Friday, October 29, 2010

Hypsilodontid dinosaurs


This is the group of dinosaurs that lived in southern Australia in the Cretaceous Period. While Hypsilodontids have been found worldwide, scientists have discovered a richness of species in southern Victoria. Being close to the South Pole, the climate there was quite cold, with long dark winters when there was no sunlight. Hypsilodontids may have exploited the near polar conditions better than other species. Fossils of about twelve species of Hypsilodonts have been found along the south coast of Victoria, including sites near Cape Otway.

The Hypsilodontid dinosaurs were Ornithopods, and were quite small, only up to 1 metre in size (about the size of a present day wallaby). They walked and ran on their hind legs, with a long neck, and a long balancing tail. They were herbivores, eating low growing vegetation such as the ferns and mosses that grew in the cold climate. Hypsilodontids had very large eyes and ability to see in poor light. This would have allowed them to find food during the long, cold winters.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coelurus - The Breast Footed Dinosaur


Coelurus or Coelurosauria, means vacant tail. It is a weekly identified species. It has a number of different things present in it. It is referred to s the small therpods. It is predictable as a simulated, polyphyletic coalition group. It is an extinct creature where it lived About 156 to 145 million years ago.

  • It is 6 feet long, it has been weighed as 20 kg and its thigh is 55 cm long.
  • It is light weighted where it can move beam and rapid.
  • The fossils were found in Wyoming , USA.

Coelurus had a petite head and it is taller than Ornitholestes. It had very long neck, a slim vertebra, particularly cervical and caudal parts of the bone formation. They had brawny pneumatic long bones with unfilled vertebrae and empty tail with amusingly great inner cavity along with thin walls.

  • They used to live in the woods.
  • It is the carnivores animal –used to feed on flesh.
  • It is heavy less and it can run much faster.
  • The predators cannot be easily touched.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010



The name says it all. This group of huge carnivores must have tyrannically ruled the land during the last part of the Cretaceous, 85 to 65 million years ago. Short but deep jaws with banana-sized sharp teeth, long hind limbs, small beady eyes, and tiny forelimbs (arms) typify a tyrannosaur. The Tyrannosauridae included such similar animals (in rough order of increasing size) as Albertosaurus, Gorgosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Tarbosaurus, and of course Tyrannosaurus rex. A tremendous skeleton of Tyrannosaurus now stands guard in the Valley Life Sciences Building, which houses the UCMP and the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. Tyrannosaurs belong to the Saurischia, or "reptile-hipped" dinosaurs. Within the Saurischia, tyrannosaurids belong to the group of carnivorous dinosaurs known as theropods.

Traditionally, the tyrannosaurs have been included within the Carnosaura. In this classification scheme, carnosaurs represent the largest carnivorous animals to ever walk the land. However, recent work has shown that tyrannosaurs are in fact a highly derived group of coelurosaurs, which is mostly composed of smaller animals (including the smallest of all non-avian dinosaurs, the crow-sized Compsognathus, and also the birds). Tarbosaurus had a good sense of smell and had binocular vision, two characteristics that would have made it an excellent hunter.

How Did Tyrannosaurs Move?

Since tyrannosaurs were so huge, you might ask how they could move well and hunt prey? Many scientists familiar with the principles of biomechanics (physics applied to living organisms) think that tyrannosaurs could move fairly fast, maybe 10-20 mph, but not as fast as the smaller theropod dinosaurs.

Smaller tyrannosaurs like Albertosaurus or young individuals may have moved faster than the bigger ones like T. rex. Yet we still lack any clear evidence that tyrannosaurs could even run; some think that their body size limited them to only a fast walk, like an elephant. Trackways that unambiguously were made by tyrannosaurs would clarify the matter, but so far these are not known, apart from one probable footprint.


Tyrannosaur Fossils

Tyrannosaurs are surprisingly common in many North American fossil beds, especially their large, serrated teeth, which they shed periodically like most archosaurs. The teeth of tyrannosaurids are very interesting — rather than being the flat knifelike blades as in most other carnivorous dinosaurs, they are, as Berkeley's Professor Kevin Padian describes them, "like lethal bananas;" more like giant spikes than razor-edged blades. With a mouthful of this murderous fruitlike dentition, tyrannosaurs had a whopping bite, which might have made up for their reduced forelimbs.

