The loggerhead shrike is a passerine bird in the family Laniidae. It is the only member of the shrike family endemic to North America, it is nicknamed the butcherbird after its carnivorous tendencies, as it consumes prey such as amphibians, lizards, small mammals and small birds, some prey end up displayed and stored at a site, for example in a tree. Due to its small size and weak talons, this predatory bird relies on impaling its prey upon thorns or barbed wire for facilitated consumption; the numbers of Loggerhead shrike have decreased in recent years in Midwestern, New England and Mid-Atlantic areas. In 1760 the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson included a description of the loggerhead shrike in his Ornithologie based on a specimen collected in Louisiana in the Unites States, he used the French name the Latin Lanius ludovicianus. Although Brisson coined Latin names, these do not conform to the binomial system and are not recognised by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.
When in 1766 the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus updated his Systema Naturae for the twelfth edition, he added 240 species, described by Brisson. One of these was the loggerhead shrike. Linnaeus included a brief description, adopted the binomial name Lanius ludovicianus and cited Brisson's work; the specific name ludovicianus is Late Latin for "Louis". There are seven recognized subspecies: L. l. excubitorides Swainson, 1832 – central Canada and west USA L. l. migrans Palmer, W, 1898 – east North America L. l. ludovicianus Linnaeus, 1766 – coastal southeast USA L. l. anthonyi Mearns, 1898 – Channel Islands L. l. mearnsi Ridgway, 1903 – San Clemente Island L. l. grinnelli Oberholser, 1919 – extreme south California and north Baja California L. l. mexicanus Brehm, CL, 1854 – west and central Mexico, south Baja California Miller, in 1931, suggested that the wing-chord-to-tail-length ratio was an important indicator for distinguishing between subspecies. Lanius ludovicianus migrans, found in eastern North America, can be distinguished from the western subspecies, L. l. excubitorides by wing length, tail length, colour.
L. l. migrans have a paler forehead than the top of the head. According to Mundy et al.’s 1997 study, there is a substantial genetic difference between the island subspecies L. l. mearnsi and the mainland subspecies L. l. gambeli due to a gene flow barrier between the two species. The loggerhead shrike is a medium-sized passerine. "Loggerhead" refers to the large size of the head as compared to the rest of the body. It measures 9 inches from bill to tail; the wing and tail length is about 3.82 and respectively. It weighs with a range of 45-60 grams for a healthy adult shrike; the adult plumage of the loggerhead shrike is grey above, with a white to pale grey breast and black tarsi and feet. The bird possesses a black mask; the wings are black, with a distinct white patch on the primaries. The tail is black edged with white and the irises are brown; the beak is short and hooked, contains a tomial tooth to help tear into prey. It is difficult to sex an adult loggerhead shrike in the field. However, several studies have reported sexual dimorphism in size traits.
Juveniles possess a paler gray plumage, subtly vermiculated. The loggerhead shrike can be distinguished from the northern shrike by its smaller size, darker grey plumage and larger black face mask that covers the eye completely, it has a shorter bill with less prominent hook. Their calls are similar, their vocal range is broad and varied, has been described as harsh and jarring. The shrike's notes include guttural warbles; the trills sung by males during breeding season vary in pitch. When alarmed, a shrike will produce a “schgra-a-a” shriek while spreading out its tail feathers. Nestlings will make. During courtship feedings, females may ask for food with “mak” begging notes; the male emits a territorial, harsh shriek, while the female’s song is pitched lower and softer than the male’s. The male is far more vocal than the female. Loggerhead shrikes were once distributed across southern Canada, the contiguous USA and Mexico. However, their populations have declined since the 1960s. Four subspecies reside in southern coastal California: mearnsi, gambeli and anthonyi.
