1. Fluorite on Calcite | ©howie516 

    Fluorite crystal on a bed of sparkling Calcite crystals over a Limestone matrix. Elmwood Mine, Smith County, Tennessee, US

  2. Perfect Timing | ©Yuga Kurita

    This photo shows the Diamond Fuji, a phenomenon in which the sun overlaps the top of Mt. Fuji, captured from Lake Yamanakako (Japan).

  3. Ringed Caecilian - Siphonops annulatus

    This creature is not a worm or a snake (though it seems), but an amphibian, and more precisely a caecilian scientifically named Siphonops annulatus (Gymnophiona - Caeciliidae), a species widely distributed through tropical South America.

    Siphonops annulatus measures 286-450 mm in total length. Its eyes are small, vestigial but externally visible (the light blue stain in the top photo). A bit down and left of the eye is a tiny tentacle (whitish colored). This species has a cylindrical body with annular grooves that completely encircle the body.

    The Ringed Caecilian exhibits an unusual form of parental care known as maternal dermatophagy, where the offspring consume maternal skin for nourishment. Attending mothers have specialized skin, enriched in lipids. Offspring have specialized dentition.

    References: [1] - [2]

    Photo credit: ©craw.craw | Locality: Panguana Reserve, Puerto Inca, Huánuco, Peru (2007) | [Top] - [Bottom]

  5. Blue-eyed Moraea - A beauty in the verge of extinction in wild

    Moraea aristata (Asparagales - Iridaceae) is a beautiful South African plant with white blooms marked with light to deep iridescent blue eyes or nectar guides. Although critically endangered in the wild, it is easily cultivated.

    Endemic to clay slopes and flats of the northeastern Cape Peninsula, Moraea aristata occurs in remnant Peninsula Shale Renosterveld vegetation. The species is currently limited to a single subpopulation near the Liesbeek River in the suburb of Observatory. Despite its location within a protected area, it is on the verge of extinction there, as the limited number of individuals and low genetic diversity, poor seed production and disturbed site renders the subpopulation non-viable.

    Moraea aristata is pollinated by monkey beetles (Hopliini: Scarabaeidae). The beetles are attracted to the striking blue nectar guides located near the base of the three broad outer tepals. The beetles feed on the nectar and pollen, and in so doing, pollen is deposited onto their heads and backs. When the beetles leave the flowers they brush against the stigmas and pollination takes place when they visit other flowers. The seeds are locally dispersed from the ripe capsules by the shaking action of wind.

    Reference: [1]

    Photo credit: ©Tiggrx | Locality: Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa (2011)

  6. Dans le cratère | ©Louyse Voyage

    A volcano that became a lake. Quilitoa lake is a water-filled caldera on the volcano route in the Ecuador Andes at an altitude of 3665 m.

  7. Whitish Bonnet - Mycena vulgaris

    These tiny mushrooms are Mycena vulgaris (Mycenaceae), a species characterized by having the stem much longer than cap diameter, and the cap covered with a thin slimy pellicle, separable. This fungus is small, less than 5 cm tall.

    The species is gregarious and can be found growing in large number in needle litter in coniferous wood of North America and Europe.

    References: [1] - [2]

    Photo credit: ©Alex Alonso | Locality: Vallgorguina, Barcelona, Spain

  8. Videna metcalfei

    This small land snail belonging to the speciesVidena metcalfei (Zonitidae) is known from Borneo and Philippines. The upper surface of the shell is smooth and dull, while the base of the shell is shiny with fine incised spiral lines.

    Reference: [1]

    Photo credit: ©Bernard Dupont | Locality: Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia (2007)

  9. Trigger Plant - Stylidium eriopodum

    Enclosed in the Stylidiaceae Family, the scientific name of this plant, Stylidium eriopodum, is not resolved yet, and neither has an official common name, although some people call it boomerang plant by the peculiar shape of the flower. 

