The Nomura's jellyfish

Nomura's Jellyfish (エチゼンクラゲ, echizen kurage?, Nemopilema nomurai) (for some time in the genus Stomolophus) was named in tribute to Mr. Kan'ichi Nomura (18??-19??), Director General of the Fukui Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station, who in early December 1921 sent a specimen in a 72-litre wooden tank to Kishinouye, who found that it was unknown and spent some time at the station to study living specimens. It is a very large jellyfish, in the same size class as the lion's mane jellyfish, the largest cnidarian in the world. The diameter of one fully-grown is slightly greater than the height of an average fully grown man.

Growing up to 2 meters (6 feet 7 inches) in diameter and weighing up to 300 kilograms (ca. 660 pounds),  Nomura's Jellyfish reside primarily in the waters between China and Japan, primarily centralized in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. Shin-ichi Uye, Japan's leading expert on the little-studied jellyfish, artificially bred some in his Hiroshima University lab, learning about their life cycle, growth rates and feeding habits. He traveled by ferry between China to Japan in 2009 to confirm they were riding currents to Japanese waters. A U.S. marine scientist, Jennifer Purcell of Western Washington University, has found a correlation between global warming and jellyfish on a much larger scale, in at least 11 locations, including the Mediterranean and North seas, and Chesapeake and Narragansett bays.

Not much is known about the species. Experts have not been able to determine the reason why thousands of the jellyfish swarm the Sea of Japan on the Tsushima Current on some years, while other years present small quantities of the animals or none at all.A possible contributing factor to the expanding population of these animals around Japanese waters, according to experts, is a dip in the population of jellyfish predators, such as sea turtles and certain species of fish.

Other possibilities include more hospitable breeding grounds due to warming waters caused by climate change and effluent from Chinese rivers containing nutrients that serve as food for the jellyfish.

In 2009, a 10-ton fishing trawler, the Diasan Shinsho-maru, capsized off Chiba on Tokyo Bay as its three-man crew tried to haul in a net containing dozens of Nomura's Jellyfish; the three were rescued by another trawler
The venom of the Nomura, the world’s largest jellyfish, a creature up to 2 meters (6 feet) in diameter, can ruin a whole day’s catch by tainting or killing fish stung when ensnared with them in the maze of nets.













The gelatinous seaborne creatures are blamed for decimating fishing industries in the Bering and Black seas, forcing the shutdown of seaside power and desalination plants in Japan, the Middle East and Africa, and terrorizing beachgoers worldwide, the U.S. National Science Foundation says.
These increases in jellyfish should be a warning sign that our oceans are stressed and unhealthy,” said Lucas Brotz, a University of British Columbia researcher.The invasions cost the industry up to 30 billion yen ($332 million) a year, and tens of thousands of fishermen have sought government compensation, said scientist Shin-ichi Uye, Japan’s leading expert on the problem.
Hearing fishermen’s pleas, Uye, who had been studying zooplankton, became obsessed with the little-studied Nomura’s jellyfish, scientifically known as Nemopilema nomurai, which at its biggest looks like a giant mushroom trailing dozens of noodle-like tentacles.
No one knew their life cycle, where they came from, where they reproduced,” said Uye, 59. “This jellyfish was like an alien.”
He artificially bred Nomura’s jellyfish in his Hiroshima University lab, learning about their life cycle, growth rates and feeding habits. He traveled by ferry between China to Japan this year to confirm they were riding currents to Japanese waters.
He concluded China’s coastal waters offered a perfect breeding ground: Agricultural and sewage runoff are spurring plankton growth, and fish catches are declining. The waters of the Yellow Sea, meanwhile, have warmed as much as 1.7 degrees C (3 degrees F) over the past quarter-century.
The jellyfish are becoming more and more dominant,” said Uye, as he sliced off samples of dead jellyfish on the deck of an Echizen fishing boat. “Their growth rates are quite amazing.”
The slight, bespectacled scientist is unafraid of controversy, having lobbied his government tirelessly to help the fishermen, and angered Chinese colleagues by arguing their government must help solve the problem, comparing it to the effects of acid rain that reaches Japan from China.
The Chinese people say they will think about this after they get rich, but it might be too late by then,” he said.
Addressing the surge in jellyfish blooms in most places will require long-term fixes, such as introducing fishing quotas and pollution controls, as well as capping greenhouse gas emissions to control global warming, experts said.
In the short term, governments are left with few options other than warning bathers or bailing out cash-strapped fishermen. In Japan, the government is helping finance the purchase of newly designed nets, a layered system that snares jellyfish with one kind of net, allowing fish through to be caught in another.
Some entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are trying to cash in. One Japanese company is selling giant jellyfish ice cream, and another plans a pickled plum dip with chunks of giant jellyfish. But, though a popular delicacy, jellyfish isn’t likely to replace sushi or other fish dishes on Asian menus anytime soon, in view of its time-consuming processing, heavy sodium overload and unappealing image.
















