Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap their spread-out digits, which are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium. About 70% of bat species are insectivores, most of the rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters. A few species, such as the bat, feed from animals other than insects, with the vampire bats being hematophagous. Bats are present throughout most of the world, with the exception of cold regions. They perform the vital roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Bats are economically important, as they consume insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides, the smallest bat is the Kittis hog-nosed bat, measuring 29–34 mm in length,15 cm across the wings and 2–2.6 g in mass. It is arguably the smallest extant species of mammal, with the Etruscan shrew being the other contender.
The largest species of bat are a few species of Pteropus, the Mexican free-tailed bat is the fastest flying animal in horizontal flight. An older English name for bats is flittermouse, which matches their name in other Germanic languages, middle English had bakke, most likely cognate with Old Swedish natbakka, which may have undergone a shift from -k- to -t- influenced by Latin blatta, nocturnal insect. They were formerly grouped in the superorder Archonta, along with the treeshrews, genetic studies have now placed bats in the superorder Laurasiatheria, along with carnivorans, odd-toed ungulates, even-toed ungulates, and cetaceans. A recent study by Zhang et al. places Chiroptera as a taxon to the clade Perissodactyla. The phylogenetic relationships of the different groups of bats have been the subject of much debate and this hypothesis recognized differences between microbats and megabats and acknowledged that flight has only evolved once in mammals. Most molecular biological evidence supports the view that bats form a single or monophyletic group, in the 1980s, a hypothesis based on morphological evidence was offered that stated the Megachiroptera evolved flight separately from the Microchiroptera.
The so-called flying primate hypothesis proposes that, when adaptations to flight are removed, one example is that the brains of megabats show a number of advanced characteristics that link them to primates. Although recent genetic studies support the monophyly of bats, debate continues as to the meaning of available genetic. Genetic evidence indicates that megabats originated during the early Eocene and should be placed within the four lines of microbats. Consequently, two new suborders based on molecular data have been proposed and these two new suborders are strongly supported by statistical tests
The peregrine falcon, known as the peregrine, and historically as the duck hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a back, barred white underparts. As is typical of bird-eating raptors, peregrine falcons are sexually dimorphic, the peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 320 km/h during its characteristic hunting stoop, making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. According to a National Geographic TV programme, the highest measured speed of a falcon is 389 km/h. The peregrines breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics and this makes it the worlds most widespread raptor and one of the most widely found bird species. Both the English and scientific names of this species mean wandering falcon, the two species divergence is relatively recent, during the time of the last ice age, therefore the genetic differential between them is relatively small. It has been determined that they are only approximately 0. 6–0. 8% genetically differentiated, while its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects.
Reaching sexual maturity at one year, it mates for life and nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or, in recent times, the peregrine falcon became an endangered species in many areas because of the widespread use of certain pesticides, especially DDT. Since the ban on DDT from the early 1970s, populations have recovered, supported by large-scale protection of nesting places and releases to the wild. The peregrine falcon is a well respected falconry bird due to its hunting ability, high trainability, versatility. It is effective on most game species from small to large. The peregrine falcon has a length of 34 to 58 cm. Males weigh 330 to 1,000 g and the larger females weigh 700 to 1,500 g. In most subspecies, males less than 700 g and females weigh more than 800 g. The standard linear measurements of peregrines are, the wing chord measures 26.5 to 39 cm, the tail measures 13 to 19 cm and the tarsus measures 4.5 to 5.6 cm. The back and the long pointed wings of the adult are usually black to slate grey with indistinct darker barring.