L. l. mearnsi is only found on San Clemente Island in California, whereas L. l. gambeli breeds on the mainland and L. l. anthonyi breeds on the Channel Islands. L. l. excubitorides is found in central North America, whereas the non-migrating L. l. ludovicianus resides in southeastern North America. The distribution of L. l. migrans ranges from north to eastern North America. The bird requires an open habitat with an area to elevated perches and nesting sites, they are found in open pastures or grasslands and appears to prefer red-cedar and hawthorn trees for nesting. The hawthorn’s thorns and the cedar’s pin-like needles protect and conceal the shrike from predators, it may nest in fence-rows or hedge-rows near open pastures, requires elevated perches as lookout points for hunting. Open pastures and grasslands with shorter vegetation
Ecdysis is the moulting of the cuticle in many invertebrates of the clade Ecdysozoa. Since the cuticle of these animals forms a inelastic exoskeleton, it is shed during growth and a new, larger covering is formed; the remnants of the old, empty exoskeleton are called exuviae. After moulting, an arthropod is described as a callow. Within one or two hours, the cuticle hardens and darkens following a tanning process analogous to the production of leather. During this short phase the animal expands, since growth is otherwise constrained by the rigidity of the exoskeleton. Growth of the limbs and other parts covered by hard exoskeleton is achieved by transfer of body fluids from soft parts before the new skin hardens. A spider with a small abdomen may be undernourished but more has undergone ecdysis; some arthropods large insects with tracheal respiration, expand their new exoskeleton by swallowing or otherwise taking in air. The maturation of the structure and colouration of the new exoskeleton might take days or weeks in a long-lived insect.
Ecdysis allows damaged tissue and missing limbs to be regenerated or re-formed. Complete regeneration may require a series of moults, the stump becoming a little larger with each moult until it is a normal, or near normal, size; the term ecdysis comes from Ancient Greek: ἐκδύω, "to take off, strip off". In preparation for ecdysis, the arthropod becomes inactive for a period of time, undergoing apolysis or separation of the old exoskeleton from the underlying epidermal cells. For most organisms, the resting period is a stage of preparation during which the secretion of fluid from the moulting glands of the epidermal layer and the loosening of the underpart of the cuticle occur. Once the old cuticle has separated from the epidermis, a digesting fluid is secreted into the space between them. However, this fluid remains inactive. By crawling movements, the organism pushes forward in the old integumentary shell, which splits down the back allowing the animal to emerge; this initial crack is caused by a combination of movement and increase in blood pressure within the body, forcing an expansion across its exoskeleton, leading to an eventual crack that allows for certain organisms such as spiders to extricate themselves.
While the old cuticle is being digested, the new layer is secreted. All cuticular structures are shed at ecdysis, including the inner parts of the exoskeleton, which includes terminal linings of the alimentary tract and of the tracheae if they are present; each stage of development between moults for insects in the taxon endopterygota is called an instar, or stadium, each stage between moults of insects in the Exopterygota is called a nymph: there may be up to 15 nymphal stages. Endopterygota tend to have only five instars. Endopterygotes have more alternatives to moulting, such as expansion of the cuticle and collapse of air sacs to allow growth of internal organs; the process of moulting in insects begins with the separation of the cuticle from the underlying epidermal cells and ends with the shedding of the old cuticle. In many species it is initiated by an increase in the hormone ecdysone; this hormone causes: apolysis – the separation of the cuticle from the epidermis secretion of new cuticle materials beneath the old degradation of the old cuticleAfter apolysis the insect is known as a pharate.
Moulting fluid is secreted into the exuvial space between the old cuticle and the epidermis, this contains inactive enzymes which are activated only after the new epicuticle is secreted. This prevents the new procuticle from getting digested; the lower regions of the old cuticle, the endocuticle and mesocuticle, are digested by the enzymes and subsequently absorbed. The exocuticle and epicuticle are hence shed at ecdysis. Spiders change their skin for the first time while still inside the egg sac, the spiderling that emerges broadly resembles the adult; the number of moults varies, both between species and genders, but will be between five times and nine times before the spider reaches maturity. Not since males are smaller than females, the males of many species mature faster and do not undergo ecdysis as many times as the females before maturing. Members of the Mygalomorphae are long-lived, sometimes 20 years or more. Spiders stop feeding at some time before moulting for several days; the physiological processes of releasing the old exoskeleton from the tissues beneath cause various colour changes, such as darkening.
