1. Forest Morning | ©Josh Kellogg  (Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, US)

  2. Westring’s Spiny Spider - Gasteracantha westringi 

    This beauty is a female of the species Gasteracantha westringi (Araneidae), distinctive by its green, orange and yellow colored patterns, very dark cherry red spines and pits decorating the flared abdomen, much wider than long. 

    Known from Australia (Northern Territory to North Queensland), Admiralty Island, New Caledonia and Norfolk Island, this tiny spider (the females measure about 8 mm) was described under its present name in 1864 only with the female. The male of this species is poorly known and it is much smaller than the female (only 3mm).

    Reference: [1]

    Photo credit: ©Craig Nieminski | Locality: Point Stuart, Northern Territory, Australia

  3. Pyrosome - colonial salp

    What you see in the photo is not a single organism, but a colony of tunicates of the genus Pyrosoma.

    Colonies of pyrosomes may reach a length of 60 cm and forms a distinctive rigid tube that may be colorless, pink, grayish or blue-green. One end is closed and tapered, with the opposing open end having a diaphragm.  The tube has a rough texture due to papillae on the individuals making up the colony. 

    Unlike salps that use pulsing of the body wall to pump water, pyrosomes depend on cilia to move water through the body.

    Pyrosomes are brightly bioluminescent. In fact, the genus name Pyrosoma is derived from the Greek, pyros (fire) and soma (body), referring to the bright bioluminescence characteristic of this group.   

    [Animalia - Chordata - Tunicata - Thaliacea - Pyrosomida - Pyrosomatidae - Pyrosoma

    References: [1] - [2]

    Photo credit: ©Nick Hobgood | Locality: Atauro Island Dili, East Timor

  4. Sphene (Titanite), Gemmy twin crystals | ©Well Arranged Molecules

    Divino das Laranjeiras, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

  6. Key-hole Sand Dollar - Echinodiscus truncatus

    Using its velvet-like covering of small, short spines, the Key-hole Sand Dollar, Echinodiscus truncatus (Clypeasteroida - Astriclypeidae), burrows just beneath the surface of intertidal sands in the Indo-west Pacific waters.

    This is a large sand dollar about 8-9cm across, with a pair of elongated holes or lunules close to the disc edge. Various explanations for the adaptive value of the lunules have been put forward. One theory if that the lunule spins assist in burrowing while another ideas is that the holes have a hydrodynamic function in reducing lift in strong currents and thus preventing dislodgment.

    Reference: [1]

    Photo credit: ©Loh Kok Sheng | Locality: Tanah Merah, Singapore (2008)

  7. Mycena amicta 

    With a cap just 5 to 15 mm in diameter, these small fungi belonging to the species Mycena amicta (Mycenaceae), sometimes have a striking olivaceous, greenish or bluish green shade. The base of the stipe usually is somewhat blue-green, but sometimes it can be entirely blue.

    The species grows solitary, scattered, to occasionally clustered on conifer logs (often under the bark) in montane regions of North America and Europe.

    References: [1] - [2]

    Photo credit: ©Tatiana Bulyonkova | Locality: Novosibirskaya Oblast, Russia (2012)

  8. Sind Saw-scaled Viper - Echis carinatus sochureki

    Despite its relatively small size (up to 61 cm long), the Sind Saw-scaled Viper, Echis carinatus sochureki (Viperidae) is considered a dangerous snake, with an aggressive temperament, a lightning-fast strike and powerful venom.

    This viper is distinguished by a prominent, dark brown, arrow-shaped marking on the head and is covered in small, heavily keeled scales. Three or four enlarged scales form a slight ridge above each eye.

    This subspecies is known from the parts of southern Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

    Reference: [1]

    Photo credit: ©Drew Gardner | Locality: Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2007)

  9. Colori della Val di Genova | ©Fabrizio Fusari  (Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy)

  10. Trumpet Lichen - Cladonia fimbriata 

    This photo shows a macro view of the Trumpet Lichen, Cladonia fimbriata, a species with worldwide distribution. The cups are generally symmetrical and often bear fimbriate proliferations on the margin. 

    Reference: [1]

    [Fungi - Ascomycota - Lecanoromycetes - Lecanorales - Cladoniaceae - CladoniaCladonia fimbriata]

    Photo credit: ©Henk Wallays | Locality: Knesselare, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium (2010)

  11. Rose-ringed Parakeet - Psittacula krameri

    Also known as Ring-necked Parakeet, Psittacula krameri (Psittacidae) is a mainly green parrot with a red bill and a long, tapered tail. This is the Old World’s most widely distributed parrot, occurring in northern Africa north of the moist forest zone as well as across much of southern Asia.

    These parrots are highly gregarious, especially outside the breeding season, sometimes forming flocks of several thousand birds. They roost communally, often with crows, mynas, or other parrots.

    Reference: [1]

    Photo credit: ©Vijay Anand Ismavel | Locality: Kaziranga National Park, Eastern Range, Assam, India (2012)

  12. Geraniums | ©filibrojo 

    Watercolor, negative painting (2008)

  13. Red Calcite | ©Well Arranged Molecules

    Pierre Shale, Nodule area, Montana, US.

    These unusual calcites are often called “stalactitic” due to the shape, but these are not true stalactites, they form in Shale concretions and do not have concentric growth structures, central canals and other aspects of a true stalactite.

  14. Hakai Islets | ©Leah Ballin  (Calvert Island -Hakai-, British Columbia, Canada)

  15. Amethyst Deceiver - Laccaria amethystina

    The purple Laccaria amethystina (Hydnangiaceae), commonly known as the Amethyst Deceiver, is ectomycorrhizal, forming symbiotic associations with hardwoods or conifers in America, Europe and Asia. It produces deep purple, edible mushrooms, that grow among moss and leaf litter under deciduous as well as coniferous trees.

    References: [1] - [2]

    Photo credit: ©Tatiana Bulyonkova | Locality: P´ot´I, Caucasus mountains, Georgia (2012)