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Friday, January 4, 2013

Another "Bitchy Metazoica" Post LOL!

Wow! Just Wow! I saw a picture of johnfaa after looking in on someone else's project posted on the SE forum, and when I saw him, I puked some in the back of my mouth! LOL! For someone who claims to be perfect, he's an ugly fucker! LOL! In fact, I showed his picture to some friends, one of them said he looks like he should be slopping around in manure in a stockyard! hehehe! Another friend said there's a future felon. hehehe! Just wow! Before he makes a comment about someone else being fat or ugly, he should look at his own backyard! BIIIIIIIIIG as it is! LOLOL! And yes, he does have a fat little face. No doubt a fat little ass too! hehehe! Its always good to know when one fat person makes fun of another, especially if that fat person is like Johnfaa! LOL! Oh boy!  No wonder he's gay. No decent girl would want him. He's probably faking being gay just to excuse the fact no girl has ever liked him. :)

Well, I can spend all day making jokes about johnfaa, but i just want to say I will be getting back on track with Metazoica asap.

KILL JOHNFAA!!!! hehehe! Or should I use the name Carlos Miguel Albuquerque? hehehe!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Family of the Week: The "Aqua-Lemurs"

I thought I would do this early this week, so I can remain at work on some of my stories for the UMG Productions site. The family Promonsamiidae is made up of mostly aquatic lemurs. They are not the typical prosimians that we know today, they are a seperately evolved group that came from modern tree shrews that originated on the ground, more often than not inhabiting swampy areas, such as the flooded rainforests of Indonesia. These lemurs are more otter-like in form, with broad, flat muzzles, large, round eyes, and tiny ears. Though like their modern counterparts, some species are tree-dwellers as well. The ears and nostrils of all the aquatic species in this family are capable of closing, and they have a clear nictitating membrane that acts as eye goggles underwater. Some species prefer rivers and fast-flowing streams, however, most of the species in the sub-family Frissinae are oceanic creatures. These animals are excellent swimmers and divers, and move through the water much like modern otters do. The tail is long and flat, the legs are short and both the hands and feet are webbed and tipped with claws. The ears and eyes are both placed at the top of the head, like modern hippos. The teeth are rather small and sharp, fitted for capturing their slippery aquatic prey. The diet is almost strictly carnivorous, except in those species who live in trees, or in Callolemur, which is an omnivore. Favorite prey for these lemurs is fish. But crustaceans like crabs, crayfish and even lobsters may also be taken. In the ocean, octopus and squid are also favored, depending on the species. These animals are slenderly built, with no blubber like in most other marine mammals. Instead the lemurs in this family have a unique feature that no modern prosimian has ever developed, an oil gland under the base of the tail. Before swimming, these lemurs will rub their hands over these glands, and spread the specialized oil over their body. The oil has the same consistency as petroleum jelly, and when rubbed over their thick fur, makes it completely waterproof. These animals are mostly diurnal, but would rarely be seen, as they spend most of their waking hours in the water. Particularly the oceanic species.

Instead of mentioning individual species, I thought I would talk about the different sub-families in this group. The sub-family Promonsamiinae is made up of river-dwelling lemurs. That is, they prefer the rushing river waters. Some inhabit such areas as ponds and lakes as well. These lemurs feed mostly on fish and crayfish, and can easily find them using their sharp eyes underwater. Most species actively swim to hunt for prey, but sometimes they will just sit at the edge of the river or stream and snatch a fish as it swims within reach, usually using their claws to grasp the fish, and carry it in their mouths to an isolated spot to be consumed. Sometimes they will even wade like raccoons, using their hands to feel for prey. Monsamogale also feeds on aquatic insects. These are the smallest members of this family. When roosting or raising young, these lemurs use a cavern under a tree, or a bush, or an abandoned burrow of another animal. When threatened, these lemurs either take to the deepest part of the water, or may climb a tree until the danger passes. Callolemur is the largest land-based species in this family, but it is also less aquatic than other species in this sub-family. This species prefers to live in rocky outcroppings, and feed on bird eggs and fledgelings, as well as grass, berries and lichens. This sub-family has better developed legs, feet and hands than the species in the Frissinae, and still retreat to trees when necessary.