The bite marks of these teeth are quite recognizable on some dinosaur bones. Some tyrannosaur fossils show evidence of bite marks from other tyrannosaurids, suggesting that there might have been fierce fighting between tyrannosaurs, or even cannibalism.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SALTOPUS – Jumping Foot


It is a minute bipedal dinosaur, looks like a small cat, empty bones which is similar to a bird. It is mostly know for the hind limb fragments. It is a extinct dinosaur (Late Triassic/Early Jurassic (235 to 200 million years ago))


It is a light weight dinosaur that walked on two legs and a stretched head with umber of tiny and spiky teeth’s. It has fingers on its hands, but the 4 and 5 finger is to small.

  • Weight-5 pounds

  • Length-3 feet
Diet and Habitat

  • Insects and small animals, and carrion (dead bodies of animals)
  • Resides in Scotland
Interesting facts

  • It was one of the first dinosaurs to travel the world. In fact, some scientists wonder if it wasn't actually a pre-dinosaur era reptile.
  • It is one of the nominal carnivores’ dinosaurs ever. It was rapid and chased its prey. Scientists think it may have even been able to jump.

Monday, October 25, 2010



An enormous predatory dinosaur with a skull like a crocodile’s and foot-long thumb claws has been discovered in the Sahara by an international team led by Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago. Measuring 36 feet in length and 12 feet high at the hip, the specimen is the most complete known of a peculiar group of fish-eating predators called spinosaurs, animals that grew to the size of Tyrannosaurus rex. In a paper in the Nov. 13 issue of Science, Sereno and his colleagues name the new species Suchomimus tenerensis, meaning “crocodile mimic from Tènèrè,” a remote and forbidding, dune-covered region of the Sahara in the Republic of Niger in West Africa.

Sereno, and his 15-member expedition spent more than two months in the fall of 1997 scouring the desert in temperatures that climbed to 120 degrees. They unearthed 25 tons of bone and rock that included the remains of Suchomimus.

Team member David Varricchio spotted the huge, sickle-shaped thumb claw. “It was lying on the surface of the desert, completely exposed by wind and sand, and would have been visible like that for centuries to anyone who walked by,” Sereno said. The claw led the team to 400 pieces of the skeleton, buried just inches under the desert plain.

Sereno said that the discovery reveals new information about the peculiar anatomy of spinosaurs, which he called “a dinosaur trying hard to be a crocodile.” Its four-foot-long skull has an extremely long and narrow snout with large teeth near its end, as in specialized fish-eating crocodiles. The jaws were studded with more than 100 conical teeth that functioned like hooks rather than slicing blades.

The foot-long thumb claws and powerfully built forelimbs were used to snare fish and other prey as the dinosaur waded in rivers; the thin, bony sail along its back, which reached a height of two feet over the hips, may have been brightly colored for display. Suchomimus lived in Africa about 100 million years ago in what was then a forested region dissected by broad rivers and home to other dinosaurs, huge crocodiles, turtles, pterosaurs and many kinds of fish. It would not have been a friendly place, Sereno said. “If you weren’t grabbed by a spinosaur, you’d likely run into a 50-foot crocodile.”

Suchomimus was the largest and most common predator of its day, judging from the numerous bones Sereno’s team recovered. Its closest cousin is Baryonyx from Europe rather than the tall, sail-backed north African spinosaurid Spinosaurus. This far-reaching link suggests that, on at least one occasion, spinosaurs crossed the broad Tethyan seaway that separated northern and southern land masses at that time. Spinosaur fossils were first discovered in Niger’s Tènèrè Desert some 50 years ago and were collected in earnest 25 years ago by French paleontologists. The region’s fossil-rich rock provides the best opportunity to unearth clues to plants and animals that thrived in Africa 100 million years ago, as the continent was drifting into geographic isolation.

Friday, October 22, 2010



  • Kingdom Animalia

  • Phylum Chordata

  • Class Archosauria

  • Order Ornithischia

  • Suborder Thyreophora

  • Genus Ankylosaurus

  • Family Ankylosauridae

Ankylosaurus was a colossal non-breakable dinosaur

  • 25-35 feet (7.5-10.7 m) long

  • 6 feet (1.8 m) wide

  • 4 feet (1.2 m) tall

  • Weighed 3-4 tons
The whole top portion was deeply sheltered from carnivores with thick, oval plates rooted (fused) in its leathery skin, 2 rows of spikes along its body. It had scrawny saucers as guard for its eyes. The beneath stomach was un plated. It had four petite legs, a dumpy neck, and an extensive head with a minute brain.


