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Posts Tagged ‘photo of the fortnight’

This fortnight’s photo(s) of choice are a set of night shots by photographer Martin Dohrn that I spotted on the BBC Wildlife Magazine website. He’s taken some really interesting thermal images and beautiful after-dark shots of African wildlife that give an unique view of life in the bush. Check them out here.

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This is a great shot, not only due to the beautiful colours, and the fact that underwater photography is tricky, but also because this is a macro photo and yet perfectly in focus – apparently the cuttlefish is only 1cm long in real size. Neil Liddle’s got some lovely other shots from around the world on his Flickr page too, which are well worth a look.

Flamboyant Cuttlefish Macro

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This fortnight’s highlight is a collection of photos by the Smithsonian Institute taken by scientists using camera-traps. Camera-traps are an important tool in zoology research nowadays. Essentially a camera-trap is an infra-red (or, less usually, pressure pad) triggered camera (sometimes pair of cameras) set up across a trail or at a place where the target animal is likely to pass (such as a scent-marking point, salt lick, or waterhole) that takes a photo automatically when an animal breaks the infra-red beam (or stands on the pressure pad). They allow scientists to see rare and cryptic (camouflaged) animals, to make population estimations of animals in dense habitat such as rainforests where you don’t usually see the animals, and to prove that certain species are present or using particular habitats. And as a nice bonus, you get some interesting and beautiful photos of some of the rarer and more secretive animals on our planet.

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This fortnight’s photo is of a plated millipede found in the Amazon rainforest by Alexander Torrenegra – I never even knew such things existed! According to David Attenborough’s Life in the Undergrowth, despite ‘milli’ meaning thousand, no millipede actually has 1,000 legs (more like 100-400 depending on species) and though they look ferocious in actual fact all millipedes are vegetarians, while centipedes are all carnivorous (i.e. eat meat). To tell the difference: centipedes have just one pair of legs per segment, and their legs are long and stick out from their body, while millipedes have two pairs per segment and their legs are shorter and more tucked underneath their body.

plated millepede (by Alex Torrenegra)

Further info on millipedes and centipedes:

Introduction to the Myriapoda

Orders of Millipedes

Millipedes, centipedes and pill bugs

Centipedes and millipedes -how to tell them apart

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Scorpion glowing in UV light

This fortnight’s animal photo is of a scorpion glowing under ultraviolet (UV) light by Marlin Harms.  

All scorpions glow in UV light due to a protein in their exoskeleton – and although scientists have plenty of ideas, they have no definitive answer as to why scorpions have this brilliant quirk.

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 Blunt-spined brittle star (by laszlo-photo)

I found this photo on flickr completely by mistake while searching for images and love the contrast of the black brittle star against the red sponge. I have to leave it to the photographer Laszlo Ilyes’ expertise that it is a blunt-spined brittle star on elephant ear sponge as I’m not great on invertebrate ID-ing!

Brittle stars are closely related to starfish, and both are in the echinoderm phylum. Like starfish, brittle stars have five arms radiating out symmetrically from a central disk where their organs and mouth are located; apparently these arms can break off quite easily, but if it has part of the central disk attached a broken arm can regenerate and become a whole new brittle star.

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Paul Nicklen is a professional photographer who’s amazing photos of arctic and antarctic wildlife such as polar bears, leopard seals and narwhals completely capture the beauty of these animals in their natural environment. Check out his photos at http://www.paulnicklen.com/

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