The sub-family Frissinae is made up of mostly oceanic species. One species, Indra, lives in Antarctica, along with Frissa. But unlike Frissa, Indra is not an active swimmer, and cannot get away from Antarctica when winter hits. Instead, it eats whatever it can find during the summer, and stores fat for when winter comes so it can retreat to a burrow and hibernate. It has a much thicker coat than any other species in this family, much thicker than we would see in modern chinchillas. It gathers up moss and fur and builds a warm nest usually 6 feet underground, away from blizzard winds, and settles for the winter. Frissa however spends it's winters away from Antarctica, on warmer, remote islands nearby. The species in this sub-family are deeper divers than their river and lake based relatives are, often capable of diving as far as 2000 feet below the surface. Rhynchocebus is specialized in that it is the only lemur to produce musk from the glands at the base of the tail. the musk is a defensive mechanism, to make it's self seem unsavory to predators. Both Rhynchocebus and Moloja are ambidextrous, that is they can inhabit either rivers or the ocean. Inland specimens of Moloja are also mostly nocturnal, whereas near the coast, they are more active during the day. Most species in this sub-family are characterized by the legs being even more reduced in size than in the Promonsamiinae, more resembling the flippers like we see in seals and sea lions. As a consequence, these animals cannot climb trees at all.

The sub-family Endendrinae are jungle animals that live in the trees. They are not as active leapers as other lemurs are, and usually live at lower levels of the trees than most other lemurs. Some even spend most of their time on or near the ground, but they are also not swimmers, like the other 2 subfamilies. The legs are shorter than in any other tree-climbing lemurs, but they are still fairly good leapers. Unlike any other lemur, the legs are of the same length. They mostly rely on their claws to keep them in the branches, as their hands are not as flexible as in other lemurs. One species, Testudicodas, also has a long, prehensile tail, which is naked for about 1/3 of it's length. The naked portion of it's tail is also coated with a fingernail-like protein, keratin, which provides the roosting animal some degree of protection from tree-clambering predators. It sleeps hanging upside down from it's tail, and folds into a ball, with it's head tucked under it's arms. They have very long, sharp, curved claws that they also use for protection, and a very powerful and painful bite.

Predators of these lemurs are numerous. Deinognathids, vulpemustelids and predatory bats are the most common predators. In the ocean, sea genets and sharks are their major predators. Sometimes snakes like pythons will prey on land or tree dwelling species. Sometimes, they may also be taken by other predatory lemurs, like Bromista and also by caroroos and predatory rats. The claws offer these lemurs some protection, but most of the time, they prefer to swim away from danger. Some species, like those in the Promonsamiinae and Endendrinae will take to trees when danger threatens, as sometimes a predator is determined enough to follow them into the water.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Iridescence in Golden Moles

I added irridescence in some mammals in my Metazoic project. Mostly pteropods. I was told that was not possible in mammals. Though polar bears are probably the closest, or were for a long time. Their fur reflects the colors of their surroundings, which is not the same as irridescence, but the structure of each strand of hair would be about the same. Anyway this feature, according to this article, is possible in mammals, and it does exist.

World's First Iridescent Mammal Discovered

By Jennifer Viegas
Tue Jan 24, 2012 07:00 PM ET

Iridescence -- a lustrous rainbow-like play of color caused by differential refraction of light waves -- has just been detected in the fur of golden moles.

Aside from the “eye shine” of nocturnal mammals, seen when a headlight or flashlight strikes their eyes, the discovery marks the first known instance of iridescence in a mammal. The findings, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, reveal yet another surprise: the golden moles are completely blind, so they cannot even see their gorgeous fur.

“It is densely packed and silky, and has an almost metallic, shiny appearance with subtle hints of colors ranging between species from blue to green,” co-author Matthew Shawkey told Discovery News.

Shawkey, an associate professor in the Integrated Bioscience Program at the University of Akron, was first inspired to study golden moles after an undergraduate student of his, Holly Snyder, wrote her honors thesis about iridescence. Snyder is lead author of the paper.

For the study, the scientists pulled hairs from specimens of four golden mole species. Using high tech equipment, such as scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, the researchers analyzed the structure of the hairs, down to their smallest elements.

The researchers determined that the hairs are indeed luminescent. They further discovered that each hair has a flattened shape with reduced cuticular scales that provide a broad and smooth surface for light reflection. The scales form multiple layers of light and dark materials of consistent thickness, very similar to those seen in iridescent beetles.

Optical modeling suggests that the multiple layers act as reflectors that produce color through interference with light. The sensitivity of this mechanism to slight changes in layer thickness and number explains color variability.