If the old exoskeleton is not too thick it may be possible to see new structures, such as setae, from outside. However, contact between the nerves and the old exoskeleton is maintained until a late stage in the process; the new, teneral exoskeleton has to accommodate a larger frame than the previous instar, while the spider has had to fit into the previous exoskeleton until it has been shed. This means the spider does not fill out the new exoskeleton so it appears somewhat wrinkled. Most species of spiders hang from silk during the entire process, either dangling from a drop line, or fastening their claws into webbed fibres attached to a suitable base; the discarded, dried exoskeleton remains hanging where it was abandoned once the spider has left. To open the old exoskeleton, the spider contracts its abdomen to supply enough fluid to pump into the prosoma with sufficient pressure to crack it open alo
Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms and evolution. Despite the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, evolution as the engine that propels the creation and extinction of species. Living organisms are open systems that survive by transforming energy and decreasing their local entropy to maintain a stable and vital condition defined as homeostasis. Sub-disciplines of biology are defined by the research methods employed and the kind of system studied: theoretical biology uses mathematical methods to formulate quantitative models while experimental biology performs empirical experiments to test the validity of proposed theories and understand the mechanisms underlying life and how it appeared and evolved from non-living matter about 4 billion years ago through a gradual increase in the complexity of the system.
See branches of biology. The term biology is derived from the Greek word βίος, bios, "life" and the suffix -λογία, -logia, "study of." The Latin-language form of the term first appeared in 1736 when Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus used biologi in his Bibliotheca botanica. It was used again in 1766 in a work entitled Philosophiae naturalis sive physicae: tomus III, continens geologian, phytologian generalis, by Michael Christoph Hanov, a disciple of Christian Wolff; the first German use, was in a 1771 translation of Linnaeus' work. In 1797, Theodor Georg August Roose used the term in the preface of a book, Grundzüge der Lehre van der Lebenskraft. Karl Friedrich Burdach used the term in 1800 in a more restricted sense of the study of human beings from a morphological and psychological perspective; the term came into its modern usage with the six-volume treatise Biologie, oder Philosophie der lebenden Natur by Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus, who announced: The objects of our research will be the different forms and manifestations of life, the conditions and laws under which these phenomena occur, the causes through which they have been effected.
The science that concerns itself with these objects we will indicate by the name biology or the doctrine of life. Although modern biology is a recent development, sciences related to and included within it have been studied since ancient times. Natural philosophy was studied as early as the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, the Indian subcontinent, China. However, the origins of modern biology and its approach to the study of nature are most traced back to ancient Greece. While the formal study of medicine dates back to Hippocrates, it was Aristotle who contributed most extensively to the development of biology. Important are his History of Animals and other works where he showed naturalist leanings, more empirical works that focused on biological causation and the diversity of life. Aristotle's successor at the Lyceum, wrote a series of books on botany that survived as the most important contribution of antiquity to the plant sciences into the Middle Ages. Scholars of the medieval Islamic world who wrote on biology included al-Jahiz, Al-Dīnawarī, who wrote on botany, Rhazes who wrote on anatomy and physiology.
Medicine was well studied by Islamic scholars working in Greek philosopher traditions, while natural history drew on Aristotelian thought in upholding a fixed hierarchy of life. Biology began to develop and grow with Anton van Leeuwenhoek's dramatic improvement of the microscope, it was that scholars discovered spermatozoa, bacteria and the diversity of microscopic life. Investigations by Jan Swammerdam led to new interest in entomology and helped to develop the basic techniques of microscopic dissection and staining. Advances in microscopy had a profound impact on biological thinking. In the early 19th century, a number of biologists pointed to the central importance of the cell. In 1838, Schleiden and Schwann began promoting the now universal ideas that the basic unit of organisms is the cell and that individual cells have all the characteristics of life, although they opposed the idea that all cells come from the division of other cells. Thanks to the work of Robert Remak and Rudolf Virchow, however, by the 1860s most biologists accepted all three tenets of what came to be known as cell theory.
