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Art by Allison Julien

Jellyfish are beautiful. Scary. But beautiful. Natural works of art. No one I know appreciates this more than the artist Allison Julien. She captures their delicate, beautiful forms and adds a touch of whimsy.

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“Jellyfish Dreams” 

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“Jellyfish Salesman” (This is my favorite)

She also captures other, less appreciated natural wonders and presents a sense of mythology and mystery.

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“Scarab”

Prints of Allison’s works can be found and purchased at https://society6.com/ajulieninks

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Book of the Month: Frog Alphabet Book

*Featured Image: Frog Alphabet by Fruitful Designs

This month’s book of the month falls under the category of both art and book- it is one of Jerry Pallota’s Alphabet book series , illustrated by Ralph Masiello: “The Frog Alphabet Book.” This book is impressive, not only in artistic design, but in educational value. It uses specific species to represent letters of he alphabet and gives fun facts about each one. While it should be called the amphibian alphabet book (it uses newts, salamanders, and even caecilians), I like that it uses more than just frogs. As an aspiring herpetologist when I was a child, I would have LOVED this book. As an adult, and a herpetologist, I LOVE this book. Truly something all ages can enjoy.

 

Bottom line… “The Frog Alphabet Book” is awesome, for adults and kids  (this is coming from an adult who has no children, so take that as you will). I recommend it.

 

 

 

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Joanna the Goanna getup

Let’s talk about Joanna the Goanna. Maybe some of you have never seen The Rescuers Down Under (laughable, but possible). Maybe it’s been a while since you saw it and you forgot the best character’s name. Because, really, the character that matters most in that movie… is Joanna the Goanna. Joanna is the side kick who is really rather abused by her evil poacher owner, Percival C. McLeach. I always felt pretty bad for her, honestly. He is super mean to her. I always wanted her to switch sides in the end. But, whatever, she steals the show and totally makes that movie.

Apparently people who like fashion agree. It’s been a thing for a while to make modern outfits on polyvore that represent Disney characters. Of course it started with the princesses, but then went to villains. Side kicks have made it into the mix. Joanna has not one, but FOUR, awesome outfits. And they are amazing. Three of them even feature eggs, which cracks me up (watch the movie, you’ll get it).

 

 

Outfits can all be found at polyvore:

Blue Dress set Here

Green dress set Here

T-shirt set Here

Pink shirt set Here

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Guys… guys… These.

The bad news is I have been out of commission for a while, and I apologize. The good news is, I am one month away from FINISHING MY PHD! YAY! So I should be able to post things more regularly again. Hooray for all caudate, art, and weird animal fans.

As an apology, enjoy these amazing Toothless/ Night Fury sculptures.

If you feel the need to own one of these amazing works of art (as I do…), they can be found here: Demiurgus Dreams Etsy Shop

 

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Book of the Month: The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers

I know… I am awful at keeping Caudatart up to date. I live for the salamanders, and they keep me away from the computer. I hope you can forgive me.

That being said…

During my recent travels, I was able to read a wonderful piece of non-fiction: The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers, by Bryan Christy.

I actually listened to the audiobook. The narration was excellent, I recommend it.

I actually listened to the audiobook. The narration was excellent, I recommend it.

For many people, this book may be eye-opening. It may reveal to you how easily people become involved in trafficking of reptiles, and then how easily that becomes linked to more intense crimes. It may be shocking how little protection is provided for rare and endangered animals and, frankly, just how easy it is to smuggle them around the world. If you are not aware of these things, it will be a thrilling read that is more like a riveting crime drama than a non-fiction.

For me, and probably for many of you, none of what I just mentioned above comes as a surprise. As someone in the business of protecting rare and endangered animals, I am too familiar with how animal trafficking works. It’s a matter of understanding the “other side” of things. Frankly, many people who started out in the conservation business end up in the smuggling business, due to circumstances and personal choices. The point is… it is a world that is very close to home.

Bottom line, my understanding of how these operations work did not change the entertainment value of this book, and if you are also familiar with these concepts, do not think it will be a bore. The book is not written just for the shock value, or to surprise those who had no idea how over the top reptile smuggling can be. While it will certainly appeal to that audience, it will also be a pleasure for the audience who is familiar to the subject.

The book tells the story of the rise and fall of an empire in the reptile smuggling business over a few generations. Through telling both sides of the story, it pulls you into the drama. The smugglers are ingenious, loyal to family, and frequently very likable. The USFWS agents are the driven, passionate types, working at a goal that is viewed as worthless by most others. It is easy to empathize on both accounts. It is hard to believe, at many points, this is a non-fiction, due to the excitement, intrigue, and character of the story.

As a person with a passion for reptiles, I found myself intensely  absorbed in the tale.

If you enjoy any or all of the following: crime dramas, reptiles, justice, wildlife, conservation, good books…. I recommend reading The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest reptile Smugglers

 

This Lizard King

This Lizard King

 

Not this Lizard King.

Not this Lizard King.

 

 

 

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Creepy Anthropomorphic Ads….

Anthropomorphic animals can be adorable and Disney-like. They can also be super awesome like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They can also be kinda creepy.

These ads are … awesome. And a bit creepy. It’s clear they are going for creepy. And that’s awesome. I am going to stop before I just start saying awesome creepy, creepy awesome over and over again. Enjoy these creep-awesome ads for Uranium Denim.

 

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(Belated) June Species of the Month: Carpathian Newt

Sorry, still busy and behind, and this will be a brief species of the month…

For June of 2015: The Carpathian Newt (Lissotriton montandoni)!

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Vigo the Newtpathian

These little Carpathian newts are conquerors… That’s not really the right word, but I like the image. They are survivors. They appear to have adapted well to humans encroaching on their habitat (compared to most amphibians). Sometimes population densities can get up to 20 newts per meter square, which is pretty great.

Like most newts (for the difference between Newts vs. Salamanders see this post), the Carpathian newt has 3 life stages: larvae, eft, and adult. As the namesake suggests, these little guys range throughout the Carpathian mountains and are frequently found in the Ukraine and Romania.

Range of Carpathian newt.

Range of Carpathian newt.

The Carpathian newt seems to be more active during the daytime hours than any other species of newt (most newt species are moderately nocturnal).

Their breeding season varies based on how high they live in the mountains (groups living higher up the mountains will breed mid through late summer, vs. animals living in the foothills which will breed in late spring through mid summer). Efts usually start to climb out of the water in mid/late summer.

Adult newt in breeding colors.

Adult newt in breeding colors.

This is a brumating (brumation= mild form of hibernation) species that will brumate late fall through late spring.

Handsome newt.

Handsome newt.

All glory to the Carpathian newt!