cm (32 in) plus a 40 cm (16 in) tail. No estimates have been made for overall population sizes of any of the species, but two species are classified as vulnerable. Mephetids in general are not domesticated, though skunks are sometimes kept as pets.
The twelve species of Mephitidae are split into four genera: the monotypicConepatus, hog-nosed skunks; Mephitis, skunks; Mydaus, stink badgers; and Spilogale, spotted skunks. Mephitidae was traditionally a clade within the Mustelidae family, with the stink badgers combined with other badgers within the Melinae genus, but more recent genetic evidence resulted in the consensus to separate Mephitidae into its own family. Extinct species have also been placed into all of the extant genera besides Mydaus, as well as 9 extinct genera; 26 extinct Mephitidae species have been found, though due to ongoing research and discoveries the exact number and categorization is not fixed. (Full article...)
Fish and frog melanophores are cells that can change color by dispersing or aggregating pigment-containing bodies.
A brilliantly-colored oriental sweetlips fish (Plectorhinchus vittatus) waits while two boldly-patterned cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) pick parasites from its skin. The spotted tail and fin pattern of the sweetlips signals sexual maturity; the behaviour and pattern of the cleaner fish signal their availability for cleaning service, rather than as prey
Non-bilaterians include sponges (centre) and corals (background).
Idealised bilaterian body plan. With an elongated body and a direction of movement the animal has head and tail ends. Sense organs and mouth form the basis of the head. Opposed circular and longitudinal muscles enable peristaltic motion.
Bright coloration of orange elephant ear sponge, Agelas clathrodes signals its bitter taste to predators
Animal anatomical engraving from Handbuch der Anatomie der Tiere für Künstler.
Squid chromatophores appear as black, brown, reddish and pink areas in this micrograph.
The following table lists estimated numbers of described extant species for the animal groups with the largest numbers of species, along with their principal habitats (terrestrial, fresh water, and marine), and free-living or parasitic ways of life. Species estimates shown here are based on numbers described scientifically; much larger estimates have been calculated based on various means of prediction, and these can vary wildly. For instance, around 25,000-27,000 species of nematodes have been described, while published estimates of the total number of nematode species include 10,000-20,000; 500,000; 10 million; and 100 million. Using patterns within the taxonomic hierarchy, the total number of animal species--including those not yet described--was calculated to be about 7.77 million in 2011.[a]
^The application of DNA barcoding to taxonomy further complicates this; a 2016 barcoding analysis estimated a total count of nearly 100,000 insect species for Canada alone, and extrapolated that the global insect fauna must be in excess of 10 million species, of which nearly 2 million are in a single fly family known as gall midges (Cecidomyiidae).
^Sluys, R. (1999). "Global diversity of land planarians (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Terricola): a new indicator-taxon in biodiversity and conservation studies". Biodiversity and Conservation. 8 (12): 1663-1681. doi:10.1023/A:1008994925673. S2CID38784755.