The white to rusty underparts are barred with thin bands of dark brown or black. The tail, coloured like the back but with thin clean bars, is long and rounded at the end with a black tip and a white band at the very end
Stygofauna are any fauna that live in groundwater systems or aquifers, such as caves and vugs. Stygofauna and troglofauna are the two types of subterranean fauna, both are associated with subterranean environments – stygofauna are associated with water and troglofauna with caves and spaces above the water table. Stygofauna can live within freshwater aquifers and within the spaces of limestone, calcrete or laterite, whilst larger animals can be found in cave waters. Stygofaunal animals, like troglofauna, are divided into three based on their life history - stygophiles and stygobites. Many species of stygofauna, especially the obligate stygobites, are endemic to particular regions or even particular caves and this makes them focal points for conservation of groundwater systems. Stygofauna have adapted to the food supply and are extremely energy efficient. Stygofauna feed on plankton and plants found in streams, to survive in an environment where food is scarce and oxygen levels are low, stygofauna often have very low metabolism.
As a result, stygofauna may live longer than other terrestrial species, for example, the crayfish Orconectes australis of Shelta Cave in Alabama can reproduce at 100 years and live to 175. Stygofauna are found all over the world, and include turbellarians, isopods, decapods, stygofaunal gastropods are found in the U. S, Europe and Japan. Stygobite turbellarians can be found in the United States, stygobite isopods and decapods are found widely around the world. Cave salamanders are found in Europe and the U. S, the approximately 170 species of stygobite fish, popularly known as cavefish, are found in all continents, except Antarctica and Europe. The largest number of species are found in China and Brazil, several methods are currently used to sample stygofauna. The accepted method is to lower a haul net, which is a plankton net, to the bottom of the bore, well or sinkhole. The net is retrieved, filtering stygofauna out of the water column on the upward haul. A more destructive method is to pump water through a net on the surface.
These two methods provide animals for morphological and molecular analyses, a video camera can be used down the hole, providing information on life-history of the organisms but, given the small size of the animals no species determinations can be made. Cave conservation List of troglobites Speleology Subterranean fauna Trogloxene Italian groundwater Amphipods Origin and Age of the Marine Stygofauna of Lanzarote, Canary Islands
The Eurasian sparrowhawk, known as the northern sparrowhawk or simply the sparrowhawk, is a small bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. Adult male Eurasian sparrowhawks have bluish grey upperparts and orange-barred underparts, the female is up to 25% larger than the male – one of the largest differences between the sexes in any bird species. Though it is a predator which specialises in catching woodland birds, males tend to take smaller birds, including tits and sparrows, females catch primarily thrushes and starlings, but are capable of killing birds weighing 500 g or more. Eurasian sparrowhawks breed in woodland of any type, with the nest, measuring up to 60 cm across. Four or five pale blue, brown-spotted eggs are laid, the success of the attempt is dependent on the female maintaining a high weight while the male brings her food. The chicks hatch after 33 days and fledge after 24 to 28 days, the probability of a juvenile surviving its first year is 34%, with 69% of adults surviving from one year to the next.
Mortality in young males is greater than that of young females and this species is now one of the most common birds of prey in Europe, although the population crashed after the Second World War. However, its population recovered after the chemicals were banned, and it is now relatively common, the Eurasian sparrowhawks hunting behaviour has brought it into conflict with humans for hundreds of years, particularly racing pigeon owners and people rearing poultry and gamebirds. It has blamed for decreases in passerine populations. The increase in population of the Eurasian Sparrowhawk coincides with the decline in House Sparrows in Britain, studies of racing pigeon deaths found that Eurasian sparrowhawks were responsible for less than 1%. Falconers have utilised the Eurasian sparrowhawk since at least the 16th century, although the species has a reputation for being difficult to train, the species features in Teutonic mythology and is mentioned in works by writers including William Shakespeare, Lord Tennyson and Ted Hughes.
