Monday, June 29, 2009

Malagasy Rainbow Frog

I may be posted in a not very regular manner for the next month and a half. We are doing a long distance move soon and I will likely have a few periods where I have no internet connection. (It is also going to cut into the Art quite a bit). Things should get back to normal after that.

work on ceramic parts of rabbit and not flower but soldier fly


The Malagasy rainbow frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei) lives in narrow sandy canyons in the Isalo Massif area of Madagascar. They burrow in the sandy substrate much of the time and will climb the vertical rocky walls of the canyons they live in for several meters. Tadpoles of this species have a psammonektonic feeding behavior durning the day the sit along the bottom at a 45 degree angle and filter feed on the substrate then at night they swim freely feeding as well. They are critically endangered for a variety of reasons habitat destruction logging, fire, and overgrazing being the big one. There is also a great deal of concern about sapphire mining activities in their range. It has also been determined that a significant cap needs to be put on the number of individuals collected for the pet trade the Edge suggests no more then 1000 individuals per year. While they recover very well from individual predation their range is too small to sustain the level of collection that currently occurs, so it is currently very damaging. While they have not yet successfully bred and fully reared in captivity it is thought that there is reasonably good potential that they can be bred in captive conditions, it is the hoped that extremely limited collection will allow a breeding captive population to be established.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

sociable weaver

begin sculpting the ceramic parts of the rabbit and flower fly

The sociable weaver (Philetairus socius) is native to Southern Africa. They build enormous communal nests that may house up to 500 birds. The nests can represent 1000's of hours of labor and can last for up to 100 years. Some examples have been recorded to be up to 13 feet tall and 24 feet across split up in to individual apartments. On occasion other birds such as the pygmy falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) will also take up residence in the nests.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Asian Small Clawed Otter

finished the cricket
start the rabbit and flower fly


The Asian small clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea) is the smallest of the the otters. It is native to southern Asia and tend to live in small groups of about 12 individuals. They climb well, I once saw several of them at a zoo scale the chain link side of their enclosure. Their claws are very short and fingernail-like this is said to give them greater manual dexterity then most otters. It has been recorded that they have 12 different vocalizations they communicate with.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Sadly the catfish does not seem to have turned out.

paint the cricket


When I worked at Taylor Studios the company that made museum exhibits, they kind of had a prehistoric totem animal, it was on everything. That animal was the Dunkleosteus, a giant Devonian fish about the size of a school bus. It is notable for having the strongest jaw strength of any animal and eating funny looking sharks. There was a large mural of it in the hall, and a picture of one they had sculpted on the truck. It was in the brochure and on the website. They had a skull in the office and molds in back. I have personally cleaned lugged and organized on a shelf their silicone dunkleosteus love. I'm not sure why the obsession but Taylor studios really likes the Dunkleosteus I really think more companies need an inexplicable prehistoric totem animal.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Curved Spiny Spider

paint the cricket

The curved spiny spider (Gasteracantha arcuata) is a small orb weaver with a spiny abdomen from southeast Asia. They are sexually dimorphic, the males are much smaller and lack the giant horns. It is thought that the horns make them less palatable to predators. They have a tendency to build their webs in places where they might be disturbed by flying birds so they will actually build visible tuffs of silk into the web, it is theorized that these help the birds avoid their webs.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

long-tailed sea moth

I think the cricket is working but the catfish less so (maybe a better pose would help). I may continue this experiment where I grab a couple of random things in the studio and make a small piece based on them.

assemble cricket and catfish


The long-tailed sea moth (pegasus volitans) is a 3 inch relative of the sea horses. Like a chameleon they can change their coloration, also like a chameleon they can move their eyes independently. They use their enlarged pectoral fins to pull themselves along the bottom.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

McGregor's Tree Viper

I've had a really bad internet connection the last couple of days. I passed the Network + it was awful.

