Nude Portraits series by photographer Trevor Christensen

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The Saiga lives in the Great Steppe of Eurasia, home of Attila the Hun and Gengis Khan.

These nomadic beasts divide their time between summer and wintering grounds, but their extraordinary schnoz is useful all year round.

In the dry, dusty summers, the nose helps filter out dust from the air. In the cold winter it serves to warm up the air before they breathe it in.

During the winter, males stop eating and spend all their time fighting over mates. Up to 97% of them may die out of sheer exhaustion!

…Image: Darwin Initiative/Seilov/Adriana Dinu

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The Olm - Proteus anguinus 

This strange creature is commonly known as the Olm, a rare cave salamander belonging to the species Proteus anguinus (Caudata - Proteidae), which is only found in Europe. 

The Olm is perfectly adapted to live in caves. As it spends its entire life in darkness, Proteus anguinus has very poorly developed eyes and is blind. It also lacks pigment in the skin, giving its body a pasty white appearance, Its pink hue is due to blood capillaries near the skin, and as its translucency shows the contours of the internal organs. 

This salamander does not undergo a clear metamorphosis and retains many juvenile features, such as gills, throughout its life. It is long-lived, potentially reaching up to 58 years of age.

The Olm is restricted to subterranean aquatic habitats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Italy and Slovenia. The species is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Darko Visek | Locality: Rokina, Croatia, 2008] - [Bottom: ©National Geographic | Locality: Divje Jezero, Idrija, Slovenia]

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A extremely rare land snail from Borneo - Vitrinula sp.

These photos show a rare species of land snails of the genus Vitrinula, probably Vitrinula muluensis (Stylommatophora - Ariophantidae), found on the climb up Gunung Api to the Pinnacles overlook, in Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Borneo.

The most interesting feature of these snails is that the animal has two mantle-lobes as metallic-colored tendrils covering part of front of shell, which continually lick the shell. Those tendrils are in fact a double penis which exceed the periphery of the shell and are a diagnostic feature of the genus.

Little is known about this rarely seen species, which is not surprising considering that they have a very restricted habitat in the karst area of Gunung Mulu, since as Clements et al. (2008) indicate, limestone karsts on tropical land masses are considered de facto habitat islands due to their isolation from one another by non-calcareous substrata; this spatial configuration limits gene flow and induces high levels of species endemism.

Photo credit: [Top: ©ccdoh1 | Locality: Gunung Api, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia (2009)] - [Bottom: ©Alan Cressler | Locality: Gunung Api, Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia (2009)]

References: [1] - [2]

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Spotted garden eels live in colonies of up to several thousand individuals. They spend the majority of their lives with only the top half of their body sticking out of a burrow they make in the sand, eating plankton and other tiny animals that float by. If in danger, the entire “garden” retracts into the sand in the blink of an eye.

Images: blueparadiseindonesia, Eric Cheng, Ryan Murphy

the cutest little eel faces I never get to see because I can’t get close enough

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Foggy Britain, from 1928 to 1952. (x)

Click on the pictures for location information.

(Source: take-me-far-away-from-here, via sarah531)

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SPOTLIGHT: Flora Borsi Blurs the Lines Between Reality and Art

"In this series called "IRÉEL" I mixed photographic elements with painting techniques. A hyperrealist painter aims to achieve a result which looks like a real photographic picture."

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Arc-Eye Hawkfish - Paracirrhites arcatus

Paracirrhites arcatus (Perciformes - Cirrhitidae) is a reef fish from the Indo-Pacific region that occurs in a variety of color morphs, but always has a distinctive ring extending around and behind the eye, hence its common name.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Russell Gilbert | [Top | Locality: Oahu, Hawaii (2014)] - [Bottom | Locality: Pupukea, Oahu, Hawaii (2014)]

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Green Throated Mango - Anthracothorax viridigula 

Anthracothorax viridigula (Trochilidae) is a high-flying hummer with an amazing plumage coloration. Both females (top photo) and males (bottom photo) have a black central line on the breast and belly.

The male has an entirely green throat, and glossy green upperparts with a copper tinge. The males’s tail has dark central feathers, the outer tail being wine-red tipped with black.

The female has white underparts and more bronze on the upperparts and flanks; the females tail has also dark central feathers, but the outer tail being wine-red tipped with white. 

The Green-throated Mango prefers coastal areas including mangroves, swamp forests, and semi-wooded zones. This species breeds from northeastern Venezuela, Trinidad and the Guianas south to northeasterm Brazil.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©David Hemmings | Locality: unknown (2010) | [Top] - [Bottom]

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