More on The Nomura's jellyfish : Nationalgeographic

                                                     

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  The Nomura's jellyfish
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Nomura jellyfish in Little Munsom island, Jeju-do, South Korea. This one got a bit cropped as I was dodging the stinging tentacles, so I'm not 100% happy with it. But I like the detail so decided it was worth uploading. pic by Janne Hellsten  on Flickr Nomura jellyfish in Little Munsom island, Jeju-do, South Korea. I haven't been this close to one of these huge jellyfish before. Diving in Jeju was super and today's dive totally exceeded my expectations. pic by Janne Hellsten  on Flickr
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The Sumatran Rhinoceros
The Sumatran Rhinoceros
The Sumatran Rhinoceros
 The Sumatran Rhinoceros pic by Michael Dick  The Sumatran Rhinoceros seize differences of rhino's pic by WikipedianProlific
 The Sumatran Rhinoceros - An 1821 drawing of the skeleton of the Sumatran Rhinoceros drawn by R. Hills. The drawing was sent to the Royal College of Surgeons in London by Stamford Raffles.
 Female Sumatran Rhinoceros at Cincinnati Zoo
 - pic by Phil Myers (photographer, copyright holder), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan.
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 The Sumatran Rhinoceros The Sumatran Rhinoceros Emi, world famous Sumatran Rhino, introduces her unprecedented third calf, 19 day old "Harapan", a male.Pic by wAlanb at FlickrThe Sumatran Rhinoceros at the Toronto Zoo pic by Baffledexpert
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The Sumatran Rhinoceros

The Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. It is the only extant species of the genus Dicerorhinus. It is the smallest rhinoceros, standing about 120–145 centimetres (3.9–4.8 ft) high at the shoulder, with a body length of 250 centimetres (98 in) and weight of 500–800 kilograms (1100–1760 lb). Like the African species, it has two horns; the larger is the nasal horn, typically 15–25 centimetres (6–10 in), while the other horn is typically a stub. A coat of reddish-brown hair covers most of the Sumatran Rhino's body.

Members of the species once ranged throughout rainforests, swamps and cloud forests in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China, where they survived into historical times in the southwest, particularly in Sichuan. They are now critically endangered, with only six substantial populations in the wild: four on Sumatra, one on Borneo, and one on peninsular Malaysia. Their numbers are difficult to determine because they are solitary animals that are widely scattered across their range, but they are estimated to number less than 275. The decline in the number of Sumatran Rhinoceros is attributed primarily to poaching for their horns, which are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, fetching as much as US$30,000 per kilogram on the black market.The rhinos have also suffered from habitat loss as their forests have been cleared for lumber and conversion to agriculture.

The Sumatran Rhino is a mostly solitary animal except for courtship and child-rearing. It is the most vocal rhino species and also communicates through marking soil with its feet, twisting saplings into patterns, and leaving excrement. The species is much better studied than the similarly reclusive Javan Rhinoceros, in part because of a program that brought 40 Sumatran Rhinos into captivity with the goal of preserving the species. The program was considered a disaster even by its initiators, with most of the rhinos dying and no offspring being produced for nearly 20 years, an even worse decline than in the wild.

Taxonomy and naming

The first documented Sumatran Rhinoceros was shot 16 kilometres (10 miles) outside Fort Marlborough, near the west coast of Sumatra, in 1793. Drawings of the animal, and a written description, were sent to the naturalist Joseph Banks, then president of the Royal Society of London, who published a paper on the specimen that year. It was not until 1814, however, that the species was given a scientific name, by Johann Fischer von Waldheim, a German scientist and curator of the State Darwin Museum in Moscow, Russia.

The scientific name Dicerorhinus sumatrensis comes from the Greek terms di (δι, meaning "two"), cero (κέρας, meaning "horn"), and rhinos (ρινος, meaning "nose"). Sumatrensis is derived from Sumatra, the island in Indonesia on which the rhinos were first discovered. Carolus Linnaeus originally classified all rhinos in the genus Rhinoceros; therefore the species was originally identified as Rhinoceros sumatrensis. Joshua Brookes considered the Sumatran Rhinoceros, with its two horns, a distinct genus from the one-horned Rhinoceros, and gave it the name Didermocerus in 1828. Constantin Wilhelm Lambert Gloger proposed the name Dicerorhinus in 1841. In 1868, John Edward Gray proposed the name Ceratorhinus. Normally the oldest name would be used, but a 1977 ruling by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature established the proper genus name as Dicerorhinus.

There are three subspecies:

D.s. sumatrensis, known as the 'Western Sumatran Rhinoceros, has only 170-230 rhinos remaining, mostly in the national parks of Bukit Barisan Selatan and Gunung Leuser in Sumatra. Around 75 may live on Peninsular Malaysia. The main threats against this subspecies are habitat loss and illegal poaching. There is a slight genetic difference between the Western and Eastern Sumatran Rhinos. The rhinos on the Malayan Peninsula were once known as D.s. niger, but were later recognized to be similar to the rhinos on western Sumatra.
D.s. harrissoni, known as the Eastern Sumatran Rhinoceros or Bornean Rhinoceros, were once common throughout Borneo; now only about 50 individuals are estimated to survive.The known population on Borneo lives in Sabah. There are unconfirmed reports of animals surviving in Sarawak and Kalimantan.This subspecies is named after Tom Harrisson, who worked extensively with Bornean zoology and anthropology in the 1960s. The Bornean subspecies is markedly smaller than the other two.
D.s. lasiotis, known as the Northern Sumatran Rhinoceros, once roamed in India and Bangladesh but has been declared extinct in these countries. Unconfirmed reports suggest that there may be a small population still surviving in Burma, but the political situation in the country has prevented verification.The name lasiotis is derived from the Greek for "hairy-ears". Later studies showed that their ear-hair was not longer than other Sumatran Rhinos, but D.s. lasiotis remained a subspecies because it was significantly larger than the other subspecies.














