Monthly Archives: March 2009

Long Eared Jerboa: exceedingly cute rodent of the big-eared variety

part mouse, part moth- the "wingspan" of these ears is longer than the rodent's body

part mouse, part moth- the "wingspan" of these ears is longer than the rodent's body

The author of BV is invoking her writerly prerogative, and stretching the parameters of the pink animal series to includeEuchoreutes naso,  a nocturnal rodent which is not properly speaking pink, but is replete with  long tail, long hind legs, and exceptionally large, exceptionally adorable, shell-pink  ears.  One Dr. Baille, a member of the Zoological society of London,  told BBC that “the long-eared jerboa is a bit like the Mickey Mouse of the desert, cute and comic in equal measure.”  The Author of BV is forced to agree.
  

Native to China and to desert habitats of Trans Altai Govi  & Gobi Deserts in Mongolia, the long-eared jerboa is considered endangered, and due to its rarity, is  little understood. Dr. Baille explains in the BBc interview that he took part in an expedition to study the long-eared jerboa funded by ZSL’s “Edge” program, which focuses on conserving  endangered and “evolutionarily distinctive” animals, and that it was on this expedition that he and his colleagues caught these adorable little buggers on tape, for what may well be the first time (see film clip, below).

 

and may we just say, in our official capacity,  “awwwwwww.”

 

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Pink Fairy Armadillo

the diminutive pink fairy armadillo, pictured here in captivity, is considered thretened in the wild.

the diminutive pink fairy armadillo, pictured here in captivity, is considered threatened in the wild.

The next member of our pink animal brigade is the pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus), a diminutive member of genus Chlamyphorus native to South America.  At about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches long (excluding the tail), the pink fairy armadillo is the smallest of the armadillo family.

It is not difficult, therefore, to see how the pink fairy armadillo earned its name: it is tiny (as are fairies), and yes, pink. But where do they get these names? A baby pink fairy armadillo is called a ‘pup,’ (okay)  the females are called ‘zeds’ and males ‘listers’ (eh?); and  a group of pink fairy armadillos is called a ‘fez’. Yes, a “fez.” Like one of these things:

fes

… proving that scientists are sometimes stranger than the animals they study.

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pink elephant: not just a figment of your imagination

this rare pink elephant, probably an albino, was recently spotted in botswana
The next pink animal to grace our fair page is this charming little pink elephant. Scientists say that he is probably an albino, but the discerning readers of BV (all several of you. ahem.) will likely join the author in her suspicion that his coloring is a direct result of the night of debauchery that concieved him.

Of course,  this rosy-toned pachyderm is *so* cute that  the author hopes you will not hold his inillustrious conception against him, and will cross your fingers, pray, and/or do an interpretive dance for  his survival under the hot african sun, which, experts caution, may lead to blindness and skin problems for the calf.  

We’re behind you, little pink elephant. And we will likely see you tonight after a tipple or two.

cf. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nwNPaYoTY8
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7951331.stm

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Filed under baby animals, endangered species, pink animal league, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

pink amblycorypha katydid

 

This Pink amblycorypha katydid gave his bride a gift, but she wishes he katy-didn't

This Pink amblycorypha katy-did give his bride a gift, but she wishes he katy-didn't

It has been brought to the author’s attention that the Pink Dragon Millipede is not the sole pink specimen  in the insect world; the pink amblycorypha katydid is equally pink, and no less charming at cocktail parties. In accordance with this discovery, the author would like to introduce a short run of “pretty in pink,” a series on roseate  members of the animal world. Whether their behaviors are as rosy as their hues remains to be seen.

The second member in our series (following the Dragon Millipede, naturally) is, as noted above, the pink amblycorypha katydid, a romantic soul and a genetic anomaly belonging to the species western round-winged katydid (Amblycorypha parvipennis). Like other katydids, this specimen  (should it prove to be a hetero male secure enough in his masculinity to wear pink)  will provide a “nuptial gift” of a  spermatophore, a nutritious little ball of ejaculate, to his loving bride.

