Sperm whales

There are thought to be about 200,000 sperm whales in the world, but there is considerable uncertainty about the figure, which may be anywhere between  200,000-1,500,000 according to one site (1). The IUCN Red List states that the pre-whaling global population of sperm whales was about 1,100,000, so the number is probably much lower than…

Munia mayhem

One hotel I stayed at recently in Bali (the Ramada Bintang Bali Resort) had attractive gardens with a number of water fountains. These were a magnet for birds, specifically munias: small, gregarious seed eaters, also called minias or mannikins. One fountain was very much the preserve of White-headed munias (Lonchura maja) which were very abundant. The White-headed munias flew…

Lizard language

Flying lizards are a common group of agamids in southeast Asia. The Common Gliding Lizard, Draco Volans – also called the Javanese flying lizard – is found in Java and Bali (1). These photographs were taken in Bali Barat NP, so perhaps they should be called the Balinese flying lizard. The males have a very obvious,…

Tigers mating

The Plain Tiger, Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758), is a butterfly with an enormous distribution – from West Africa to New Zealand (1, 2). There are a large number of different forms or subspecies comprising what is called a ‘species complex’. This is a name given to a group of insects by taxonomists when they don’t really know,…

Bluff and deception in Blues

The Longbanded Silverline (Spindasis lohita), Family Lycaenidae, is a beautiful insect with a remarkable structure – a tail, or ‘false head’ – at the end of its hind wing. There is a bright orange tornal patch – the tornus is the posterior corner of the butterfly wing – on both sides of the wing. There is also a…