assemble cricket and cory cat

The McGregor's Tree Viper (Trimeresurus mcgregori) is a lovely colorful snake with variable marking from two islands of the Philippines. There was some debate as to whether it is a full species or a subspecies of Trimeresurus flavomaculatus. It is a venomous snake with a very painful bite, but it is not deadly. It was discovered by a bird specialist Richard C.Mcgregor in 1907, and upon discovery the snake bit him, so he also learned about the potency of it's venom. Unlike many snakes, these snakes are actually very dependent on sight most snakes get most of their sensory input through smell and heat.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

sword-billed hummingbird

Probably not much today studying for the Comptia Network +


The sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) is a South American hummingbird with the longest bill to body proportion among birds. It specializes in flowers with long corollas such as Datura, passionflowers and fuchsias. These hummingbirds are a very extreme example of coevolution between pollinators and the plants they pollinate. It's bill is so large that it can not be used in groom so the bird grooms with it's feet. It must hold it's bill at a certain angle to fly and perch. They are also among the largest hummingbirds at 12 grams.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Russian Desman

I got into a long pointless (though civil) political argument at work last night and did not get home until it was late, so this is yesterday's entry. There was a relatively intense storm last night and we had most of one of the trees fall down into the driveway. Only the tree was damaged I think it will survive the damage though. Today and tomorrow I will be mostly studying for the Net +.

assemble cricket and cory catfish

The Russian Desman (Desmana moschata) is an odd looking aquatic insectivore that is related to moles from southwest Russia It is mostly found along the Don, Ural, and Volga. It uses its long flexible nose as a snorkel while swimming and It's nose also contains an Elmer's organ a sensory organ found in moles. It was once hunted for it's musk glands and fur, but is currently endangered. It is the only animal that has the word Russian in it's name and was adopted by the Russian Party of Life as their mascot for a time before they merged with other parties it is also featured on a coin. One of the names of the Russian Desman in Russian is vykhukhol which might be or sound like something profane but I'm not sure what. Perhaps I can ask Greg my friend who is fluent in Russian if I think about it later.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Devil Toad

Studying for the Network +

glaze the rest of the cory cat
begin assembly on the cricket


The devil toad (Beelzebufo ampinga) was a giant toad that existed durning the Cretaceous Period in what is now Madagascar. It was about 16 inches long and was thought to have weighed over 10lbs and is thought to have been the largest frog that has existed. It's closest living relatives are the horned frogs such as the Pacman frog (Ceratophry cranwelli). It is speculated that they were terrestrial and like their living relatives quite aggressive.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Giant Isopod

glaze and fire the ceramic cricket bits

The Giant Isopod (Bathynomus giganteus) is a bit like a thing from a horror movie, it is part of the order of crustaceans that contains rolly pollies (pill bugs (Armadillidium vulgare)), but grown out of control. They are about as related to rolly pollies as weasels are to walruses but they look a good deal like them in a giant version. They are the largest know isopod and come from the benthic zone of the ocean where they have been for the last 160 million years functioning as scavengers. They are eaten in Taiwan and described to taste like crab.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sarcastic Fringehead

finish carving cricket and cory and fire the pieces
study for the net +


The sarcastic fringehead (Neoclinus blanchardi) is a relative of blennies from the southwestern coast of North America. They spend most of their time hiding in crevices and eat small fish and invertebrates. Their mouthes are larger then you would expect. It has been reported that they are fairly aggressive and will occasionally charge scuba divers. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Giant Frog-eyed Gecko

I dropped the figure with the Anubis mask and fairly throughly destroyed it. I will recreate it but I don't think I will be able to finish it before the move so I will probably have to wait until after. I started some small pieces that might turn into something.

carve cory cat and cricket


The Giant Frog-eyed Gecko (Teratoscincus scincus) is an adorable burrowing desert gecko from the Middle East. It would be a poor idea to cuddle them as they have exceptionally fragile skin that can be torn quite easily and they are very nervous geckos. It's possible rough handling could partially flay them. They have some of the thinnest skin of the geckos that do not use skin loss as a defense mechanism.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Secretary Bird

I'm starting to get worried about this silicone I ordered it hasn't come in yet. 

