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The Extravagant Black Bat flower
The unusual Black Bat flower, Tacca chantrieri (Dioscoreales - Dioscoreaceae), is quite distinctive by the strange, unique, near black flowers. The flowers, which can grow up to 25 cm long, have four large, dark-purple bracts and long bracteoles, giving the inflorescence a striking appearance that superficially resemble a flying bat, a sinister face, or a mean tiger with whiskers.
Tacca chantrieri is an endangered species that occurs in tropical regions of SE Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, and southern China, particularly Yunnan Province.
The features of these flowers have been assumed to function as a ‘‘deceit syndrome’’ in which reproductive structures resemble decaying organic material attracting flies that facilitate cross-pollination (sapromyiophily). However, a study on pollination and mating in Tacca chantrieri populations from SW China, has shown that despite considerable investment in extravagant display, populations of this species are predominantly selfing and that flowers have several traits that promote autonomous self-pollination.
Photo credit: ©Stephanie Lichlyter
Locality: Cultivated (Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, US)
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Black Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata) male with chick, South Korea
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Cocoon and Evolved Metallic Mechanitis Butterfly Chrysalis from Costa Rica
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The Orache Moth, Trachea atriplicis. This species was once common in the Fenland around Cambridge, but has not been recorded breeding here since 1915. Migrants from the continent occasionally turn up on the south and east coasts of England.
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Rotifers around a single-cell green alga (desmid Staurastrum sexangulare)
Rotifers are microscopic aquatic animals of the phylum Rotifera. They can be found worldwide in many freshwater environments and in moist soil, where they inhabit the thin films of water that are formed around soil particles.
Technique: Confocal imaging, magnification 400x
Photo credit: ©Igor Siwanowicz
Image from the 2013 Olympus BioScapes competition.
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The Mata Mata Turtle
Found mostly in South America. Its shell resembles bark, and its head resembles fallen leaves, making it an expernt at camouflage. It is also an expert at looking like my nightmares.
That’s not a turtle, it is an elder dragon. Respect it or all will suffer.
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This striking bird is a female Scarlet minivet, scientifically named Pericrocotus flammeus (Passeriformes - Campephagidae).
Minivets are conspicuous and mostly intensely colourful birds inhabiting wooded environments in tropical and subtropical South and Southeast Asia and temperate East Asia.
This species has geographical variation complex and inadequately described, with many intermediate populations in SE Asia.
Typically males of the Scarlet minivet are scarlet to orange with black upper parts, and females are usually yellow with grayish olive upper parts. Sometimes, however, some specimens, perhaps geographical variations or races, exhibit a purplish plumage instead black or gray.
Photo credit: ©Gary Kinard
Locality: Doi Lang, Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand