11 January 2011
Posted in NatureWorks
NatureWorks staff and the exhibits department are in the process of renovating a portion of the former Trading Center. The new theme for the room will be - Adaptation Station. Animals housed in this exhibit will be chosen for their interesting adaptations such as camouflage, defense mechanisms, types of reproduction, and ways for finding and consuming food. The first phase of this renovation will be constructed soon and the following species are planned for exhibit.
Tentacled snake, Erpeton tentaculatum
This snake is found in Thailand, Cambodia and South Vietnam. It inhabits ponds and sluggish bodies of water with heavy vegetation and cover. They are fully aquatic and are so camouflaged they look like a submerged stick. They are unique among snakes in they have two scaly, projections on the tip of their nose. These are thought to be sensory in nature and allow them to sense the position of their fish prey in murky water. Their entire feeding mechanism is fascinating and more information will be coming soon.
Surinam toad, Pipa pipa
These fully aquatic frogs are found in the Amazon basin and live in ponds and oxbow lakes. They are extremely flat, have small, beady eyes and find their prey in dark water by using small, sensory tentacles on their fingertips! The mode of reproduction in these frogs is just as bizarre. The male and female do a kind of somersault "dance" in the water and the eggs are positioned onto the females back. The eggs stick and the skin swells around them forming little pockets. They skip the tadpole stage and hatch out of the females back as little froglets in 3 to 4 months.
Mata Mata, Chelus fimbriatus
Also hailing from the Amazon Basin, the mata mata truly has a face only a mother could love. This turtle has a wide, triangular head with numerous fleshy, appendages hanging off of it. The turtle is so camouflaged it resembles a pile of leaves. They capture fish by opening their mouth so wide and fast that they suck in their prey like a vacuum cleaner.
Red eyed crocodile skink, Tribolonotus gracilis
This small lizard lives alongside creeks and streams of Papua New Guinea. They are heavily adorned with spines which are used for defense. The orange ring around the eye is thought to make the lizard look larger and more menacing to would-be predators. Unique among most lizards as well is the fact that this species vocalizes when disturbed. They are also able to purposefully break their tails off (autonomy) in order to distract and escape a predator.
Pygmy chameleon, Rieppeleon kerstenii
These small lizards are found in the mountains of Kenya. Like all true chameleons they have independent, rotating eyes which allow them to look two different directions at the same time, special fused toes for gripping branches, prehensile tails, and the ability to extend their tongues to more than their body length to catch insects.