Cute Child with Animal Photos

All photos shown below are captured by a passionate photographer and a mother - Elena Shumilove. Subjects include her two sons and how their innocence are connected into the magical world with cute animals.

"Followed" - May 2013


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Three spiders proven to be not so toxic as what internet circulations claimed

Many information about toxic spiders have gone viral on the internet, published to be so fatal that could cause necrosis. The good thing is, this is written to warn people and to guarantee safety in case real venomous spiders are encountered. The bad thing is, some people who really did encounter these spiders and had been bitten, were so scared to death of what will happen to them after browsing the internet for information.

Australian white-tailed spider

At least it’s good news because one case claimed to have no sign of necrosis after being bitten by an Australian white-tailed spider, a known toxic spider which had a reputation for being so toxic it could kill a human who’s bitten. While the victim was anxious for his own safety, his doctor, Dr. Scott Weinstein, a toxinologist at Women's and Children's Hospital in North Adelaide, Australia has given him treatments and wrote the study after a month of observation in the absence of toxic effects. This new study is now published in the journal Toxicon for updates. 

Hobo spider

 It is also important that people should know so it won't lead to misdiagnosis and other negative effects and complications caused by fear to the victim.

Wolf spider

The three spiders that were wrongly accused are: The white-tailed spider, the hobo spider, and the wolf spider.

Source here.
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Reef Stonefish – Poison that Kills

Swimming around rocks and corals is probably one of the most amazing things to do when you’re out in the water. It’s like taking a walk in an underwater garden since you get to enjoy the wonderful colors of the reef and aquatic life that swims by. However, you should always be cautious when swimming in these areas. Some of the most poisonous creatures are masters of camouflage and you won’t even notice them, even if they’re right in front of you.

Reef Stonefishes are one of the best when it comes to camouflage. They look exactly like a part of a coral formation or a rock and it’s really easy to pass by them. They’re commonly found all throughout the tropical waters in the Indo-Pacific. If you’re lucky enough to actually spot one of these fishes, you might want to keep your hands away since it has short dorsal spines that can inject very poisonous venom. In fact, the poison can easily take a grown man down in a matter of minutes.

There are two species of stonefish, the Estuary Stonefish and the Reef Stonefish. The easiest way to tell them both apart is by looking at their eyes. There is a deep depression between the Reef Stonefish eyes while the Estuary Stonefish has a bony ridge between its eyes. They grow to about 35 cm but some 50 cm specimens have been seen. Since they’re very well camouflaged and fast, prey like crustaceans and smaller fishes don’t see what’s coming.  

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Pesticides - bee and bird killer!

A new study led by researchers at Radboud University in the Netherlands, has suggested that areas with high concentrations of crop pesticides or neonicotinoids have killed bee colonies and birds.

A study from 2003 to 2010 has observed that areas with great concentration of the said pesticides have reduced the number of barn swallows, tree sparrow, and common starlings of up to 3.5 percent yearly. This will result in harmful effects to our ecosystem which could lead to chain reactions that will indirectly affect us humans in the near future.

The pesticide is now banned for use in Europe, but is still used widely in the US and around the world. As of now, chemists are trying to find a better option to prevent future crisis.

Have you thought of ways to solve this problem? What better alternatives do you think farmers should use for their crops?

Source here.
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The summer night fairies - the fireflies

Fireflies are actually beetles, not flies as its name imply. They are nocturnal beetles which are under the family Lampyridae.

Fireflies make up to more or less 2,000 number of species. In some countries, the number of their presence in the evenings are signs of approaching or ending summers, where they are most abundant in warm summer nights. These bugs love moisture and are mainly found in humid regions of America and Asia. However, they can also be found on drier countries where damp areas are present.

Photo by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu of Okayama City, shot using long exposure, time lapse, and digital imagery

An average firefly in the wild can survive for up to 2 months and grow up to 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters, almost the size of a common paper clip.

Photo credit : Jessica Lucia

What makes them glow

Fireflies have light organs under their abdomens. They take in oxygen which is processed by their cells inside that make up the combination of a substance called luciferin – a compound that triggers a bioluminescent reaction. However, how they are turned on and off by the fireflies remain unknown by scientists. Each subspecies also flicker its light in a unique pattern that plays a role in the mating process.

Aside from that, their light may also be a defense mechanism to convey its unappetizing taste to predators. The fact that even larvae are luminescent lends support to this theory.

Source here.

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Shell Fascination – the Golden Cowrie

The golden cowrie (Cypraea aurantium) has fascinated people because of its shiny, attractive shells way back hundreds of years ago and has been part of trades in different countries.
It has been noted as a high-rank symbol worn by Fiji rulers and were used as a currency throughout the South Pacific years ago. Until now, the shell is valued by shell collectors who are willing to pay a price especially for the rarer genus.

Golden cowries are molluscs with an egg-shape exoskeletons and a narrow opening in its flat bases. You can tell that this mollusc pays very important attention to its shell by covering it almost entirely when they move, thus the shell has high maintenance when it comes to polishing.

It is seldom seen since it spends most of their time under reef crevices and under the rocks, not only that, they only come out at night for its meal – sponges and algae.

However, like other animals these days, their population is declining due to habitat loss and over-harvesting. 
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A Killer Whale-looking Dolphin

The Southern Right Whale Dolphin (Lissodelphis peronii ) was described by Lacépède in 1804 as Delphinus peronii, possibly based on a specimen collected south of Tasmania. It has been postulated that the closely related northern species Lissodelphis borealis may belong to the same species as the Southern Right Whale Dolphin (L. peronii), however this has not been confirmed.
The common name for right whale dolphin is named after its lack of dorsal fin (a known-feature for dolphins) which gives it a look of the right portion of a whale. Aside from that, its elegant black and white color similar to a killer whale’s is also a striking characteristic. Weighing at 116 kg, this dolphin could grow at a maximum size of 2.97 meters for males and 2.3 meters for females.
They are known to be very sociable with other species as they are noted to swim in large groups together with Pilot Whales, Dusky Dolphins, Hourglass Dolphins, and other common dolphins and large whales.

Like other whales, they feed on fish, squid, and crustaceans. However, it is not known whether this type of dolphin is a deep-layer or surface feeder.
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Iconic Grunion: Annual Spawning

Gretchen Parker in Cabrillo Beach, California

for National Geographic


Just after nightfall in southern California, on sandy stretches of Pacific shoreline, a piece of marine folklore is coming to life.

It's that time of year again. The grunion are running.

Grunion (Leuresthes tennis) are skinny, silvery little fish only 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 centimeters) long. They're not harvested commercially, and they'd probably go unnoticed if it weren't for the unusual way they spawn.

grunion burrowing

But the way they flop, en masse, out of the water and onto the shoreline, dig into the sand to lay eggs, and then scoot back into the surf has become the stuff of legend in southern California.
grunion fertilization dance
 Natives get a kick out of taking out-of-town guests to see the nighttime spectacle, which occurs each year between March and August on beaches from Point Conception, just north of Santa Barbara, down to Punta Abreojos in Baja California, Mexico. California grunion, members of the Atherinopsidae family, or New World silversides, are found nowhere else in the world.
grunion spawning

But how much longer will they be found here? Anecdotal evidence suggests that as hunting has increased, and as development has reduced available spawning grounds, there have been fewer strong, healthy grunion runs in recent years.
grunion eggs
"People ask me all the time, 'How are the grunion doing these days?' " says Karen Martin, a biology professor at Pepperdine University and the region's best-known expert on grunion. "I say, 'It's not their best year.' "

Source: Here
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Get to know the Irrawaddy Dolphin before it becomes extinct

The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostis) is distributed in small populations through Southeast Asia. It is now placed under Vulnerable category because of its reportedly small numbers.

Compared to other dolphins, the Irrawaddy is distinctive through its round face, short beak, and a bulging forehead that makes it look more similar to a whale. 
There is little to no evidence of exploitation for the species, but the threats still come from fisheries as a bycatch, and from habitat loss  due to deforestation, mining, and development of dams which alters the water distribution and composition.
The species eats crustaceans and fish found in tropical and subtropical estuaries. They are rarely seen alone and are always socially feeding and swimming in groups in semi-marine environment, usually near the shore or close to mangrove forests, but most populations are found in freshwater or brackish areas like rivers, deltas, lakes, and bays.

Today, the current population numbers in certain areas are:

Malampaya Sound, Philippines: 77

Mekong River: 78-91

Mahakam River, Indonesia: 87

Ayeyarwady River, Myanmar: 58-72

Coastal waters of Bangladesh: 5,383

Sundarbans mangrove forest of Bangladesh: 451
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Save the World. Eat Bugs!

Business Insider -  Will Wei

The world's population is projected to grow from 7.2 billion to 9.6 billion people by 2050.  So, what needs to be done to feed an extra two billion mouths?

We need to eat more bugs.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations makes a compelling case that insects are key to our future food security. Insects are chock-full of protein, good fats, calcium, iron, and zinc — making them viable alternatives to chicken, pig, and cow meat. Bugs are also much easier on the environment.

toffee worm vanilla ice cream - Don Bugito

Much of the world has already discovered this. Eighty percent of nations, from Southeast Asia to Latin America, already consume more than 1,900 different insect species. Fried locusts and grasshoppers, for example, are extremely popular street foods in Thailand.  The Western world has been the only holdout, but  that is perhaps starting to change.
Restaurants in New York and other major cities are featuring items such as grasshopper tacos. Meanwhile, Tiny Farms, Bitty Foods, and Don Bugito are three startups in San Francisco betting on bugs. Tiny Farms offers open-source farm kits encouraging individuals and businesses to raise their own insects, Bitty Foods makes baked goods using flour made of ground-up crickets, and Don Bugito sells flavorful cooked insects in snack-size packages.
These startups are leading the way in putting insects on your plate.

Source: Here
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