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Does the star of this #pollinatormonday look familiar? The small milkweed bug of Central and North America is seen in abundance on milkweed plants, feeding on the seeds. These small insects are important pollinators because milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides, which are toxic to many other species that would otherwise do the pollination. Small milkweed bugs work in harmony with Monarch butterflies to pollinate milkweed. Every plant counts these days. Please remember to plant milkweed and nectar-bearing plants in your backyard gardens to help save the insects, from butterflies to bees.

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Did you know that ensatina salamanders breathe through their skin? They don’t have lungs at all, but instead have a gene that codes for a protein that helps the membranes in its skin be more receptive to gas exchange. These little amphibians can be found living amongst moist, woody debris from British Columbia all the way down to Baja California and Mexico. To deter predators, these salamanders release a milky, noxious substance from their tails. If they do happen to get snatched up, they have the ability to shed their tails and avoid becoming another animal’s dinner.

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So pleased to be a part of National Geographic Creative’s flash sale alongside many talented photographers like @anandvarma, @michaelnicknichols, @amytoensing, @ljohnphoto, @timlaman, @joeriis, @ronan_donovan, @amivitale and more! Signed prints from @natgeocreative’s photographers are on sale now! Check out the link in my bio to see the entire collection of images that can be purchased for just $100. Don’t wait, the sale ends on April 28th, and a significant part of the proceeds go to building the Photo Ark!
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Lemur leaf frogs can change colors depending on whether they’re resting or active. During the day, these frogs appear vibrant green with golden eyes, like this one. They remain attached to the undersides of leaves, hiding until night falls. After the sun sets, it’s time to hunt. Their eyes turn silver-ish grey and the skin on their backs becomes dark brown, an excellent form of camouflage. They search for insects and other small invertebrates until the sun rises and then return to their resting places. Lemur leaf frogs are critically endangered in the wild. Like many other amphibian species, the chytrid fungus is decimating their populations. Zoo Atlanta, where this frog was photographed, was an early leader in identifying, tracking, and working to mitigate global amphibian decline and thankfully, they’ve been maintaining the species through captive breeding since 2001.
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This small-toothed palm civet, photographed at The Carnivore & Pangolins Conservation Program (@vietnamwildlife), belongs to a species that inhabits very remote, forested areas of south and southeast Asia. These little creatures prey on small mammals, but have also been seen snacking on a wide variety of fruits. Because they are one of the only arboreal omnivores in their ecosystem, they are extremely important seed dispersers, and are essential in helping their forest homes thrive.

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On #endangeredspeciesday I’m putting the spotlight on this adorable bengal slow loris that was photographed at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, a not-for-profit project dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, breeding, research and conservation of Vietnam's endangered and critically endangered primate species. With big eyes, wooly fur and specially adapted hands for climbing, bengal slow lorises are built for nocturnal, arboreal lives. Many primates, including this lor...is, are so cute that people want to keep them in their home as pets, but a life as a housepet is a horrible one for animals like these. The demand for exotic pets contributes heavily to their decline in the wild by encouraging the illegal taking of infants from mothers and placement into the horrific world of the pet trade. Because they’re one of the most sought after of all animals in this grim business, slow lorises are now listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Thankfully, places like EPRC are working to help give the animals that have suffered within the pet trade much happier and more natural lives. #NOTAPET #SaveTogether #PhotoArk #NatGeo

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This may look like a children’s toy, but it’s actually a living animal called a rose nudibranch. They live along the western coast of North America and traverse their tidepool homes using a flat “foot” on it’s bottom side. Its two feathery tentacles allow it to smell, taste and generally sense its surroundings. And though they appear otherworldly, but they’re simply sea snails who have lost their shells through the course of evolution. Instead of needing a shell for protection, their bright colors serve as a warning to predators that they taste bitter and won’t make a good meal.
This rose nudibranch was photographed at REEF aquarium at @UCsantabarbara, an interactive aquarium designed to provide visitors with an unparalleled view of our ocean planet.

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As you can see, Ethiopian crickets like this one at the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden have very intricate and beautiful patterns, but that’s not the only unique thing about this insect. Their song is unlike any other cricket’s. By rubbing the file and scraper body parts on their wings together, Ethiopian crickets create a high pitched, mechanical ‘dinging’ or ‘beeping’ sound. Only male crickets can chirp, and they do so in order to woo a lady. Once a female and male cricket mate, the male will sing her a second song in order to keep her near to him as well as protect her from any other males who might also be in the market for a new girlfriend.

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As their name suggests, Malayan crested serpent eagles are found on the Malayan peninsula and feed on a variety of snakes. However, these eagles aren’t picky and will also snack on lizards, frogs, toads, eels, crabs, large insects and small birds when available. There are many subspecies of crested serpent eagles, but this one, S. c. malayensis, can be recognized by their dark brown cheeks and throat as well as their white barring and spots on their underparts. Both parents h...ave a hand in constructing their nests, making them extra cozy by lining the insides with leaves. Just one egg is laid and incubated by the female for 35 days. After 60 days, the little eagle is ready to fly on its own.
This crested serpent eagle was photographed at @penangbirdpark , an institution that has done critical work breeding and caring for many endangered species in Malaysia for over 30 years.