It is the shatterproof dinosaurs to grow and it is the biggest too. It lived in the late Cretaceous Period, about 70-65 million years ago.


It was well protected from the enemies, and even secures itself with its club-like tail.


It is an herbivores animal-eat only plants.


The fossils have been found in the western USA (Montana) and Canada (Alberta). Two skulls and three incomplete skeletons have been found.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Theropod Dinosaurs

Theropod Dinosaurs
The “beast-footed” carnivorous dinosaurs

What Is a theropod?

The theropod (meaning "beast-footed") dinosaurs are a diverse group of bipedal saurischian dinosaurs. They include the largest terrestrial carnivores ever to have made the earth tremble. What most people think of as theropods (e.g., T. rex, Deinonychus) are extinct today, but recent studies have conclusively shown that birds are actually the descendants of small nonflying theropods. Thus when people say that dinosaurs are extinct, they are technically not correct. Still it's not as exciting seeing a sparrow at your birdfeeder as it would be to see a Tyrannosaurus rex there


Several characters that typify a theropod: hollow, thin. walled bones are diagnostic of theropod dinosaurs A jumbled box containing theropod bones. The hollow nature of the bones is certainly more obvious in 3D, but you should at least be able to make out the general tubular structure of the bones. Other theropod characters include modifications of the hands and feet. Most theropods had sharp, recurved teeth useful for eating flesh, and claws were present on the ends of all of the fingers and toes


Our knowledge of the evolutionary history of the Theropoda is constantly under revision stimulated by new, exciting fossil finds every year or so such as Mononykus olecranus, a very bird-like theropod found recently in the Mongolian desert, or Giganotosaurus carolinii, a giant theropod probably rivaling the size of T.rex., found recently in Argentina. In fact, the 1960's discovery and study of the remains of Deinonychus antirrhopus helped to revise paleontology's old vision of all dinosaurs as slow, stupid reptiles, and was a key factor in the onset of the controversial hot-blooded/cold-blooded debate.


Theropod remains are fairly rare and more often than not, fragmentary — theropods have a poor fossil record compared to most of the ornithischian dinosaurs. Fossils of small theropods are especially rare, since small bones are harder to find and are weathered away easily. Without well-preserved, complete specimens, it is hard to tell who is most closely related to whom using cladistics.


  • The Herrerasauridae are an early group represented by Herrerasaurus, which was discovered in a wonderful middle-late Triassic period fossil locality in Argentina in the 1970s.

  • Another herrerasaur is Staurikosaurus, which has been known since the 1960s from remains found in Brazil. More recently (in 1993).

  • Another herrerasaur-like fossil was found in the same general area and named Eoraptor, or "dawn thief." It appears to be closely related to the herrerasaurs, but smaller in size and slightly older

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eastern Indigo Snake

Drymarchon corais couperi

The eastern indigo snake is a large, black, non venomous snake found in the southeastern U.S. It is widely distributed throughout central and South Florida, but primarily occurs in sand hill habitats in northern Florida and southern Georgia


The eastern indigo snake is the longest snake in the United States (R. Hammer, Metro Dade Park and Recreation, personal communication 1998), reaching lengths of up to265 cm (Ashton and Ashton 1981). Its color is uniformly lustrous-black, dorsally and ventrally, except for a red orcream-colored suffusion of the chin, throat, and sometimes the cheeks. Its scales are large and smooth (the central 3 to5 scale rows are lightly keeled in adult males) in 17 scale rows at mid body. Its anal plate is undivided. Its antepenultimate supralabial scale does not contact the temporal or post ocular scales.


Over most of its range, the eastern indigo snake frequents several habitat types, including pine flat woods, scrubby flat woods, high pine, dry prairie, tropical hardwood hammocks, edges of freshwater marshes, agricultural fields, coastal dunes, and human-altered habitats


The eastern indigo snake is an active terrestrial and fossorial predator that will eat any vertebrate small enough to be overpowered.


