Thursday, 22 February 2018

Creative Hermit Crabs



Creative Hermit Crabs


Everyone is talking about human impact on nature, but it appears that hermit crabs actually enjoying all the extra garbage with provide for them.  As you may now, Hermit crabs are decapod crustaceans from the Paguroidea family.  There are over 1000 different species of these guys.  They hide their soft spiral abdomen inside shells for protection.   However, looks like they catching up with the time.  They have figured out that there are plenty of much better alternatives.





Some hermits have been very fond of used beer bottles.  These two were seen wearing broken bottles instead of shells.  Very creative, but probably heavy)) Can't imaging carrying it all day long.

Hermit Crab Wearing Beer Bottles



Another alcoholic hermit crab.  This one is wearing a champagne cap.  


Hermit Crab Wearing Beer Bottles




These two hermit crabs would make good mascots for Home Depot.  Looks like they are into plumbing equipment .   These would probably make petty good homes because the plastic is very light.




Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Went out to scoop fish, but caught a Turtle





I went fish collecting today.  There are walking catfish, oscars, and tilapia in this little pond.  But I managed to catch none of them.  They turned out to be be way smarter than me.






 Instead, I ended up catching this water turtle.  Not sure what of turtle this is.  But it looked pretty neat.  I am not a turtle expert, so I am clueless about it.








Estuary Fish Collecting at Ann Kolb Center




Some photos from fish collecting in South Florida estuary.  We caught all these guys at Ann Kolb Nature Center, where I volunteer.  This place is famous for its mangrove forest.  They actually have 3 types of mangroves there: red mangrove, black mangrove, and white mangrove.  The water was fully marine.  I have measured it at 1.025.  We got a lot of checkered puffers, glass shrimp, mojarras, and a few blue crabs.  






Estuary Fish Collecting at Ann Kolb Center



Our captives.  Check out all the puffers))) The estuary is full of them.  They are super cute.   We have 3 of them for a display tank.   They did not seem that stressed out.  None of the inflated themselves.




Estuary Fish Collecting at Ann Kolb Center





Small plastic aquarium for photography.  That's blue crab upfront.  Behind him are darter gobies (Ctenogobius boleosoma), sheephead minnow, glass shrimp, and mojarra ( Eugerres plumieri).



Estuary Fish Collecting at Ann Kolb Center




The blue crab Callinectes sapidus was really angry and did not want to put up with any of this)))))) These crabs are always angry)))  Not very social animals at all.




Blue crab Callinectes sapidus


 Close-up of Glass Shrimp




 Close-up of Glass Shrimp Close-up of Glass Shrimp




Close-up of darter goby or Ctenogobius boleosoma.  This guys really look like swamp goby.  Only fused fins give it away as a goby.  If I were to see this fish in fresh water, I would totally think that it's a darter



Sunday, 18 February 2018

I Went To Shark Valley in Everglades!!!





Finally made to the Shark Valley in the Everglades Park.  It's true, they do have alligators everywhere!!!  They just lay around all over the main road.  It's kind of shocking and surreal.  They totally ignore people.  I counted at least 10 of them.  






So Fat and Lazy))))







This guy is thermo-regulating with his open mouth)) 






















Check out this cool site for chemical peel solutions and other skincare products)))
Chemical Peels and Skincare Supplies for UK

Thursday, 8 February 2018

White Fiddler Crabs



We got new sand at the Ann Kolb laguna and in a matter of days fiddler crabs changed color.  They are completely white.  Normally, these crabs are browning in color.  So strange that they've changed color to better blend in.





This is what a normal Fiddler Crab or Uca pugnax looks like.  They blending into the mud)))





Uca pugnax is the most common species of crabs in South Florida. This fiddler crab has a very noticeable sexual dimophism. Males have enlarged yellow colored claw bearing legs and one disproportionately large right claw.  Most male fiddler crabs are often seen making circular motions with their large claw in order to communicate with females and themselves.