Evolution

Ancestral rhinoceroses first diverged from other Perissodactyls in the Early Eocene. Mitochondrial DNA comparison suggests that the ancestors of modern rhinos split from the ancestors of Equidae around 50 million years ago. The extant family, the Rhinocerotidae, first appeared in the Late Eocene in Eurasia, and the ancestors of the extant rhino species dispersed from Asia beginning in the Miocene.

The Sumatran Rhinoceros is considered the least derived of the extant species as it shares more traits with its Miocene ancestors.Paleontological evidence in the fossil record dates the genus Dicerorhinus to the Early Miocene, 23–16 million years ago. Molecular dating suggests a split of Dicerorhinus from the other four extant species as far back as 25.9 ± 1.9 million years. Three hypotheses have been proposed for the relationship between the Sumatran Rhinoceros and the other living species. One hypothesis suggests that the Sumatran Rhinoceros is closely related to the Black and White Rhinos in Africa, evidenced by the species having two horns, instead of one.Other taxonomists regard the Sumatran Rhinoceros as a sister taxon of the Indian and Javan Rhinoceros because their ranges overlap so closely.A third group of more recent analyses, however, has suggested that the two African rhinos, the two Asian rhinos and the Sumatran Rhinoceros represent essentially three separate lineages that split around 25.9 million years ago, and it may therefore be unclear which group diverged first.

Because of morphological similarities, the Sumatran Rhinoceros is believed to be closely related to the Woolly Rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis). The Woolly Rhinoceros, so named for the coat of hair it shares with the Sumatran Rhinoceros, first appeared in China and by the Upper Pleistocene ranged across the Eurasian continent from Korea to Spain. The Woolly Rhinoceros survived the last Ice Age, but like the Woolly Mammoth, most or all became extinct around 10,000 years ago. Although some morphological studies questioned the relationship,recent molecular analysis has supported the two species as sister taxa. Many fossils have been classified as members of Dicerorhinus, but there are no other recent species in the genus.

Description

A mature Sumatran Rhino stands about 120–145 centimetres (3.9–4.8 ft) high at the shoulder, has a body length of around 250 centimetres (98 in) and weighs 500–800 kilograms (1100–1760 lb), though the largest individuals in zoos have been known to weigh as much as 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb). Like the African species, it has two horns. The larger is the nasal horn, typically only 15–25 cm (6–10 in), though the longest recorded specimen was much longer at 81 centimetres (32 in).The posterior horn is much smaller, usually less than 10 centimetres (3.9 in) long, and often little more than a knob. The larger nasal horn is also known as the anterior horn; the smaller posterior horn as the frontal horn. The horns are dark gray or black in color. The males have larger horns than the females, though the species is not otherwise sexually dimorphic. The Sumatran Rhino lives an estimated 30–45 years in the wild, while the record time in captivity is a female D. lasiotis who lived for 32 years and 8 months before dying in the London Zoo in 1900.

Two thick folds of skin encircle the body behind the front legs and before the hind legs. The rhino has a smaller fold of skin around its neck. The skin itself is thin, 10–16 mm (0.4–0.6 in), and in the wild the rhino appears to have no subcutaneous fat. Hair can range from dense (the most dense hair in young calves) to scarce and is usually a reddish brown. In the wild this hair is hard to observe because the rhinos are often covered in mud. In captivity, however, the hair grows out and becomes much shaggier, likely because of less abrasion from walking through vegetation. The rhino has a patch of long hair around the ears and a thick clump of hair at the end of the tail. Like all rhinos, they have very poor vision. The Sumatran Rhinoceros is fast and agile; it climbs mountains easily and comfortably traverses steep slopes and riverbanks.













Distribution and habitat

The Sumatran Rhinoceros lives in both lowland and highland secondary rainforest, swamps and cloud forests. It inhabits hilly areas close to water, particularly steep upper valleys with a lot of undergrowth. The Sumatran Rhinoceros once inhabited a continuous distribution as far north as Burma, eastern India and Bangladesh. Unconfirmed reports also placed the Sumatran Rhino in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. All known living animals occur in peninsular Malaysia, the island of Sumatra and Sabah, Borneo. Some conservationists have hope that Sumatran Rhinos may still survive in Burma, though it is considered unlikely. Political turmoil in Burma has prevented any assessment or study of possible survivors.

The Sumatran Rhino is widely scattered across its range, much more so than the other Asian rhinos, which has made it difficult for conservationists to protect members of the species effectively. Only six areas are known to contain communities of more than a handful of Sumatran Rhinoceros: Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, and Way Kambas National Park on Sumatra; Taman Negara National Park in Peninsular Malaysia; and the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia on the island of Borneo.

Genetic analysis of Sumatran Rhino populations has identified three distinct genetic lineages. The channel between Sumatra and Malaysia was not as significant a barrier for the rhinos as the Barisan Mountains; thus rhinos on eastern Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia are more closely related than the rhinos on the other side of the mountains in western Sumatra. The eastern Sumatra and Malaysia rhinos show so little genetic variance that the populations were likely not separate during the Pleistocene. Both populations of Sumatra and Malaysia, however, are close enough genetically that interbreeding would not be problematic. The rhinos of Borneo are sufficiently distinct that conservation geneticists have advised against crossing their lineages with the other populations. Conservation geneticists have recently begun to study the diversity of the gene pool within these populations by identifying microsatellite loci. The results of initial testing found comparable levels of variability within Sumatran Rhino populations and the population of the less endangered African rhinos, but the genetic diversity of Sumatran Rhinos is an area of continuing study.