What remains a mystery is why blind animals would have such eye-catching fur.

Ancestors of the moles were sighted, so it’s possible that the iridescence is a carryover from those times. “However, the moles have diverged considerably from these ancestors so there had to be some selection pressure other than communication to keep their color intact,” Shawkey said.

Another possibility is that the fur somehow wards off the mole’s sighted predators. But Shawkey said shiny fur “would seem to make them more conspicuous,” doing just the opposite. The moles are not poisonous, so the coloration does not serve as a warning to other animals.

The researchers instead think that iridescence may be a byproduct of the fur’s composition, since the structure also streamlines the mole’s profile and creates less turbulence underground, permitting the animals to move more easily through dirt and sand.

“Many of the nanostructures producing iridescent colors have non-optical properties like enhanced rigidity (think mother of pearl) or enhanced water repellency (such as seen in Morpho butterflies),” Shawkey explained. “In the former case, the color, like in the moles, clearly has no communication function and is a byproduct.”

Iridescence has been around for at least 50 million years, since beetles from that time with the unique coloration have been unearthed. An ancient, iridescent bird feather dating to 40 million years ago has also been documented, as have early shells. Now peacocks, hummingbirds, sunbeam snakes, birds of paradise, the rainbow skink, and many fish flash their iridescence.

Daniel Osorio, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex, has studied iridescence in birds. Surprisingly, one of the most beautiful examples may belong to the common feral pigeon. The pigeon’s neck feathers shift from green to magenta, but often look drab gray to human eyes.

Osorio told Discovery News, “In fact, this gray may be a remarkable and very unusual color to birds that can probably see more colors than us.”

In the future, Shawkey and his team hope to study the phenomenon more, to better understand the function of iridescence in the moles and other species.

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Metazoica Calendars

New Metazoica calendars are here! We are celebrating 2012 (a famous year) with another edition of our calendars available for all our fans to purchase. They will be available until March 1st, so hurry and get yours today! Click the button below to buy now! Cost is only $20.99, and you can save now with free shipping! Just enter the code "WHOASHIPPING305" in the coupon field (before January 31, 2012 only)!

Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.

Use coupon code WHOASHIPPING305 at checkout and select Ground Shipping. Print and tax amounts are excluded. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great opportunity ends on January 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM so try not to procrastinate! While very unlikely we do reserve the right to change or revoke this code at any time, and of course we cannot offer this code where it is against the law to do so.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Family of the Week: The "Roof Shrews"

The family Subvilliidae is made up of small-sized armored insectivores. Not really shrews, though they have a unique kinship to them. They more resemble modern hedgehogs. Though most, with the exception of Fistulostium, have body armor that somewhat resembles that of armadillos, only far more complex. These are all tiny, nocturnal creatures. All feed on insects, spiders and earthworms, but occasionally will lap up honey and fallen fruit. They are short-legged animals that sleep by day in burrows. The eyes are large and round, but the eyesight is relatively poor. They mostly use hearing and their sense of smell to find food. The nose is large and naked, the ears are small, round and lies close to the head. These animals have long whiskers, like cats, to help them pick up scent particles. They have long claws on their feet, to aid them in digging their roosting burrows. Most species have long tongues with sticky saliva that helps them catch and trap insects. Most species are small, the largest species in this family are those of Palatops, which is about the size of a large chihuahua dog. Rarely would these animals be seen by day. Most of the time, they spend in their burrows sleeping, and only come out when it is dark out.

Armatechinos has the most extensive armor in this family. The armor is very thick and nearly impenetrable. Another close relative, Subvillius, has almost the same effect in it's armor, but it is not as extensive. The armor has almost a 'trapdoor' effect, and has joints that allows it to close tight into it's self, forming an almost complete ball-like fortress against predators. The armor material is made from the same material that makes up our fingernails. In Subvillius, the armor also has bulb-like spikes that offer it added protection from predators.

One variety, Fistulostium, does not have full body armor. Instead it is camouflaged very well. This species lives in the American south, making it's home in the bristles of the largest cacti in the world. Their fur is even a greenish-brown, making them almost impossible to see. Most of their body is covered in dense wool, but they have also developed sharp spines on their back and tail that are just as sharp as the spines on a cactus, and this also offers them added security should they be singled out by a predator. A single 25-foot tall cactus could house a whole community of 200 or more of these little animals. Though they are solitary animals, and make their own burrows in the sides of the cactus, and have little to do with their neighbors outside the breeding season, except for maybe an occasional territorial sqwabble. But the cactus provides these animals with a home, food and water. They feed on insects and even lap up nectar from the flowers these cacti produce, thus pollenating it. These are the smallest members of this family, smaller than most modern shrews, and are capable of getting around by leaping from one cactus thorn to another, much like how lemurs leap from one tree branch to another.

