The American alligator’s tail can regenerate giving them a functional advantage when living in murky aquatic habitats via Awesome facts

The American alligator’s tail can regenerate like that of other reptiles

Some lizards have developed strategies to regrow their docked tails, but until now little was known about the much larger American alligator’s ability to regenerate it. A team of scientists has discovered that the youngest alligators can recover part of this limb, but this differs from the original structure.

The case of the lizards, with their “removable” tails, is well known. These small vertebrates are capable of re-creating nerve cells, like other lizards, and regenerating this limb. The strategy of shedding the tail is common to escape predators, but what about much larger reptiles, such as the American alligator?

So far, it was not well documented if this crocodilian, one of the largest in the American continent, could have this ability to recover its enormous tail. A team from Arizona State University and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, both in the United States, shows for the first time that the youngest specimens, caught in the wild, had recovered their tail up to 18% of the full length of their body, although they were morphologically different from the original sections.

To analyze the structure of the regenerated limbs, the scientists performed MRIs and X-rays combined with anatomical and tissue organization studies. The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the new tails lacked skeletal muscle – unlike other lizards – and formed complex structures with a central skeleton composed of cartilage and surrounded by fibrous connective tissue intertwined with blood vessels and nerves.

“What makes the alligator interesting, apart from its size, is that the re-growing tail shows signs of regeneration and wound healing within the same structure,” explains Cindy Xu, lead author and researcher at the American university.

This overproduction of connective tissue was similar to wound healing or fibrosis in mammals, the scientists found. “We were surprised to discover scar-like connective tissue rather than skeletal muscle in the regenerated crocodile tail,” Xu adds.

The partial limb growth of these crocodiles does share similarities with the regenerated tails of New Zalanda tuataras and the regenerated limbs of adult Xenopus frogs, which have a cartilaginous endoskeleton surrounded by connective tissue without skeletal muscle.

What does regeneration contribute?

The study confirms that between the different species of reptiles and other animals, the regenerative capacity varies, and can be costly. In the case of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), scientists believe that regenerating their tails can give them a functional advantage when living in murky aquatic habitats.

The regenerated alligator tail is different from the original. Although the scales grow back, a tube of cartilage (in yellow) replaces the bone (in ocher) and skeletal muscle does not reappear (in red). In its place is a large amount of fibrous connective tissue (in pink). / Arizona State University

This finding provides more information on how reptiles are the only amniotes – a group of animals with backbones among which humans are found – to maintain the ability to recover their lost limbs. “The ancestors of alligators, dinosaurs and birds separated about 250 million years ago. The study shows that the alligators have retained the cellular machinery to regenerate complex tails while the birds have lost that capacity ”, emphasizes Kenro Kusumi, co-principal author, and professor and director of the School of Life Sciences of the University of the State of Arizona . So at what point in evolution was this ability lost? So far, scientists have found no evidence of fossils of dinosaurs, whose lineage led to modern birds, with regenerated tails.

Furthermore, understanding how different animals can regenerate tissues could help develop medical therapies, according to the researchers. The team hopes that these findings will uncover new therapeutic approaches to repair injuries and treat diseases such as arthritis

Some lizards have developed strategies to regrow their docked tails, but until now little was known about the much larger American alligator’s ability to regenerate it. A team of scientists has discovered that the youngest alligators can recover part of this limb, but this differs from the original structure. The case of the lizards, with […]

The American alligator’s tail can regenerate like that of other reptiles — Awesome Facts to learn on Virtual Science

Lake Mendocino invasive mussel species inspections now seven days a week — The Ukiah Daily Journal

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Mendocino announced it will now be conducting inspections seven days a week for invasive mussel species, with help from the Sonoma County Water Agency, an increase from the current weekend inspections. The inspections will start every day on Sunday, March 1, and the inspectors will be looking […]

via Lake Mendocino invasive mussel species inspections now seven days a week — The Ukiah Daily Journal

WATCH: Oak Park Home Engulfed In Flames Collapses As CBS2’s Tom Wait Reports Live — CBS Los Angeles

List of Closures and Evacuations | Real-Time Updates OAK PARK, Calif. (CBSLA) — The devastating Woolsey Fire continues to spread across the Southland, causing the evacuation of over 75,000 homes already in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. CBS 2’s Tom Wait witnessed the fire’s destructive power firsthand while reporting from Oak Park. (CBS2) In the video…

via WATCH: Oak Park Home Engulfed In Flames Collapses As CBS2’s Tom Wait Reports Live — CBS Los Angeles

Pacific island Vatuvara wildlife survey — via Dear Kitty blog

This 2017 video from Fiji is called Vatuvara Private Islands.