Indigo snakes range over large areas and into various habitats throughout the year, with most activity occurring in the summer and fall (Smith 1987, Moler 1985b, Speake 1993). In Georgia, the average range of the eastern indigo snake is 4.8 ha during the winter (December to April), 42.9 ha during late spring and early summer (May to July), and 97.4 ha during late summer and fall (August to November) (Speake et al. 1978).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dalea scariosa (La Jolla prairie clover)

Family: Fabaceae
Scientific Name: Dalea scariosa S. Watson
Synonyms: Parosela scariosa (S. Watson) A. Heller; Petalostemon prostratum Wooton & Standley; Petalostemon scariosum (S. Watson) Wemple.
Vernacular Name: La Jolla prairie clover

Description: Strong perennial from a stout taproot; stems prostrate to spreading, 20-70 cm long; leaves pinnately compound, 1-2.5 cm long, bright green, leaflets 5-9, thick, broadest near tip, 3-8 mm long; flowers in spikes, zygomorphic, pea-like, petals 5, pale pink to pink-purple, 7-8 mm long, the calyx with 5 pointed teeth, the vase-like base 5-ribbed and dotted with orange or reddish glands; pod 3-4 mm long, plump, dotted with small glands like the calyx. Flowers August and September.

Similar Species: There are many species of Dalea in New Mexico. The combination of herbaceous habit, spreading stems, bright green glabrous foliage, few small leaflets, and concolorous petals helps to distinguish this species from others.

Distribution: New Mexico, Bernalillo, Sandoval, Socorro, and Valencia counties, central Rio Grande Basin.
Habitat: Open sandy clay banks and bluffs, often along roadsides, at about 1,450-1,500 m (4,750-4,900 ft).
This plant is often locally abundant within its restricted area of distribution, frequently occurring on sites disturbed just a few years earlier.

Little White Tiger Beetle (Cicindela lepida)

Identification: Small tiger beetle with white elytra, i.e. the maculations cover most of the field. A few brown markings extend out from the central suture. The head and thorax are hairy greenish to reddish-bronze. The legs and antennae are very pale tan. The underside has dense white hairs. Labrum has one tooth. Length: 8-12 mm.

Similar Species: No similar species in Wisconsin.
Habitat: Deep white or pale yellow sand with little or no vegetation where the beetle is nearly invisible. Inland dunes, large sandblows and sandpits.

Associated Species: C. formosa and C. scutellaris are also found in loose sand habitats.
State Distribution: Central Sands and large sand deposits along the Wisconsin River.

Global Distribution: East of the Rockies and Quebec, Ontario west to Saskatchewan.
Rationale for Species Listing and Threats: Disturbance of dune habitat.

Phenology: Adults may be present from late June to September, most commonly in July.

Life and Natural History: This species has a two-year lifecycle. Two broods of different years may be found in the same site. Eggs are laid in midsummer and the second instar larvae hibernate. The next year is spent as a larvae with overwintering in the third instar stage. The larva pupates the next June or July and emerges as an adult in midsummer. The adults live only about one month, mating in shallow burrows in the sand.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cypripedium kentuckiense(Southern Lady's Slipper)

Status Status is improving. Recent field surveys have increased the number of known populations. Previously, the species was a Category 2 (58 FR 188; September 30, 1993), but currently has no Federal status.

Life History :
Lady's slipper is a long-lived herbaceous perennial. It flowers from mid-April to late May. Fruits develop in late fall.

Habitat :
Mature floodplain forests and the slopes of mesic (relatively dry) ravines.

Distribution :
Lady's slipper is found on the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky and northern Tennessee; the Interior Highlands of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma; and the Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Oklahoma populations are restricted to four southeastern counties: McCurtain, Leflore, Choctaw, and Pushmataha.

Field Characters :
There is only one other species of yellow lady's slipper orchid in Oklahoma: the small yellow lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus var. parviflorum). The large flowers of southern lady's slipper readily distinguishes it from small lady's slipper. Also, the small yellow lady's slipper typically is found in bog and wet prairie habitats.

Causes of Decline :
Fifty percent of the known populations of southern lady's slipper are now extirpated. A few others could not be verified. The habitat of the southern lady's slipper is threatened by logging, the conversion of natural forests into pine plantations, and reservoir construction (for example, permanent inundation of floodplain forests). All species of lady's slipper are intolerant of human disturbances. Also, orchids are prized by plant collectors, a practice that has endangered several plant species. Unfortunately, very few native orchids survive being transplanted into greenhouse pots or flower gardens.

Recovery Needs :
Sites that harbor southern lady's slippers need to be protected from logging and water-table alteration.

