Fauna of Toronto
The Fauna of Toronto include a variety of different species that have adapted to the urban environment, its parks, its ravine system, the creeks and rivers that run throughout the city. Many other animals from outside the city limits have been known to straddle inside on from time to time; the following amphibian and reptile species may be found throughout the City of Toronto: At least 199 bird species were confirmed to breed in the area, with a total of 403 species of birds recorded in the Greater Toronto Area. The following bird species have been spotted in the City of Toronto, Greater Toronto: The following insects may be found throughout the City of Toronto including: The following fish species are found in the creeks and rivers that that make up the Toronto waterway system, the Toronto waterfront along Lake Ontario: A number of mammal species inhabit the City of Toronto; the following mammals may be found throughout the City of Toronto: The historic range for several mammal species once extended into the City of Toronto.
However, as the city developed, the natural range for several mammals receded beyond the city limits. The historic range for the following mammals once included Toronto, but were pushed beyond the city limits prior to 1912: Fauna of Canada List of Toronto parks Native trees in Toronto Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Toronto ravine system Wildlife in the City
Eastern gray squirrel
Sciurus carolinensis, common name eastern gray squirrel or grey squirrel depending on region, is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus. It is native to eastern North America, where it is the most prodigious and ecologically essential natural forest regenerator. Introduced to certain places around the world, the eastern gray squirrel in Europe, in particular, is regarded as an invasive species. Sciurus carolinensis is native to the eastern and midwestern United States, to the southerly portions of the eastern provinces of Canada; the native range of the eastern gray squirrel overlaps with that of the fox squirrel, with which it is sometimes confused, although the core of the fox squirrel's range is more to the west. The eastern gray squirrel is found from New Brunswick to Manitoba, south to East Florida. Breeding eastern gray squirrels are found in Nova Scotia, but whether this population was introduced or came from natural range expansion is not known, it has been introduced into Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Australia.
Eastern gray squirrels in Europe are a concern because they have displaced some of the native squirrels there. In 1966, this squirrel was introduced to Vancouver Island in Western Canada in the area of Metchosin, has spread from there, they are considered invasive and a threat to both the local ecosystem and the native red squirrel. A prolific and adaptable species, the eastern gray squirrel has been introduced to, thrives in, several regions of the western United States; the gray squirrel is an invasive species in Britain. In Ireland, the red squirrel has been displaced in several eastern counties, though it still remains common in the south and west of the country; that such a displacement might happen in Italy is of concern, as gray squirrels might spread to other parts of mainland Europe. The generic name, Sciurus, is derived from two Greek words, meaning shadow, oura, meaning tail; this name alludes to the squirrel sitting in the shadow of its tail. The specific epithet, refers to the Carolinas, where the species was first recorded and where the animal is still common.
In the United Kingdom and Canada, it is referred to as the "grey squirrel". In the US, "eastern" is used to differentiate the species from the western gray squirrel; the eastern gray squirrel has predominantly gray fur. It has a usual white underside as compared to the typical brownish-orange underside of the fox squirrel, it has a large bushy tail. In urban situations where the risk of predation is reduced, both white – and black-colored individuals are quite found; the melanistic form, entirely black, is predominant in certain populations and in certain geographic areas, such as in large parts of southeastern Canada. Melanistic squirrels appear to exhibit a higher cold tolerance than the common gray morph. Genetic variations within these include individuals with black tails and black-colored squirrels with white tails; the head and body length is from 23 to 30 cm, the tail from 19 to 25 cm, the adult weight varies between 400 and 600 g. They do not display sexual dimorphism, meaning there is no gender difference in coloration.
The tracks of an eastern gray squirrel are difficult to distinguish from the related fox squirrel and Abert's squirrel, though the latter's range is entirely different from the gray's. Like all squirrels, the eastern gray shows five on the hind feet; the hind foot-pad is not visible in the track. When bounding or moving at speed, the front foot tracks will be behind the hind foot tracks; the bounding stride can be two to three feet long. The dental formula of the eastern gray squirrel is 1023/1013.1.0.2.184.108.40.206 × 2 = 22 total teeth. Incisors exhibit indeterminate growth, meaning they grow throughout life, their cheek teeth exhibit brachydont and bunodont structures. Like many members of the family Sciuridae, the eastern gray squirrel is a scatter-hoarder; some caches are quite temporary those made near the site of a sudden abundance of food which can be retrieved within hours or days for reburial in a more secure site. Others are not retrieved until months later; each squirrel is estimated to make several thousand caches each season.