Meanwhile and classification became the focus of natural historians. Carl Linnaeus published a basic taxonomy for the natural world in 1735, in the 1750s introduced scientific names for all his species. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, treated species as artificial categories and living forms as malleable—even suggesting the possibility of common descent. Although he was opposed to evolution, Buffon is a key figure in the history of evolutionary thought. Serious evolutionary thinking originated with the works of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, the first to present a coherent theory of evolution, he posited that evolution was the result of environmental stress on properties of animals, meaning that the more and rigorously an organ was used, the more complex and efficient it would become, thus adapting the animal to its environment. Lamarck believed that these acquired traits could be passed on to the animal's offspring, who would
Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries when the surrounding temperature is different. A thermoconforming organism, by contrast adopts the surrounding temperature as its own body temperature, thus avoiding the need for internal thermoregulation; the internal thermoregulation process is one aspect of homeostasis: a state of dynamic stability in an organism's internal conditions, maintained far from thermal equilibrium with its environment. If the body is unable to maintain a normal temperature and it increases above normal, a condition known as hyperthermia occurs. For humans, this occurs when the body is exposed to constant temperatures of 55 °C, with prolonged exposure at this temperature and up to around 75 °C death is inevitable. Humans may experience lethal hyperthermia when the wet bulb temperature is sustained above 35 °C for six hours; the opposite condition, when body temperature decreases below normal levels, is known as hypothermia.
It results when the homeostatic control mechanisms of heat within the body malfunction, causing the body to lose heat faster than producing it. Normal body temperature is around 37 °C, hypothermia sets in when the core body temperature gets lower than 35 °C. Caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, hypothermia is treated by methods that attempt to raise the body temperature back to a normal range, it was not until the introduction of thermometers that any exact data on the temperature of animals could be obtained. It was found that local differences were present, since heat production and heat loss vary in different parts of the body, although the circulation of the blood tends to bring about a mean temperature of the internal parts. Hence it is important to identify the parts of the body that most reflect the temperature of the internal organs. For such results to be comparable, the measurements must be conducted under comparable conditions; the rectum has traditionally been considered to reflect most the temperature of internal parts, or in some cases of sex or species, the vagina, uterus or bladder.
The temperature of the urine as it leaves the urethra may be of use in measuring body temperature. More the temperature is taken in the mouth, ear or groin; some animals undergo one of various forms of dormancy where the thermoregulation process temporarily allows the body temperature to drop, thereby conserving energy. Examples include hibernating bears and torpor in bats. Thermoregulation in organisms runs along a spectrum from endothermy to ectothermy. Endotherms create most of their heat via metabolic processes, are colloquially referred to as warm-blooded; when the surrounding temperatures are cold, endotherms increase metabolic heat production to keep their body temperature constant, thus making the internal body temperature of an endotherm more or less independent of the temperature of the environment. One metabolic activity, in terms of generating heat, that endotherms are able to do is that they possess a larger number of mitochondria per cell than ectotherms, enabling them to generate more heat by increasing the rate at which they metabolize fats and sugars.
Ectotherms use external sources of temperature to regulate their body temperatures. They are colloquially referred to as cold-blooded despite the fact that body temperatures stay within the same temperature ranges as warm-blooded animals. Ectotherms are the opposite of endotherms. In ectotherms, the internal physiological sources of heat are of negligible importance. Living in areas that maintain a constant temperature throughout the year, like the tropics or the ocean, has enabled ectotherms to develop a wide range of behavioral mechanisms that enable them to respond to external temperatures, such as sun-bathing to increase body temperature, or seeking the cover of shade to lower body temperature. Vaporization: Evaporation of sweat and other bodily fluids. Convection: Increasing blood flow to body surfaces to maximize heat transfer across the advective gradient. Conduction: Losing heat by being in contact with a colder surface. For instance: Lying on cool ground. Staying wet in a river, lake or sea.