Few predators prowl the Metazoic nights. But among the many predators the species in this family have are mongooses and small deinognathids. Occasionally predatory bats, birds and snakes will also take them if they can find them and capture them. But these animals are not easy prey, as they can quickly disappear in their armor, and even into their burrows.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Family of the Week: the Wiverns

The family Viridae is a family of marsupials that have turned carnivorous. They derived from small, tree-dwelling dasyures. The body form is basically like that of the ancient Miacids, with a few differences. The paws have developed into grasping hands, with large, very sharp claws. The eyes are large, they have naked soles and palms, and several species have prehensile tails. The fur is soft and thick, and covers the body, with the exception of the muzzle and around the eyes. The ears are small and pointed. They are mostly active at night, and are among the few remaining marsupials in the Metazoic that hunt by scent, and recognize territories by marking them with odor. These animals have scent glands in the nude part of their face that they use to rub on branches, and sometimes on plants. These animals are pouncers, and hunt their prey using the same technique that modern cats do. These animals range in size from the size of a large mouse to the size of a St. bernard dog. Most species are insect-eaters, but some eat small vertebrates as well. Larger species, like Imperivia, often hunt animals as big as kangaroos.

One of the most unique species is Volanecator. It is the only fully carnivorous mammal that has a gliding membrane. It is mostly an insect eater, but sometimes adds small lizards and small rodents to it's diet. It is about the size of a flying squirrel, and the gliding membrane covers the areas between the arms and legs and from the back of the legs to the base of the tail. It retracts when the animal is at rest or climbing. It climbs using a series of leaps and jumps.

The largest species in the family is Imperivia. This species is not a tree-dweller like most of the others in this family. Imperivia is a ground-dweller, and hunts larger prey than the other species in this group. Kangaroos, phalangers, lemurs, rodents and even large reptiles make up their menu. Though they are ground-dwellers, these animals will climb trees, or even cross rivers to get at their prey. This animal kills it's prey by capturing it with the forepaws and biting the windpipe shut so the prey cannot breathe, often shaking the prey violently to dig it's canines in more.

The smallest species in this family are in the genus Dumetanguis. Most species are the size of a small house cat, but one is the size of a large mouse, or a small rat. Most of these species have crests on their head and neck, or horse-like manes. The eyes are large, and the ears are small, round and naked. In the smallest species, D. minuare, the tail is lightly haired with short, fine, white hairs, whereas other species have long, well-haired tails. The mouths are big in Dumetanguis, and give the face an almost reptilian appearance. Their mouths open wide so they can take on prey as big as themselves, or sometimes larger.

These animals are mostly active at night, and few other predators are active during the same hours. One species of caroroo roams around at night, and are capable of making a meal of some of the larger species in this family. Smaller species may fall prey to the larger species as well. These animals can defend themselves by using their claws and teeth, which can be effective weapons. Smaller species may also fall prey to snakes, gowannas, and carnivorous bats.

Friday, September 30, 2011

More Genera Changes

Every once in a while I do this. I go back and change some names of some of the genera on my Metazoic checklist. Well, I've been working on that for a bit now, since I printed another prefix and suffix list. I'm really getting to know these terms now! Aside from adding a few new genera and species to the list this past week, I also changed some names, and if you have printed a copy of our most recent checklist, you might want to change these names. So I just wanted to give everyone a headsup on this. Some have been screaming for name changes for a long time! So the names that have been changed are:

Tapimimus is now Tapiemulus
Callichroma is now Anemodryas
Plumipitheca is now Crossodemnus

I had to change these! For one thing, I remember what Metalraptor said about using the name "pithecus" for lemurs and other prosimians. And besides, I think Crossodemnus better fits these varieties of lemurs, whose face and body is full of frills and crests. Hense the new name, which means "tasseled-" or "frilled-upon". I thought it was creative anyway. :) And I found out that Callichroma was already taken. So, I had to change it too. The new name actually means "wind spirit". It too is a lemur, and today, lemurs are often seen as spirits. And I like the sound and feel of "wind spirit", as these lemurs would be fast in today's world.

