Alphabet Challenge :: Y :: Yosemite toad

Happy Friday the 13th! Hope you’ve all rolled around in rabbits (I feel like they’re luckier with their feet attached) and done all the lovely superstitious things for good luck. We’re on the second to last installment of the Alphabet Challenge!


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ARKive – Yosemite toad videos, photos and facts – Anaxyrus canorus.

– Scientific Classification –

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Genus: Anaxyrus
  • Species: A. canorus
IUCN Red List : Endangered (EN)
The Yosemite toad is endemic to California in the high sierra. There isn’t a current number for population size, but it has declined by an estimated 50% over ten years.
Leading hypotheses for the declines are disease (chytridiomycosis), airborne contaminants, and livestock grazing.
Yosemite toads breed in freshwater every other year or once every three years. Their breeding sites may dry up before the tadpoles metamorphose. Despite much of the population being in a protected area such as Yosemite National Park and Kings Canyon National Park, populations are still on the decline.

Alphabet Challenge :: W :: Wolverine

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Wolverine cubs

ARKive – Wolverine videos, photos and facts – Gulo gulo.

Those cute litte buggers up there are wolverine cubs.

Wolverine Dansk: Jærv

Wolverine Dansk: Jærv (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

– Scientific Classification –

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Mustelidae
  • Genus: Gulo
  • Species: G. gulo
This solitary creature is the largest member of the weasel family. They are omnivores that feed on plants berries as well as live prey and carrion.
Wolverines have a circumpolar distribution in the northern hemisphere, and are found from the western United States, Canada, and Alaska to Siberia, Russia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
Though they are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, they are threatened by habitat loss and subsequently, loss of prey and the carrion left by other predators. Forcibly coming into contact with humans in their hunt for food has also affected their numbers.

Alphabet Challenge :: V :: Vaquita

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Vaquita calf

Vaquita | Basic Facts About Vaquitas | Defenders of Wildlife.

ARKive – Vaquita videos, photos and facts – Phocoena sinus.

– Scientific Classification –

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Cetartiodactyla
  • Family: Phocoenia
  • Genus: Phocoena
  • Species: P. sinus
IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered (CR)

Alphabet Challenge :: Q :: Quoll

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ARKive – Spotted-tailed quoll photo – Dasyurus maculatus – G18251.

Who wouldn’t wanna squeeze this angry little face?? It’s probably not a good idea since the Spotted-tailed Quoll is one of the most vicious animals in the Australian bush.

– Scientific Classification –

They are the largest of the six species of quoll. Males can grow to a meter from head to tail. Spotted-tailed Quolls have shorter legs than most other Quoll species which may aid in generating power with a lower center of gravity but leaves them as slower runners. Their teeth are designed to tear flesh from mammalian prey and crushing invertebrates. Communication consists of cries, hisses and screams. They are native to Australia and Tasmania with 2 subspecies: D.m. gracilis, D.m. maculates.
Spotted-tailed quolls favour rainforest, closed canopy Eucalyptus forest, creek and river forest habitats but will also venture into adjoining woodlands and open pastureland in search of food (6). Den sites include caves, crevices and dens (4).
The Spotted-tailed Quoll may be “naturally” rare as they are a specialist mammal requiring certain foods and habitats. They are also threatened by competition with Eastern Quolls, Tasmanian Devils, and other cats, predation by foxes and the like, and deforestation. They are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Eastern Quoll female with young

ARKive – Eastern quoll videos, photos and facts – Dasyurus viverrinus.

And, since one species of quoll isn’t enough, here’s the Eastern Quoll!

– Scientific Classification –

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Dasyuromorphia
  • Family: Dasyuridae
  • Genus: Dasyurus
  • Species: D. viverrinus
The Eastern Quoll is a medium-sized carnivorous marsupial that comes in two distinct color morphs: fawn with whitish underparts and black with brownish underparts. The former is more common but both morphs can occur in the same litter. They have a smaller build than their relatives, the Spotted-tailed Quoll, and lack the spots on the tail. They exist in the wild now only in Tasmania and nearby Bruny Island, to which they may have been introduced. This is after a 50-90% range reduction as they used to occur in southeast Australia as well.
The eastern quoll occurs in a wide variety of habitats, including open forests, heaths, wet scrub, moorlands, woodlands, alpine habitats and grasslands (1)(2)(3)(4)(6), at elevations from sea level to around 1,500 metres (3). It is also found on agricultural land, being particularly common where pastures occur adjacent to forest(2)(3)(4)(5)(6).
They are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.

Alphabet Challenge :: O :: Olm

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EDGE :: Amphibian Species Information.

ARKive – Cave salamander videos, photos and facts – Proteus anguinus.

Olm (Proteus anguinus) - closeup of the head.

Olm (Proteus anguinus) – closeup of the head. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

– Scientific Classification –

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

Creeped out by it? Cool. Cause I want one.

The following is the primary description given by EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered)

The olm is a Europe’s only cave adapted vertebrate, and has numerous adaptations for an underground life. Olms hunt their prey in the absolute dark and have developed a powerful sensory system of smell, taste, hearing and electrosensitivity. Olms are pale and sightless, although their skin-covered eyes are still light sensitive. They are an entirely aquatic species that can survive without food for up to 10 years and live to an age of 58 or more. Part of an ancient lineage of amphibians evolving independently for 190 million years, this species is now threatened by pollution and habitat disturbance. A small subpopulation of “black olms” may be a separate species requiring additional protection.

They can be found in the caves of Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and possibly Montenegro and Serbia. Olms are a pinkish color due to their capillaries near their skin and their translucency allows you to see the colors of their organs. Aside from being called Cave Salamanders, they have also been dubbed “human fish”, since someone stranger than myself thought they resembled a small human. Adult Olms develop lungs in addition to the gill tufts on the sides of their heads.

Here’s this freaky little creature moving just the slightest bit:

ARKive :: Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)

ARKive – Smooth newt photo – Triturus vulgaris – A19635.

– Scientific Classification –

This species, the most common Lissotriton species in Europe, is listed as of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

ARKive :: Greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis)

ARKive – Greater bilby videos, photos and facts – Macrotis lagotis.

A bilby (Macrotis lagotis) with a smaller anim...

A bilby (Macrotis lagotis) with a smaller animal - either a baby bilby or a mouse - at Sydney Wildlife World, a zoo in Sydney. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

– Scientific Classification –

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Polyprotodonta
  • Family: Peramelidae
  • Genus: Macrotis
  • Species: M. lagotis

The Greater Bilby is a nocturnal mammal currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. They can be found in small populations in Australia, depending on the subspecies (Western or Eastern Bilby). Bilbies are the largest of the rat-like marsupials, commonly known as bandicoots. Due to its diet, (insects, fungi, bulbs) it doesn’t need to drink any water.

Here’s a video of this cute little marsupial just having a stroll: