endless forms most beautiful

Hi, I'm Zach. My primary focus is herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians), but my interests span many topics relating to the natural and unnatural world.

Most of the material I post here is my own, unless otherwise stated.

For posts I have reblogged from other tumblr users, click "Stuff I Like"

Feel free to send any comments or questions my way!
hyaenabee:

mindblowingscience:

Opinion: It’s Time to Stop Thinking That All Non-Native Species Are Evil

What should be done with the wattle-necked softshell turtles on the Hawaiian island of Kauai?
The turtles came from China, starting in the 1850s, brought by sugarcane farmers who liked them as soup. Today, they’re endangered in China and considered invasive—the term for non-native species that cause undesirable effects—in Kauai. But conservationists don’t believe the animals are safe from hunting in their home range, so there’s little point in boxing them up and sending them back.
It’s a head scratcher: Should we remove the turtles from Kauai to preserve the native ecosystem there—the turtles could potentially eat native fish—and risk the extinction of their species, or should we keep them alive in Hawaii?
Those kinds of knotty questions are becoming more commonplace in ecology, as global change accelerates. And so a new attitude is emerging that’s less reflexively hostile toward invaders. It was much in evidence at a symposium held last week at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Missoula, Montana. I participated as a journalist but not a disinterested observer: I’ve argued in the past that it’s time for a more nuanced approach to the non-native plants and animals among us.

Continue Reading.

Good article! But the above photo is not a soft-shell turtle - as it says in the article, it’s a Giant Aldabra tortoise. THIS is a wattle-necked softshell turtle:

Photo source

hyaenabee:

mindblowingscience:

Opinion: It’s Time to Stop Thinking That All Non-Native Species Are Evil

What should be done with the wattle-necked softshell turtles on the Hawaiian island of Kauai?

The turtles came from China, starting in the 1850s, brought by sugarcane farmers who liked them as soup. Today, they’re endangered in China and considered invasive—the term for non-native species that cause undesirable effects—in Kauai. But conservationists don’t believe the animals are safe from hunting in their home range, so there’s little point in boxing them up and sending them back.

It’s a head scratcher: Should we remove the turtles from Kauai to preserve the native ecosystem there—the turtles could potentially eat native fish—and risk the extinction of their species, or should we keep them alive in Hawaii?

Those kinds of knotty questions are becoming more commonplace in ecology, as global change accelerates. And so a new attitude is emerging that’s less reflexively hostile toward invaders. It was much in evidence at a symposium held last week at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Missoula, Montana. I participated as a journalist but not a disinterested observer: I’ve argued in the past that it’s time for a more nuanced approach to the non-native plants and animals among us.

Continue Reading.

Good article! But the above photo is not a soft-shell turtle - as it says in the article, it’s a Giant Aldabra tortoise. THIS is a wattle-necked softshell turtle:

Photo source

"SCROO OBAMA"

Early morning drive in Nebraska
©Zachary A. Cava

Early morning drive in Nebraska

©Zachary A. Cava

Nebraska road block

Nebraska road block

San Rafael Swell, Utah.

San Rafael Swell, Utah.

My first try at time-lapse. This datura plant in my yard gets really wilted in the sun but pops back up quickly after I water it. The video covers about 45 minutes. 

*If anyone has any tips for uploading HD videos please let me know. The image quality of the original file looks much better than the uploaded version.

Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans or P. longipalpis?). Clark Co., Nevada.
©Zachary A. Cava

Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans or P. longipalpis?). Clark Co., Nevada.

©Zachary A. Cava