Decomposition of a mole

I came across a dead mole as I was walking along a logging tract in a pine forest in Galicia, northern Spain. It looked as though it had only just died, as the first wave of colonisation – by  blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) – was only just in progress. Green bottle flies (probably Lucilia sericata) were already…

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…

Just like us!

When I was in Bali (Indonesia) recently, like many tourists, I visited the Ubud Monkey Forest; also called the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. This relatively small (10 ha) site, as the name suggests, is famous for its monkeys. Officially known as Crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis), these monkeys are also called long-tailed macaques or locally, Balinese long-tailed monkeys. The monkeys are…

The big decision!

Just 9 days to go to the UK’s EU referendum. Voters are being asked to vote on whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. It’s a big decision which will affect the lives of ourselves and our descendants for generations to come. Many people – bombarded by seemingly contradictory information and so-called…

Galician ponies: an ancient breed adapted to life on the hills

It’s hard not to be impressed by the natural, semi-wild lives these animals live in a beautiful countryside. Idyllic when the sun is shining in early June – as in the following sequence – but no doubt a different matter during the cold, wet winters. Nevertheless, they are perfectly suited to this climate, having lived…

A splendidly shiny beetle!

This shiny, iridescent dung beetle is relatively common during the summer in the hills of Galicia, NW Spain. It is a type of dor beetle (Family: Geotrupidae) and appears to specialise on horse dung, at least that is where they can be found in the hills of Galicia. Cleaning up after the Galician ponies! The…

Selamatkan Yaki! (Save the yakis!)

Black Crested Macaques or Sulawesi Black Macaques (Macaca nigra) are only found in northeastern Sulawesi (and on a couple of adjacent islands) in Indonesia, and are critically endangered as a result of both habitat loss and hunting for bush meat.  Unfortunatley for them, they are considered a delicay in this part of Sulawesi (Minahasa) so have…