What the author of  BV would like to know is: will that little love-token be equally pink, and mightn’t the female katydid prefer something by way of a box of chocolates?

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Filed under backyard fauna, pink animal league, rated NC17, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

Pink Dragon Millipede: Dangerous Beauty

dragon_millipede

 

The Pink Dragon Millipede (Desmoxytes purpurosea) may look like the lastest pokemon character or Sanrio creation, but you wouldn’t want one on your keychain.  

Why not? Because the Pink Dragon Millipede, a recently discovered species native to Thailand, is one of nature’s most outrageous examples of aposematism, the display of vivid coloring and other physical signals that the candy-colored, snack-sized morsel in question is packing a poisonous whallop.

What is the toxic flavor of the day for Pink Dragon Millipedes? Cyanide, easily recognized by the odor of bitter almonds that linger around the shockingly-hued insects.   

 Mmmmmmmm. Cyanide.

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Emu: summer lovin’ happens so fast

this emu is already looking for another mate

this emu is already looking for another mate

 Any number of men with whom the author of BV is aquainted might feel a twinge of envy when they learn of the prodigious attributes of the male Dromaius novaehollandiae; during breeding season, males experience an increase in luteinizing hormone and testosterone. The result? Their testicles double in size, and the birds switch from boxers to briefs.

But in one of mother nature’s canny twists, it is the males who are  saddled with the biological clock. At first, the trade-off might not seem so bad:  the pair mates every day, and the female is still responsible for laying the very large, thick-shelled, dark-green eggs.  

Yet the tide soon turns: the male, brain addled by regular sex with a willing mate,  turns broody after his mate starts laying, loses his apetite, and settles in to incubate the eggs before the laying period is even finished. From the moment he first settles down on those eggs, he will not eat, drink or shit for eight weeks while the eggs incubate.  He loses weight, surviving on stored body-fat and any stray drops of morning dew that he can reach from the nest.

This is because infidelity is widespread amongst  emu, and once the male starts brooding, the female  starts looking for greener pastures, refusing  to bring her erstwhile schmoopy  a beer, make him a sandwich, or tend to his swollen testicles, preferring to sow her wild oats with other, more mobile males. 

To be fair, some females stand by their man, defending  the nest until the chicks start to hatch, but most of the shameless hussies leave to nest again;  for  a female Emu, a good summer fling may mean multiple nests with multiple mates.

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Gouldian Finches: female finches practice sex bias

female finches exhibit classic signs of "pussy control" (see link, below)

female finches exhibit classic signs of "pussy control"

Ever wished for a more palpable measure of a date’s long-term potential? Some visible sign telling you whether he will leave the toilet seat up? Gouldian finches can’t commiserate: females can judge a male  just by looking at his head.  

A new study in the journal Science has found that females produce more healthy offspring when they  mate with males of similar coloring to their own, and that as a result, females demonstrate pronounced sex bias towards compatibly feathered studs.

In a strange twist, moreover, female finches have the ability to control  the sex of their offspring, and when the female finche mates with a male of a different head colour, they tend to produce more male offspring.  According to Sarah Prkye, lead scientist on this study, males are preferred in this circumstance because male birds are more likely to survive incompatible  parents than are females.   The mechanism of this control is not known.

“It is pretty amazing,” says the unfortunately named director of this sex study,  “to think that the female herself has so much control – subconsciously of course – over this basic physiology.”  The author of BV submits that Dr. Pryke is perhaps a tad naive: these birds are not acting on subconscious instinct: they are simply living by the motto that  if brother didn’t have good ‘n’ plenty of his own, in love [they] never [will] fall.  

This conclusion is borne out by Pryke’s own admission that

“Females really don’t want to mate with a male with a different head colour” but because “there simply aren’t enough compatible males,”  the unmatched females eventually  “use this control to make the best of a bad situation.”

We feel ya, sisters.

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7953467.stm

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