Bessarabia is a historical region in Eastern Europe, bounded by the Dniester river on the east and the Prut river on the west. About two thirds of Bessarabia lies within modern-day Moldova, with the Ukrainian Budjak region covering the southern coastal region and part of the Ukrainian Chernivtsi Oblast covering a small area in the north. In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War, the ensuing Peace of Bucharest, the eastern parts of the Principality of Moldavia, an Ottoman vassal, along with some areas under direct Ottoman rule, were ceded to Imperial Russia; the acquisition was among the Empire's last territorial acquisitions in Europe. The newly acquired territories were organised as the Governorate of Bessarabia, adopting a name used for the southern plains, between the Dniester and the Danube rivers. Following the Crimean War, in 1856, the southern areas of Bessarabia were returned to Moldavian rule. In 1917, in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the area constituted itself as the Moldavian Democratic Republic, an autonomous republic part of a proposed federative Russian state.
Bolshevik agitation in late 1917 and early 1918 resulted in the intervention of the Romanian Army, ostensibly to pacify the region. Soon after, the parliamentary assembly declared independence, union with the Kingdom of Romania; the legality of these acts was however disputed, most prominently by the Soviet Union, which regarded the area as a territory occupied by Romania. In 1940, after securing the assent of Nazi Germany through the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union pressured Romania, under threat of war, into withdrawing from Bessarabia, allowing the Red Army to annex the region; the area was formally integrated into the Soviet Union: the core joined parts of the Moldavian ASSR to form the Moldavian SSR, while territories inhabited by Slavic majorities in the north and the south of Bessarabia were transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. Axis-aligned Romania recaptured the region in 1941 with the success of Operation München during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, but lost it in 1944 as the tide of war changed.
In 1947, the Soviet-Romanian border along the Prut was internationally recognised by the Paris Treaty that ended World War II. During the process of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Moldavian and Ukrainian SSRs proclaimed their independence in 1991, becoming the modern states of Moldova and Ukraine, while preserving the existing partition of Bessarabia. Following a short war in the early 1990s, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic was proclaimed in the Transnistria, extending its authority over the municipality of Bender on the right bank of Dniester river. Part of the Gagauz-inhabited areas in the southern Bessarabia was organised in 1994 as an autonomous region within Moldova. According to the traditional explanation, the name Bessarabia derives from the Wallachian Basarab dynasty, who ruled over the southern part of the area in the 14th century; some scholars question this, claiming that: the name was an exonym applied by Western cartographers it was first used in local sources only in the late 17th century.
According to Dimitrie Cantemir, the name Bessarabia applied only to the part of the territory south of the Upper Trajanic Wall, i.e. an area only bigger than present-day Budjak. The region is bounded by the Dniester to the north and east, the Prut to the west and the lower River Danube and the Black Sea to the south, it has an area of 45,630 km2. The area is hilly plains with flat steppes, it is fertile, has lignite deposits and stone quarries. People living in the area grow sugar beet, wheat, tobacco, wine grapes and fruit, they raise sheep and cattle. The main industry in the region is agricultural processing; the region's main cities are Chișinău, Izmail and Bilhorod-Dnistrovs'kyi called Cetatea Albă / Akkerman. Other towns of administrative or historical importance include: Khotyn and Kilia, Lipcani, Soroca, Bălți, Ungheni, Bender/Tighina and Cahul. In the late 14th century, the newly established Principality of Moldavia encompassed what became known as Bessarabia. Afterwards, this territory was directly or indirectly or wholly controlled by: the Ottoman Empire, Russian Empire, the USSR.
Since 1991, most of the territory forms the core of Moldova, with smaller parts in Ukraine. The territory of Bessarabia has been inhabited by people for thousands of years. Cucuteni–Trypillia culture flourished between the 6th and 3rd millennium BC. In Antiquity the region was inhabited by Thracians, as well as for shorter periods by Cimmerians, Scythians and Celts by tribes such as the Costoboci, Britogali and Bastarnae. In the 6th century BC
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Russification or Russianization is a form of cultural assimilation process during which non-Russian communities, voluntarily or not, give up their culture and language in favor of the Russian one. In a historical sense, the term refers to both official and unofficial policies of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union with respect to their national constituents and to national minorities in Russia, aimed at Russian domination; the major areas of Russification are politics and culture. In politics, an element of Russification is assigning Russian nationals to leading administrative positions in national institutions. In culture, Russification amounts to domination of the Russian language in official business and strong influence of the Russian language on national idioms; the shifts in demographics in favour of the ethnic Russian population are sometimes considered as a form of Russification as well. Analytically, it is helpful to distinguish Russification, as a process of changing one's ethnic self-label or identity from a non-Russian ethnonym to Russian, from Russianization, the spread of the Russian language and people into non-Russian cultures and regions, distinct from Sovietization or the imposition of institutional forms established by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union throughout the territory ruled by that party.
