The Night Dwellers.

33_nocturne_serval3_p43_p43Humans are naturally afraid of the dark, mostly because it can cloak myriad dangers. But take a closer look, and it turns out many of the creatures that go bump in the night are adorable, resourceful and awe-inspiring.
Now fossil studies suggest that the very first mammals may have been born into darkness.
Today a wide variety of known animal species are nocturnal, mostly active at night, or crepuscular, mostly active at dawn and dusk.
These behaviors offer three main advantages: reduced competition for resources with daytime critters, protection from heat and water loss in arid regions and a way to hide from predators or find unsuspecting prey.
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Photographer Traer Scott became fascinated with night-dwellers while watching moths fly near her porch lights on summer evenings—and then thinking about the bats that prey on those moths.
In her new book, Nocturne: Creatures of the Night (Princeton Architectural Press, 2014), Traer highlights the diversity of nocturnal species around the world, offering a glimpse at birds, bats, spiders and other animals that most humans rarely see.
While nocturnality makes sense for those animals and many others today, how or why it first emerged has been unclear. One prevailing scientific theory was that nocturnality evolved in early mammals as a defensive strategy to escape the jaws of predatory dinosaurs, which were mostly active during the day.
But according to research recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. being nocturnal may have been the status quo for the common ancestor of all mammals.
Traer Scott is an award winning photographer and the bestselling author of four books including Shelter Dogs and the recently released Newborn Puppies; Dogs In Their First Three Weeks from Chronicle Books.
Her work has been featured in National Geographic, Life, Vogue, People, O, and dozens of other major national and international publications.
See more Images from Traer Scott via Adorable Portraits Put Nocturnal Animals in the Spotlight | Science | Smithsonian.

‘Cute Youngsters.’

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Everyone looks pretty small in these photos and a bit lost.
But they are so damned cute to look at. The bloke at the top looks the odd man out in Australia.
By the way for those who haven’t seen feral cats in Australia they are big, mean and really give the smaller and more timid marsupials a real hard time.
Yet another introduced species.
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Macabre Scary Zodiac Creatures.

zodiac-fantasy-creatures-damon-hellandbrand-ariesUS-based artist Damon Hellandbrand has created a series of awesome fantasy-themed digital illustrations reimagining the 12 signs of the Zodiac as terrifying imaginary creatures.
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Artist – Damon Hellandbrand dhellandbrand.com | Portfolio
(Hat Tip Bored Panda)
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via Artist Transforms Zodiac Signs into Terrifying Fantasy Creatures – What an ART.

Creatures Feeding.

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This shot was the overall winner of the Ecology Image Competition run by the journal BMC Ecology. It shows a Namaqua rock mouse getting dusted with pollen as it takes a night-time drink from a Pagoda lily in South Africa, and marks the first time that “nocturnal rodent pollination” has been captured on film in the wild.
(Photo: Petra Wester).spider
Capturing two simultaneous meals on a single flower in the mountains of eastern Panama, this image won the “Community, population and macroecology” category. It shows a Crab spider preying on a bee, while a butterfly coincidently looks for nectar.
(Photo: Andrew J. Crawford)
via BBC News – Mouse’s midnight snack takes ecology photo prize.

Toxic Jellyfish has No Tentacles.

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A new species of toxic jellyfish, Keesingia gigas, has been found off the coast of Western Australia. Image Credit: John Totterdell/MIRG Australia
by AAP with AG Staff |
A new species of venomous jellyfish, a giant that causes Irukandji syndrome, has been found in Western Australia.
A giant and extremely venomous jellyfish found off West Australia’s north-west coast has researchers stumped because it appears to have no tentacles.
The Keesingia gigas is one of two new species of irukandji jellyfish recently discovered by Marine Stinger Advisory Services director, and jellyfish expert Lisa-Ann Gershwin.
While irukandji jellyfish are normally only the size of a pinky fingernail, the Keesingia gigas species is the length of an arm and believed to cause the potentially-deadly irukandji syndrome.
The condition can cause pain, nausea, vomiting and in extreme cases, stroke and heart failure.
CSIRO scientist and director of Marine Stinger Advisory Services Lisa-ann Gershwin said the Keesingia gigas was first photographed in the 1980s.
A specimen was only captured in 2013 near Shark Bay by marine scientist John Keesing, after whom the jellyfish is named.
Dr Gershwin said in all of the photos the jellyfish did not appear to have tentacles and that the specimen was also captured without them.
“Jellyfish always have tentacles … that’s how they catch their food,” she said. “The tentacles are where they concentrate their stinging cells.
“Some of the people working with it through the years actually got stung by it and experienced rather distressing Irukandji syndrome.”
Irukandji jellyfish have been found as far north as Wales and as far south as Melbourne and Cape Town.
Read on via New jellyfish species with no tentacles found in WA – Australian Geographic.

Hummingbird & Bees stop for a Drink.

Hummingbird and Bees.
Commended, Open, Wildlife (Photo: 2017 Sony World Photography Awards)
Image Credit: Photograph by Toshiyasu Morita of the United States.
I photographed an Anna’s hummingbird and bees as they drank from a water fountain on a hot California day.
Source: 12 breathtaking images from the Sony World Photography Awards | MNN – Mother Nature Network