The squirrels have accurate spatial memory for the locations of these caches, use distant and nearby landmarks to retrieve them. Smell is used to uncover food caches, to find food in other squirrels' caches. Scent can be unreliable. Squirrels sometimes use deceptive behavior to prevent other animals from retrieving cached food, they will pretend to bury the object. They do this by preparing the spot as usual, for instance, digging a hole or widening a crack, miming the placement of the food, while concealing it in their mouths, covering up the "cache" as if they had deposited the object, they hide behind vegetation while burying food or hide it high up in trees. Such a
The phenotype of an organism is the composite of the organism's observable characteristics or traits, including its morphology or physical form and structure. An organism's phenotype results from two basic factors: the expression of an organism's genetic code, or its genotype, the influence of environmental factors, which may interact, further affecting phenotype; when two or more different phenotypes exist in the same population of a species, the species is called polymorphic. A well-documented polymorphism is Labrador Retriever coloring. Richard Dawkins in 1978 and again in his 1982 book The Extended Phenotype suggested that bird nests and other built structures such as caddis fly larvae cases and beaver dams can be considered as "extended phenotypes"; the genotype-phenotype distinction was proposed by Wilhelm Johannsen in 1911 to make clear the difference between an organism's heredity and what that heredity produces. The distinction is similar to that proposed by August Weismann, who distinguished between germ plasm and somatic cells.
The genotype-phenotype distinction should not be confused with Francis Crick's central dogma of molecular biology, a statement about the directionality of molecular sequential information flowing from DNA to protein, not the reverse. The term "phenotype" has sometimes been incorrectly used as a shorthand for phenotypic difference from wild type, bringing the absurd statement that a mutation has no phenotype. Despite its straightforward definition, the concept of the phenotype has hidden subtleties, it may seem that anything dependent on the genotype is a phenotype, including molecules such as RNA and proteins. Most molecules and structures coded by the genetic material are not visible in the appearance of an organism, yet they are observable and are thus part of the phenotype, it may seem that this goes beyond the original intentions of the concept with its focus on the organism in itself. Either way, the term phenotype includes inherent traits or characteristics that are observable or traits that can be made visible by some technical procedure.
A notable extension to this idea is the presence of "organic molecules" or metabolites that are generated by organisms from chemical reactions of enzymes. Another extension adds behavior to the phenotype. Behavioral phenotypes include cognitive and behavioral patterns; some behavioral phenotypes may characterize psychiatric syndromes. Phenotypic variation is a fundamental prerequisite for evolution by natural selection, it is the living organism as a whole that contributes to the next generation, so natural selection affects the genetic structure of a population indirectly via the contribution of phenotypes. Without phenotypic variation, there would be no evolution by natural selection; the interaction between genotype and phenotype has been conceptualized by the following relationship: genotype + environment → phenotype A more nuanced version of the relationship is: genotype + environment + genotype & environment interactions → phenotype Genotypes have much flexibility in the modification and expression of phenotypes.
The plant Hieracium umbellatum is found growing in two different habitats in Sweden. One habitat is rocky, sea-side cliffs, where the plants are bushy with broad leaves and expanded inflorescences; these habitats alternate along the coast of Sweden and the habitat that the seeds of Hieracium umbellatum land in, determine the phenotype that grows. An example of random variation in Drosophila flies is the number of ommatidia, which may vary between left and right eyes in a single individual as much as they do between different genotypes overall, or between clones raised in different environments; the concept of phenotype can be extended to variations below the level of the gene that affect an organism's fitness. For example, silent mutations that do not change the corresponding amino acid sequence of a gene may change the frequency of guanine-cytosine base pairs; these base pairs have a higher thermal stability than adenine-thymine, a property that might convey, among organisms living in high-temperature environments, a selective advantage on variants enriched in GC content.
Richard Dawkins described a phenotype that included all effects that a gene has on its surroundings, including other organisms, as an extended phenotype, arguing that "An animal's behavior tends to maximize the survival of the genes'for' that behavior, whether or not those genes happen to be in the body of the particular animal performing it." For instance, an organism such as a beaver modifies its environment by building a beaver dam. When a bird feeds a brood parasite such as a cuckoo, it is unwittingly extending its phenotype.
The leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in small parts of Western Asia, on the Indian subcontinent to Southeast and East Asia, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, are declining in large parts of the global range. In Hong Kong, Kuwait, Libya and most in Morocco, leopard populations have been extirpated. Contemporary records suggest. Leopards are hunted illegally, their body parts are smuggled in the wildlife trade for medicinal practices and decoration. Compared to other wild cats, the leopard has short legs and a long body with a large skull, its fur is marked with rosettes. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but has a smaller, lighter physique, its rosettes are smaller, more densely packed and without central spots. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers; the leopard is distinguished by its well-camouflaged fur, opportunistic hunting behaviour, broad diet and its ability to adapt to a variety of habitats ranging from rainforest to steppe, including arid and montane areas.
It can run at speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour. The earliest known leopard fossils excavated in Europe are estimated 600,000 years old, dating to the late Early Pleistocene. Leopard fossils were found in Japan; the common name'leopard' is derived from the Old English word'leuparz' used in the poem The Song of Roland written in the late 8th century. It is thought to be a Greek compound of λέων'leōn' meaning lion and πάρδος'pardos'; the word'panther' is derived from the Latin word'panther' and the ancient Greek πάνθηρ'pánthēr'. The phonetically similar sounding Sanskrit word पाण्डर'pând-ara' means'pale yellow, white'; the specific name pardus is derived from the Greek πάρδαλος'pardalos' meaning'spotted'. The leopard's skin colour varies between individuals from pale yellowish to dark golden with dark spots grouped in rosettes, its belly is whitish and its ringed tail shorter than its body. Its pupils are round. Leopards living in arid regions are pale cream, yellowish to ochraceous and rufous in colour.
Spots fade toward lower parts of the legs. Rosettes are circular in East African leopard populations, tend to be squarish in Southern African and larger in Asian leopard populations; the fur tends to be grayish in colder climates, dark golden in rain forest habitats. The pattern of the rosettes is unique in each individual, its fur is soft and thick, notably softer on the belly than on the back. It tends to grow longer in colder climates; the guard hairs protecting the basal hairs are short, 3–4 mm in face and head, increase in length toward the flanks and the belly to about 25–30 mm. Juveniles have woolly fur, appear dark due to the densely arranged spots, its white-tipped tail is about 60–100 cm long, white underneath and with spots that form incomplete bands toward the tail's end. The leopard's rosettes differ from those of the jaguar, which are darker and with smaller spots inside; the cheetah has small round spots without any rosettes. The leopard is sexually dimorphic, males are heavier than females.
It is muscular, with short limbs and a broad head. Males stand 60 -- 70 cm at the shoulder; the head-and-body length is between 90 and 190 cm. While males weigh 37–90 kg, females weigh 28–60 kg; these measurements vary geographically. Leopards are larger in areas where they are at the top of the food chain, without competitive restriction from larger predators such as the lion and tiger. Alfred Edward Pease accounted to have seen leopards in North Africa nearly as large as Barbary lions. In 1913, an Algerian newspaper reported of a leopard killed that measured about 275 cm. To compare, male lions measure 266–311 cm from head to end of tail; the maximum weight of a leopard is about 96 kg, recorded in Southern Africa. It was matched by an Indian leopard killed in Himachal Pradesh in 2016. Melanistic leopards are called black panthers. Melanism in leopards is inherited as a recessive trait to the spotted form. Interbreeding in melanistic leopards produces a smaller litter size than is produced by normal pairings.
The black panther is common in the equatorial rainforest of the Malay Peninsula and the tropical rainforest on the slopes of some African mountains such as Mount Kenya. Between January 1996 and March 2009, Indochinese leopards were photographed at 16 sites in the Malay Peninsula in a sampling effort of more than 1,000 camera trap nights. Of the 445 photographs of melanistic leopards, 410 were taken in study sites south of the Kra Isthmus, where the non-melanistic morph was never photographed; these data indicate the near fixation of the dark allele in the region. The expected time for the fixation of this recessive allele due to genetic drift alone ranged from about 1,100 years to about 100,000 years. Pseudomelanist leopards have been reported. In India, nine pale and white leopards were reported between 1905 and 1967. Leopards exhibiting erythrism were recorded between 1990 and 2015 in South Africa's Madikwe Game Reserve and in Mpumalanga; the cause of this morph known as'strawberry' leopard or'pink panther', is not well understood.