goal for the week 5 hrs
make clay
work on the figure with the Anubis mask

The secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a terrestrial raptor from sub-saharan Africa with long stork-like legs. As its scientific name implies it does often eat snakes and other small creatures. It hunts by grasping the small creature and beating it against the ground. It is the national emblem of Sudan and the name secretary bird came from the Europeans who felt that it looked like the bird was wearing a coat and tails with quills behind it's ears.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo

not feeling well today

goal for the week 6.5 hours

Goodfellow's tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) is an endangered tree dwelling macropod from New Guinea and Indonesia. They eat mainly silkwood leaves and have a stomach with a fermentation vat similar to that of a cow. They are one of the largest Dendrolagus tree kangaroos at about 15-22lbs. A combination of habitat destruction and overhunting are wiping them out in the wild, fortunately they are breeding well in captivity.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Synthetoceras tricornatus

It looks like I will be taking my network + on 6/22. 
After the exotic feline rescue center we went to Mammoth Cave and Crystal Onyx cave. I felt very rushed through Mammoth cave, did see a cute grey bat though. Crystal Onyx cave while smaller was very impressive and had a lot of formations. It also was a prehistoric burial ground though the bodies were not in an accessible area. The tour guide was pleasantly snarky and seemed to very interested in geology (and was somewhat put out that we were not particularly knowledgeable on the subject).

goal for the week 7hrs
make clay
work on the figure with the anubis mask


Synthetoceras tricornatus was an artiodactyl (relative of camels) that inhabited North America during the Miocene. The males had a large "Y"shaped horn as well as enlarged canines. These were probably used in territorial disputes. It is thought that the horns may have been covered in tough skin.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ebony jewelwing

The vacation is over now. I had a good time we stopped several places and saw a lot neat things. We stopped first at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Indiana. I got several good pictures of large cats. If you have never been to it and like to visit large cats I highly recommend it the cats there seem reasonably happy and active. I don't recommend bringing very small children as they seem to kind of excite the predatory side of quite a few of them. I'll get into some of the other stuff later in the week. 

Here is an upside-down puma

goal for the week 9hrs
fire tiles
make clay
work on Anubis masked figure
net +


The ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) is a damselfly from northeastern North America. I happened to see a lot of them this weekend at a wildlife refuge we stopped at on the way back.  I had been previously unaware there were black winged damselflies and thought I would share. They are sexually dimorphic the females have a white spot on their wings and the males have solid black wings. They eat small arthropods and tend to live near small creeks.
Here is a better photo of a male

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Amazon Molly

Stuart and I are going out of town for the weekend. I probably won't be updating this weekend as I don't think I will have net access.

We are going out town so the goal won't really apply this week
work on floor tiles for piece

The Amazon Molly (Poecilla formosa) is a small live bearing fish from northeastern Mexico and the southern United States. All Amazon mollies are female and nearly genetically identical. They reproduce via gynogenesis and though they must mate with the male of a different species of molly to reproduce they do not include any of the male's genetic material in their offspring.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Common snakeneck turtle

goal for the week 16hrs
work on floor tiles
make clay

The common snakeneck turtle (Chelodina longicollis) is an Australian turtle with a neck as long as the rest of it's body. It also has potent musk glands which give it another common name "the stinker" which they can spray up to 3 feet when threatened. They for some reason not uncommon as pets in Australia, perhaps they are difficult to frighten badly enough to spray.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Southern white faced Scops Owl

I discovered that I was out of silicone so I ordered some today.

Goal for the week 18.5 hrs
make clay
make the floor tiles for the figure

The Southern white faced Scops Owl (Ptilopsis granti) comes from southern Africa. They will occasionally drive raptors out of their nests and take them over as their own. When nesting they will work cooperatively as a pair for the first two weeks the chicks are fed only by the male as the female incubates. After the first two weeks they will alternate hunting. They have also been known to fly long distances to find grass fires and then take advantage of the fact that the fire will drive small mammals into the open.