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Gray Four-eyed Opossum

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017

Gray Four-eyed Opossum

This is a young Gray Four-eyed Opossum (Philander opossum) caught in one of our mammal traps, as we were surveying for an unusual jungle rodent called Watson’s Climbing Rat (Tylomys watsoni) in Rara Avis Nature Reserve, Costa Rica. Believe it or not, the rat would have been bigger than this opossum (and particularly fond of chocolate and soap). Like it’s cousin, the Virginia Opossum, these guys show a remarkable resistance to venoms and poisons, including snake venom, and are relatively immune to dangerous snake bites. In North America, opossums have been credited with being a biological...

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Opening Eyes, Minds, and Hearts to Earth’s Biodiversity

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017

Opening Eyes, Minds, and Hearts to Earth’s Biodiversity

Roger Tory Peterson traveled the world to explore, discover, and document its flora and fauna. He applied his artistic talents to describe and illustrate plants and animals in far-away regions to make their existence known to a broad audience, while his biological observations and knowledge supported conservation efforts and helped elicit positive environmental change. Like Peterson, RTPI Director Twan Leenders likewise uses his artistic skills to increase awareness and appreciation for the organisms that he studies, both locally and abroad. Leenders is currently in Costa Rica conducting...

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Amphibian Aficionados

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017

Amphibian Aficionados

> Dave Huth – Associate professor of visual communication and media arts at Houghton College, friend of RTPI, and gleeful amphibian enthusiast – recently interviewed some of our staff for an article he wrote on how today’s youth interact with nature. The piece, entitled “Raising the Next Generation of Amphibian Aficionados”, appeared in the February edition of the publication FrogLog. Huth’s passion for amphibians – as well as for the living world at large – is reflected in his writing, as well as in his masterfully executed photography; he and RTPI President...

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Water is Life

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017

Water is Life

Chautauqua County is at the beginning of several different watersheds – water from north county streams flows into Lake Erie, drops over Niagara Falls, and ultimately drains into the Atlantic Ocean. Streams in the southern half of the county drain into the Allegany, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, respectively, and eventually water from these streams reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Our springs and wells are at the source of several large bodies of water and our streams contain some of the cleanest water in these watersheds. As a result, the variety of fish and other aquatic creatures in our area is...

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Frost Free Frogs?

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017

Frost Free Frogs?

“The animal kingdom relies on staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter.” Bernd Heinrich renowned biologist and author – made this statement in his bestselling book entitled “Winter World”. The Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) is a true embodiment of this statement; these tiny amphibians can survive for weeks with an incredible two-thirds of their body water completely frozen—to the point where they are essentially solid frogsicles! The adaptation that enables this remarkable feat is known as a cryoprotectant – a substance that prevents damage to cells and tissues during...

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Why Are Eastern Hemlock Trees Irreplaceable?

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017

Perspective from RTPI’s conservation intern, Heather Zimba I think many people would agree that spending time walking in a forest can be therapeutic, being completely enveloped by the landscape’s vegetation and wildlife. I’ll bet that – if you like the outdoors – you can close your eyes right now and visualize the areas you most like to visit. One of my favorite places is a small gorge that contains a stream with beautiful natural waterfalls. The steep banks of the gorge are lined with deep green evergreen trees that overhang and provide shade along the meandering creek....

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