Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photo of Albino Bighorn in Red Rock today! 12/7/11

I had heard from other guides that there was an albino ram in
Willow Springs canyon but I had never seen it before today.

With this photo you can compare the albino with a normal ram.

What a magnificent animal!

Another good comparison shot.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Estivation, Torpor, Dormancy, Brumation, Diapause


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Estivation)
Aestivation (from Latin aestas, summer, but also spelled "estivation" in the USA)
is a state of animal dormancy,
[1] characterized by inactivity and a lowered metabolic rate,
that is entered in response to high temperatures
and arid conditions.[2] It takes place during times of heat and dryness,
the hot dry season, which is often
but not necessarily the summer months.[citation needed]
Invertebrate and vertebrate animals are known to enter this state
to avoid damage from high temperatures and
the risk of desiccation. Both terrestrial and aquatic
animals undergo aestivation.[citation needed]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediarely upon torpor to survive.
Torpor, sometimes called temporary hibernation[1] is a (usually short-term)
state of decreased
physiological activity in an animal, usually characterized by a reduced
body temperature and rate
of metabolism. Animals that go through torpor include birds
(even tiny hummingbirds, notably
Cypselomorphae) and some mammals such as mice and bats.[2]
During the active part of their day,
animals that undergo daily torpor maintain normal body
temperature and activity levels, but their
temperature drops during a portion of the day (usually night)
to conserve energy. Torpor is often
used to help animals survive during periods of colder temperatures,
as it allows the organism to save
the amount of energy that would normally
be used to maintain a high body temperature.
Torpor may extend for a longer period of time.
Some animals such as groundhogs, ground squirrels
and jumping mice enter this intensely deep state
of hibernation for the duration of the winter. Lungfish
switch to the torpor state if their pool dries out;
tenrecs switch to the torpor state if food is scarce during
the summer in Madagascar. This prolonged and deep torpor
during summer months is known as
aestivation. Black bears, although often thought of as hibernators,
do not truly enter a state of torpor:
while their body temperatures lower along with
respiration and heartbeat, they do not decrease as
significantly as most animals in a state of torpor,
and bears are still responsive.[3] Still, there is much
debate about this within the scientific community:
some feel that black bears are true hibernators that
employ a more advanced form of hibernation.[citation needed]
Bats, especially species in temperate regions suffering
harsh winters,
rely upon torpor to survive.
Lowering the body temperature to the ambient temperature
allows them to enter torpor for prolonged
periods at a lower metabolic cost. Oxygen consumption,
heart rate and breathing rates are all lowered
significantly meaning less energy is required to survive.
Torpor is important in daily cycles to conserve
energy as well as prolonged torpor, or hibernation.
Pre-hibernation feeding builds up layers of fat which
are used as the energy source during torpor.
Arousal from torpor in bats is facultative, not obligate,
but comes at a high energy cost, meaning awakening
must be for a good reason.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

During winter dormancy, plant metabolismvirtually comes to a standstill due, in part,

to low temperatures that slow chemical activity.[1]
Dormancy is a period in an organism's life cycle when growth, development,
and (in animals) physical activity
are temporarily stopped. This minimizes metabolic activity and therefore
helps an organism to conserve energy.
Dormancy tends to be closely associated withenvironmental conditions.
Organisms can synchronize entry to a
dormant phase with their environment through predictive or consequential means.
Predictive dormancy occurs
when an organism enters a dormant phase before the onset of adverse conditions.
For example, photoperiod and
decreasing temperature are used by many plants to predict the onset of winter.
Consequential dormancy occurs
when organisms enter a dormant phase after adverse conditions have arisen.
This is commonly found in areas with
an unpredictable climate. While very sudden changes in conditions may lead
to a high mortality rate among animals
relying on consequential dormancy, its use can be advantageous,
as organisms remain active longer and are
therefore able to make greater use of available resources.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dormancy in reptiles is an example of brumation, which is similar to hibernation.[2][3] It differs from hibernation in the metabolic processes involved.[4]
Reptiles generally begin brumation in late fall (more specific times depend on the species). They will often wake up to drink water and return to "sleep". They can go months without food. Reptiles may want to eat more than usual before the brumation time but will eat less or refuse food as the temperature drops. However, they do need to drink water. The brumation period is anywhere from one to eight months depending on the air temperature and the size, age, and health of the reptile. During the first year of life, many small reptiles do not fully brumate, but rather slow down and eat less often. Brumation should not be confused with hibernation; when mammals hibernate, they are actually asleep; when reptiles brumate, they are less active, and their metabolism slows down so they just do not need to eat as often. Reptiles can often go through the whole winter without eating. Brumation is triggered by cold weather, lack of heat, and the decrease in the amount of hours of daylight in the winter.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diapause is a predictive strategy that is predetermined by an animal's genotype.
Diapause is common in insects, allowing them to suspend development between autumn and spring,
and in mammals such as the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus, the only ungulate with embryonal diapause),
where a delay in attachment of the embryo to the uterine lining ensures that offspring are born in spring,
when conditions are most favorable.
Embryonic diapause is also known as delayed implantation.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hibernation is a mechanism used by many animals to escape cold weather and food shortage over the winter. Hibernation may be predictive or consequential. An animal prepares for hibernation by building up a thick layer of body fat during late summer and autumn that will provide it with energy during the dormant period. During hibernation, the animal undergoes many physiological changes, including decreased heart rate (by as much as 95%) and decreased body temperature. Animals that hibernate include bats, ground squirrels and other rodents, mouse lemurs, the European Hedgehog and other insectivores, monotremes and marsupials.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ORNATE TREE LIZARD Urosaurus ornatus

