This sparkling, deep-sea fireball is the comb jelly Lampocteis cruentiventer. MBARI scientists helped to describe this genus and species using ROV video footage. The name means “brilliant comb jelly with a blood-red belly.”
All comb jellies, or ctenophores, have eight rows of hair-like cilia, called ctenes, used for swimming and eating. White light from the ROV is diffracted by these beating comb rows producing a rainbow display. Extra-broad, highly iridescent ctene plates make this animal especially bright.
Lampocteis can vary from transparent to amber to deep red, but its belly is always blood-red to mask the glow of any bioluminescent prey items it eats. Red wavelengths are absorbed quickly in the ocean, so red coloration helps deep-sea animals camouflage in the depths where they appear black and disappear into the darkness. Comb jellies are a significant component of the midwater food web.
Yet early Saturday morning, when the waterfall where the bears feast was quiet, a gray wolf appeared on the cams and started pouncing on 4,500-calorie sockeye salmon. Bear cam viewers — who are global, devoted, and passionate documenters of all that happens on the explore.org cameras — watched the wolf snag and scarf bounties of fish.
“The bear cam viewers counted the wolf catching about 30 fish,” Mike Fitz, the resident naturalist for explore.org and a former park ranger at Katmai, told Mashable. “Without the cams we wouldn’t have known it.”
Wolves are spotted around Katmai National Park and Preserve, but Fitz had never seen a wolf fishing at the falls for a long time, in this case some three hours. Though a rare sighting there, a wolf exploiting a river teeming with salmon, without the immediate threat of bears, makes sense.
“Bears and wolves compete for many of the same resources,” explained Fitz….
Read more: https://mashable.com/article/bear-cam-wolf/
photograph by Ryan Haggerty | USFWS
Meet the tiny Tufted Coquette (Lophornis ornatus)! This hummingbird only grows about 2.5 inches (6.6 centimeters) long and is sometimes mistaken for a large bee! It inhabits forests and savannas in northeastern South America, where it can be spotted foraging around flowering plants, looking for nectar and small insects.
Photo: Steve Garvie, flickr
Now researchers have confirmed that an ancient dolphin that lived during the Oligocene Epoch — 33.9 million to 23 million years ago — was the first cetacean (a type of mammal) using echolocation to navigate underwater and fill the role of apex predator, much like the current-day killer whale.
Echolocation allows dolphins to “see” through sound underwater. They do so by emitting calls to locate distant objects in the water, then interpret the echoes of sound waves that bounce off of those objects.
The skeleton helps to fill the gaps in the evolutionary narrative of these marine mammals who returned to the sea…
For those who are witnessing this crisis first hand—conservation professionals, biologists, and wildlife law enforcement officials—there is a consensus that immediate action is needed to prevent the removal of native turtles from the wild before irreversible damage is done to both rare and more common species, from Bog Turtles to Box Turtles.
The U.S. is a global biological hotspot for turtles, home to 57 species, including some that only live here.
Biologically, turtles are especially vulnerable to over-collection. Some species must reproduce for their entire lives to ensure just one hatchling survives to adulthood. And it takes years, often decades, for turtles to reach reproductive age, if they make it at all. Most fall victim to predators before they mature. Others fall victim to habitat loss and car strikes when crossing roads.
Taking just a few individuals from the wild can be the difference between population persistence and population loss.
Yet some people take thousands. Illegal collection diminishes wild populations that are already stressed by other threats, pushing rare species toward extinction and making common species rare.
While illegal collection is not a new problem, there is substantial evidence that the threat has risen in the past several years in response to intensifying demand from both domestic and international markets. We are working closely with so many amazing partners to combat this threat and save turtles both around the world and right here at home!
Visit our website and check out our blog to learn more!
photograph by Kim Bridges | Wikipedia CC
Excerpt from this story from the New York Times:
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that much of eastern Oklahoma falls within an Indian reservation, a decision that could reshape the criminal-justice system by preventing state authorities from prosecuting offenses there that involve Native Americans.
The 5-to-4 decision, potentially one of the most consequential legal victories for Native Americans in decades, could have far-reaching implications for the people who live across what is now deemed “Indian Country” by the high court. The lands include much of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second-biggest city.
The case was steeped in the United States government’s long history of brutal removals and broken treaties with Indigenous tribes, and grappled with whether lands of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation had remained a reservation after Oklahoma became a state.
Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, a Westerner who has sided with tribes in previous cases and joined the court’s more liberal members, said that Congress had granted the Creek a reservation, and that the United States needed to abide by its promises.
“Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law,” Justice Gorsuch wrote. “Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.”
Muscogee leaders hailed the decision as a hard-fought victory that clarified the status of their lands. The tribe said it would work with state and federal law enforcement authorities to coordinate public safety within the reservation.
But Chief Justice John G. Roberts warned in a dissenting opinion that the Court had sown confusion in the state’s criminal justice system and “profoundly destabilized” the state’s powers in eastern Oklahoma.
“The State’s ability to prosecute serious crimes will be hobbled and decades of past convictions could well be thrown out,” Justice Roberts wrote. “The decision today creates significant uncertainty for the State’s continuing authority over any area that touches Indian affairs, ranging from zoning and taxation to family and environmental law.”
In August 2016, a park ranger stumbled upon 323 dead wild tundra reindeer in Norway’s remote Hardangervidda plateau. They had been killed in a freak lightning event. But instead of removing the carcasses, the park decided to leave them where they were, allowing nature to take its course – and scientists to study this island of decomposition and how it might change the arctic tundra ecosystem.
Over the years scientists observed the bloated, fly-infested bodies turn into dry skeletons. The latest paper, published by the Royal Society in June, looked at the creation of a “landscape of fear”, as top predators such as wolverines, golden eagles and arctic foxes took advantage of the carrion.
“The landscape of fear framework has provided a better understanding of animal decisions in relation to food and safety trade-offs, predator–prey relationships and how communities are structured across trophic levels,” it concluded…
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