    Stylidium species are generally known as Trigger Plants because their flowers have a touch-sensitive, fast-moving column that deposits pollen on, and picks it up from, pollinators (nectar-seeking solitary bees and bombyliid flies). Pollen is placed “explosively” on the insect by the motile column of fused staminate and pistillate tissues. 

    This species grows in Southwestern Australia, where the plants are held above the ground on very fine roots, resembling beautiful mats over the ground.

    References: [1] - [2]

    Photo credit: ©Jean Hort | Locality: Australia (2012)

  11. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird - Chalcoparia singalensis

    Chalcoparia singalensis (Passeriformes - Nectariniidae) is a species of sunbird up to 11 cm in length, with short bill. The male is iridescent green above, yellow below, with vivid crimson patches on the cheeks. Females and young are duller but the female shares the male’s orange throat.

    This species os native from Northern India to northern Indochina, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo.

    Reference: [1]

    Photo credit: ©Daniel Ruyle | Locality: Thailand (2010)

  12. Peanut-head Bug - Fulgora laternaria 

    Fulgorids stand out among the Hemipterans for its unique head shape. Among the neotropical species Fulgora laternaria is perhaps the most striking, with its head resembling a big unshelled peanut.

    Fulgora laternaria grows to about 8 cm long and its mouth is like a straw; it can not bite, so all it can do is suck juices from plants. In the rainforest from Mexico to Argentina where this bug is found, there are so many things that want to eat the Peanut-head Bug that it needs a lot of defenses. Scientists think that the head is supposed to imitate a lizard’s head, a complex anti-predator scheme the bug uses. The Peanut-head Bug has large spots on its underwings that look like large eyes when the bug spreads its wings. If these don’t scare away predators, the bug releases a skunk-like spray. 

    Other common names: Lantern fly, Peanut bug, Peanut-headed lanternfly, Alligator bug, Jequitiranaboia, Machaca, Chicharra-machacuy, Víbora voladora, Mariposa caimán, Cocoposa.

    References: [1] - [2]

    Photo credit: [Top: ©Bernard Dupont | Locality: Tikal, Guatemala, 2008] - [Bottom: ©Arthur Chapman | Locality: Allpahuayo Reserve, near Iquitos, Peru, 2006]

  13. Basin Treefrog (Rana Lanceolada) - Hypsiboas lanciformis

    Hypsiboas lanciformis (Hylidae) is a South American tree frog whose dorsum is distinctive by having transverse dark brown stripes on a dark yellow to light brown background. This species is nocturnal and arboreal, and occurs in the upper Amazon basin in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.

    References: [1] - [2] - [3]

    Photo credit: ©Graham Wise | Locality: Arajuno River, Amazon, Ecuador (2013)

  15. For the sea slug Chromodoris reticulata the penis is a disposable and replaceable instrument

    Like almost all nudibranchs, Chromodoris reticulata (Chromodorididae), is a non-selfing, simultaneously hermaphroditic sea slug. In this species partners perform both the ‘male role’ of donating sperm to a mating partner and the ‘female role’ of receiving sperm from the partner simultaneously during copulation. 

    What’s unique about this species native to the Indo- Pacific, at least while the reproductive biology of other nudibranchs is studied, is the fact that Chromodoris reticulata is able to autotomize its penis after copulation and regrow another penis to copulate again within a day.

    Once copulation has ended, both individuals crawl with their elongated penises remaining outside the body, and then they autotomize and discard them. Behavioral observations revealed that approximately 24 h after the previous copulation C. reticulata is able to copulate reciprocally for at least three more times. This is due to that penis has a spiral structure that is believed plays an important role in the autotomy and replenishment. So, a ‘next penis’ is available after 24 h for a new copulation.

    Cool, don’t you think?

    Reference: [1]

    Photo credit: ©Benjamin Naden | [Top: Manadao, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, 2011] - [Bottom: Seraya Barat, Bali, Indonesia, 2012]

    Edit: sorry, I forgot to upload the second photo.