This is an Ornate Tree Lizard. It is one of the most wide-spread lizards in Arizona. I came upon these Tree Lizards out at Toroweap.

Is this cool or what? Look at that camouflaged coloration. It lives in a Pinion Pine Tree about 100 feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Looking at its top side one would have no idea that its bottom side was so colorful.

ORNATE TREE LIZARD Urosaurus ornatus

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Loreal Pit

This is a close-up of a Panamint Red Rattlesnake. You can see the loreal pit between and below the eye and the nostril.

Loreal pit

The Loreal pit is the deep depression, or fossa, in the loreal area on either side of the head in crotaline snakes (pitvipers). It is located behind the nostril and in front of the eye, but below the line that runs between the centers of each. It is the external opening to an extremely sensitive infrared detecting organ. The loreal pit is bordered by lacunal scales.[1]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

fossa /fos·sa/ (fos´ah) pl. fos´sae [L.] a trench or channel; in anatomy, a hollow or depressed area.

Heat Vision

Rattlesnakes and other pit vipers have remarkable heat-sensing pits. Located behind each nostril, below a straight line that would directly connect the nostril to the eye, is a loreal pit (called this because it is a depression in the loreal scale). These pits are highly effective in detecting differences in temperature even several yards away. At short ranges within a foot or so, minute differences (of perhaps fractions of a degree) may be perceived.

Heat given off by an animal creates a heat image; therefore, rattlesnakes have “heat vision.” The heat images are integrated with visual ones in the brain. This type of vision is helpful for nocturnal predators, for it enables them to hunt effectively even in total darkness. It may also help distinguish predator from prey, allowing rattlesnakes to determine whether they are at risk themselves. Larger, non-prey animals give off larger heat images, signaling the snakes to avoid potential encounters with these animals.

This is from

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Wonder of the Fairy Shrimp!

Is this wicked looking, or what?
I think I can remember this climbing into Checkoff's ear in one of the Star Trek movies!

This is a Fairy Shrimp. There eggs inhabit catch basins in the desert and when it rains the eggs hatch and the shrimp begin to grow. Before the water completely evaporates the shrimp lay their eggs and the eggs can sit in the sand in the dried up catch basin for up to years before it rains again, and the shrimp start their life cycle all over again.

This is the catch basin (tinyaha: in Paiute) where I photographed the Fairy Shrimp.
This is near Atlatal Rock in the Valley of Fire State Park.

A view of the bottom side of the Fairy Shrimp.

And here it is a little closer up.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The California King Snake

The California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae)

This is a California Kingsnake that I found on the 13 mile loop in Red Rock National Conservation area outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. It had been run over and when I drove by it I thought it was a bracelet. Realizing that it would be very unlikely for there to be a bracelet on the road, I backed up and saw that it was a juvenile king snake.

  • The California King snake is a constrictor and kills and eats rodents, reptiles, and birds by constricting and crushing the life out of its food.
  • It is one of the most popular of the Southwestern snakes to keep as a pet and also to breed.
  • This time of the year reptiles and mammals are especially vulnerable on the roads in the desert because it is finally cool enough to hunt and move about during the day when there is more traffic.
  • I collected the snake carcass because I wanted to photograph it and also preserve the snakeskin.

Friday, October 7, 2011

O Lord, how manifold are thy works!

Toroweap Point, North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Definition of manifold:
adjective: many and varied; having many features or forms

Taken from Yavapai Point, South Rim NP

Taken from Yavapai Point, South Rim NP

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world,
along with Mount Everest in Nepal
Victoria Falls in Zambia / Zimbabwe,
Australia's Great Barrier Reef,
the Northern Lights,
Paricutan Volcano in Mexico,
and the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Big Horn Sheep Ram in Valley of Fire, State Park

Toroweap Point

Toroweap, North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Great Condor photo today at the South Rim.

Little faun at the South Rim today.

The doe of the faun. Look at how skinny she is. You can see her ribs.
You can see the little faun to the does right.
There were two fauns.

A Condor at Mather Point. (No number markings on its wings.)

Condor #47 below Bright Angel Lodge overlook.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Toroweap - August 25, 2011

This is the most famous view of Toroweap Point. It is 3000' down to the river.

We saw our little Coyote friend when we stopped for a restroom break at the Ranger Station.
It was busy hunting mice and didn't pay us much attention.

I caught this little lizard during our lunch break.