Description :
lady's slipper grows between 2 and 3 feet (6-9 dm) tall. Stems bear both leaves and flowers. There is usually one stem per plant. Leaves are alternate and range in number from two to nine, five being the most common. They are 5 1/2 to 6 5/16 inches (14-16 cm) long by 2 3/8 to 3 1/8 inches (6-8 cm) long. Leaf blades are oval in shape. Margins taper gradually from the middle of the blade and with a twist at the apex. Venation is parallel with seven highly noticeable veins. A few hairs occur only along the veins. Inflorescences are composed of typically one solitary flower per plant. A bract, 3 1/8 inches (8 cm) long and 1 1/16 inches (2.8 cm) wide, extends from a petiole (=leaf stalk) beneath each flower. Flowers are yellow with maroon stripes on the inside of the lower petals. Flowers are 5 inches (13 cm) across, which is large for a Temperate Zone orchid species. The calyx consists of three sepals. The uppermost sepal, which is the largest of the three, arches over the lower petal of the flower. It measures approximately 2 1/2 inches (6.8 cm) long and 1 1/2 inches (3.2 cm) wide. The lower two sepals are fused into an organ that is positioned below the lower most petal. It is approximately 2 1/2 inches (5.7 cm) long and 3/4 inch (1.3 cm) wide. The corolla is composed of three petals. The lower most petal is the largest ( 2 inches [5 cm] long by 1 1/2 [3.8 cm] wide). It is inflated to form a pouch (=lip). The other two petals are up to 3 1/8 inches (8 cm) long, and narrow, around 4/16 inch (7 mm) wide and twisted. Stamens and pistils are united in the orchid family to form a column. The column curves down onto the upper most portion of the lip. Two fertile stamens and one nonfunctional stamen are present. The nonfunctional stamen resembles a small petal. The pistil is composed of a terminal stigma and an ovary with three faint lobes. Fruits are a wide capsule that are approximately 3/4 inch (1.3 cm) wide by about 2 1/2 (6.3 cm) long. Seeds are abundant and very small.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Enhydra Lutris

General range: Coast of Russia, western Canada, and the United States.
Range in Washington: Reintroduced along coast.
Habitat: Kelp beds in ocean.
Diet: Sea urchins, shellfish.
Habits: Exclusively aquatic; uses rocks as tools to crush shells.
Identification: Dark brown with yellowish head; large crushing molars. Total length: 75-180 cm; tail: 25-35 cm; mass: 12-36 kg. Males larger than females.
Conservation: State Endangered

Sea otters are marine mammals. They inhabit temperate coastal waters with rocky or soft sediment ocean bottoms less than 1 km from shore. Kelp forest ecosystems are characteristic of otter habitats.

Physical Description:
Mass14 to 45 kg; avg. 29.50 kg(30.8 to 99 lbs; avg. 64.9 lbs)
Length1 to 1.50 m; avg. 1.25 m(3.28 to 4.92 ft; avg. 4.1 ft)
Sea otters are the largest member of the family Mustelidae. Males weigh 22 to 45 kg and are 1.2 to 1.5 m in length. Females are slightly smaller, weighing 14 to 33 kg and measuring 1 to 1.4 m in length. The tail comprises less than a third of the body length. The pelage is brown or reddish brown. Sea otter fur is the densest of all mammals, with about 100,000 hairs per square centimeter. Since sea otters do not have any insulating fat, the fur is responsible for maintaining warmth. The hind legs are long and the paws are broad, flat, and webbed. The forelimbs are short and have retractable claws. Sea otters are the only carnivorans with just 4 lower incisors. Females have two mammae.

Sea otters are solitary for the most part. Males congregate in groups when resting. Females tend to stay away from males except when mating. Sea otters can spend their whole life in the ocean but will rest on land when the population density is high. Swimming is performed using the hind limbs, tail, and vertical undulations of the body while the forelimbs are tucked into the chest. Otters can swim as fast as 9 km per hour under water. Sea otters are diurnal with crepuscular peaks in foraging activity. Foraging dives usually last 50-90 seconds, but otters can remain submerged for nearly 6 minutes. Foraging takes up 15-55% of an otter's time; time is dependent on availability of food. Prey is located using vision and touch and is captured with the forepaws. It is then brought to the surface where feeding takes place as the otter floats on its back using its chest as a table. Sea otters are one of few mammals that exhibit tool use. Prey items with hard shells or exoskeletons are broken open with a rock. Some otters will hold the rock on their chests and drive the prey into the rocks. Others will leave the prey on their chests and hit the prey with the rocks. The same rock is kept for many dives. Otters will often wash their prey by holding it against their body and turning in the water. Males steal from females if they get a chance. For this reason, females tend to forage in separate areas. When resting or sleeping, sea otters float on their backs and wrap themselves in kelp to keep from drifting. Their hind limbs stick up out of the water and forelimbs are either folded on their chest or used to cover their eyes. Grooming and cleaning their fur is important for maintaining its insulating ability.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Przewalski's Horse

Physical Description: The coat of the Przewalski's horse ranges from brown to dun, with a pale underbelly and muzzle, a dark tail, a dorsal stripe, striped legs, and a dark, short mohawk–like mane. The head is large, and the body is short and muscular.