Uca pugnax lives in saltmarshes along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Marsh fiddler crabs construct burrows that are utilized for mating, rest, and "hibernation" during the winter. The burrows of U. pugnax also serve as refuge from predators, heat, and incoming tides. Burrows are approximately 1.3 cm wide and are between 30.5 cm and 92 cm deep. Commonly located in sandy and muddy substrates, burrows may end in a small room or be connected with other burrows. During high tide, U. pugnax plug their burrows with mud. Often these burrows are found near hard structural elements or grass stems in areas of intermediate root mat density
Uca pugnax lives in saltmarshes along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Marsh fiddler crabs construct burrows that are utilized for mating, rest, and "hibernation" during the winter. The burrows of U. pugnax also serve as refuge from predators, heat, and incoming tides. Burrows are approximately 1.3 cm wide and are between 30.5 cm and 92 cm deep. Commonly located in sandy and muddy substrates, burrows may end in a small room or be connected with other burrows. During high tide, U. pugnax plug their burrows with mud. Often these burrows are found near hard structural elements or grass stems in areas of intermediate root mat density
Uca pugnax lives in saltmarshes along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Marsh fiddler crabs construct burrows that are utilized for mating, rest, and "hibernation" during the winter. The burrows of U. pugnax also serve as refuge from predators, heat, and incoming tides. Burrows are approximately 1.3 cm wide and are between 30.5 cm and 92 cm deep. Commonly located in sandy and muddy substrates, burrows may end in a small room or be connected with other burrows. During high tide, U. pugnax plug their burrows with mud. Often these burrows are found near hard structural elements or grass stems in areas of intermediate root mat density





These guys also dig a lot of burrows. These burrows  are 1/2 inch wide  and can be up to a foot deep.  Fiddler crabs usually run for their little home at the very first sign of trouble. Because of that, they are very hard to photograph))) These burrows are also very important to the ecosystem because they act as filters and deposits for meiofauna.  This actually affects the turnover of nutrients and chemicals in the sediment.




Wednesday, 7 February 2018

South Florida Checkered Puffer Fish



Checkered Puffer or Sphoeroides testudineus




Everyone's favorite South Florida checkered puffer or Sphoeroides testudineus, is a prominent fixture in mangrove estuaries. This cute fish belongs to Tetradontidae family, a group of fish with fused teeth that resemble parrot's beak. The beak is formed by four teeth that continue to grow throughout its life. Just like it's name suggests, checkered puffer can inflate itself when threatened. It's a common feature of most Tetradontids. However, if you see it, please don't harass it. Inflation is pretty stressful to them. It can even be harmful if they inflate themselves with air, instead of water (they have hard time expelling air)



Ann Kolb Center has 4 checkered puffers on display in their exhibit hall. These are not only cute, but also extremely smart. Which makes sense, give the fact that they are highly predatory. Their main diet consists of fiddler crabs, mangrove crabs, and various snails. Their unique teeth are a direct adaptation to this diet. They have no problem crushing shells, crabs, shrimps, and even taking bites out slow moving fish.



Unlike other members of Tetradontidae, which can't tolerate each other, checkered puffers are somewhat social. They are often seen swimming around in pairs. This is really surprising, given the violent nature of most other puffer species.






A Pair of Juvenile Checkered Puffers in Ann Kolb Nature Center Exhibit Hall


Checkered Puffer or Sphoeroides testudineus




Just like other puffer species, Sphoeroides testudineus is extremely toxic when ingested due to the tetradotoxin (named after the actual puffers). Tetradotoxin is a potent neurotoxin that prevents nervous system from carrying messages though the body. This is due to the fact that tetradotoxin is sodium channel blocker. Most common sign of puffer fish poisoning are shortness of breath, tingling or numbing of tongue, lips, face, arms, fingertips.  There is no antidote, so the only treatment is mostly supportive. If a person survives the first 24 hours, recovery without any residual effects usually occurs over the next few days.  However, the puffers are only dangerous if eaten.  You will not experience any ill effect while handling them.  






Saturday, 27 January 2018

Wild Monkeys of South Florida


Dania Beach Vervet Monkey



Talk about invasive species in South Florida, I found some feral vervet monkeys in Dania Beach.  There are two colonies in Ft Lauderdale/Dania Beach area.  But I only saw two of these guys.  They live behind Motel 6.  Seriously)))  There is a huge mangrove forest behind the motel. That's where they stay most of the time.  However, they come out to the motel parking lot to get some food from local people. 




I spotted this vervet monkey within 5 minutes of getting there.  They came out and sat on the fence, waiting for food.  You really are not suppose to feed them, but this French tourist of Canada threw gave him an apple. 

Dania Beach Vervet Monkey



 Apparently, these monkeys really like fruits.  He ate two apples.  There was also a female vervet monkey.  But she stayed in the forest. She was afraid of people and kept her distance. I could not get a decent picture of her.