In this sense, although Russification is conflated across Russification and Russian-led Sovietization, each can be considered a distinct process. Russianization and Sovietization, for example, did not automatically lead to Russification – change in language or self-identity of non-Russian peoples to being Russian. Thus, despite long exposure to the Russian language and culture, as well as to Sovietization, at the end of the Soviet era non-Russians were on the verge of becoming a majority of the population in the Soviet Union. An early case of Russification took place in the 16th century in the conquered Khanate of Kazan and other Tatar areas; the main elements of this process were Christianization and implementation of the Russian language as the sole administrative language. After the Russian defeat in the Crimean War in 1856 and the Polish rebellion of 1863, Tsar Alexander II increased Russification to reduce the threat of future rebellions. Russia was populated by many minority groups, forcing them to accept the Russian culture was an attempt to prevent self-determinationist tendencies and separatism.
In the 19th century, Russian settlers on traditional Kirghiz land drove many of the Kirghiz over the border to China. Indigenous to large parts of western and central Russia are the Uralic peoples, such as the Vepsians, Mordvins and Permians; the Russification of Uralic peoples begins with the original eastward expansion of the East Slavs. Written records of the oldest period are scarce, but toponymic evidence indicates that this expansion was accomplished at the expense of various Volga-Finnic peoples, who were assimilated by Russians; the Russification of the Komi began in the 13th to 14th centuries, but did not penetrate into the Komi heartlands until the 18th century. Komi-Russian bilingualism has become the norm over the 19th and has led to increasing Russian influence in the Komi language; the enforced Russification of Russia's remaining indigenous minorities has intensified during the Soviet era and continues unabated in the 21st century in connection to urbanization and the dropping population replacement rates.
As a result, several of Russia's indigenous languages and cultures are considered endangered. E.g. between the 1989 and 2002 censuses, the assimilation numbers of the Mordvins have totalled over 100,000, a major loss for a people totalling less than one million in number. According to Vasily Pekteyev, director of the Mari National Theater in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a policy of Russification in the republic that began in 2001 has resulted in the Mari language no longer being taught in schools and villages. By the 2010 Russian census, there were 204,000 native speakers of Mari, a drop from 254,000 in 2002. In 19th century the Russian Empire strove to replace the Ukrainian, Polish and Belarusian languages and dialects by Russian in those areas, which were annexed by the Russian Empire after the Partitions of Poland and the Congress of Vienna. Imperial Russia faced a crucial critical cultural situation by 1815: Large sections of Russian society had come under foreign influence as a result of the Napoleonic wars and appeared open to change.
As a consequence of absorbing so much Polish territory, by 1815 no less than 64 per cent of the nobility of the Romanov realm was of Polish descent, since there more literate Poles than Russians, more people within it could read and write Polish than Russian. The third largest city, was Polish in character and its university was the best in the Empire. Russification in Congress Poland intensified after the November Uprising of 1831, in particular after the January Uprising of 1863. In 1864 the Polish and Belarusian languages were banned in public places. Research and teaching of the Polish language, of Polish history or of Catholicism were forbidden. Illiteracy rose. Students were beaten for resisting Russification. A Polish underground education network formed, including the famous Flying University. According to Russian estimates, by 1901 one-third of the inhabitants in t
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic known to as Soviet Moldavia or Soviet Moldova, was one of the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union which existed from 1940 to 1991. The republic was formed on 2 August 1940 from parts of Bessarabia, a region annexed from Romania on 28 June of that year, parts of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, an autonomous republic within the Ukrainian SSR. After the Declaration of Sovereignty on 23 June 1990 and until 23 May 1991 it was known as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova. From 23 May 1991 until the declaration of independence on 27 August 1991, it was renamed the Republic of Moldova whilst remaining a constituent republic of the USSR, its independence was recognized on December 26 of that year. Geographically, the Moldavian SSR was bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north and south. After the failure of the Tatarbunar Uprising, the Soviets set up an autonomous Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on October 12, 1924 within the Ukrainian SSR on part of the territory between the Dniester and Bug rivers, as a way to prop up the propaganda effort and help a potential Communist revolution in Romania.