Felis pardus was the scientific na
Agouti signalling peptide
Agouti signalling peptide, a product of the Agouti gene, is a peptide consisting of 131 amino acids. Its discovery was published in 1994 in the scientific journal Nature where its functional properties were described, it acts as an inverse agonist at melanocortin receptors. It is produced by the Agouti gene ASIP. In mice, the agouti gene encodes a paracrine signalling molecule that causes hair follicle melanocytes to synthesize the yellow pigment pheomelanin instead of the black or brown pigment eumelanin. Pleiotropic effects of constitutive expression of the mouse gene include adult-onset obesity, increased tumor susceptibility, premature infertility; this gene is similar to the mouse gene and encodes a secreted protein that may affect the quality of hair pigmentation, act as an inverse agonist of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, play a role in neuroendocrine aspects of melanocortin action, have a functional role in regulating lipid metabolism in adipocytes. Agouti signalling peptide adopts an inhibitor cystine knot motif.
Along with the homologous Agouti-related peptide, these are the only known mammalian proteins to adopt this fold. Agouti-related peptide Agouti Bay Millington GW. "Proopiomelanocortin: the cutaneous roles of its melanocortin products and receptors". Clin. Exp. Dermatol. 31: 407–12. Doi:10.1111/j.1365-2230.2006.02128.x. PMID 16681590. Agouti+protein at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings This article incorporates text from the United States National Library of Medicine, in the public domain
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests known as tropical moist forests, are a tropical and subtropical forest habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The habitat type is sometimes known as jungle. TSMF are found in large, discontinuous patches centered on the equatorial belt and between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, TSMF are characterized by low variability in annual temperature and high levels of rainfall. Forest composition is dominated by evergreen deciduous tree species; these trees number in the thousands and contribute to the highest levels of species diversity in any terrestrial major habitat type. In general, biodiversity is highest in the forest canopy; the canopy can be divided into five layers: overstory canopy with emergent crowns, a medium layer of canopy, lower canopy, shrub level, understory. These forests are home to more species than any other terrestrial ecosystem: Half of the world's species may live in these forests, where a square kilometer may be home to more than 1,000 tree species.
These forests are found around the world in the Indo-Malayan Archipelago, the Amazon Basin, the African Congo Basin. A perpetually warm, wet climate promotes more explosive plant growth than in any other environment on Earth. A tree here may grow over 23 metres in height in just 5 years. From above, the forest appears as an unending sea of green, broken only by occasional, taller "emergent" trees; these towering emergents are the realm of hornbills and the harpy eagle. The canopy is home to many including apes and monkeys. Below the canopy, a lower understory hosts to big cats; the forest floor clear of undergrowth due to the thick canopy above, is prowled by other animals such as gorillas and deer. All levels of these forests contain an unparalleled diversity of invertebrate species, including New Guinea’s stick insects and butterflies that can grow over 30 centimetres in length. Many forests are being cleared for farmland, while others are subject to large-scale commercial logging. An area the size of Ireland is destroyed every few years.
The biome includes several types of forests: Lowland equatorial evergreen rain forests known as tropical rainforests, are forests which receive high rainfall throughout the year. These forests occur in a belt around the equator, with the largest areas in the Amazon basin of South America, the Congo basin of central Africa, parts of the Malay Archipelago. About half of the world's tropical rainforests are in the South American countries of Brazil and Peru. Rainforests now cover less than 6% of Earth's land surface. Scientists estimate that more than half of all the world's plant and animal species live in tropical rainforests. Tropical seasonal forests known as moist deciduous, monsoon or semi-evergreen seasonal forests, have a monsoon or wet savannah climates: receiving high overall rainfall with a warm summer wet season and a cooler winter dry season; some trees in these forests drop all of their leaves during the winter dry season. These forests are found in South Florida, parts of South America, in Central America and around the Caribbean, in coastal West Africa, parts of the Indian subcontinent, across much of Indochina.