Dania Beach Vervet Monkey

Dania Beach Vervet Monkey

Dania Beach Vervet Monkey


These vervet monkey had escaped the primate farm in 1950's. The Anthropoid Ape Research Foundation was importing and breeding all sorts of monkeys and apes for medical research. Local legend states, that they were kept in horrible conditions without any regard for their well being.  Most of them were destined to be victims of all sorts of medical experiments.  So  a few lucky vervet monkeys had escaped and managed to form a colony in Dania Beach.



Dania Beach Vervet Monkey

Dania Beach Vervet Monkey

Dania Beach Vervet Monkey





Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Look What Washed Up: Man-of-War



Hey, look what washed up on the beach near my house.  It's jellyfish !!!!  A man-of-war!!! All the way from Portugal)))) A Portuguese Man of War or Physalia physalis.  Well, guess they are nor really from there, but they are still cool.  These guys were all over the beach here in Hollywood, Florida.




Most of them looked like blue balloons. But this man-of-war still get his tentacles attached. Blue tentacles))) They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts which they use to kill small fish and crustaceans. Supposedly, they are also toxic to people, but I did not feel like testing that. I simply poked it with a stick. Surprisingly, these pneumatophore are very tough to puncture.



Another dead jellyfish.  Well, I guess, it's not really a jellyfish. It is a jellyfish-like cnidarian.  And not just one cnidarian, it's a colony of different polyps.  As a kid, I've always thought of them as a single animal.  But it turned out that it is a bunch of small animals forming this weird creature.



The Portuguese man of war colony is made up of three different types of medusoids (it's a funny word) and four types of polypoids, .  The medusoids are gonophores, siphosomal nectophores, and vestigial siphosomal nectophores).  Polypoids  are free gastrozooids, gastrozooids with tentacles, gonozooids, and gonopalpons (grouped into cormidia beneath the pneumatophore). Yes, that's a lot of different animals living under one sail)))









Check out this cool site for chemical peel solutions and other skincare products)))
Chemical Peels and Skincare Supplies for UK




Friday, 19 January 2018

The Blind Goby or Typhlogobius californiensis






The blind goby or Typhlogobius californiensis is a small costal specie that is native to California and Mexico. It is a very interesting goby that has a mutual relationship with a ghost shrimp Callinassa biffari.  While juvenile, it enters shrimp's burrow and stays there all of its life.  When still young, they  have normal eyes.  But after maturing, the eyes degenerate completely, making the goby totally blind.  Unlike other blind fish, Typhlogobius californiensis does not have a very well developed lateral line.  This is due to the fact that it never leaves the shrimp's burrow.  Most of it's sensory organs are located on top of its head and it relies mostly on its sense of smell.





I am a big fan of sorts of cavefish, and while this goby is not a cave dweller, it exhibits all the traits of troglodyte fish.  It is completely pigment free and has no eyes.  A good example of convergent evolution, I suppose)))  However, I still do not understand why it never leaves the burrow.  I am sure it's safe and everything, but he can't be getting that much food there.  Most of the food is brought into the burrow by current created by shrimp's swimmerettes.  The shrimp would eat smaller particles of sea weed, decaying matter, and parts of dead animals, while Typhlogobius californiensis would clean up larger pieces.  Sometimes, the shrimp was even observed physically bringing larger food particles to the goby.


Typhlogobius californiensis








Tuesday, 9 January 2018

My Photos of Florida Mangrove Tree Crab



Mangrove Tree Crab or Aratus pisonii


Here are photos of mangrove tree crab (Aratus pisonii) I took at Ann Kolb Center here in South Florida.  I think this is the only specie of crab that lives mostly on trees.  It is kind of weird to see these guy siting on leaves.  But they are pretty colorful))  The mostly hang out on red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) and eat their leaves. The mangrove tree crabs are usually found in most tropical and subtropical estuaries in North America and Caribbean. 



Mangrove Tree Crab or Aratus pisonii


I caught the tree crab for better pictures.  Here, he is in a plastic cup with some local coffee bean snails.  Unfortunately, as soon as I took him out, he quickly jumped out and escaped.  These guys are really quick.  He ran straight for the tree))))



Mangrove Tree Crab or Aratus pisonii


 mangrove tree crab (Aratus pisonii)



Cute Little Guy





This is what their habitat looks like.  It's all part of the  nature park in Hollywood, Florida.  They have an insanely cool mangrove forest.


Red Mangrove or Rhizophora mangle