freshwater species of the week

The annual fall run of young salmon from their inland birthplaces in rivers to the sea is one of Nature’s dramatic migrations. But this year, a number of chinook salmon may make that journey by truck. This week, state and federal wildlife officials in northern California announced that they will ferry hatchery-raised salmon to the…

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The last few weeks have been pretty eventful for the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), a critically endangered Mexican salamander. At the end of January the charismatic creature was feared to be extinct in the wild when a three-month survey in its natural habitat, Lake Xochimilco in Mexico City, turned up no axolotls, according to biologist Luis Zambrano…

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Meet the Indian purple frog, also known as the pig-nosed frog. Only formally discovered in 2003, the colorful amphibian is an endangered species native to the mountains of India’s Western Ghats. With a chubby, purple body and pointed, piglike snout, it’s unlike any other frog on Earth. Some of the purple frog’s unusual looks are adaptations…

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This week, scientists in Brazil weren’t kidding when they said that they “hit the mother lode.” They were referring to a mass hatching of an estimated 210,000 giant South American river turtles at the Abufari Biological Reserve. It’s one of the largest known hatchings for the species, Podocnemis expansa. Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society…

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  You might think of crocodiles lurking in the water or perhaps sunning themselves on a riverbank, but it turns out these toothy reptiles’ domain extends to the upper branches of trees. A new study in Herpetology Notes documents the surprisingly common tree-climbing behavior in crocodiles and their close cousins, alligators. Even without any special anatomic adaptations for…

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New research shows crocodiles frequently make their way up trees to bask in the sun and keep an eye on their environment. You might think of crocodiles as being at home in the water — but it turns out these toothy reptiles are also quite comfortable scaling trees. A new study  documents the surprisingly common…

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The giant “devil frog” was even more terrifying than previously thought, a new study says. Recent fossil analysis shows that the predatory amphibian, Beelzebufo ampinga, was smaller than first described, but had spiky flanges protruding from its skull and plate-like armor down its back. (Also see “7 Demonic Creatures: Thorny Devil, Satanic Gecko, More.”) Initially estimated…

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This week, for the first time, a fish has been declared recovered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed this week that the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) “has recovered and no longer meets the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.” The silvery…

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Scientists in Brazil proposed a new species of river dolphin this week, the first such designation for the highly endangered group in a century. The proposed new species of river dolphin, the Araguaian boto (Inia araguaiaensis), was found in the Araguaia River Basin in central Brazil. The marine mammals were found to be isolated from other…

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Earlier this week we reported on the first confirmed video that shows what many people had long feared: that some fish can leap out of the water and snatch birds in midair. That fish is the tigerfish, a “megafish” that dwells in lakes in Africa, and which has large, razor-sharp teeth. Widely distributed across much…

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  Genitals are useful for transferring sperm, but why stop there? Some animals have evolved unusual and creative ways to use their naughty bits to trick predators or attract mates. Recently, scientists discovered that hawkmoths have an unusual defense against bat sonar—by rubbing their genitals together, the moths produce ultrasonic sounds of their own. These…

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Water Currents previously reported on Donald Stewart‘s ongoing efforts to reclassify a giant Amazonian fish as representing several distinct species. The work of the fish biologist at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is supported in part by National Geographic. Stewart’s latest work has just been published in the journal Copeia, and marks…

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These fish are born out of water.  The fish Copella arnoldi is commonly called the splash tetra or splashing tetra, due to its unique reproductive behavior. That is, it lays its eggs outside of water. It is one of few known species of fish in the world to do so. When a male is ready to mate, it…

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  Conservation India reports that an endangered Ganges river dolphin (or Gangetic dolphin, Platanista gangetica gangetica), was killed by villagers in Assam this week. A fishmonger was seen selling the marine mammal’s meat at a roadside market in Lezai-Kalakhowa. The Ganges river dolphin is the national aquatic animal of India. It lives in the freshwater of the Ganges…

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