Dissolved carbon dioxide makes seawater more acidic—a process called ocean acidification—and its effects have already been observed: the shells of sea butterflies, also known as pteropods, have begun dissolving in the Antarctic. Tiny sea butterflies are related to snails, but use their muscular foot to swim in the water instead of creep along a surface. Their sensitivity and cosmopolitan nature make them an alluring study group for scientists who want to better understand how acidification will affect ocean organisms.
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But some pteropod species are proving to do just fine in more acidic water, while others have shells that dissolve quickly. So why do some species perish while others thrive?
After collecting living animals while SCUBA diving in the open ocean, she brings them back to the research ship and photographs each in a shallow tank of clear water with a Canon 5D camera with a 65mm lens, using three to four flashes to capture the colors of the mostly-transparent critters. All of these photos were taken in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico and California.
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For years, sea butterflies were only collected by net. Researchers then drop the collected pteropods into small jars of alcohol for preservation, which causes the soft parts to shrivel—leaving behind just the shell.
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Scientists try to sort the sea butterflies into species by comparing the shells alone, but without being able to see the whole animals, they may miss the full diversity of pteropods. As she and her colleagues observe living organisms in more detail, they are realizing that animals they had thought were the same species, in fact, may not be! The eggs are attached to one another in a gelatinous mass, and, had they not been self-contained in a petri dish, would have floated through the water until the new pteropods emerged as larvae.
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This sexual system, known as sequential hermaphroditism, may boost reproduction because bigger females can produce more eggs. This pteropod Limacina helicina has taken a beating from being pulled through a trawl net: you can see the broken edges of its shell.
An abundant species with black flesh, each of these sea butterflies are the size of a large grain of sand. Not only is the inside of this shell home to a pteropod Clio recurva , but the outside houses a colony of hydroids—the small pink flower-like animals connected by transparent tubing all over the shell.
Gymnosomes are pteropods that lack shells and have a diet almost entirely composed of shelled pteropods. They grab their shelled relative with six tentacle-like arms, and then use grasping jaws to suck their meal out of the shell. This post was written by Emily Frost and Hannah Waters.
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Photographs and text introduce different kinds of lizards, covering geckos, iguanas, Komodo dragons, chameleons, and other types. Irresistibly cute photos and engaging facts introduce these favorite animals. Photographs and text introduce readers to giant and red pandas, discussing how they look, what they eat, where they live, the lives of baby pandas, and explaining why pandas need to be protected. Using the beautiful photographic counting games, curious children will learn to find likeness in different animals despite differences in size, development, color, or species.
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True and hilarious stories of animals who love hijinks! Follow a bear cub and its family as they prepare to hibernate for the winter. Readers will be surprised to learn which animals are the deadliest, including some grazing vegetarians and tiny travelers. With their beautiful white fur and powerful presence, polar bears rule the Arctic.
Can you see the difference?
The pupa resembles a waxy, jade vase and becomes increasingly transparent as the process progresses. The caterpillar completes the miraculous transformation into a beautiful adult butterfly in about two weeks. You can see photos of the entire process of a monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis at photo story provided by Linda. It inflates its wings with a pool of blood it has stored in its abdomen. When this is done, the monarch expels any excess fluid and rests.
The butterfly waits until its wings stiffen and dry before it flies away to start the cycle of life all over again. Eastern populations winter in Florida, along the coast of Texas, and in Mexico, and return to the north in spring. Monarch butterflies follow the same migration patterns every year.
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During migration, huge numbers of butterflies can be seen gathered together. Nope, those orange things to the left are not autumn leaves They're hundreds of Monarch butterflies! Most predators have learned that the monarch butterfly makes a poisonous snack.
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