The Tapimimus is another one I just had to change. The animal is NOT entirely based on Dixon's Tapimus. Same idea, but I wanted to make it it's own animal, an antelope instead of a descendant of rodents. So I felt I had to change the name. The new name actually means "equal to tapirs", even though it is a tiny animal, only the size of a modern tapir's nose! LOL!

Anyway, those are the new changes. I will be updating you all on more as they happen. I'm still hoping to reach 4000 species by Christmas 2012. But if I keep going at the rate I went last night, I should reach that goal by next summer. So, keep your eyes on the ticker on the right side of this page! I update it every time I add new species to the checklist!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Family of the Week: the Metazoic Hyenas

The family Cloacariidae consists of mammals that are mostly scavengers. They rarely hunt their own food, unlike today's hyenas. These animals are not true hyenas, but instead are descended from weasels. The basic body form is unlike modern hyenas, but the lifestyle is much the same. These animals have very long necks and small heads that are completely naked. Their ears are very small and rounded. The eyesight is poor, but the sense of smell very well makes up for it. The olfactory cavity is reminiscent of that of turkey vultures. They can smell rotting flesh from several miles away. The body is not built like hyenas, but instead are longer than they are tall. The legs are short, the tail is long, or at least as long as the head and body. Unlike in modern hyenas, the females of this family do not have a large clitoris. The males' penis is also quite small, and not easily visible underneath all their fur. The feet are a lot like those of dogs, but they are not really built for running. If you can picture it, these are not attractive animals! They are mostly active during the day, when the predators they like to follow are most active. The most remarkable feature of this family is the design of their teeth. It is unlike any other carnivore on Earth. The canines have become rounded and hard as stones, and the carnissals have become fused together to become one very large chomping mechanism useful for crushing bone. Including those of large gigantelopes.

The largest species are in the genus Yaina. This genus also has the widest range in the family. They range from southern Africa to Asia. They stand as high as 8 feet tall, including the head and neck. Their size gives them a better advantage over most other scavengers, and at times, works to scare a predator off it's prey. They are poor runners, and feed on anything they can scavenge. The smallest species is Pallidogale, which are about 2 feet tall, but about 5 feet long. These animals have a short, blunt, rather catlike head, much shorter than in other species in this family. But the jaws are no less powerful. Like modern hyenas, these animals have a bite force of 1500 pounds per square inch.

As adults, the larger species have few or no predators. Pallidogale may be preyed upon by predatory rats, like Monarchomys, or predatory bats and birds. The young of several species may also be taken by predators, such as large viverrids, predatory bats, and even dogs. Snakes and large carnivorous birds are also a threat to the babies. These animals can defend themselves vigorously. They are not "cowardly" as we see modern hyenas as. In fact, they are quite tough, much more like today's wolverines. They can deliver a nasty bite to an attacker, given the chance, using their powerful jaws and bone-crushing teeth.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Family of the Week: The Mongooses and Civets

The family Viverridae is made up of mongooses and civets in the Metazoic. Only these are not like the tiny creatures seen today. This family has a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Rather than be creatures only of the Old World as we know them today, the Metazoic version of these animals have colonized every corner of the Earth. They are still very predatory in nature, many feeding alongside such creatures as Deinognathus and even the Metazoic foxes. The variety in this family is very variable. Some species are tiny, weasel-like animals, though they are much bolder in the Metazoic than they are in the Cenozoic. Some are cat-like in appearance, with long whiskers and retractable claws and a bushy tail. A couple of varieties have even become giant, oceanic predators, and developed flippers in place of legs. One thing that most Metazoic Viverrid species completely lacks is the musk gland that their modern relatives have at the base of their tails. This gland is only still present in Viverra, Deinictis and Ischnonia, but it's effects have been greatly reduced. Instead of spraying their attackers, these animals have become bolder adversaries, and despite their size, are quite feisty in nature. Spraying has become a last resort. In the Metazoic, most species are diurnal, with the exception of Viverra, GenettaLinsang, Civittus and Paragalidia. Most species have large eyes, small, round ears, and long, doglike muzzles. The claws are sharp and curved, like those of a cat. They range in size from the size of a rat, to the size of a small whale. The teeth are long and very sharp, and they often kill their prey by biting and then shaking the prey, more like a dog. The canine teeth are long and straight as needles.