Covering in cool mud. Radiation: releasing heat by radiating it away from the body. Convection: Climbing to higher ground up trees, rocks. Entering a warm water or air current. Building an insulated nest or burrow. Conduction: Lying on a hot surface. Radiation: Lying in the sun. Folding skin to reduce exposure. Concealing wing surfaces. Exposing wing surfaces. Insulation: Changing shape to alter surface/volume ratio. Inflating the body. To cope with low temperatures, some fish have developed the ability to remain functional when the water temperature is below freezing. Amphibians and reptiles cope with heat loss by behavioral adaptations. An example of behavioral adaptation is that of a lizard lying in the sun on a hot rock in order to heat through radiation and conduction. An endotherm is an animal that regulates its own body temperature by keeping it at a constant level. To regulate body temperature, an organism may need to prevent heat gains in arid environments. Evaporation of water, either across respiratory surfaces or across the skin
Skin is the soft outer tissue covering of vertebrates with three main functions: protection and sensation. Other animal coverings, such as the arthropod exoskeleton, have different developmental origin and chemical composition; the adjective cutaneous means "of the skin". In mammals, the skin is an organ of the integumentary system made up of multiple layers of ectodermal tissue, guards the underlying muscles, bones and internal organs. Skin of a different nature exists in amphibians and birds. All mammals have some hair on their skin marine mammals like whales and porpoises which appear to be hairless; the skin is the first line of defense from external factors. For example, the skin plays a key role in protecting the body against pathogens and excessive water loss, its other functions are insulation, temperature regulation and the production of vitamin D folates. Damaged skin may heal by forming scar tissue; this is sometimes depigmented. The thickness of skin varies from location to location on an organism.
In humans for example, the skin located under the eyes and around the eyelids is the thinnest skin in the body at 0.5 mm thick, is one of the first areas to show signs of aging such as "crows feet" and wrinkles. The skin on the palms and the soles of the feet is the thickest skin on the body; the speed and quality of wound healing in skin is promoted by the reception of estrogen. Fur is dense hair. Fur augments the insulation the skin provides but can serve as a secondary sexual characteristic or as camouflage. On some animals, the skin is hard and thick, can be processed to create leather. Reptiles and fish have hard protective scales on their skin for protection, birds have hard feathers, all made of tough β-keratins. Amphibian skin is not a strong barrier regarding the passage of chemicals via skin and is subject to osmosis and diffusive forces. For example, a frog sitting in an anesthetic solution would be sedated as the chemical diffuses through its skin. Amphibian skin plays key roles in everyday survival and their ability to exploit a wide range of habitats and ecological conditions.
Mammalian skin is composed of two primary layers: the epidermis, which provides waterproofing and serves as a barrier to infection. It forms a protective barrier over the body's surface, responsible for keeping water in the body and preventing pathogens from entering, is a stratified squamous epithelium, composed of proliferating basal and differentiated suprabasal keratinocytes. Keratinocytes are the major cells, constituting 95% of the epidermis, while Merkel cells and Langerhans cells are present; the epidermis can be further subdivided into the following strata or layers: Stratum corneum Stratum lucidum Stratum granulosum Stratum spinosum Stratum germinativum Keratinocytes in the stratum basale proliferate through mitosis and the daughter cells move up the strata changing shape and composition as they undergo multiple stages of cell differentiation to become anucleated. During that process, keratinocytes will become organized, forming cellular junctions between each other and secreting keratin proteins and lipids which contribute to the formation of an extracellular matrix and provide mechanical strength to the skin.
Keratinocytes from the stratum corneum are shed from the surface. The epidermis contains no blood vessels, cells in the deepest layers are nourished by diffusion from blood capillaries extending to the upper layers of the dermis; the epidermis and dermis are separated by a thin sheet of fibers called the basement membrane, made through the action of both tissues. The basement membrane controls the traffic of the cells and molecules between the dermis and epidermis but serves, through the binding of a variety of cytokines and growth factors, as a reservoir for their controlled release during physiological remodeling or repair processes; the dermis is the layer of skin beneath the epidermis that consists of connective tissue and cushions the body from stress and strain. The dermis provides tensile strength and elasticity to the skin through an extracellular matrix composed of collagen fibrils and elastic fibers, embedded in hyaluronan and proteoglycans. Skin proteoglycans are varied and have specific locations.