From BirdLife:

22 Nov 2017

Exploring the untouched island of Vatuvara

This is the first time a full biological survey has ever been performed on this remote, almost untouched island in the South Pacific. The intriguing and fascinating results have redoubled the Vatuvara Foundation’s efforts to safeguard this lush wildlife haven.

By Steve Cranwell

The island of Vatuvara perfectly embodies the intrigue and beauty of the South Pacific islands. Located in the north of Fiji’s Lau group, the 800-hectare island has been uninhabited for most of human history. This is due in part to the absence of a permanent water source – but the sharp, unforgiving coral terrain certainly doesn’t help.

For a time, the island hosted a fortified village atop the 300-metre summit – no doubt a strategic lookout point for Fijian warriors. But apart from a desperate attempt at coconut production during Fiji’s plantation era, Vatuvara has largely been spared the impacts of human influence. And that includes many invasive species common on other South Pacific islands – making Vatuvara an invaluable refuge for wildlife.

Despite the detailed knowledge of the indigenous Fijians, practically the only formal scientific account of the island comes from the remarkable Whitney Expeditions, which visited Fiji in 1924, identifying the endemic Fiji Banded Iguana Brachylophus fasciatus among other native flora and fauna species.

Now under the care of Vatuvara Private Islands, the island is protected as a nature reserve. In November, BirdLife International Pacific, together with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti (BirdLife in Fiji) and the US Geological Survey, joined the Vatuvara Foundation to conduct a pioneering four-day survey.

The survey initially focused on the island’s reptiles, in particular the Banded Iguana – currently threatened with extinction – and a snake, the Pacific Boa Candoia bibroni. During the night, several sleeping reptiles were stealthily extracted from the branches above for identification.

Coconut crabs Birgus latro proved to be a very visible part of the island fauna. Although active throughout the day, it was at night that the forest came alive to a slow, deliberate dance as the world’s largest arthropods (weighing up to 4kg and a metre from leg to leg) shuffled about the forest floor, or climbed trees and vertical rock faces in search of sustenance. Once common throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, these unique, long lived terrestrial crabs, who can survive for 40-60 years, are under threat. Considered a local delicacy, crab populations are now increasingly confined to remote inaccessible islands or locally protected areas.

Vatuvara is an island for birds. Dawn and dusk resounded to a cacophony of calls as the Wattled Honeyeater Foulehaio carunculatus, along with the 20 other species we identified, made their presence known. Almost all were forest birds, a validation of the quality of Vatuvara’s forest. A particularly encouraging sighting was the Shy Ground Dove Alopecoenas stairi, threatened with extinction elsewhere due to introduced predators such as feral cats and rats.

In terms of invasive species, no evidence of cats, pigs, goats, Black rats Rattus rattus, mongoose, invasive ants or any of Fiji’s usual suspects could be found. However, the Pacific rat Rattus exulans was present. This non-native rat predates small birds and their eggs, as well as many of Fiji’s invertebrates and fauna.

All good surveys pose as many questions as they answer, and something of a surprise for Vatuvara was the notable absence of seabirds, generating numerous hypotheses, including what influence Coconut Crabs may pose. Ornithologist Vilikesa Masibalavu also noted an unusual phenomenon among the Island’s Fiji Whistlers Pachycephala vitiensis. They weren’t hard to find – but they were strangely silent, and not a single male could be found.

While much still remains to be discovered on Vatuvara, the survey highlighted the Island’s vital importance to Fiji’s natural history. It was found to hold a wealth of diverse native plants and wildlife increasingly under threat on other islands. Future work will build on this baseline, tracking trends in birds, coconut crabs and reptiles and ensuring harmful invasive species don’t establish. In protecting the island, the Vatuvara Foundation have made a visionary commitment to safeguarding a crucial haven for Fiji’s wildlife.

