Honourable Mention in the VIZZIES 2015 by National Science Foundation and Popular Science
The Juan Fernández firecrown, Sephanoides fernandensis, is a hummingbird endemic to Robinson Crusoe Island, located in Chile, in the archipelago of Juan Fernández, designated as a National Park in 1935 and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1977.
This species shows one of the highest levels of sexual dimorphism (the difference between males and females of the same species) of all the hummingbirds in the world. They feed on the nectar of several plants like Dendroseris litoralis, a tree belonging to the Asteraceae family which is also endemic to the Juan Fernández Islands. They are both critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
New orchid species to Cuba
Encyclia navarroi is an epiphyte orchid that grows in dry evergreen forests over karst rocks at sea level in Pinar del Rio and Artemisia provinces.
This species is dedicated to Dr Luis A. Navarro Etxebarría, a Spanish biologist and researcher of plant-animal interactions, who spoted the first individual of this taxon in the field.
In 2007 doctors Ángel Vale and Danny Rojas, researchers at the University of Vigo, in collaboration with the Unidad de Servicios Ambientales of the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, in Cuba, discovered a new species of orchid previously unknown to the Cuban Flora that blooms between May and July.
Catasetum saccatum is an epiphyte orchid found in Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, in tropical mountain forests, at altitudes between 1700-2000 masl.
The generic epithet comes from the Greek word kata, "low" and the Latin one seta, "silk" and refers to the two appendages, an extension of the column, turned down in the the male flowers. The epithet saccatum is a Latin word that means "with a ball or a sack" and refers to the shape of the female flower.
Private collection of The New York State Museum
The Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus, is one of the three species of crocodiles that inhabit Africa (sub-Saharan Africa, south of Israel, Algeria and Madagascar) and the second largest in the world, being able to measure the male specimens up to 6 m and weigh up to 600 kg. They live in fresh water lakes and rivers.
Private collection of the Jardin botanique alpin du Lautaret
Plant belonging to the Asteraceae family, with about 24000 species worldwide. The genus Rhaponticum comprises about 20 species distributed in the Mediterranean region, Alps, Asia and Australia.
This species, in particular, is in France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the ex_Yugoslavia. It grows in rocky area communities, in high mountain grasslands and subalpine areas, between 1600 and 2300 masl.
The leafy specimen used as a model for this illustration can be enjoyed in full bloom in early August at the entrance of the Jardin botanique alpine du Lautaret.
© 2015 - 2021. Juan Luis Castillo