Fun Fact Friday!

This week for #FactFriday we are introducing the hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)

The hummingbird hawk-moth is a small, day-flying hawk-moth. It is a summer visitor from May to September in the UK, migrating from Southern Europe in variable numbers each year. Adult hummingbird hawk-moths live for around 7 months.

The hummingbird hawk-moth has greyish-brown forewings, bright orange hindwings, and a greyish body with a broad, black-and-white ‘tail’. it hovers during flight, fluttering its wings so quickly that it can appear orange and makes an audible hum.

The similarity between the hummingbird hawk-moth and hummingbirds is believed to be a result of convergent evolution wherein two species belong to separate families and having no apparent relation with each other develop to be very similar. This is called homoplasy, when a trait has been gained or lost independently in separate lineages over the course of evolution.

May be an image of flower and nature
May be a closeup of nature

Fun Fact Friday!

This weeks #FactFriday we’re introducing the common lizard (Zootoca vivipara)!

These reptiles are the most common species of lizard found in the UK. They live for 5-6 years and are found in a variety of colours; brown, grey, olive and black.

They are unusual in that they incubate their eggs inside their body and “give birth” to live young, giving them their viviparity. This is due to it being the northernmost distributed reptile and therefore having to incubate young in these cooler temperature.

When escaping from a predator, the common lizard will shed it’s tail to act as a decoy, letting the lizard escape (in 2 pieces).

Photography Competition Closes Tomorrow!

Only a couple days left to enter this years photography competition!

Remember you can enter each of the three categories: Best of British, International Admiration and Macro, and there’s the opportunity to win peoples choice too.

Send in any entries to our email guzoosoc@gmail.com with your name, date the photo was taken and any story behind the snap!

Here’s last years macro winner for some inspiration!

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Fun Fact Friday!

This weeks #FactFriday we are introducing the european pine marten (Martes martes)

Pine martens belong to the mustelid family and are characterised by their cream/ yellow “bib” on their throat. They are the only mustelids with semiretractable claws, allowing them to spend much of their time in the trees. They are mostly active at twilight and night.

Once heavily persecuted, these animals have been making a recovery in Scotland. A study in 2012 found that martens have spread into Sutherland and Caithness and into Moray, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Tayside, and Stirlingshire, with some in the Central Belt, on the Kintyre and Cowal peninsulas and on Skye and Mull. Their population expansion has been linked to the reducing numbers of grey squirrels. Grey squirrel numbers decline in areas where they overlap with pine marten populations, allowing red squirrel numbers to increase. This is thought to be due to grey squirrels not having the same danger response to pine martens as red squirrels, and being bigger and less agile, allowing them to be caught more easily.

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A Tale of Two Islands Talk with Bangor University BioSoc!

Hi everyone, tomorrow at 7pm we have a talk from Mick McGowan in collaboration with Bangor University Biological Society!

Mick will be discussing his career as a marine biologist and how it got him to where he is today. He will also speak about his current role within the Blue Ocean Watch Foundation.

We will also be hosting a social after the talk at 8pm with Bangor’s BioSoc. Not one to be missed this week!

Note: This event will be held on zoom, with links and passwords sent via email

Fun Fact Friday!

This #FactFriday we are delving into the life of the hooded crow (Corvus cornix)!

These birds are closely related to the carrion crow and have recently been distinguished from one another. In areas where the species’ overlap, they can form a hybrid species. Hooded crows are found in North and West Scotland and Ireland where there are around 260,000 breeding pairs.

They are omnivorous and will feed on dead animals, stolen eggs, crustaceans, nuts, small birds and mammals. These birds often congregate together in a group known as a “murder”

The Corvid family are among some of the most intelligent birds on Earth and the hooded crow is no exception. These birds have been documented using bread crumbs to catch fish in Israel and similarly, in Norway and Sweden, dragging fishing lines out of water to eat the hooked fish!

May be an image of bird and nature
May be an image of bird and nature

Wildlife ACT Talk Tonight @ 7pm!

Tonight we have Simon from Wildlife ACT giving us a talk. Wildlife ACT Fund is a non-profit trust on a mission to save our planets’ endangered wildlife and wild places from extinction. Passionate, experienced, on-the ground conservationists doing critical work where it’s needed most. Delivering time and expertise, implementing anti-poaching measures, finding and funding equipment, and educating local communities.

They also offer some of the most unique African wildlife research opportunities and practical learning environments in South Africa for those wishing to gather research data for undergraduate degrees. Monitor Africa’s iconic species and the habitats in which they live.

The zoom link for this event is posted in the facebook group. If you can’t access facebook, not a problem. Just shoot us a quick message at guzoosoc@gmail.com for the zoom information!

Wildlife ACT Talk on Thursday @ 7pm

This Thursday we have Simon from Wildlife ACT giving us a talk. Wildlife ACT Fund is a non-profit trust on a mission to save our planets’ endangered wildlife and wild places from extinction. Passionate, experienced, on-the ground conservationists doing critical work where it’s needed most. Delivering time and expertise, implementing anti-poaching measures, finding and funding equipment, and educating local communities.

They also offer some of the most unique African wildlife research opportunities and practical learning environments in South Africa for those wishing to gather research data for undergraduate degrees. Monitor Africa’s iconic species and the habitats in which they live.

The zoom link for this event will be posted in the facebook group. If you can’t access facebook, not a problem. Just shoot us a quick message at guzoosoc@gmail.com for the zoom information!

Fun Fact Friday!

This weeks #FactFriday we are diving deeper into the world of the tardigrade belonging to the phylum tardigrada which comprises over 1,100 species!

These little creatures are usually around 1mm long and have a well-formed head and body consisting of 4 segments, each with a pair of feet with claws or suction discs attached.

Tardigrades are commonly found on lichen, mosses, leaf litter and marine and freshwater sediment all over the world. They can live from hot springs in the Himalayas to the Antarctic and have been found to survive in space. While not being classed as extremophiles (due to them entering a state of cryptobiosis, known as a “tun”) they can survive extreme temperatures, pressures, radioactivity and desiccation.

Most tardigrades are plant eaters and feed by piercing a plant cell with their stylets. Some species are carnivores, feeding on bacteria and even other smaller tardigrade species. While most species only live 3-4 months, some can live for up to 2 years.

DNA sequencing revealed tardigrades to have 75-800 mega-base pairs. The genome of the most stress tolerant species, Ramazzottius varieornatus, was sequenced in 2015 who found that ~1.2% of it’s genes were a result of horizontal gene transfer from bacteria. They also found evidence of a damage suppressor gene (Dsup) which was shown to protect against DNA damage from X-ray radiation. When the team then applied the Dsup protein to human cells, it was found to prevent damage of cells to X-ray radiation by around 40%. #tardigrade

No photo description available.
No photo description available.