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Species of the week

Anaconda snake

Yellow Anaconda

There is some debate about the maximum size of anacondas, and there have been unverified claims of enormous snakes alleged to be as long as 30–45 m (98.4–147.6 ft). There are some reports from early explorers of the South American jungles seeing giant anacondas up to 18.2 m (60 ft) long, and some of the native peoples have reported seeing anacondas up to 15.2 m (50 ft) long, but these reports remain unverified. The Green Anaconda, Eunectes murinus, is the largest anaconda species.

A claim of an extraordinarily large anaconda was made by adventurer Percy Fawcett. During his 1906 expedition, Fawcett wrote that he had shot an anaconda that measured some 18.9 m (62 ft) from nose to tail. Once published, Fawcett’s account was widely ridiculed. Decades later, Belgian zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans came to Fawcett's defence, arguing that Fawcett's writing was generally honest and reliable.

Did you know...

Komodo Dragon

Smallest Lizard - Largest Lizard

The smallest lizard is Sphaerodactylus ariasae, It is only about 16 millimeters long, or about three quarters of an inch, from the tip of the snout to the base of the tail. It shares the title of "smallest" with another lizard species named Sphaerodactylus parthenopion
The biggest lizard is the Komodo Dragon - Varanus komodoensis. They can grow up to 3 meters (ten feet) long and can only be found on a few small islands in Indonesia.

Species in the news

Humans hard-wired to fear snakes.

Anyone who thought they might have a snake or spider phobia may feel a little relaxed now: We may be programmed by evolution to fear snakes (and spiders also).

A research team lead by University of Virginia’s professor of developmental psychology Judy S. DeLoache conducted some experiments with adults as well as with 3-years-olds to check precisely this.

The researchers asked the participants to find a picture among some other non-threatening pictures such as caterpillars, flowers frogs etc. and measured the time it took to do it. The picture that they were asked to find was sometimes a snake and sometimes some other less intimidating animal.

What was found is that adults and children were much faster at discovering snakes than they were at locating some other non-threatening flora or fauna.

So the next time when you jump at the sight of a snake or spider, it’s not that you’re a coward, it’s the evolution to blame!

New species discovered

Researchers from NOAA Fisheries, Kobe University and the University of British Columbia have recently announced the discovery of a new species of kelp - and a new genus altogether.
They have named it the 'Golden V' kelp because of its distinctive shape and color, with the scientific name of Aureophycus aleuticus.

Focus On Endangered Species

White-winged Duck (Cairina scutulata)

Cairina scutulata

The white-winged duck is classified as a member of the order Anseriformes (Screamers and ducks) and is a member of the family Anatidae. It is classified as an endangered species due to an estimated population of less than 2500 mature white-winged ducks, an estimated continuing decline of the population, and a severely fragmented population. The white-winged duck can be found in southern Asia.

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