On August 24, 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a 10-year non-aggression treaty, called the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The pact contained a secret protocol, revealed only after Germany's defeat in 1945, according to which the states of Northern and Eastern Europe were divided into German and Soviet "spheres of influence"; the secret protocol placed the Romanian province of Bessarabia in the Soviet "sphere of influence." Thereafter, both the Soviet Union and Germany invaded their respective portions of Poland, while the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Lithuania and Latvia in June 1940, waged war upon Finland. On June 26, four days after France sued for an armistice with the Third Reich, the Soviet Union issued an ultimatum to Romania, demanding the latter to cede Bessarabia and Bukovina. After the Soviets agreed with Germany that they would limit their claims in Bukovina, outside the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact's secret protocols, to northern Bukovina, Germany urged Romania to accept the ultimatum, which Romania did two days later.
The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was thereafter created following the entrance of Soviet troops on June 28, 1940. The old Moldavian ASSR was dismantled and the Moldavian SSR was organized on August 2, 1940 from six full counties and small parts of three other counties of Bessarabia, the six westernmost rayons of the Moldavian ASSR. 90% of the territory of MSSR was northeast of the river Dniester, the border between the USSR and Romania prior to 1940, 10% southwest. Smaller northern and southern parts of the territories occupied by the Soviet Union in June 1940, which were more heterogeneous ethnically, were transferred to the Ukrainian SSR, although their population included 337,000 Moldovans; as such, the strategically important Black Sea coast and Danube frontage were given to the Ukrainian SSR, considered more reliable than the Moldavian SSR, which could have been claimed by Romania. In the summer of 1941, Romania joined Hitler's Axis in the invasion of the Soviet Union, recovering Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, as well as occupying the territory to the east of the Dniester it dubbed "Transnistria".
By the end of World War II the Soviet Union had reconquered all of the lost territories, reestablishing Soviet authority there. Many Bessarabians who fled to Romania before the advancing Red Army were caught by Soviet security forces. On June 22, 1941, during the first day of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, 10 people were killed in Răzeni by Soviet authorities and buried in a mass grave. In July 1941 after Operation Barbarossa, a commemorative plaque was installed in Răzeni: "Aici odihnesc robii lui Dumnezeu Diomid, Niculai, Dănila, Alexandru, Alexandru, doi necunoscuţi. Omorâţi mișelește de bolșevici comuniști. 12. VII.1941". A memorial was opened in 2009; the Soviet authorities targeted several socio-economic groups due to their economic situation, political views, or ties to the former regime. They were resettled in Siberia and northern Kazakhstan. According to a report by the Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania, no less than 86,604 people were arrested and deported in 1940-1941 alone.
Modern Russian historians put forward an estimative number of 90,000 for the same period. NKVD/MGB struck at anti-Soviet groups, which were most active in 1944-1952. Anti-Soviet organizations such as Democratic Agrarian Party, Freedom Party, Democratic Union of Freedom, Arcașii lui Ștefan, Vasile Lupu High School Group, Vocea Basarabiei were reprimanded and their leaders were persecuted. A de-kulakisation campaign was directed towards the rich Moldavian peasant families, which were deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia as well. For instance, in just two days, July 6 and July 7, 1949, over 11,342 Moldavian families were deported by the order of the Minister of State Security, Iosif Mordovets under a plan named "Operation South". Religious persecutions during the Soviet occupation targeted numerous priests. After the Soviet occupation, the religious life underwent a persecution s
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares are classified in the same family as rabbits, they are similar in size and form to rabbits and have similar herbivorous diets, but have longer ears and live solitarily or in pairs. Unlike rabbits, their young are able to fend for themselves shortly after birth rather than emerging blind and helpless. Most are fast runners. Hare species are native to Africa, North America, the Japanese archipelago. Five leporid species with "hare" in their common names are not considered true hares: the hispid hare, four species known as red rock hares. Conversely, jackrabbits are hares, rather than rabbits. A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. A group of hares is called a "drove". Hares are swift animals: The European hare can run up to 56 km/h; the five species of jackrabbits found in central and western North America are able to run at 64 km/h, can leap up to 3 m at a time. A shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behavior in spring, when they can be seen in daytime chasing one another.