Behavior

Sumatran Rhinoceroses are solitary creatures except for coupling before mating and during child rearing. Individuals have home ranges: bulls have territories as large as 50 km2 (19 sq mi) whereas females' ranges are 10–15 km2 (3.9–5.8 sq mi).The ranges of females appear to be spaced apart; male ranges often overlap. There is no evidence that Sumatran Rhinos defend their territory through fighting. Marking their territory is done by scraping soil with their feet, bending saplings into distinctive patterns, and leaving excrement. The Sumatran Rhino is usually most active when eating, at dawn, and just after dusk. During the day the rhino wallows in mud baths to cool down and rest. In the rainy season they move to higher elevation areas; in the cooler months they return to lower areas in their range.

The rhino spends a large part of its day in wallows. When mud holes are unavailable, the rhino will deepen puddles with its feet and horns. The wallowing behavior helps the rhino maintain its body temperature and protect its skin from ectoparasites and other insects. Captive specimens of Sumatran Rhinoceros, deprived of adequate wallowing, have quickly developed broken and inflamed skins, suppurations, eye problems, inflamed nails, hair loss and eventually died. One 20-month study of wallowing behavior found that the Sumatran Rhinoceros will visit no more than three wallows at any given time. After 2–12 weeks using a particular wallow, the rhino will abandon it. Typically, the rhino will wallow around midday for 2–3 hours at a time before venturing out for food. Although in zoos the Sumatran Rhino has been observed wallowing less than 45 minutes a day, the study on wild animals found 80–300 minutes (an average of 166 minutes) per day spent in wallows.

There has been little opportunity to study epidemiology in the Sumatran Rhinoceros. Ticks and gyrostigma were reported to cause deaths in captive animals in the 19th century. The rhino is also known to be vulnerable to the blood disease surra which can be spread by horse-flies carrying parasitic trypanosomes; in 2004, all five rhinos at the Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Centre died over an 18-day period after becoming infected by the disease. The Sumatran Rhino has no known predators other than humans. Tigers and wild dogs may be capable of killing a calf, but calves stay close to their mother and the frequency of such killings is unknown. Although the rhino's range overlaps with elephants and tapirs, the species do not appear to compete for food or habitat. Elephants (Elephas maximus) and Sumatran Rhinos are even known to share trails and many smaller species such as deer, boar and wild dogs will use the trails that the rhinos and elephants create.

The Sumatran Rhino maintains trails across its range. The trails fall into two types. Main trails will be used by generations of rhinos to travel between important areas in the rhino's range, such as between salt licks, or between areas that are separated by inhospitable terrain. In feeding areas the rhinos will make smaller trails, still covered by vegetation, to areas containing food the rhino eats. Sumatran Rhino trails have been found that cross rivers deeper than 1.5 meters (5 ft) and about 50 meters (165 ft) across. The currents of these rivers are known to be strong, but the rhino is a strong swimmer.A relative absence of wallows near rivers in the range of the Sumatran Rhinoceros indicates that they may occasionally bathe in rivers in lieu of wallowing.













Diet

Most feeding occurs just before nightfall and in the morning. The Sumatran Rhino is a browser and has a diet of young saplings, leaves, fruits, twigs and shoots. The rhinos usually consume up to 50 kg (110 lb) of food a day.Primarily by measuring dung samples, researchers have identified more than 100 food species consumed by the Sumatran Rhinoceros. The largest portion of the diet is tree saplings with a trunk diameter of 1–6 cm (0.4-2.4 inches). The rhinoceros typically pushes these saplings over with its body, walking over the sapling without stepping on it, to eat the leaves. Many of the plant species the rhino consumes exist in only small portions, which indicates that the rhino is frequently changing its diet and feeding in different locations.Among the most common plants the rhino eats are many species from the Euphorbiaceae, Rubiaceae and Melastomataceae families. The most common species the rhino consumes is Eugenia.

The diet of the Sumatran Rhinoceros is high in fiber and only moderate in protein. Salt licks are very important to the nutrition of the rhino. These licks can be small hot springs, seepages of salty water or mud-volcanoes. The salt licks also serve an important social purpose for the rhinos—males visit the licks to pick up the scent of females in oestrus. Some Sumatran Rhinos, however, live in areas where salt licks are not readily available or the rhinos have not been observed using the licks. These rhinos may get their necessary mineral requirements by consuming plants that are rich in minerals.

Communication

The Sumatran Rhinoceros is the most vocal of the rhinoceros species. Observations of the species in zoos show the animal almost constantly vocalizing and it is known to do so in the wild as well.The rhino makes three distinct noises: eeps, whales, and whistle-blows. The eep, a short, one-second-long yelp, is the most common sound. The whale, named for its similarity to vocalizations of the Humpback Whale (see: Whale song), is the most song-like vocalization and the second most common. The whale varies in pitch and lasts from 4–7 seconds. The whistle-blow is named because it consists of a two-second-long whistling noise and a burst of air in immediate succession. The whistle-blow is the loudest of the vocalizations, loud enough to make the iron bars in the zoo enclosure where the rhinos were studied vibrate. The purpose of the vocalizations is unknown, though they are theorized to convey danger, sexual readiness, and location like other ungulate vocalizations do. The whistle-blow could be heard at a great distance even in the dense brush in which the Sumatran Rhino lives. A vocalization of similar volume from elephants has been shown to carry 9.8 km (6.1 miles) and thus the whistle-blow may carry as far.The Sumatran Rhinoceros will sometimes twist saplings that they do not eat. This twisting behavior is believed to be used as a form of communication, frequently indicating a junction in a trail.