Within the family Accipitridae, the Eurasian sparrowhawk is a member of the large genus Accipiter, most of the Old World members of the genus are called sparrowhawks or goshawks. The species name dates back to the Middle English word sperhauk and Old English spearhafoc, the Old Norse name for the Eurasian sparrowhawk, was thought to have been coined by Vikings who encountered falconry in England. English folk names for the Eurasian sparrowhawk include blue hawk, referring to the adult males colouration, as well as hedge hawk, spar hawk, spur hawk and stone falcon. The Eurasian sparrowhawk was described by Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae, as Falco nisus, the current scientific name is derived from the Latin accipiter, meaning hawk and nisus, the sparrowhawk. According to Greek mythology, the king of Megara, was turned into a sparrowhawk after his daughter, cut off his purple lock of hair to present to her lover, Minos. The Eurasian sparrowhawk forms a superspecies with the rufous-chested sparrowhawk of eastern and southern Africa, geographic variation is clinal, with birds becoming larger and paler in the eastern part of the range compared to the west.
Within the species itself, six subspecies are recognised, A. n. nisus
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus of the beech family, Fagaceae. There are approximately 600 extant species of oaks, the common name oak appears in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus, as well as in those of unrelated species such as Grevillea robusta and the Casuarinaceae. North America contains the largest number of oak species, with approximately 90 occurring in the United States, the second greatest center of oak diversity is China, which contains approximately 100 species. Oaks have spirally arranged leaves, with lobate margins in many species, the acorns contain tannic acid, as do the leaves, which helps to guard from fungi and insects. Many deciduous species are marcescent, not dropping dead leaves until spring, in spring, a single oak tree produces both male flowers and small female flowers. The fruit is a nut called an acorn, borne in a structure known as a cupule, each acorn contains one seed and takes 6–18 months to mature. The live oaks are distinguished for being evergreen, but are not actually a distinct group, the oak tree is a flowering plant.
Oaks may be divided into two genera and a number of sections, The genus Quercus is divided into the following sections, the white oaks of Europe and North America. Styles are short, acorns mature in 6 months and taste sweet or slightly bitter, the leaves mostly lack a bristle on their lobe tips, which are usually rounded. The type species is Quercus robur, Hungarian oak and its relatives of Europe and Asia. Styles long, acorns mature in about 6 months and taste bitter, the section Mesobalanus is closely related to section Quercus and sometimes included in it. Cerris, the Turkey oak and its relatives of Europe and Asia, styles long, acorn mature in 18 months and taste very bitter. The inside of the shell is hairless. Its leaves typically have sharp tips, with bristles at the lobe tip. Protobalanus, the live oak and its relatives, in southwest United States. Styles short, acorns mature in 18 months and taste very bitter, the inside of the acorn shell appears woolly. Leaves typically have sharp tips, with bristles at the lobe tip.
Lobatae, the red oaks of North America, Central America, styles long, acorns mature in 18 months and taste very bitter
Forests of the Iberian Peninsula
The woodlands of the Iberian Peninsula are distinct ecosystems on the Iberian Peninsula. Although the various regions are characterized by distinct vegetation, the borders between these regions are not clearly defined, and there are some similarities across the peninsula. It is now known that the Mediterranean Sea went through changes in sea level and variations in the relative positions of the continental plates of Europe. These brought changes of climate and vegetation, the Eurosiberian Atlantic zone extends through northern Portugal, the Galician Massif, Cantabrian Mountains and the western and central Pyrenees. It is characterized by a climate which is moderated by the influence of the ocean, with somewhat cold winters. The mainland extends to the north of Portugal, the part of Galicia, Cantabria, the Basque Country, northwest of Navarre. However, its influence in the form of communities or defined species extends inwards, especially in the north, the vegetation is deciduous oak forest, both sessile oaks and English oaks, with European ash and hazels in the coolest and deepest soil at the bottom of the valley.
