Readers’ wildlife photos

Now that he’s back from Hobbitland, Stephen Barnard has started sending us photos again. And I can’t believe I’m including d*gs as wildlife here, except that I like border collies best among all d*gs—and the puppies are cute. His report:

The weather conditions have been difficult and good photos have been few  and far between.

The first is a pair of Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) at long distance. I like the color of the background.

RT9A4691

The second is yet another Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) that are  common as dirt here but spooky.

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Finally, my d*g, the Border Collie Deets [Canis lupus familiaris], in action yesterday, and in October 2010 as a pup (on the far left).

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And reader Joe Dickenson sends what I think are our first photographs of clams:

I think this may be a new one for your wildlife series:  giant clams (Tridacna gigas) taken on the reefs around four islands in French Polynesia (Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea and Huahini).  I’m not sure what causes the striking variations in color; perhaps differences in the populations of symbiotic algae?  I would be happy to hear from knowledgable readers.  Expect other reef denizens in a few days.

giant clams1

 

According to Wikipedia, these things can get up to 200 kg in weight. They also have, as Joe notes above, symbiotic algae:

The creature’s mantle tissues act as a habitat for the symbiotic single-celled dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) from which it gets nutrition. By day, the clam opens its shell and extends its mantle tissue so that the algae receive the sunlight they need to photosynthesize.

giant clams3

 

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giant clams4

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53 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Excellent, as always.

  2. Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    If there is any breed of d*g that warrants consideration for honorary cat status, it’s the Border Collie. As a former owner of one and a current owner of cats numbering in the double digits, I speak from experience.

    • Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      What is the size of the double-digit number? Perhaps we should have a contest for readers who have the most cats. . .

  3. Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    So giant clams are algae gardeners. I’ll be darned.

    This summer, we were vacationing in Moro Bay and there was a giant clam shell by the door of a seafood place. My daughters thought I was putting them on that this was a real shell and not a sculpture. I had to show them photos from the Internet to convince them, and they were still suspicious. Such is nature: improbable.

    And Deets! Good boy!

  4. DireLobo
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Big fan of the Giant Clam. Visited a hatchery once in Majuro, Marshall Islands. Heard a long talk about their gestation period, how they are released into the wild, and a lot about pigmentation. Not being qualified to speak on the topic, I found this helpful site which explains it in great detail. Here are the basics:

    Mantle Colors
    Tridacnids can produce numerous pigments, and the zooxanthellae make their own pigments, as well, making the appearance of tridacnid mantles a collaboration of sorts between the host and the hosted. The zooxanthellae make pigments used in the process of photosynthesis, like chlorophyll and peridinin, as well as a few others, and the pigments created by the clams are used primarily as sunscreens that protect both of them from excessive light (Yonge 1975). That’s not all, though, as in different situations some pigments may also serve other functions.

    From: http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/why-do-tridacnids-look-the-way-they-look.htm

    • Hempenstein
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Very cool to know that there’s at least one hatchery on the planet devoted to raising giant clams!

  5. Randy Schenck
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    If you look up definition of a d*g in any dictionary, that picture of the collie running thru the snow should be there.

  6. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Striking variations in mantle color. Maybe the balance of pigments is effected by water depth.

  7. Jeff Rankin
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    What a great d*g!

    • darrelle
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      I agree. In that action shot he looks so happy and so AMPED UP, if he doesn’t bring a smile to your face I hope friends or family stage an intervention soon!

  8. Stephen Barnard
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I really didn’t think Jerry would post the photo of my d*g (Deets), so I included the puppy shot to try to put it over the top. No can resist puppies.

    Those clams are amaz…, er, beautiful.

    • Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      LOL! I was tricked! Actually, I would have published the d*g picture anyway, as some of the readers ar d*g lovers and it’s also a great picture.

      • Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        I agree: Wonderful shot of Deets running at you! Hwo did he/she get them name “Deets”? 🙂

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted February 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          He’s named after the Danny Glover character in Lonesome Dove. Border Collie names are typically one syllable, often with a hard consonant. His dad is (Red Top) Riggs, the 2010 National Champion (herding trials).

  9. Posted February 12, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of the green photosynthesizing sea slug! (Elysia chlorotica):
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150203155925.htm

    Those clam photos are wonderful.

    I love the way Deets is looking askance at his litter mates.

    • Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Stephen, how come the white plume between Deets’s eyes seems to have got smaller from when he was a pup? Do you trim it, or did the black hairs take over?

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Puppy fluff?

        • Posted February 12, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Could be, as I see in the photo below that some of the white hairs are covering black hairs.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        I have no idea, but it did. Here’s a photo of him right after I took him home.

        IMGP0620

        • Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          Awwwwwwww!

        • Posted February 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          Awwwwwww again… he was and is so adorable!

        • Taskin
          Posted February 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          What a sweetheart! What made you choose him out of the litter?

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

            Choosing a pup is always tough. I always want the pick of the litter and do research on the temperament and health of the parents. At about 7-8 weeks the personalities of the pups start to become apparent. I look at how they interact with each other and with me. I want one that isn’t too shy or too aggressive. In the case of this small litter (4) all the pups were similar in temperament, so I chose the prettiest one. 🙂

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

              There is no “prettiest” one! (But don’t tell Deets I said that.) I’d probably have had to flip a coin to choose one over the others. 😀

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          He looks a little miffed in that photo. 🙂

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

            You might look miffed too if you were taken from your mother, brothers, and sisters at eight weeks old, driven 100 miles in a truck (which you’ve never experienced before), with a bossy and jealous, strange older female border collie, to a remote cabin in the mountains of Idaho. They adapt quickly.