Reproduction

Females become sexually mature at the age of 6–7 years, while males become sexually mature at about 10 years old. The gestation period is around 15–16 months. The calf, which typically weighs 40–60 kg (88–132 lb), is weaned after about 15 months and stays with the mother for the first 2–3 years of its life. In the wild, the birth interval for this species is estimated to be 4–5 years; its natural child-rearing behavior is unstudied.

The reproductive habits of the Sumatran Rhinoceros have been studied in captivity. Sexual relationships begin with a courtship period characterized by increased vocalization, tail raising, urination and increased physical contact, with both male and female using their snouts to bump the other in the head and genitals. The pattern of courtship is most similar to that of the Black Rhinoceros. Young Sumatran Rhino males are often too aggressive with females, sometimes injuring and even killing them during the courtship. In the wild, the female could run away from an overly aggressive male, but in their smaller captive enclosures they cannot; this inability to escape aggressive males may partly contribute to the low success rate of captive breeding programs.

The period of oestrus itself, when the female is receptive to the male, lasts about 24 hours and observations have placed its recurrence between 21–25 days. Rhinos in the Cincinnati Zoo have been observed copulating for 30–50 minutes, similar in length to other rhinos; observations at the Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Centre in Malaysia have shown a briefer copulation cycle. As the Cincinnati Zoo has had successful pregnancies, and other rhinos also have lengthy copulatory periods, a lengthy rut may be the natural behavior.Though researchers observed successful conceptions, all these pregnancies ended in failure for a variety of reasons until the first successful captive birth in 2001; studies of these failures at the Cincinnati Zoo discovered that the Sumatran Rhino's ovulation is induced by mating and that it had unpredictable progesterone levels.Breeding success was finally achieved in 2001 by providing a pregnant rhino with supplementary progestin.












Conservation

Sumatran Rhinoceroses were once quite numerous throughout Southeast Asia. It is now estimated that less than 275 individuals remain.Though not as rare as the Javan Rhinoceros, the Sumatran Rhinoceros faces greater poaching and habitat pressures and its populations are fragmented and small, whereas a substantial population of Javan Rhinoceros live together on the Ujung Kulon peninsula in Java. While the number of Javan Rhinos in Ujung Kulon has remained relatively stable, Sumatran Rhino populations are believed to be on the decline. It is classed as critically endangered primarily due to illegal poaching and destruction of its rainforest habitat. Most remaining habitat is in inaccessible mountainous areas of Indonesia.

Poaching of Sumatran Rhinoceros, though less of a problem than with African Rhinoceros (least in terms of number of animals killed), is cause for concern because dealers are likely speculating that if the species becomes extinct then the price of its horn, estimated as high as $30,000 per kilogram,could dramatically increase. The Sumatran Rhinoceros was never intensively hunted by European hunters. The rhinos are difficult to observe and hunt directly (one field researcher spent seven weeks in a treehide near a salt lick without ever observing a rhino directly), so poachers make use of spear traps and pit traps. In the 1970s, uses of the rhinoceros's body parts among the local people of Sumatra were documented, such as the use of rhino horns in amulets and a folk-belief that the horns offer some protection against poison. Dried rhinoceros meat was used as medicine for diarrhea, leprosy and tuberculosis. "Rhino-oil," a concoction made from leaving a rhino's skull in coconut oil for several weeks, may be used to treat skin diseases. The extent of use and belief in these practices is not known. It was once believed that rhinoceros horn was widely used as an aphrodisiac; in fact traditional Chinese medicine never used it for this purpose.

The rain forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, which the Sumatran Rhino inhabits, are also targets for legal and illegal logging because of the desirability of their hardwoods. Rare woods like merbau, meranti and semaram are valuable on the international markets, fetching as much as $1,800 per m3 ($1,375 per cu yd). Enforcement of illegal-logging laws is difficult because humans live within or nearby many of the same forests as the rhino. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake has been used to justify new logging. Although the hardwoods in the rain forests of the Sumatran Rhino are destined for international markets and not widely used in domestic construction, the number of logging permits for these woods has increased dramatically because of the tsunami.

In captivity

Though rare, Sumatran Rhinoceroses have been occasionally exhibited in zoos for nearly a century and a half. The London Zoo acquired two Sumatran Rhinoceros in 1872. One of these, a female named Begum, was captured in Chittagong in 1868 and survived at the London Zoo until 1900, the record lifetime in captivity for Sumatran Rhinos. At the time of their acquisition, Philip Sclater, the secretary of the Zoological Society of London claimed that the first Sumatran Rhinoceros in zoos had been in the collection of the Zoological Garden of Hamburg since 1868. Before the extinction of the subspecies Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotis, at least seven specimens were held in zoos and circuses. Sumatran Rhinos, however, did not thrive outside their native habitats. A rhino in the Calcutta Zoo successfully gave birth in 1889, but for the entire 20th century not one Sumatran Rhino was born in a zoo. In 1972, the only Sumatran Rhino remaining in captivity died at the Copenhagen Zoo.