Size: The Przewalski's horse stands about 13 hands high at the shoulder (a little more than four feet) and has a head and body length of less than seven feet, with a tail close to three feet long. Adults can weigh between 550 and 750 pounds.

Geographic Distribution: Before their population dwindled, these horses spanned regions in Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, and China.

Status: The World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species listed the Przewalski's horse as extinct in the wild until 2008. Causes of extinction were hunting, harsh climate, loss of habitat, and loss of water sources to farm animals. However, successful reintroductuions qualified this species for reassessment in 2008, and they are now classified as critically endangered. Currently, there are around 1,500 animals remaining in zoos and breeding facilities, carrying genes from 14 founders. Because loss of genetic diversity threatens their continued survival, the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center and other institutions around the world maintain breeding populations that serve as a source of animals for reintroduction in Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan. Thanks to their effort nearly 400 horses now roam in re-introduction sites in Mongolia and China.
Habitat: Steppe vegetation, shrubland, and plains
Diet: Przewalski's horses eat grasses and other vegetation.

Reproduction: Females reach sexual maturity at about two years of age but usually do not breed until they are three years old. Young males do not reach sexual maturity until after three years of age. Similar to the domestic horse, Przewalski’s mares cycle during the spring and summer months but some can cycle throughout the year. Stallions are able to breed year round. Foals are born 11 to 12 months after conception (330-350 days), which is often in the early summer months (May to July).

Behavior: Przewalski's horses live in harems that consist of a dominant stallion and several mares. Young stallions form bachelor bands, which is where they remain until they are able to form harems. Males are territorial and compete with other males to acquire females for their harem.

Cool Facts:
• Przewalski’s horses have never been tamed for riding, which means that they are the last truly wild horse in existence today.
• Przewalski's horses have 66 chromosomes, two more than domestic horses.
• The Mongolian name for these horses is "takhi," which means "spirit". Horses are central to Mongolian culture, and takhi are a symbol of their national heritage.
• The Chinese call the Przewalski’s horse "yehmah."
• These horses were scientifically described in the late 19th century after Polish naturalist Colonel Nikolai Przewalski obtained a skull and hide of this seldom-seen animal and shared them with scientists at a museum in St. Petersburg.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Water Shrew


DESCRIPTION: The Water Shrew is the largest long-tailed shrew in New England. It measures 144-158 mm (5.7~.2 in) in length, with its long tail accounting for more than half of its total length; and weighs from 10 16 g (approximately 1/3 oz), The unique feature of the Water Shrew is its big "feathered" hind foot. The third and fourth toes of the Water Shrew's hindfeet are slightly webbed, and all toes as well as the foot itself have conspicuous stiff hairs along the sides. Both the webbing and the fringe of hairs increase the Water Shrew's swimming efficiency.

The male and female Water Shrew are colored alike, equal in size, and show slight seasonal color variation. In winter, the Water Shrew is glossy, gray black above tipped with silver, and silvery buff below, becoming lighter on the throat and chin. It has whitish hands and feet, and a long, bicolored (ie.lighter beneath, darker above) tail covered with short, brown bristles. In summer, its pelage (fur) is more brownish DeGraaf. Richard M. and Rudis. Deborah D. above and slightly paler below, with a less frosted appearance. The New England Wildlife-Habitat Natural spring molt occurs during late May and early June; the autumn molt takes History and Distribution General Technical place in September. The color of immatures is much like that of adults.

SIMILAR SPEOES IN MASSAOfiJSEJTS: Five other species of shrews inhabit Massachusetts: the Masked Shrew (Sorex cinereus), Smoky Shrew (Sorex fumeus), Rock Shrew (Sorex disWr), Pygmy Shrew (Sorex hoyi), and Short-tailed Shrew (Blarina brevicauda). The Water Shrew is distinguishable from all of these because it is the only long-tailed shrew that has long hairs along the margins of its hind feet.