The mountain layer is characterised by the presence of beeches and at times, in the Pyrenees, by silver firs, improvement by humans has transformed much of this woodland into meadows, which conserve at their edges remnant hedgerows, setos, of the species of the primitive forest. The major forests in this area are beech, birch, beech forests are found in the mountain layer of the Iberian Eurosiberian region from 800 to 1500 metres up. The soil is cool, as often chalky as siliceous, the layer is characterised by the beech tree. The beech tree projects a deep shadow, and so its dense foliage usually excludes other woodland species, in spite of their Atlantic character, these forests reach Moncayo, in the centre of the peninsula. The southernmost are at the Hayedo de Montejo and in the northernmost area of the province of Guadalajara, in the Parque Natural del Hayedo de Tejera Negra, and Somosierra-Ayllón. The forests seek watercourses and shade, and so their reforestation is very difficult, the Irati rainforest, of some 170 square kilometres in the Navarran Pyrenees, is one of the most important beech and fir forests in Europe.
Oak forests, above all of English oak, are the most common in the Atlantic zone and they represent the typical forest floor formation of basal trees, extending to an altitude of some 600 metres. In higher regions, as one ascends the mountains, they yield to beech forests, at the bottom of the valleys they are replaced by ash trees, there are two main types of oak, the English oak and the sessile oak. The land on which these oaks stood is the most altered, as it is suited to meadows. Oaks are often accompanied by chestnut trees and birches, when these forests degrade, they are taken over by thorny plants, and in the final extreme heather and gorse. The English oak would have been indigenous to a part of the area currently occupied by pine forests
A heath is a shrubland habitat found mainly on free-draining infertile, acidic soils and is characterised by open, low-growing woody vegetation. Moorland is generally related to high-ground heaths with—especially in Great Britain—a cooler, heaths are widespread worldwide, but are fast disappearing and considered a rare habitat in Europe. They form extensive and highly diverse communities across Australia in humid and sub-humid areas where fire regimes with recurring burning are required for the maintenance of the heathlands, even more diverse though less widespread heath communities occur in Southern Africa. Extensive heath communities can be found in the California chaparral, New Caledonia, central Chile, in addition to these extensive heath areas, the vegetation type is found in scattered locations across all continents, except Antarctica. Heaths are dominated by low shrubs,20 centimetres to 2 metres tall, heath vegetation can be extremely plant-species rich, and heathlands of Australia are home to some 3,700 endemic or typical species in addition to numerous less restricted species.
The fynbos heathlands of South Africa are second only to tropical rainforests in plant biodiversity with over 7,000 species, in marked contrast, the tiny pockets of heathland in Europe are extremely depauperate with a flora consisting primarily of heather and gorse. The bird fauna of heathlands are usually species of the region. In the depauperate heathlands of Europe bird species tend to be characteristic of the community and include Montagus harrier. Australian heathlands are home to the worlds only nectar-feeding terrestrial mammal, the bird fauna of the South African fynbos includes sunbirds and siskins. Heathlands are an excellent habitat for insects including ants, moths and these heaths were originally created or expanded by centuries of human clearance of the natural forest and woodland vegetation, by grazing and burning. Referring to heathland in England, Rackham says, “Heaths are clearly the product of human activities and need to be managed as heathland, in recent years the conservation value of even these man-made heaths has become much more appreciated, and consequently most heathlands are protected.
However they are threatened by tree incursion because of the discontinuation of traditional management techniques such as grazing and burning that mediated the landscapes. Some are threatened by urban sprawl, anthropogenic heathlands are maintained artificially by a combination of grazing and periodic burning, or mowing, if not so maintained, they are rapidly re-colonised by forest or woodland. The re-colonising tree species will depend on what is available as the seed source. Bolster heath Chalk heath Garrigue Maquis shrubland Matorral Scrubland The Countryside Agency information on types of open land Origin of the word heath
Populus is a genus of 25–35 species of deciduous flowering plants in the family Salicaceae, native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. English names variously applied to different species include poplar /ˈpɒp. lər/, aspen, in the September 2006 issue of Science Magazine, the Joint Genome Institute announced that the western balsam poplar was the first tree whose full DNA code had been determined by DNA sequencing. The genus has a genetic diversity, and can grow from 15–50 m tall. The shoots are stout, with the terminal bud present, leaf size is very variable even on a single tree, typically with small leaves on side shoots, and very large leaves on strong-growing lead shoots. The leaves often turn bright gold to yellow before they fall during autumn, the flowers are mostly dioecious and appear in early spring before the leaves. They are borne in long, sessile or pedunculate catkins produced from buds formed in the axils of the leaves of the previous year. The flowers are each seated in a disk which is borne on the base of a scale which is itself attached to the rachis of the catkin.