Montane rain forests are found in cooler-climate mountainous areas. Those with elevations high enough to encounter low-level cloud cover are known as cloud forests. Flooded forests, including freshwater peat swamp forests. A number of TSMF ecoregions are notable for their biodiversity and endemism: Tropical dry broadleaf forest Tropical coniferous forests Center for Tropical Forest Science International Tropical Timber Organization List of tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregions Monodominance Trees of the world Tropical vegetation Puerto Rican moist forests Facts about the world's tropical rainforests from The Nature Conservancy NASA picture of the afforestation of the earth in the year 2002 BBC video clips and details of the species found here
The bobcat is a North American cat that appeared during the Irvingtonian stage of around 1.8 million years ago. Containing 2 recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to central Mexico, including most of the contiguous United States; the bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as semidesert, urban edge, forest edge, swampland environments. It remains in some of its original range, but populations are vulnerable to local extinction by coyotes and domestic animals. With a gray to brown coat, whiskered face, black-tufted ears, the bobcat resembles the other species of the midsized genus Lynx, it is smaller on average than the Canada lynx, with which it shares parts of its range, but is about twice as large as the domestic cat. It has distinctive black bars on its forelegs and a black-tipped, stubby tail, from which it derives its name. Though the bobcat prefers rabbits and hares, it hunts insects, chickens and other birds, small rodents, deer. Prey selection depends on location and habitat and abundance.
Like most cats, the bobcat is territorial and solitary, although with some overlap in home ranges. It uses several methods to mark its territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine or feces; the bobcat has a gestation period of about two months. Although bobcats have been hunted extensively by humans, both for sport and fur, their population has proven resilient though declining in some areas; the elusive predator features in the folklore of European settlers. There had been debate over whether to classify this species as Lynx rufus or Felis rufus as part of a wider issue regarding whether the four species of Lynx should be given their own genus, or be placed as a subgenus of Felis; the genus Lynx is now accepted, the bobcat is listed as Lynx rufus in modern taxonomic sources. Johnson et al. reported Lynx shared a clade with the puma, leopard cat, domestic cat lineages, dated to 7.15 million years ago. The bobcat is believed to have evolved from the Eurasian lynx, which crossed into North America by way of the Bering Land Bridge during the Pleistocene, with progenitors arriving as early as 2.6 million years ago.
The first wave moved into the southern portion of North America, soon cut off from the north by glaciers. This population evolved into modern bobcats around 20,000 years ago. A second population arrived from Asia and settled in the north, developing into the modern Canada lynx. Hybridization between the bobcat and the Canada lynx may sometimes occur. Thirteen bobcat subspecies have been recognized based on morphological characteristics: L. rufus rufus – eastern and midwestern United States L. r. gigas – northern New York to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick L. r. floridanus – southeastern United States and inland to the Mississippi valley, up to southwestern Missouri and southern Illinois L. r. superiorensis – western Great Lakes area, including upper Michigan, southern Ontario, most of Minnesota L. r. baileyi – southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico L. r. californicus – California west of the Sierra Nevada L. r. mohavensis – Mojave Desert of California L. r. escuinapae – central Mexico, with a northern extension along the west coast to southern Sonora L. r. fasciatus – Oregon, Washington west of the Cascade Range, northwestern California, southwestern British Columbia L. r. oaxacensis – Oaxaca L. r. pallescens – northwestern United States and southern British Columbia and Saskatchewan L. r. peninsularis – Baja California L. r. texensis – western Louisiana, south central Oklahoma, south into Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, CoahuilaThis subspecies division has been challenged, given a lack of clear geographic breaks in their ranges and the minor differences between subspecies.
The latest revision of cat taxonomy in 2017, by the Cat Classification Taskforce of the Cat Specialist Group recognises only two subspecies, based on phylogeographic and genetic studies, although the status of Mexican bobcats remains under review: Lynx rufus rufus – east of the Great Plains, North America Lynx rufus fasciatus – west of the Great Plains, North America The bobcat resembles other species of the genus Lynx, but is on average the smallest of the four. Its coat is variable, though tan to grayish-brown, with black streaks on the body and dark bars on the forelegs and tail, its spotted patterning acts as camouflage. The ears are pointed, with short, black tufts. An off-white color is seen on the lips and underparts. Bobcats in the desert regions of the southwest have the lightest-colored coats, while those in the northern, forested regions are darkest. Kittens are born well-furred and have their spots. A few melanistic bobcats have been captured in Florida, they may still exhibit a spot pattern.
The face appears wide due to ruffs of extended hair beneath the ears. Bobcat eyes are yellow with black pupils; the nose of the bobcat is pinkish-red, it has a base color of gray or yellowish- or brownish-red on its face and back. The pupils are round, black circles and will widen during nocturnal activity to maximize light reception; the cat has sharp hearing and vision, a good sense of smell. It is an excellent climber, swims when it needs to, but avoids water. However, cases of bobcats swimming long distances across lakes have been rec