Despite the species' persistent lack of reproductive success, in the early 1980s some conservation organizations began a captive breeding program for the Sumatran Rhinoceros. Between 1984 and 1996 this ex situ conservation program transported 40 Sumatran Rhinos from their native habitat to zoos and reserves across the world. While hopes were initially high, and much research was conducted on the captive specimens, by the late 1990s not a single rhino had been born in the program and most of its proponents agreed the program had been a failure. In 1997, the IUCN's Asian Rhino specialist group, which once endorsed the program, declared that it had failed "even maintaining the species within acceptable limits of mortality," noting that, in addition to the lack of births, 20 of the captured rhinos had died. In 2004, a surra outbreak at the Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Centre killed all the captive rhinos in peninsular Malaysia, reducing the population of captive rhinos to eight.

Seven of these captive rhinos were sent to the United States (the other was kept in Southeast Asia), but by 1997, their numbers had dwindled to three: a female in the Los Angeles Zoo, a male in the Cincinnati Zoo, and a female in the Bronx Zoo. In a final effort, the three rhinos were united in Cincinnati. After years of failed attempts, the female from Los Angeles, Emi, became pregnant for the sixth time, with the zoo's male Ipuh. All five of her previous pregnancies ended in failure. But researchers at the zoo had learned from previous failures, and, with the aid of special hormone treatments, Emi gave birth to a healthy male calf named Andalas (an Indonesian literary word for "Sumatra") in September 2001. Andalas's birth was the first successful captive birth of a Sumatran Rhino in 112 years. A female calf, named Suci (Indonesian for "pure"), followed on July 30, 2004.On April 29, 2007, Emi gave birth a third time, to her second male calf, named Harapan (Indonesian for "hope") or Harry. In 2007, Andalas, who had been living at the Los Angeles Zoo, was returned to Sumatra to take part in breeding programs with healthy females.

Despite the recent successes in Cincinnati, the captive breeding program has remained controversial. Proponents argue that zoos have aided the conservation effort by studying the reproductive habits, raising public awareness and education about the rhinos, and helping raise financial resources for conservation efforts in Sumatra. Opponents of the captive breeding program argue that losses are too great; the program too expensive; removing rhinos from their habitat, even temporarily, alters their ecological role; and captive populations cannot match the rate of recovery seen in well-protected native habitats.

Cultural depictions

Aside from those few individuals kept in zoos and pictured in books, the Sumatran Rhinoceros has remained little known, overshadowed by the more common Indian, Black and White rhinos. Recently, however, video footage of the Sumatran Rhinoceros in its native habitat and in breeding centers has been featured in several nature documentaries. Extensive footage can be found in an Asia Geographic documentary The Littlest Rhino. Natural History New Zealand showed footage of a Sumatran rhino, shot by freelance Indonesian-based cameraman Alain Compost, in the 2001 documentary The Forgotten Rhino, which featured mainly Javan and Indian rhinos.

Though documented by droppings and tracks, pictures of the Bornean Rhinoceros were first taken and widely distributed by modern conservationists in April 2006 when camera traps photographed a healthy adult in the jungles of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. On April 24, 2007 it was announced that cameras had captured the first ever video footage of a wild Bornean Rhino. The night-time footage showed the rhino eating, peering through jungle foliage, and sniffing the film equipment. The World Wildlife Fund which took the video has used it in efforts to convince local governments to turn the area into a rhino conservation zone.

A number of folk tales about the Sumatran Rhino were collected by colonial naturalists and hunters from the mid 1800s to early 1900s. In Burma, the belief was once widespread that the Sumatran Rhino ate fire. Tales described the fire-eating rhino following smoke to its source, especially camp-fires, and then attacking the camp. There was also a Burmese belief that the best time to hunt was every July when the Sumatran Rhinos would congregate beneath the full moon. In Malaya it was said that the rhino's horn was hollow and could be used as a sort of hose for breathing air and squirting water. In Malaya and Sumatra it was once believed that the rhino shed its horn every year and buried it under the ground. In Borneo, the rhino was said to have a strange carnivorous practice: after defecating in a stream it would turn around and eat fish that had been stupefied by the excrement.



More on The Sumatran Rhinoceros : Arkive

                                                            Rhinos-irf.org

                                                     

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A Sumatran Rhinoceros wallows in the mud at the Cincinnati Zoo pic by Ltshears
A 1927 drawing of a Sumatran RhinocerosThe Sumatran RhinocerosThe Sumatran Rhinoceros
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The Sumatran Rhinoceros - Emi and Harapan, Sumatran Rhinos, in the Cincinnati Zoo pic by CharlesSFThe Sumatran Rhinoceros at Cincinnati Zoo
 - pic by Phil Myers (photographer, copyright holder), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan.



The Sumatran rhinoceros was first examined and drawn by William Bell in 1793
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The Sumatran RhinocerosThe Sumatran Rhinoceros shot in Sankara region 1925
 
Source Animal Photo Album
 
Author Family of Captain George L. Anderson, C&GS
 
The Sumatran Rhinoceros - Head of Sumatran rhinoceros. In the contribution by S. Muller and H. Schlegel in C.J. Temminck, Verhandelingen over de natuurlijke geschiedenis der Nederlandsche overzeesche bezittingen 1839
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The Sumatran RhinocerosThe difference between Rhinoceros lasiotis (with ear fingers) and R. sumatrensis figured by Sclater in 1876
    The Dumbo Octopus
The Dumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - Grimpoteuthis
Dumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - Grimpoteuthis
Dumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - Grimpoteuthis
Dumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - Grimpoteuthis
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The Dumbo Octopus

The octopuses of the genus Grimpoteuthis are also known as "Dumbo octopuses" from the ear-like fins protruding from the top of their head-like bodies, resembling the ears of Walt Disney's flying elephant. They are bathyal creatures, living at extreme depths: 3000-4000 meters, and are some of the rarest of the Octopoda species. There are fourteen types of Grimpoteuthis and little is known about most of them. Members of the species are found in both the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans.
They can flush the transparent layer of their skin at will, and are pelagic animals, as with all other cirrate octopuses.