The scales are obovate and fringed, hairy or smooth, the female flower has no calyx or corolla, and comprises a single-celled ovary seated in a cup-shaped disk. The style is short, with two to four stigmata, variously lobed, and numerous ovules, pollination is by wind, with the female catkins lengthening considerably between pollination and maturity. Poplars of the section are often wetlands or riparian trees. The aspens are among the most important boreal broadleaf trees and aspens are important food plants for the larvae of a large number of Lepidoptera species. Pleurotus populinus, the oyster mushroom, is found exclusively on dead wood of Populus trees in North America. The genus Populus has traditionally divided into six sections on the basis of leaf and flower characters. Recent genetic studies have supported this, confirming some previously suspected reticulate evolution due to past hybridisation and introgression events between the groups. Some species had differing relationships indicated by their nuclear DNA and chloroplast DNA sequences and they have the advantage of growing to a very large size at a rapid pace.
Almost all poplars take root readily from cuttings or where broken branches lie on the ground, trees with fastigiate branching are particularly popular, and are widely grown across Europe and southwest Asia. Common poplar varieties are, G48 w22 The trees are grown from kalam or cuttings, harvested annually in January and February, most commonly used to make plywood, Yamuna Nagar in Haryana state has a large plywood industry reliant upon poplar. It is graded according to known as over, under
The wildcat is a small cat native to most of Africa and Southwest and Central Asia into India, western China, and Mongolia. Because of its range it is assessed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2002. However, crossbreeding of wildcat and domestic cat occurs in particular in Europe and is considered a threat for the preservation of the wild species. The wildcat shows a degree of geographic variation. Whereas the Asiatic wildcat is spotted, the African wildcat is striped, has short sandy-grey fur, banded legs, red-backed ears. The European wildcat is striped, has long fur and a tail with a rounded tip. The wildcat is the ancestor of the domestic cat, genetic and archaeological evidence suggests that domestication of Old-World wildcats began approximately 7500 years BCE in the Fertile Crescent region of the Near East. Until 2007, twenty-two subspecies of wildcat were recognised, since publication of results of a phylogeographical analysis, only five subspecific groups have been suggested, including the Chinese mountain cat.
In 1778, Johann von Schreber described the European wildcat using the scientific name Felis silvestris, in subsequent decades, several naturalists and explorers described wildcats from European and Asian countries. As of 2005,22 subspecies were recognised by Mammal Species of the World and they were divided into three groups, Forest wildcats. The domestic cat is thought to have derived from this group, the subspecies jordansi, reyi and the European and North African populations of lybica represent transitional forms between the forest and bay wildcat groups. Based on results of an analysis, scientists proposed in 2007 to recognise the five subspecies F. s. lybica, F. s. ornata, F. s. silvestris, F. s. cafra. The first four are recognised by International Union for Conservation of Nature as subspecies of F. silvestris, the wildcats direct ancestor was Felis lunensis, or Martellis wildcat, which lived in Europe as early as the late Pliocene. Fossil remains of the wildcat are common in deposits dating from the last ice age.