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        I’m guessing it didn’t get smaller, and the rest of the skull got bigger faster.

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted February 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          That never occurred to me. Good call.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          My dogs are 12 & 15 yrs old now and their facial markings have changed a great deal since when they were puppies. And it’s an ongoing process.

          Not long ago we were noticing that Phoebe’s white eyebrows were looking bigger and messier and my daughter pointed out that people’s did that, too.

          • merilee
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

            Do you trim Phoebe’s eyebrows? Is she developing chin hairs? Wait, she’s always had those;-)

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 12, 2015 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

              😀

              I hope you realize that she’s still our boo-tiful little girl!

              • merilee
                Posted February 12, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

                But of course;-)

  10. still learning
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Smile! You’re on Candid Clamera! (well, they do look like they’re grinning)

  11. darrelle
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Motion in the ocean . . .

  12. Charles Jones
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Love the clams! I’ve always had a soft spot for the mollusks.

  13. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    “Now that he’s back from Hobbitland”.

    Tricky! Since Jerry is a biologist, I went “Did Stephen pass Flores on his way back from New Z… oh, wait.”

    The creature’s mantle tissues act as a habitat for the symbiotic single-celled dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) from which it gets nutrition.

    That reminded me of a tidbit I picked from two parts of Brian Cox’s series Wonder’s of Life.

    [The first and last, mostly on astrobiology. He promoted alkaline hydrothermal vent emergence (!), but got the early cold, wet Earth and so the likeliest age of life slightly wrong. It was based on a travelogue, so I wonder why they didn’t call it “Life of Brian”?]

    The Golden Medusa, and as it happens other jellies and some corals, have these symbionts as well:

    “Like some other jellies, [i]Mastigias[/i] harbor symbiotic algae in their tissues. These algae (in the group Zooxanthellae) are related to those found in coral, and have struck a similar deal with their host: the algae provide the jellies sugars from photosynthesis, and the jellies in turn provide them with nutrients from the plankton they eat.”

    [ https://thoughtandawe.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/golden-medusa/ ]

    As I understood it from Cox, the algae is found inside some of the jellies cells, akin to how they are found in the green sea slug mentioned before.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Most corals, in fact. 🙂

      And when they’re stressed the polyps can eject their zooxanthellae leading to bleached (and usually dying) reefs.

  14. Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Sub

  15. Mark R.
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Deets is a handsome boy. I wish it would snow over here so our d*gs could play in it; I’ve never met a d*g that doesn’t like snow.

    Neat clams! I used to be a “reefer” (one who maintains reef tanks) and I had a Tridacnid that got quite large. It’s a fun hobby, but I decided the corals and fish and such should stay in the ocean, so I abandoned the hobby when we moved- and all the work it entails. I’ve thought about submitting photos (I have hundreds) but didn’t think the critters were wildlife since they were in tanks.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      I gave up keeping reef tanks because of all the work, but at the same time I gave up some growing guilt, too.

      They do present wonderful photo opportunities!

  16. Anna
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Lovely photos as usual. Thank you. I too am a huge fan of border collies, though I could never keep one myself as I am not smart or energetic enough to keep up with one. Luckily I get care for a geriatric border collie sometimes, when her parents go away for work. On a walk one day I realized that she knows her left and right. Probably not a big feat for a border collie, but I was impressed. 🙂

    Just wanted to give a shout out for the wonderful carotenoid pigmentation in those Salix trees in the top picture. I’m sure you’re all noticing how the willows around your (northern hemisphere) neighbourhoods are getting intensely yellow this time of year. Accumulation of carotenoids, possibly for UV protection.

    • Anna
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      …not smart nor energetic enough…

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the information, Anna, that’s cool to know!

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      I have a geriatric female border collie, Bee. Fifteen years old, one eye, nearly deaf, but she’s still the boss. That’s the way dogs are. The oldest female rules the roost.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Just like Phoebe, our 15-yr-old mutt. Stone deaf and very rickety. But she’s the boss, not only of the 12-yr-old male, but of the 8-yr-old extremely lively female my daughter recently adopted.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 13, 2015 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        My female dog is very dominant. I have to be assertive with her and she quickly learns who are the pushovers.

        • Posted February 13, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          My almost 13-yr-old femsle, too. I had to play strong alpha bitch with her during puppyhood. My little 5-month old kitten often lords it over her, though. Kittens can be scary!

  17. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    That last clam looks like an old lady, pursing her lips and saying “hmmmmm”. I don’t know why, it just does.

    • Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey:-). The clam needs a fancy cane to “pronounce” with.

  18. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, I’ve got a few clammy ones from Tanzania.
    Might be going back.

  19. Diane G.
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Stephen and Joe! Greatly enjoyed both your pictures and the discussions they generated.

  20. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    except that I like border collies best among all d*gs

    While definitely not being a “dog person” (while going to the office this morning I had to “growl-down” a particularly yappy member of the species, while thinking of Korean recipes), I too like Borders “Get Down Shep!” Collies. In particular, the way they sometimes turn round, lookk at their “master” and write all over their eyebrows the question : “for you, I gave up being a cat! WHAT was I thinking?”

  21. Posted February 25, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on achuybloger and commented:
    life is like the wind that blows


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