The Vaquita, the world's smallest cetacean, dives toward extinction The Vaquita, the world's smallest cetacean, dives toward extinction The culprit of the littlest porpoise's fate: accidental mortality as "bycatch" Rhett Butler, mongabay.com December 10, 2006 Accidental death in fishing nets is driving the world's smallest cetacean, the Vaquita (Phocoena sinus), towards extinction, according to a new study published in the current issue of Mammal Review, the official scientific periodical of the Mammal Society. The population of the Vaquita, a species of porpoise that measures less than 1.5 m (five feet) long and is endemic to the northwestern corner of the Gulf of California, is believed to be around 400 individuals, making it one of the two most critically endangered small cetaceans in the world. However, unlike whales and some other cetaceans that have been diminished by hunting or habitat degradation, the decline of the Vaquita is purely accidental. Citations: ROJAS-BRACHO, LORENZO, REEVES, RANDALL R. & JARAMILLO-LEGORRETA, ARMANDO (2006).
Orangutan Facts – Sumatran Orangutan Society Where do orangutans live? Orangutans live in Indonesia and Malaysia on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. These are the only places where they live in the wild. This is How Super Smart Octopuses Are The cephalopod’s genome reveals how the creatures evolved intelligence to rival the brightest vertebrates. We humans think we’re so fancy with our opposable thumbs and capacity for complex thought. But imagine life as an octopus … camera-like eyes, camouflage tricks worthy of Harry Potter, and not two but eight arms – that happen to be decked out with suckers that possess the sense of taste.
Weird Deep Sea Creatures (60 images) Weird Creature Fanfin Seadevil Angler Coffinfish Fangtooth Seapig Octopus shows unique hunting, social and sexual behavior Unlike most octopuses, which tackle their prey with all eight arms, a rediscovered tropical octopus subtly taps its prey on the shoulder and startles it into its arms. "I've never seen anything like it," said marine biologist Roy Caldwell, a University of California, Berkeley, professor of integrative biology. "Octopuses typically pounce on their prey or poke around in holes until they find something. When this octopus sees a shrimp at a distance, it compresses itself and creeps up, extends an arm up and over the shrimp, touches it on the far side and either catches it or scares it into its other arms."
Now Sea This: The 10 Most Amazing Bizarre Sharks Strange, scary and sharp of tooth, sharks are the oceans’ most efficient predators. They’re much more than “mindless killing machines”, however, as these ten bizarre sharks so graphically illustrate. Hammerhead Sharks (images via: ABC.net, Discovery and Just Seeds) Harbour porpoise The harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) is one of six species of porpoise. It is one of the smallest marine mammals. As its name implies, it stays close to coastal areas or river estuaries, and as such, is the most familiar porpoise to whale watchers. This porpoise often ventures up rivers, and has been seen hundreds of miles from the sea. The harbour porpoise may be polytypic, with geographically distinct populations representing distinct races: P. p. phocoena in the North Atlantic and West Africa, P. p. relicta in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, an unnamed population in the northwest Pacific and P. p. vomerina in the northeast Pacific. Etymology
The tardigrade genome has been sequenced, and it has the most foreign DNA of ... Scientists have sequenced the entire genome of the tardigrade, AKA the water bear, for the first time. And their results suggest that this weird little creature has the most foreign genes of any animal studied so far – or to put it another way, roughly one-sixth of the tardigrade's genome was stolen from other species. We have to admit, we're kinda not surprised. A little background here for those who aren’t familiar with the strangeness that is the tardigrade – the microscopic water creature grows to just over 1 mm on average, and is the only animal that can survive in the harsh environment of space. It can also withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, can cope with ridiculous amounts of pressure and radiation, and can live for more than 10 years without food or water. Basically, it's nearly impossible to kill, and now scientists have shown that its DNA is just as bizarre as it is.