The smallest species in this family are in Deinictis, which are tiny mongooses. Though they do possess the musky gland on the base of their tails, it is rarely used outside of battling others of their own kind. Particularly among mating males. This animal instead has a greater weapon against attackers. They are fast and they can bite hard! The bite usually causes septecemia, or at the very least, a localized infection, which slowly causes the attacker to die or become disabled. Unlike most other Viverrids, these little mongooses attack without much provocation. They are simply fast and furious little creatures. Their diet of insects, mice, small birds and reptiles keeps them active and on their toes. Like today's mongooses, these animals are small and weasel-like in appearance, and also in ferocity!

The largest species in this family is Haliophonia, the giant sea genet. Though it is not a true genet, it is a descendant of the Metazoic river genet (Cleochareia), which is a much smaller animal that took to the water in the early Metazoic, getting most of it's genes from the modern fishing genet (Osbornictis), except that it took it's talent a step further and began actually swimming after fish and crabs. Haliophonia is the ending masterpiece of aquatic Viverrid creation. It does not have very well formed legs, but rather flippers. Though the forelimbs still have paws and even retractable claws. These animals grow to a full adult size of around 45 feet. The tail has become a long, paddle-shaped appendage, which aids in propelling this animal through the water. The fur is short, but very soft. These animals feed on meat, and lots of it. Besides fish and squids, Haliophonia also feeds on sea birds and mammals. Common victims of the giant sea genet include Rhynchocebus, ThalictisChamenius and Natopterus, as well as numerous seal species and birds. As seen in modern leopard seals, the giant sea genet tears larger prey animals into small chunks by slamming the body against the water's surface. This is often the case for Chamenius, Rhynchocebus, Thalictis and smaller seals. Small prey, like Natopterus, is simply swallowed whole. In one sitting, the giant sea genet may take as many as 20 Natopterus.

The largest land-based viverrid in the Metazoic is Tarboailurus. This is essentially a giant, saber-toothed mongoose. The teeth are large and strong, growing to a size of about 12 inches. The claws are retractable, the tail is long and stiff for balance. This giant mongoose often makes huge leaps onto the back of it's prey. The long, stiff tail aids in this maneuver. Single-handedly, Tarboailurus can bring down prey the size of a gigantelope. But they usually prefer smaller prey. Tarboailurus, and it's smaller counterpart, Cynocephalogale, are the only viverrids that have this stiff tail. But while Cynocephalogale may hunt in packs, Tarboailurus works alone. Both varieties are extremely fast animals, but their main hunting strategy is the long stalk and a quick pounce. Tarboailurus is so tough, most of the time, even Deinognathus stays out of it's way!

Though the largest examples of this family may not have any predators as adults, the smaller species are often victimized by any species large enough to kill them. This includes foxes, cats, predatory rats, deinognathids, predatory bats and birds, large reptiles, and even larger viverrids.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Family of the Week: the Lily-Walkers

The family Jacanatheriidae is made up of tiny mammals that are closely related to the small Deinognathids, namely Feresetta. The family was originally named Olodactylidae, but I thought Jacanatheriidae was a name to better describe the physical features of this family. This is one of few cases I have where I didn't name the family after the original genus I thought up, but preferred the more descriptive name. These little trelatebrates are very much like today's jacana birds. Their bone structure is mostly made up of air sacs, making these mammals lighter than they appear. They have long necks and the body is covered in thick, woolly fur. The fur is thicker than it is in modern cats, and aids in keeping the animal afloat if it should fall in the water. The tail is usually long and counterbalances the head and neck. The eyes are large and almond-shaped and placed in the front of the face. The ears are small, diamond-shaped and have a furry backside and naked in front. The arms are almost non-existent and generally covered up by the thick fur, but the fingers are long and slender and are about the only things visible from the forelimbs. The hind legs however, are their most remarkable features. The legs are long and slender, the toes are oversized and arrow-shaped. The tips of their toes are flattened to help them stay buoyant. The oversized toes enable these animals to move easily over aquatic plants, like lilypads and hyacinth. The toes are very flexible and capable of forming to whatever it is the animal is standing on. These animals live their lives among the water plants. This is where they eat, sleep, mate, and give birth and raise their young. So these animals prefer to live in swampy areas where there is a heavy covering of plants on the surface. These animals almost never set foot on dry land. They are mostly small animals and very light-weight. No species is over 10 inches tall, with the neck fully extended, or weighs more than a pound. They are carnivorous, the diet consists mainly of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and insects. Most hunt like herons, darting their heads into the water to capture their prey. But slow-moving prey, like snails or slugs, they simply reach into the water with their jaws and snatch it up. Most species are usually only social during the breeding season, or they may live in couples.