For example, hyaluronan and decorin are present throughout the dermis and epidermis extracellular matrix, whereas biglycan and perlecan are only found in the epidermis. It harbors many mechanoreceptors that provide the sense of touch and heat through nociceptors and thermoreceptors, it contains the hair follicles, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, apocrine glands, lymphatic vessels and blood vessels. The blood vessels in the dermis provide nourishment and waste removal from its own cells as well as for the epidermis; the dermis is connected to the epidermis through a basement membrane and is structurally divided into two areas: a superficial area adjacent to the epidermis, called the papillary region, a deep thicker area known as the reticular region. The papillary region is composed of loose areolar connective tissue; this is named for its fingerlike projections called papillae. The papillae provide the dermis with a "bumpy" surface that interdigitates with the epidermis, strengthening the connection between the tw
Insects or Insecta are hexapod invertebrates and the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Definitions and circumscriptions vary; as used here, the term Insecta is synonymous with Ectognatha. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body, three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes and one pair of antennae. Insects are the most diverse group of animals; the total number of extant species is estimated at between ten million. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species reside in the oceans, which are dominated by another arthropod group, crustaceans. Nearly all insects hatch from eggs. Insect growth is constrained by the inelastic exoskeleton and development involves a series of molts; the immature stages differ from the adults in structure and habitat, can include a passive pupal stage in those groups that undergo four-stage metamorphosis. Insects that undergo three-stage metamorphosis lack a pupal stage and adults develop through a series of nymphal stages.
The higher level relationship of the insects is unclear. Fossilized insects of enormous size have been found from the Paleozoic Era, including giant dragonflies with wingspans of 55 to 70 cm; the most diverse insect groups appear to have coevolved with flowering plants. Adult insects move about by walking, flying, or sometimes swimming; as it allows for rapid yet stable movement, many insects adopt a tripedal gait in which they walk with their legs touching the ground in alternating triangles, composed of the front & rear on one side with the middle on the other side. Insects are the only invertebrates to have evolved flight, all flying insects derive from one common ancestor. Many insects spend at least part of their lives under water, with larval adaptations that include gills, some adult insects are aquatic and have adaptations for swimming; some species, such as water striders, are capable of walking on the surface of water. Insects are solitary, but some, such as certain bees and termites, are social and live in large, well-organized colonies.
Some insects, such as earwigs, show maternal care, guarding their eggs and young. Insects can communicate with each other in a variety of ways. Male moths can sense the pheromones of female moths over great distances. Other species communicate with sounds: crickets stridulate, or rub their wings together, to attract a mate and repel other males. Lampyrid beetles communicate with light. Humans regard certain insects as pests, attempt to control them using insecticides, a host of other techniques; some insects damage crops by feeding on sap, fruits, or wood. Some species are parasitic, may vector diseases; some insects perform complex ecological roles. Insect pollinators are essential to the life cycle of many flowering plant species on which most organisms, including humans, are at least dependent. Many insects are considered ecologically beneficial as predators and a few provide direct economic benefit. Silkworms produce silk and honey bees produce honey and both have been domesticated by humans.
Insects are consumed as food in 80% of the world's nations, by people in 3000 ethnic groups. Human activities have effects on insect biodiversity; the word "insect" comes from the Latin word insectum, meaning "with a notched or divided body", or "cut into", from the neuter singular perfect passive participle of insectare, "to cut into, to cut up", from in- "into" and secare "to cut". A calque of Greek ἔντομον, "cut into sections", Pliny the Elder introduced the Latin designation as a loan-translation of the Greek word ἔντομος or "insect", Aristotle's term for this class of life in reference to their "notched" bodies. "Insect" first appears documented in English in 1601 in Holland's translation of Pliny. Translations of Aristotle's term form the usual word for "insect" in Welsh, Serbo-Croatian, etc; the precise definition of the taxon Insecta and the equivalent English name "insect" varies. In the broadest circumscription, Insecta sensu lato consists of all hexapods. Traditionally, insects defined in this way were divided into "Apterygota" —the wingless insects—and Pterygota—the winged insects.