They hover above the sea floor, searching for worms, bivalves, pelagic copepods, and other crustaceans. They move by pulsing their arms, shooting water through their funnel, or by waving their ear-like fins. They can use each of these techniques separately or all simultaneously. The males and females are different in their size and sucker patterns. The females lay eggs consistently, with no distinct breeding season.Also they are without enlarged sucker fields on arms of males.

Dumbo Octopuses are found at considerable depths, typically living from 100-5,000m depth, although one was sighted at 7,000m, the deepest depth of any cephalopod.


There are about 37 species, currently assigned to four genera. Many are poorly understood.


Dumbo Octopuses can grow to 20cm.


They are found in every ocean.


This creature is typically benthic, living on or close to the bottom of the ocean floor, though some may be found some meters from the seabed where they drift, with arms outspread.


These deep-dwelling octopus swim by flapping their large ears and/or by expansion and contraction of their webbed arms. They are graceful swimmers and capable of rapid escape when threatened.


Bottom-dwelling species eat crustaceans, worms and bivalves. Those hovering above the bottom tend to eat pelagic copepods. They are unusual in that they mainly swallow prey whole.


The Dumbo Octopus swims by flapping its large ears and/or by expansion and contraction of its webbed arms. They are graceful swimmers and capable of rapid escape when threatened.














More on The Dumbo Octopus : tolweb.org

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Dumbo Octopus - GrimpoteuthisDumbo Octopus - Grimpoteuthis
           The Narwhal
       The Narwhal Tooth
Diving with  The Narwhal
The Narwhal  - The frequent (solid) and rare (striped) occurrence of narwhal populations pic by Sansculotte
The narwhal The narwhal The narwhal  - Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year.Pic by 
Canadian Paul Nicklen. Aerial image of male narwhal whales feeding was the winning photo in the competition’s Animals in their Environment category
The narwhal The narwhal  The narwhal The narwhal
The narwhal  - Narwhals "breach" pic by Glenn Williams

The narwhal The narwhal The narwhal - Narwhals in the Creswell Bay (at Somerset Island)
pic by Ansgar Walk
The narwhal The narwhal The narwhal The narwhal
The narwhal The narwhal The narwhal The narwhal - A narwhal skull with double tusks, a rare trait in narwhals. Usually males have a single long tusk protruding from the incisor on the left side of the upper jaw. (Zoologisches Museum in Hamburg) pic by Sönke Behrends
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The narwhal

The narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is a medium-sized toothed whale that lives year-round in the Arctic. One of two species of whale in the Monodontidae family, along with the Beluga whale, the narwhal males are distinguished by a characteristic long, straight, helical tusk extending from their upper left jaw. Found primarily in Canadian Arctic and Greenlandic waters rarely south of 65°N latitude, the narwhal is a uniquely specialized Arctic predator. In the winter, it feeds on benthic prey, mostly flatfish, at depths of up to 1500 m under dense pack ice. Narwhal have been harvested for over a thousand years by Inuit people in Northern Canada and Greenland for meat and ivory and a regulated subsistence hunt continues to this day. While populations appear stable, the narwhal has been deemed particularly vulnerable to climate change due to a narrow geographical range and specialized diet.

Taxonomy and etymology

The narwhal was one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae. This is based on the Old Norse word nár, meaning "corpse", in reference to the animal's greyish, mottled pigmentation, like that of a drowned sailor.The scientific name, Monodon monoceros, is derived from Greek: "one-tooth one-horn".












Description

Male narwhals weigh up to 1,600 kilograms (3,500 lb), and the females weigh around 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb). The pigmentation of the narwhal is a mottled black and white pattern. They are darkest when born and become whiter in color with age.

The most conspicuous characteristic of the male narwhal is its single 2–3 meter (7–10 ft) long tusk. It is an incisor tooth that projects from the left side of the upper jaw and forms a left-handed helix. The tusk can be up to 3 meters (9.8 ft) long (compared with a body length of 4–5 meters (13–16 ft)) and weigh up to 10 kilograms (22 lb). About one in 500 males has two tusks, which occurs when the right incisor, normally small, also grows out. A female narwhal may also produce a tusk, but this occurs rarely, and there is a single recorded case of a female with dual tusks.

The most broadly accepted theory for the role of the tusk is as a secondary sexual characteristic, similar to the mane of a lion or the tail feathers of a peacock.This hypothesis was notably discussed and defended at length by Charles Darwin, in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871). It may help determine social rank, maintain dominance hierarchies or help young males develop skills necessary for performance in adult sexual roles. Narwhals have rarely been observed using their tusk for fighting or other aggressive behavior or for breaking sea ice in their Arctic habitat.












Behavior and diet

Narwhals have a relatively restricted and specialized diet. Their prey is predominantly composed of Greenland halibut, polar and Arctic cod, shrimp and Gonatus squid. Additional items found in stomachs have included wolffish, capelin, skate eggs and sometimes rocks, accidentally ingested when whales feed near the bottom.