The largest species in this group is Xescophotus. It is also the only species that has a totally naked head and neck. They also have fleshy "wattles" on the upper jaw and chin areas. During the breeding season, the males' flesh turns from charcoal black to bright pink, and the wattles turn bright red and purple. The females are highly turned-on by this dramatic change in clothing. But after the breeding season, the males' flesh goes back to a dull charcoal black color. After they have mated, males and females may go their separate ways.

Ziphidromas is also a unique species in that it has the longest muzzle, in proportion to it's size than any other species. The nostrils of this animal are also placed higher on the muzzle than any other species in this family. When this animal hunts, it feels under the water's surface with it's highly-sensitive muzzle. It can stand motionless for hours on end, waiting for the muzzle tip to feel a fish pass by. Then they quickly shut their jaws on the hapless fish and bring it to the surface to be consumed. Ziphidromas is one of few species in this family to live in groups of more than 4 individuals.

Female jacanatheriids give birth to several fawns, usually no more than 4 at a time. She will usually give birth on a lily pad, most of the time it is one that is shady, and well away from any others in her herd. She gives birth very quickly, almost one right after another. The fawns then take refuge on the mother's belly, clinging to her thick fur. This also allows them to suckle, and if the mother has to leap into the water to avoid danger, the fur on the belly stores enough air for the fawns to still breathe until the danger passes. Often all that is visible of the babies are the long toes dangling from the mother's belly. The color of the fawns is determined by the color of the mother's belly. But most of their fawns are born with stripes or spots on the body, which fade away with age.

Predators of jacanatheriids are plenty, especially predatory bats, snakes, mongooses, predatory birds, deinognathids, caroroos, large, predatory fish, and almost any other predator, large or small, that can wade into the water to get at them. The lily-walkers usually dip into the water to avoid danger, and can stay submerged for up to 5 minutes until the danger passes. For underwater predators like fish, these animals usually leap onto a branch or hide in the reeds to avoid them. They can move very fast, in spite of their long toes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Family of the Week: The Auddar and Allies

This is a small group of mammals. The family Pelargidae consists of bipedal creatures that are found in or near the water. The lifestyle of these mammals somewhat paralells that of modern storks or cranes. They are descended from the Deinognathid subfamily of pervadines. The muzzle is long and narrow. The neck is long and flexible. The ears are more rounded than in the pervadines. The index fingers are long and more narrow than in the pervadines, and there is absolutely no webbing on the hands at all. There is only very rudimentary webbing on the feet. The eyes are placed on the top of the head, and the nostrils are set close to the base of the eyes. The tail is relatively short. The body is also rather short, and the legs are long. They are predatory animals, usually feeding on fish, or any other kinds of small prey they can find and fit into their mouths. They are diurnal animals, and they spend their nights roosting in trees. Most species stand as high as 3 feet tall, but the largest species in the family stands 5 feet tall.

The largest species is in the genus Euphuia. These larger animals feed on anything from fish to frogs and small mammals. The teeth are very sharp to easily grasp their slippery, struggling prey. They prefer to remain in a quiet corner, where they can stay concealed by thick vegetation, and snatch prey by surprise. Prey is usually swallowed whole.

The most unusual species are in Anoicostomus. These animals have mouths that do not close all the way. This allows the sensitive tongue in the water for long periods to feel for prey. They hunt by walking slowly with the tip of their muzzle dipped in the water. When they feel something that feels like prey, they dart their head into the water enough to grasp the prey in their sharp teeth.

Predators of this family include predatory bats, snakes, crocodiles, Deinognathids and Viverrids. They can use their sharp teeth as defensive weapons, or they duck underwater until the danger passes. They are capable of staying submerged for as long as 8 minutes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Checklist Installed!

This is just a quick note to everyone that the latest version of the Metazoic mammal Checklist has been added to the site! I have added more than 200 new species to the list, including one new family of tiny ungulates that live on the Batavian Islands. They descended from the goats that are now left there, only these animals are much smaller, and totally lack the horns, which is what differs them from the antelope family (Megalodorcidae). A few more changes have been made as well. Some updates to some of the generic names have been made as well.

You can go to almost any page and download the new list.