This appears to be competition between males to attain dominance for breeding. During this spring frenzy, animals of both sexes can be seen "boxing", one hare striking another with its paws; this notable behavior gives rise to the idiom, mad as a March hare. This is present not only in intermale competition, but among females toward males to prevent copulation. Hares do not bear their young below ground in a burrow as do other leporids, but rather in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form. Young hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection, relative to that afforded by a burrow, by being born furred and with eyes open, they are hence precocial, are able to fend for themselves soon after birth. By contrast, rabbits are altricial, having young that are born hairless. All rabbits live underground in burrows or warrens, while hares live in simple nests above the ground, do not live in groups. Hares are larger than rabbits, with longer ears, have black markings on their fur.
Hares have not been domesticated, while rabbits are kept as house pets. The domestic pet known as the "Belgian Hare" is a rabbit, selectively bred to resemble a hare. Hares have jointed, or kinetic, unique among mammals, they have 48 chromosomes while rabbits have 44. The 32 species listed are: Genus LepusSubgenus Macrotolagus Antelope jackrabbit, Lepus alleni Subgenus Poecilolagus Snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus Subgenus Lepus Arctic hare, Lepus arcticus Alaskan hare, Lepus othus Mountain hare, Lepus timidus Subgenus Proeulagus Black-tailed jackrabbit, Lepus californicus White-sided jackrabbit, Lepus callotis Cape hare, Lepus capensis Tehuantepec jackrabbit, Lepus flavigularis Black jackrabbit, Lepus insularis Scrub hare, Lepus saxatilis Desert hare, Lepus tibetanus Tolai hare, Lepus tolai Subgenus Eulagos Broom hare, Lepus castroviejoi Yunnan hare, Lepus comus Korean hare, Lepus coreanus Corsican hare, Lepus corsicanus European hare, Lepus europaeus Granada hare, Lepus granatensis Manchurian hare, Lepus mandschuricus Woolly hare, Lepus oiostolus Ethiopian highland hare, Lepus starcki White-tailed jackrabbit, Lepus townsendii Subgenus Sabanalagus Ethiopian hare, Lepus fagani African savanna hare, Lepus microtis Subgenus Indolagus Hainan hare, Lepus hainanus Indian hare, Lepus nigricollis Burmese hare, Lepus peguensis Subgenus Sinolagus Chinese hare, Lepus sinensis Subgenus Tarimolagus Yarkand hare, Lepus yarkandensis Incertae sedis Japanese hare, Lepus brachyurus Abyssinian hare, Lepus habessinicus Hares and rabbits are plentiful in many areas, adapt to a wide variety of conditions, reproduce so hunting is less regulated than for other varieties of game.
In rural areas of North America and in pioneer times, they were a common source of meat. Because of their low fat content, they are a poor choice as a survival food. Hares can be prepared in the same manner as rabbits — roasted or parted for breading and frying. Hasenpfeffer is a traditional German stew made from marinated hare. Pfeffer here means not only the obvious spicing with pepper and other spices, but means a dish in which the animal's blood is used as a thickening agent for the sauce. Wine or vinegar is a prominent ingredient, to lend a sourness to the recipe. Lagos Stifado — hare stew with pearl onions, red wine and cinnamon — is a much-prized dish enjoyed in Greece and Cyprus and communities in the diaspora in Australia where the hare is hunted as a feral pest. Jugged hare, known as civet de lièvre in France, is a whole hare, cut into pieces and cooked with red wine and juniper berries in a tall jug that stands in a pan of water, it traditionally is served with the hare's port wine.