Narwhals exhibit seasonal migrations with high fidelity of return to preferred ice-free summering grounds, usually in shallow waters. In the winter, they are found primarily in offshore, deeper waters under thick pack ice, surfacing in narrow fissures in the sea ice, or leads.Narwhals from Canada and West Greenland winter regularly in the pack ice of Davis Strait and Baffin Bay along the continental slope with less than 5% open water and high densities of Greenland halibut. Feeding in the winter accounts for a much larger portion of narwhal energy intake than in the summer and, as marine predators, they are unique in their successful exploitation of deep-water arctic ecosystems.

Most notable of their adaptations is the ability to perform deep dives. When on their wintering grounds, the narwhals make some of the deepest dives ever recorded for a marine mammal, diving to at least 800 meters (2,400 feet) over 15 times per day with many dives reaching 1,500 meters (4,500 feet). Dives to these depths last around 25 minutes, including the time spent at the bottom and the transit down and back from the surface.In the shallower summering grounds, narwhals dive to depths between 30 and 300 meters (90-900 feet).

Narwhals normally congregate in groups of about five to ten individuals. In the summer, several groups come together forming larger aggregations. At times, male narwhals rub one another's tusks together in an activity called "tusking".This behavior is thought to maintain social dominance hierarchies.












Population and distribution

The narwhal is found predominantly in the Atlantic and Russian areas of the Arctic. Individuals are commonly recorded in the northern part of Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Baffin Bay; off the east coast of Greenland; and in a strip running east from the northern end of Greenland round to eastern Russia (170° East). Land in this strip includes Svalbard, Franz Joseph Land, and Severnaya Zemlya.The northernmost sightings of narwhal have occurred north of Franz Joseph Land, at about 85° North latitude.

The world population is currently estimated to be around 75,000 individuals. Most of the world's narwhals are concentrated in the fjords and inlets of Northern Canada and western Greenland.

Narwhals are a migratory species. In summer months they move closer to coasts, usually in pods of 10-100. As the winter freeze begins, they move away from shore, and reside in densely-packed ice, surviving in leads and small holes in the ice. As spring comes, these leads open up into channels and the narwhals return to the coastal bays.













Predation and conservation

The only predators of narwhals besides man are polar bears and orcas. Inuit people are allowed to hunt this whale species legally for subsistence. The northern climate provides little nutrition in the form of vitamins which can only be obtained through the consumption of seal, whale, and walrus. Almost all parts of the narwhal, meat, skin, blubber and organs, are consumed. Mattak, the name for raw skin and blubber, is considered a delicacy, and the bones are used for tools and art. In some places in Greenland such as Qaanaaq, traditional hunting methods are used, and whales are harpooned from handmade kayaks. In other parts of Greenland and Northern Canada, high-speed boats and hunting rifles are used.


The head of a lance made from a Narwhal tusk with a meteorite iron bladeNarwhal have been found to be one of the most vulnerable arctic marine mammals to climate change. The study quantified the vulnerabilities of 11 year-round Arctic sea mammals.

Attempts to keep the narwhal in captivity have been unsuccessful. All narwhals that have been brought into captivity in the past have only lived for a few months.

In culture

In Inuit legend, the narwhal's tusk was created when a woman with a harpoon rope tied around her waist was dragged into the ocean after the harpoon had struck a large narwhal. She was transformed into a narwhal herself, and her hair, that she was wearing in a twisted knot, became the characteristic spiral narwhal tusk.

Some medieval Europeans believed narwhal tusks to be the horns from the legendary unicorn.As these horns were considered to have magic powers, such as the ability to cure poison and melancholia, Vikings and other northern traders were able to sell them for many times their weight in gold. The tusks were used to make cups that were thought to negate any poison that may have been slipped into the drink. During the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth received a carved and bejeweled narwhal tusk for £10,000—the cost of a castle (approximately £1.5—2.5 Million in 2007, using the retail price index). The tusks were staples of the cabinet of curiosities.

The truth of the tusk's origin developed gradually during the Age of Exploration, as explorers and naturalists began to visit Arctic regions themselves. In 1555, Olaus Magnus published a drawing of a fish-like creature with a horn on its forehead, correctly identifying it as a "Narwal".

Herman Melville wrote a section on the narwhal in Moby Dick, in which he claims that a narwhal tusk hung for "a long period" in Windsor Castle after Sir Martin Frobisher had given it to Queen Elizabeth.













A baby Narwhal being weighed in New York Aquarium,and being hand fed.


More on The narwhal  : Narwhalwhales.

                                      Nationalgeographic

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The narwhal The narwhal - Teeth of narwhale, presented in the administration of Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresby Sund), east Greenland
pic by Hans GrobeThe narwhal
The narwhal The narwhal - pic by  Licorne37
 The narwhal
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The narwhal - Photo of an Inuit lance with an iron meteorite head (Cape York meteorite) in the british museum. pic by geni
The narwhal The narwhal
The narwhal The narwhal The narwhal
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The narwhal The Austrian Imperial Crown Jewels, displayed in the Schatzkammer in Vienna. Shown here are the three most important pieces: The Crown of Rudolf II, the Orb and the Sceptre. The handle of the sceptre is manufactured from a narwahl tusk.
pic by Florian PrischlThe narwhal  - Post stamp cccp 1970 - 10 kopecks
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