At some point during the Late Pleistocene, the migrated from Europe into the Middle East. Within possibly 10,000 years, the wildcat spread eastwards into Asia. The wildcats closest living relatives are the cat, the Chinese mountain cat, the jungle cat. As a whole, the wildcat represents a less specialised form than the sand cat
The golden eagle is one of the best-known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the most widely distributed species of eagle, like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. These birds are brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their napes. Immature eagles of this typically have white on the tail. Golden eagles use their agility and speed combined with powerful feet and massive, Golden eagles maintain home ranges or territories that may be as large as 200 km2. They build large nests in high places to which they may return for several breeding years, most breeding activities take place in the spring, they are monogamous and may remain together for several years or possibly for life. Females lay up to four eggs, and incubate them for six weeks, one or two young survive to fledge in about three months. These juvenile golden eagles usually attain full independence in the fall, once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many areas which are now more heavily populated by humans.
It is the largest and least populous of the five species of true accipitrid to occur as a species in both the Palearctic and the Nearctic. Due to its prowess, the golden eagle is regarded with great mystic reverence in some ancient. The golden eagle is one of the most extensively studied species of raptor in the world in some parts of its range, such as the Western United States and the Western Palearctic. The golden eagle is a large, dark brown raptor with broad wings, ranging from 66 to 102 cm in length. This species wingspan is the fifth largest amongst extant eagle species, in the largest race males and females weigh typically 4.05 kg and 6.35 kg. In the smallest subspecies, A. c. japonica, males weigh 2.5 kg, in the species overall, males may average around 3.6 kg and females around 5.1 kg. The maximum size of species is a matter of some debate. Large races are the heaviest representatives of the Aquila genus and this species is on average the seventh-heaviest living eagle species, the golden eagle ranks as the second heaviest breeding eagle in North America and Africa but the fourth heaviest in Asia.
For some time, the largest known mass authenticated for a female was the specimen from the nominate race which weighed around 6.7 kg. No comprehensive range of weights are known for the largest subspecies, captive birds have been measured up to a wingspan of 2.81 m and a mass of 12.1 kg, respectively
In structural geology, a syncline is a fold with younger layers closer to the center of the structure. A synclinorium is a syncline with superimposed smaller folds. Synclines are typically a downward fold, termed a synformal syncline, if the fold pattern is circular or elongate circular the structure is a basin. Folds typically form during crustal deformation as the result of compression that accompanies orogenic mountain building, sideling Hill roadcut along Interstate 68 in western Maryland, USA, where the Rockwell Formation and overlying Purslane Sandstone are exposed
The tawny owl or brown owl is a stocky, medium-sized owl commonly found in woodlands across much of Eurasia. Its underparts are pale with streaks, and the upperparts are either brown or grey. Several of the recognised subspecies have both variants. The nest is typically in a hole where it can protect its eggs. This owl is non-migratory and highly territorial, many young birds starve if they cannot find a vacant territory once parental care ceases. This nocturnal bird of prey hunts mainly rodents, usually by dropping from a perch to seize its prey and hearing adaptations and silent flight aid its night hunting. The tawny owl is capable of catching smaller owls, but is vulnerable to the eagle owl or northern goshawk. Its nocturnal habits and eerie, easily imitated call, have led to an association of the tawny owl with bad luck. The tawny owl is a robust bird, 37–46 cm in length, with an 81–105 cm wingspan, weight can range from 385 to 800 g. Its large rounded head lacks ear tufts, and the disc surrounding the dark brown eyes is usually rather plain.
The nominate race has two morphs which differ in their colour, one form having rufous brown upperparts and the other greyish brown. The underparts of both morphs are whitish and streaked with brown, feathers are moulted gradually between June and December. This species is dimorphic, the female is much larger than the male, 5% longer. The tawny owl flies with long glides on rounded wings, less undulating and with fewer wingbeats than other Eurasian owls, the flight of the tawny owl is rather heavy and slow, particularly at takeoff. As with most owls, its flight is silent because of its feathers soft, furry upper surfaces and a fringe on the leading edge of the outer primaries. Its size, squat shape and broad wings distinguish it from other owls found within its range, great grey, eagle owl and Ural owls are similar in shape, but much larger. An owls eyes are placed at the front of the head and have an overlap of 50–70%. However, the basis for this claim is probably inaccurate by at least a factor of 10