Jugged hare is described in the influential 18th-century cookbook, The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse, with a recipe titled, "A Jugged Hare", that begins, "Cut it into little pieces, lard them here and there..." The recipe goes on to describe cooking the pieces of hare in water in a jug set within a bath of boiling water to cook for three hours. Beginning in the 19th century, Glasse has been credited with having started the recipe with the words "First, catch your hare," as in this citation; this attribution is apocryphal. Having a freshly caught hare enables one to obtain its blood. A freshly killed hare is prepared for jugging by removing its entrails and hanging it in a l
Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, which includes badgers, honey badgers, minks and wolverines; the word otter derives from the Old English word oter. This, cognate words in other Indo-European languages stem from the Proto-Indo-European language root *wódr̥, which gave rise to the English word "water". An otter's den is called a couch. Male otters are called dogs or boars, females are called bitches or sows, their offspring are called pups; the collective nouns for otters are bevy, lodge, romp or, when in water, raft. The feces of otters are identified by their distinctive aroma, the smell of, described as ranging from freshly mown hay to putrefied fish; the gestation period in otters is about 60 to 86 days. The newborn pup is cared for by the bitch and older offspring. Bitch otters reach sexual maturity at two years of age and males at three years.
The holt is built under a rocky cairn, more common in Scotland. It is lined with moss and grass. After one month, the pup can leave the holt and after two months, it is able to swim; the pup lives with its family for one year. Otters live up to 16 years, its usual source of food is fish, further downriver, but it may sample frogs and birds. Otters have long, slim bodies and short limbs, their most striking anatomical features are the powerful webbed feet used to swim, their seal-like abilities holding breath underwater. Most have sharp claws on their feet and all except the sea otter have long, muscular tails; the 13 species range in adult size from 0.6 to 1 to 45 kg in weight. The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest otter species and the giant otter and sea otter are the largest, they have soft, insulated underfur, protected by an outer layer of long guard hairs. This traps a layer of air which keeps them dry and somewhat buoyant under water. Several otter species have high metabolic rates to help keep them warm.
European otters must eat 15% of their body weight each day, sea otters 20 to 25%, depending on the temperature. In water as warm as 10 °C, an otter needs to catch 100 g of fish per hour to survive. Most species hunt for three to nursing mothers up to eight hours each day. For most otters, fish is the staple of their diet; this is supplemented by frogs and crabs. Some otters are experts at opening shellfish, others will feed on available small mammals or birds. Prey-dependence leaves otters vulnerable to prey depletion. Sea otters are hunters of sea urchins and other shelled creatures, they are notable for their ability to use stones to break open shellfish on their stomachs. This skill must be learned by the young. Otters are active hunters, chasing prey in the water or searching the beds of rivers, lakes or the seas. Most species live beside water, but river otters enter it only to hunt or travel, otherwise spending much of their time on land to prevent their fur becoming waterlogged. Sea otters are more aquatic and live in the ocean for most of their lives.
Otters are playful animals and appear to engage in various behaviors for sheer enjoyment, such as making waterslides and sliding on them into the water. They may find and play with small stones. Different species vary in their social structure, with some being solitary, while others live in groups – in a few species these groups may be large. Genus Lutra Eurasian otter Hairy-nosed otter Japanese otter† Lutra euxena† Lutra castiglionis† Lutra simplicidens† Lutra trinacriae†Genus Hydrictis Spotted-necked otter Genus Lutrogale Smooth-coated otter Lutrogale robusta†Genus Lontra North American river otter Southern river otter Neotropical river otter Marine otter Genus Pteronura Giant otter Genus Amblonyx Asian small-clawed otter Genus Aonyx African clawless otter Genus Enhydra Sea otter Enhydra reevei†Genus †Megalenhydris Genus †Sardolutra Genus †Algarolutra Genus †Cyrnaonyx Genus †Teruelictis Genus †Enhydriodon Genus †Enhydritherium Genus †Teruelictis Genus †Limnonyx Genus †Lutravus Genus †Sivaonyx Genus †Torolutra Genus †Tyrrhenolutra Genus †Vishnuonyx Genus †Siamogale The European otter called the Eurasian otter, inhabits Europe, most of Asia and parts of North Africa.
