Thursday, 25 June 2015

On the Wing: The Large Blue Butterfly

Last Saturday I finally managed to see the Large Blue Phengaris (Maculinea) arion at Collard Hill Hill reserve in the Mendips. As they are on the wing for perhaps another week or so, there is not much of a time window to see one this year. As one of the rarest of British butterflies, and with one of the weirdest lifecycles of any butterfly, it is definitely one to look for.

Friday, 19 June 2015

New Arrivals: Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby

Recently gone on show in the new Wallaby Walkthrough exhibit is a family of Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies, Petrogale xanthopus. Originating from Queensland and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, it is one of perhaps 17 species of rock wallaby which collectively are found all across Australia.

Friday, 5 June 2015

New arrivals: The Gouldian Finch

Gouldian finches, normal and white-breasted forms
Now on view in the small aviary behind the wallaby walk though is a small flock of one of the most colorful small birds in the world, the Gouldian Finch. This is one of the most distinctive of the Estrildid finches, a group commonly referred to as waxbills, which also include such familiar cage birds as the Zebra finch and Java Sparrow, although they are most closely related to the equally colorful parrot finches which are mostly found in more humid environments in southeast Asia and New Guinea.Originating from northern Australia, they are now classed as Near Threatened by the IUCN, and have a population in their restricted range of probably only a few thousand individuals, split into several much smaller sub populations

Friday, 29 May 2015

Lizards 14: Rhinoceros Iguana

The last of the lizards in this series is one of the largest lizards in the Americas, the imposing Rhinoceros Iguana Cyclura cornuta. Originating from the island of Hispaniola, which is shared between the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, plus some nearby islands, it is the species of Cyclura most often seen in zoos, plus many more in private collections.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Lizards 13: Leptien's Uromastyx

U.aegyptia leptieni
Scattered through dry areas of Africa and Arabia are numerous species of herbivorous agamid lizard in the genus Uromastyx. Formerly included in the same genus are at least three species of Saara, which replaces Uromastyx in the Middle East and India. Commonly called spiny tailed lizards, they are mostly large lizards with distinctive thick, spiked tails which they use on defense, either by striking attackers with it or using it to block the entrance to their burrows.