However, modern phylogenetic studies have shown that "Apterygota" is not monophyletic, so does not form a good taxon. A narrower circumscription restricts insects to those hexapods with external mouthparts, comprises only the last three groups in the table. In this sense, Insecta sensu stricto is equivalent to Ectognatha. In the narrowest circumscription, insects are restricted to hexapods that are either winged or descended from winged ancestors. Insecta sensu strictissimo is equivalent to Pterygota. For the purposes of this article, the middle definition is used; the evolutionary relationship of insects to other animal groups remains unclear. Although traditionally grouped with millipedes and centiped
Zinc is a chemical element with symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. In some respects zinc is chemically similar to magnesium: both elements exhibit only one normal oxidation state, the Zn2+ and Mg2+ ions are of similar size. Zinc has five stable isotopes; the most common zinc ore is sphalerite, a zinc sulfide mineral. The largest workable lodes are in Australia and the United States. Zinc is refined by froth flotation of the ore and final extraction using electricity. Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc in various proportions, was used as early as the third millennium BC in the Aegean, the United Arab Emirates, Kalmykia and Georgia, the second millennium BC in West India, Iran, Syria and Israel/Palestine. Zinc metal was not produced on a large scale until the 12th century in India, though it was known to the ancient Romans and Greeks; the mines of Rajasthan have given definite evidence of zinc production going back to the 6th century BC. To date, the oldest evidence of pure zinc comes from Zawar, in Rajasthan, as early as the 9th century AD when a distillation process was employed to make pure zinc.
Alchemists burned zinc in air to form what they called "philosopher's wool" or "white snow". The element was named by the alchemist Paracelsus after the German word Zinke. German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf is credited with discovering pure metallic zinc in 1746. Work by Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta uncovered the electrochemical properties of zinc by 1800. Corrosion-resistant zinc plating of iron is the major application for zinc. Other applications are in electrical batteries, small non-structural castings, alloys such as brass. A variety of zinc compounds are used, such as zinc carbonate and zinc gluconate, zinc chloride, zinc pyrithione, zinc sulfide, dimethylzinc or diethylzinc in the organic laboratory. Zinc is an essential mineral, including to postnatal development. Zinc deficiency affects about two billion people in the developing world and is associated with many diseases. In children, deficiency causes growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, infection susceptibility, diarrhea.
Enzymes with a zinc atom in the reactive center are widespread in biochemistry, such as alcohol dehydrogenase in humans. Consumption of excess zinc may cause ataxia and copper deficiency. Zinc is a bluish-white, diamagnetic metal, though most common commercial grades of the metal have a dull finish, it is somewhat less dense than iron and has a hexagonal crystal structure, with a distorted form of hexagonal close packing, in which each atom has six nearest neighbors in its own plane and six others at a greater distance of 290.6 pm. The metal is hard and brittle at most temperatures but becomes malleable between 100 and 150 °C. Above 210 °C, the metal can be pulverized by beating. Zinc is a fair conductor of electricity. For a metal, zinc has low melting and boiling points; the melting point is the lowest of all the d-block metals aside from cadmium. Many alloys contain zinc, including brass. Other metals long known to form binary alloys with zinc are aluminium, bismuth, iron, mercury, tin, cobalt, nickel and sodium.
Although neither zinc nor zirconium are ferromagnetic, their alloy ZrZn2 exhibits ferromagnetism below 35 K. A bar of zinc generates a characteristic sound when bent, similar to tin cry. Zinc makes up about 75 ppm of Earth's crust. Soil contains zinc in 5–770 ppm with an average 64 ppm. Seawater has only 30 ppb and the atmosphere, 0.1–4 µg/m3. The element is found in association with other base metals such as copper and lead in ores. Zinc is a chalcophile, meaning the element is more to be found in minerals together with sulfur and other heavy chalcogens, rather than with the light chalcogen oxygen or with non-chalcogen electronegative elements such as the halogens. Sulfides formed as the crust solidified under the reducing conditions of the early Earth's atmosphere. Sphalerite, a form of zinc sulfide, is the most mined zinc-containing ore because its concentrate contains 60–62% zinc. Other source minerals for zinc include smithsonite, hemimorphite and sometimes hydrozincite. With the exception of wurtzite, all these other minerals were formed by weathering of the primordial zinc sulfides.
Identified world zinc resources total about 1.9–2.8 billion tonnes. Large deposits are in Australia and the United States, with the largest reserves in Iran; the most recent estimate of reserve base for zinc was made in 2009 and calculated to be 480 Mt. Zinc reserves, on the other hand, are geologically identified ore bodies whose suitability for recovery is economically based at the time of determination. Since exploration and mine development is an ongoing process, the amount of zinc reserves is not a fixed number and sustainability of zinc ore supplies cannot be judged by extrapolating the combined mine life of today's zinc mines; this concept is well supported by data from the United States Geol