HABITAT : The Water Shrew is aptly named, for seldom is it found more than a few yards from the nearest water -a spring. a mountain lake, or, most commonly, the banks of a swift rocky-bedded stream usually near boreal or mixed forest. It prefers heavily wooded areas and is rarely found in marshes that are devoid of bushes and trees. It may be found in beaver lodges and muskrat houses in winter.

LIFECYCLE & BEHAVIOR: The Water Shrew is secretive and elusive, seeking cover along the waterways. It lives in bankside burrows, the entrance often concealed deep between boulders or between the gnarled roots of a leaning streamside hemlock. Small surface runways are usually found under cover of bank overhangs, fallen logs, brush piles or other debris. The Water Shrew makes it own runways but also uses those of mice and moles. The Water Shrew is active throughout the year at any time of the day or night, with peaks of activity at sunrise and sunset. It has periods of deep slumber, but during its waking hours it is extremely active, foraging excitedly for short periods, darting rapidly over the ground, traveling through subsurface tunnels, or burrowing through snow.

FEEDING:The Water Shrew feeds primarily on aquatic insects, chiefly mayflies, caddis flies, stone flies, and other flies and beetles and their larvae; although snails, flatworms, smaIl fish and fish eggs may also be eaten when available. Because the eyes of the Water Shrew are poorly developed, it uses its keen senses of touch, hearing, and smeIl when foraging. Foraging takes place both under and on top of the water. Prey is located underwater entirely by touch. The long whiskers located on either side of the shrew's head are extended stiffly out to the sides while the animal is casting for prey. It is speculated that water vibrations from the shrew's intended victim may alsoaid in guiding the Water Shrew to its prey.

Red-shouldered Hawk

The red-shouldered hawk is a slim, narrow-winged, long-tailed buteo. It obtains prey by still-hunting from perches and scanning the ground below. The 17- 24 inch (43-61 cm) adult is blackish-brown above with extensive black and white checkering, especially apparent on the wings. Rufous streaking and edging is apparent all over the body, but is most evident on the shoulders. The tail is blackish with three or four narrow white bands. The breast, belly and wing linings are rufous with black streaks. Immatures are brownish above with little or no rufous coloring. Their undersides are cream-colored, heavily streaked, and blotched with dark brown. The tail is brownish-gray with narrow, light bands. From courtship to the start of incubation red-shouldered hawks scream a loud "kee-yar;" during the remainder of the year they are predominantly silent.

Life History:
During the courtship display, one to four birds may soar together. They flap, swoop and descend while calling before diving to the original perch. They may rise in wide spirals 1,500 to 2,000 feet above the nest. The male and female build a nest together. It is usually placed in the crotch of the main trunk of a tree, 20-60 feet high. It is made of sticks and twigs, lined with strips of inner bark, fine twigs, dry leaves, evergreen sprigs, feathers and down. The clutch averages three eggs. Incubation lasts for 33 days and the young fledge in 39-45 days. First breeding usually occurs at two years of age.

Distribution and Habitat:
Red-shouldered hawks breed east of the Great Plains from southern Canada to the Gulf Coast, west along the Gulf to central Mexico. An isolated population breeds in California. Wintering occurs south of Canada, though sparsely so in the northern states. In New York, nesting populations were found in the Appalachian Plateau, Catskill Peaks, the Delaware, Mongaup and Rensselaer hills, the Tug Hill Plateau, and Lake Champlain Valley.
This raptor breeds in moist woodlands, riverine forests, the borders of swamps, open pine woods and similar habitats. Nesting almost always occurs near water, such as a swamp, river or pond.

This hawk was once the most common large hawk of central and western New York. However, in recent years New York populations have declined. Biologists have found it difficult to determine if the change in historic data represents a shift in the breeding range or an actual population decline. The primary problem facing this species is loss of habitat. Since European settlement in the 17th century and especially since the 19th century, the favored closed canopy forests have been cut for logging, agriculture, and urban and suburban development.

Disturbances from humans in the form of off-road vehicles, hunters, horseback riders and suburbanites in general have pushed red-shouldered hawks into the deepest, wildest areas left. Although some members of this species seem to be unaffected by humans, most are secretive and avoid inhabited areas. In 1999, the red-shouldered hawk was down graded from "Threatened" to "Special Concern."