In the British Isles, they were common as as the 1950s, but became rare in many areas due to the use of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides, habitat loss and water pollution. Population levels are now recovering strongly; the UK Biodiversity Action Plan envisages the re-establishment of otters by 2010 in all the UK rivers and coastal areas they inhabited in 1960. Roadkill deaths have become one of the significant threats to the success of their re-establishment; the North American river otter became one of the major animals hunted and trapped for fur in North America after European contact. River otters eat a variety of fish and shellfish, as well as birds. They
Acer is a genus of trees and shrubs known as maple. The genus is placed in the family Sapindaceae. There are 128 species, most of which are native to Asia, with a number appearing in Europe, northern Africa, North America. Only one species, Acer laurinum, extends to the Southern Hemisphere; the type species of the genus is the sycamore maple, Acer pseudoplatanus, the most common maple species in Europe. The maples have recognizable palmate leaves and distinctive winged fruits; the closest relatives of the maples are the horse chestnuts. Most maples are trees growing to a height of 10–45 m. Others are shrubs less than 10 meters tall with a number of small trunks originating at ground level. Most species are deciduous, many are renowned for their autumn leaf colour, but a few in southern Asia and the Mediterranean region are evergreen. Most are shade-tolerant when young and are riparian, understory, or pioneer species rather than climax overstory trees. There are a few exceptions such as sugar maple.
Many of the root systems are dense and fibrous, inhibiting the growth of other vegetation underneath them. A few species, notably Acer cappadocicum produce root sprouts, which can develop into clonal colonies. Maples are distinguished by opposite leaf arrangement; the leaves in most species are palmate veined and lobed, with 3 to 9 veins each leading to a lobe, one of, central or apical. A small number of species differ in having palmate compound, pinnate compound, pinnate veined or unlobed leaves. Several species, including Acer griseum, Acer mandshuricum, Acer maximowiczianum and Acer triflorum, have trifoliate leaves. One species, Acer negundo, has pinnately compound leaves that may be trifoliate or may have five, seven, or nine leaflets. A few, such as Acer laevigatum and Acer carpinifolium, have pinnately veined simple leaves. Maple species, such as Acer rubrum, may be dioecious or polygamodioecious; the flowers are regular and borne in racemes, corymbs, or umbels. They have four or five sepals, four or five petals about 1 – 6 mm long, four to ten stamens about 6 – 10 mm long, two pistils or a pistil with two styles.
The ovary is superior and has two carpels, whose wings elongate the flowers, making it easy to tell which flowers are female. Maples flower in late winter or early spring, in most species with or just after the appearance of the leaves, but in some before the trees leaf out. Maple flowers are green, orange or red. Though individually small, the effect of an entire tree in flower can be striking in several species; some maples are an early spring source of nectar for bees. The distinctive fruits are called samaras, "maple keys", "helicopters", "whirlybirds" or "polynoses"; these seeds occur in distinctive pairs each containing one seed enclosed in a "nutlet" attached to a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue. They are shaped to carry the seeds a considerable distance on the wind. People call them "helicopters" due to the way that they spin as they fall. During World War II, the US Army developed a special air drop supply carrier that could carry up to 65 pounds of supplies and was based on the Maple seed.
Seed maturation is in a few weeks to six months after flowering, with seed dispersal shortly after maturity. However, one tree can release hundreds of thousands of seeds at a time. Depending on the species, the seeds can be green to orange and big with thicker seed pods; the green seeds are released in pairs, sometimes with the stems still connected. The yellow seeds are released individually and always without the stems. Most species require stratification in order to germinate, some seeds can remain dormant in the soil for several years before germinating; the genus Acer together with genus Dipteronia are either classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or else classified as members of the family Sapindaceae. Recent classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in Sapindaceae; when put in family Sapindaceae, genus Acer is put in subfamily Hippocastanoideae. The genus is subdivided by its morphology into a multitude of subsections. Fifty-four species of maples meet the International Union for Conservation of Nature criteria for being under threat of extinction in their native habitat.
The leaves are used as a food plant for the larvae of a number of the Lepidoptera order.. In high concentrations, like the greenstriped mapleworm, can feed on the leaves so much that they cause temporary defoliation of host maple trees. Aphids are very common sap-feeders on maples. In horticultural applications a dimethoate spray will solve this. In the United States and Canada, all maple species are threatened by the Asian long-horned beetle. Infestations have resulted in the destruction of thousands of maples and other tree species in Illinois, New Jersey and New York. Maples are affected by a number of fungal diseases. Several are susceptible to Verticillium wilt caused by Verticillium species, which can cause significant local mortality. Sooty bark disease, caused by Cryptostroma species, can kill trees that are under stress due to drought. Death of maples can be caused by Phytophthora root rot and Ganoderma root decay. Maple leaves in late summer and autumn are disfigured by "tar spot" caused by Rhytisma species and mildew caused by Uncinula species, though these diseases do not have an adverse effect on th