 

This 2017 video from Fiji is called Vatuvara Private Islands. From BirdLife: 22 Nov 2017 Exploring the untouched island of Vatuvara This is the first time a full biological survey has ever been performed on this remote, almost untouched island in the South Pacific. The intriguing and fascinating results have redoubled the Vatuvara Foundation’s efforts […]

via Pacific island Vatuvara wildlife survey — Dear Kitty. Some blog

Disturbing Video Shows Sloth Clinging To Tree As Loggers Chop It Down — A Sweet Dose of Reality

 In many places, taking photos with animals is a lucrative business, especially in areas with a lot of tourism. But, have you ever thought about how those animals end up in the “selfie-taking business” in the first place, or how high their quality of living could be?

The people featured in the video are illegal loggers. Approximately 80% of Peruvian timber exports can be attributed to illegal logging, and many of the loggers involved with this will kidnap and sell animals for a little extra money. Sloths are often their animals of choice because they’re so slow and thus easier to catch.

World Animal Protection is encouraging people to stop taking photos with animals if they involve hugging/holding/restraining them, if the animal is being “baited” with food, if the animal could harm you, or if the animal is outside of its natural habitat.

Final Thoughts

Although it may seem like common sense not to harm animals or take photos with them outside of their natural habitat to some people, many of us simply don’t think about the animals we’re taking selfies with. We can get so excited and wrapped up in the moment that we don’t think about how our actions affect others, particularly the animals involved with these tourist attractions.

The next time you’re considering visiting an attraction that involves animals, think about the quality of living those animals likely endure. Are they trapped in a confined cage, or stolen from their natural habitats? Remember, you vote with your dollar, so only spend money on what you truly want to support!

Much love.

 

In many places, taking photos with animals is a lucrative business, especially in areas with a lot of tourism. But, have you ever thought about how those animals end up in the “selfie-taking business” in the first place, or how high their quality of living could be?

These animals are often kidnapped from their homes and forced to take photos with tourists all day instead of living in their natural habitats. They’re rarely released back into the wild after a long day of hard work, but rather they’re kept in confined, dark spaces, forced to spend their lives with a bunch of tourists.

Video of Sloth Being Kidnapped for Tourist Photos

World Animal Protection recently released a video of a sloth being stolen from his natural habitat and kidnapped for tourist photos in Iquitos, Peru. The video shows the sloth in a tree, which is then cut down so its kidnappers can steal it.

The sloth actually clings to the tree as it’s being cut down, not letting go even though it’s starting to fall. Interestingly enough, male sloths usually stay in the same tree for the entire duration of their lives!

The sloth is then rough-handled, stuffed into a small black bag, and transported to its new life in tourism.

“This footage is extremely distressing. We know that animals stolen from the wild for use as tourist photo props are kept in filthy, cramped conditions or repeatedly baited with food, causing them severe psychological trauma,” World Animal Protection CEO Steve McIvor said in a statement.

“It is ludicrous that this is to fuel the wildlife selfie craze which has become a worldwide phenomenon. This industry is fuelled by tourists, many of whom love animals and are unaware of the terrible treatment and abhorrent conditions wild animals may endure to provide that special souvenir photo.”

You can check out the full video below:

The people featured in the video are illegal loggers. Approximately 80% of Peruvian timber exports can be attributed to illegal logging, and many of the loggers involved with this will kidnap and sell animals for a little extra money. Sloths are often their animals of choice because they’re so slow and thus easier to catch.

World Animal Protection is encouraging people to stop taking photos with animals if they involve hugging/holding/restraining them, if the animal is being “baited” with food, if the animal could harm you, or if the animal is outside of its natural habitat.

Final Thoughts

Although it may seem like common sense not to harm animals or take photos with them outside of their natural habitat to some people, many of us simply don’t think about the animals we’re taking selfies with. We can get so excited and wrapped up in the moment that we don’t think about how our actions affect others, particularly the animals involved with these tourist attractions.

The next time you’re considering visiting an attraction that involves animals, think about the quality of living those animals likely endure. Are they trapped in a confined cage, or stolen from their natural habitats? Remember, you vote with your dollar, so only spend money on what you truly want to support!

Much love.

 

 

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via Disturbing Video Shows Sloth Clinging To Tree As Loggers Chop It Down — A Sweet Dose of Reality