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The Red lacewing, named after the lace-like pattern on their wings, is a medium-sized butterfly that has widespread distribution across South East Asia. Male and female red lacewings are sexually dimorphic in both colors and patterns. Sexual dimorphism is when two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs . #pollinatormonday

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Happy Mother’s Day! Does this situation look familiar for any human moms out there? This Sumatran tiger named Chelsea is playing with her five-month-old cubs Sohni and Sanjiv at Zoo Atlanta after they were born in 2011. In the wild, fewer than 500 of these beautiful tigers exist, and that number is continually decreasing due mainly to the development of palm oil plantations in Indonesia. If we do nothing, these tigers will have nowhere left to live and raise their babies in t...he future.
Palm oil is used in nearly half of all packaged food products. The more we use those products, the more demand there is to destroy habitats and build plantations. Vote with your dollar and help save these precious creatures by checking labels at the grocery store and avoid any products that include palm oil. Click the link in my bio to learn more about how you can avoid this product and help save Sumatran tigers from extinction.

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The Indian giant flying squirrel is widely distributed across much of South Asia, thriving at elevations of 100 - 2,500 m (330 - 8200 ft). This individual was photographed at @wrs.ig in Singapore, which participates in conservation efforts across the globe. Like other species of flying squirrels, this one is found in the upper canopies of forests and is active at night, which is evident by their eyes that act like night vision goggles. To get around, they use a specially adap...ted membrane of skin attached to their wrists and ankles called a patagium. Jumping from tree to tree, they will spread their limbs, extending the folds of skin outward forming a parachute-like structure, and use air currents to provide the needed lift as they make their way to another tree. Although classified as 'Least Concern' under the IUCN’s Red List, a few populations do show signs of decrease due to deforestation. Work being done at @wrs.ig provide much-needed environmental education and inspire the value of biodiversity to people around the world.

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Twelve years into this lifetime project, the Photo Ark just crossed the 8,000-species mark! That's halfway to our goal of photographing literally every species in human care around the globe. But sheer numbers are not enough. Will you join me in looking these animals in the eye, then commit to helping save them? Tell all your friends, and follow us here for story after story of amazing animals, and what we can all do to ensure they survive forever. Thank you for your continued support of the Photo Ark!

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Forbes silk moths like this one photographed at the Saint Louis Zoo have no mouth parts as adults and therefore cannot eat. But since they only live as adults for only week, the moth has no need to feed. The only purpose of the adult is to mate, which occurs at dusk, and egg-laying follows for several nights. These mouthless moths have four clear spots located on all four wings, spots so thin they almost look like cellophane. They are native to the thorn scrub forest regions of South America, north through Central America and Mexico, and into the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Their habitat is composed of thorny vegetation such as acacias, prickly ash and Mexican ash that are able to survive drought-like conditions. These plant species are the food sources for the caterpillar stage of the Forbes silk moth.

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Winners of the 8,000 species celebration print giveaway are:

Monty Criswell
Erin Weston
Angela Thomas...
@Holly forrester

Thank you to all who entered!

Winners have been emailed with instructions.

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Meet Pretoria, a thick tailed bushbaby photographed at the Duke Lemur Center. These East African, tree-dwelling primates are well adapted for life in their forest habitats. Pretoria’s long, dexterous fingers, disks of thick skin, and flat toes are perfect for grasping and climbing branches. She lives with Poe, her aye-aye companion at the center which is home to more than 240 primates. Pretoria is very watchful and timid around her keepers. But if a tobacco hornworm is offere...d to her, she becomes a voracious eater. In the wild their diet consists of 60% gum and sap from trees while the rest includes invertebrates (butterflies, moths, beetles). An interesting fact about these bushbabies is that they are able to move both large ears independently. When these animals are investigating something, their ears constantly furl and unfurl giving them a cute, quizzical expression.

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Spotted Turtles like this one at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquariumhibernate during the winter months, but unlike bears they do so underwater in the muddy bottoms of shallow waterways. These turtles are semi-aquatic, coming onto land during nesting season, when traversing between water sources, or during periods of summer dormancy where they will find leaf litter to burrow under. Due to their specialized habitat requirements (wetlands, bogs, edges of marshes, and muskrat b...urrows), spotted turtle populations have declined and become increasingly isolated as a result of habitat loss, fragmentation, an increase in predation on eggs and juveniles, and collection for the personal pet trade. Never purchasing these turtles is one way you can help their populations, but also visiting and supporting your local marshes and wetlands is a great place to start as well.

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As announced Friday, the Pyrenean desman marked the 8,000 species for the Photo Ark.

To celebrate this momentous milestone I am giving away eight, signed 8x10 prints, one print of each milestone species that brought the Photo Ark to 8,000. Four winners will be chosen from Instagram and four will be chosen from Facebook, each person may only win once per platform. Due to the limited number of prints, selection and winners will be chosen at random. Winners will be announced on ...my page Wednesday May 9th.

How To Enter:
1. Share this post
2. Tag three friends
3. Sign-up for our email list by going to our home page https://www.joelsartore.com scrolling to the bottom to the “join email list” section.

Good luck!

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