The Valvatida is not your average Starfish. For one thing, we tend to picture Starfish with pointed edges, whereas the Valvatida has tiny, almost stubby ends. Valvatida also refers to an entire order of Starfish, composed of hundreds of species, rather than just one specific creature. Starfish of the Valvatida order can be anywhere from a few millimeters to 75 centimeters in length.
Almost every member of the group has five arms and tubed feet with “suckers” on the end. Members of the group include the cushion star and leather star. The complex Crown of Thorns Starfish is also listed as being under this order. You can see why it’s called that pretty easily!
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The Spinner Dolphin (scientific name Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin often found in off-shore waters of the world. It gets its name from the fact that it does acrobatics by spinning along its length and jumping through the air. These guys can grow anywhere from about 4 to 7 feet (129-235 CM) long. They have a mixture of colors on their body, with their dorsal area being dark gray, their sides light gray, and white blubber on their underside. Almost every major ocean in the world has Spinner Dolphins, from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of North America to the mid-Atlantic and even as far east as the Indian Ocean and the Asia side of the Pacific.
Spinner Dolphins feed mainly on fish and Shrimp, and can dive hundreds of meters to go get its food. Spinner Dolphins may hunt in large groups, forming circles around their intended prey with one or two Dolphins then diving through the middle to eat. These guys are hunted by Sharks. They’re considered to be threatened due to large amounts of Tuna hunting which has limited their prey, and direct deaths from pollutants and chemicals.
The Blue Tang (scientific name Paracanthurus hepatus) is a lovely little fish with a deep, royal blue and black body and three tiny fins. Its side fins are black, and it has a yellow dorsal fin behind the rest of its body. These fish are also sometimes called Regal Tangs, Hippo Tangs, and Royal Blue Tangs (no relation to the drink mix). You can find these little guys throughout the Pacific Ocean, including Japan, India, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and Sri Lanka.
The World Conservation Union gives the Blue Tang a ranking of Least Concerned, indicating it has little chance to become extinct. As young larvae, Tangs feast on Plankton, though adult Tangs will also snack on Algae. Their mating procedure involves the male aggressively chasing the female Tang, and the resulting eggs hatch within 24 hours. The Blue Tangs’ eggs float to the surface of the ocean due to a special oil inside each one.
The Komodo Dragon (scientific name Varanus komodoensis) is quite an interesting creature. For one thing, these lizards can get huge, growing up to 10 feet in length and weighing 150 lbs! Because of their gigantic size, these Dragons of the desert rule their turf. They can prey on a large variety of animals, including birds, mammals, and invertebrates. They mostly hunt deer, but can also eat carrion, and have poison glands in their lower jaw. These beasts can have as many as 20 eggs at a given time. Their young hatch from eggs in April, when there are plenty of insects to feast on.
They are popular in zoo exhibits because of being so massive, and were first discovered by scientists in 1910.
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As you might have guessed from its name, the Mimic Octopus (scientific name: Thaumoctopus mimicus) can “copy” the appearance of other sea animals. This makes it a clever prey and predator, as it can use this ability to hide itself. Much like a chameleon, the Mimic Octopus changes its skin color and texture to blend in with surroundings. It is one of the smaller Octopi out there, and only gets to be about 2 feet in length. It is normally brown or beige, but a lot of times will change its skin to look striped brown and white (so as to appear as a poisonous creature would and scare predators).
The Mimic Octopus typically preys on small fish, crabs and worms. In addition to using mimicry to avoid predators, it can also use its shape-shifting to get close to prey and then eat them. It’s unknown why these little guys do what they do, but most likely it is a survival technique to mimic other species. Other species can imitate other living things, but the Mimic Octopus is the first of its kind to mimic a variety of other animals.
The Western Lowland Gorilla (scientific name Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla) are the types of Gorillas most commonly found in zoos. They live in swaps across Africa, including countries like Angola, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic. A number of situations contribute to the Western Lowland Gorilla’s extinction, including:
- Deforestation/loss of forest land
- Infertility in female Lowland Gorillas
- Lowered ability of the females to produce large amounts of young.
Additionally, some argue that animals cannot do well in captivity, which may also contribute to the Gorillas’ decline in population. These big guys love to live in rain forests as well as swamps, abandoned farms, and will typically not come to close to human villages. The forests in the Republic of The Congo help protect these animals due to the fact that they’re isolated.
That’s all for today, folks. As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the content posted and here and how you can help save endangered species.