Oysters

Oysters are salt-water bivalve mollusks found in oceans/sea/brackish habitats. They belong to the ostreoidea family.

They can be consumed raw or cooked by humans. And some of them have pearl that is harvested to make decorative objects.

Oysters can be consumed both cooked or raw
Oysters can be consumed both cooked or raw

Types of Oysters

1. True Oysters

Comprises of the edible oysters.

Examples include belon oyster, Olympia oyster, pacific oysters, among others.

Pacific Oyster
Pacific Oyster

2. Pearl Oysters

As the names indicates, their translucent shells produce pearl.

Example include marine pinctada maxima. It is the largest pearl-bearing oyster.

3. Thorny Oysters

4. Saddle Oysters / Jingle shells

5.Pilgrim Oysters

6. Dimydarian Oysters

7. Windowpane Oysters

How do Oysters feed?

Oysters are filter feeders by beating cilia over their gills. They are able to filter up to five liter of water within an hour.

The filtered food is moved to the mouth where digestion happens.

They mostly feed on the algae which if left untouched would lead to eutrophication. Hence the oyster feeding is importance to the checking of algae population.

They do also provide habitat to the other marine animals.

This makes oyster qualify as a keystone species. This is due to their great importance in the structure of the ecosystems where they are found.

Reproduction system for Oysters

Some of the oysters are able to produce both eggs and sperms. Hence can be able to fertilize its own eggs.

The ones with no sperms, the fertilization happens internally. Then the fertilized eggs are released into the water.

What do we call a group of oysters?

Oyster reef
Oyster reef

A group of oysters is commonly known as oyster reef or a bed.

They normally get attached at a surface and remain in that position.

They tend to stick on a surface
They tend to stick on a surface

Importance of Oysters in the ecosystem services

Read the full article here.

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Sea Urchins

Sea urchins are marine creatures. They are echinoderms and belong to the class of Echinoidea. And can be found in the floor of oceans. They prefer areas with coral reef for safety measures.

Sea urchins love to live within the coral reefs for safety measures
Sea urchins love to live within the coral reefs for safety measures

Sea urchin have more than 100 known species. Which are different in sizes, color and shapes. But mainly in round to oval body shapes. Most of them are red, green, brown, purple or black.

They come in different shapes, sizes and colors.
They come in different shapes, sizes and colors.

Sample species of sea urchin include:

  1. Slate pencil urchin
  2. Caribbean sea urchin
  3. Sea potato
  4. Purple sea urchin
  5. Red sea urchin (longest living)

Their bodies are covered by both spikes and hard shell. The ones with longer spikes are the dangerous one. They have no bones.

For you to be able to tell between a female and male. You need a closer microscopic viewing. Or by observing reproduction.

The spikes are used for:

  • Defense
  • Movements
  • Hunting

Some species of sea urchin have spikes containing venom. Hence giving deadly sting to anyone going near them.

Some spikes contain venom, hence should be handled with care.
Some spikes contain venom, hence should be handled with care.

Sea urchin have 5 paired tube feet that have suckers at the bottom. The suckers help in movements, hunting and sticking on surfaces.

Their mouth is located at the center of its body’s underside. And comprises of five tooth-like plates. While the anus is located at the top of its body.

Sea urchin primarily feed on the algae. They do feed on sessile (immobile) or slow-moving animals occasionally as well as dead fish. Hence they are omnivores just like humans.

Sea urchin observe external fertilization. Whereby the female lay eggs and the male spread sperms on them.

Sea urchin are considered a delicacy in some countries. They are also hunted by crabs, birds, sea otter, among others.

Some people consider sea urchins to be a delicacy
Some people consider sea urchins to be a delicacy

Interesting fact:

Read the full article here.

Passion Is Everything

Passion is everything. It can help you understand something very well more than someone who had to under education program.

The sun was very hot, very normal for people living in Mombasa. As we made our way to the beach, it was already full despite being a week day.

The boats were ready
The boats were ready

People are quickly appreciating importance of having holidays and relax from their very busy day jobs. Many of the people here came as families.

It was really impressive to see parents and their children enjoying themselves at the beach. One of the families really caught my attention. Their dad was so funny and lively. He lied down and his wife together with their kids applied the sand all over his body. They covered almost every inch of his body, including his face. He was a big guy with a big tummy. But that seemed not to stop him from having fun.

They were happy to do it to their dad and didn’t stop laughing. It was hilarious. This motivated the other dad’s to request same from their family. The beach looked funny.

The view was enough to make you smile
The view was enough to make you smile

We decided to have a ride into the marine park before joining the fun. Several guys approached to offer boat ride services. One of them stood up. He was very persuasive and we decided to take his offer.

He knew the ocean like the back of his hand. From the different parts of the ocean to the different animals. He was a great swimmer and diver. With no equipment but just a pair of shorts.

The ocean was calm
The ocean was calm

Read the full article here.

Letter to all FAKE Conservationists

This must be  one of my saddest letter.

Why would you pretend to fight for wildlife?

Why would you take innocent citizens for granted?

Misusing their donations in destroying the same wildlife they think they are conserving.

Using conservation agenda to meet your evil hidden goals.

Hiding behind big  organizations perceived to conserve nature.

Coming up with brilliant “evil” ideas that deceive everyone and make you prosper.

Claiming to be the voice of the voiceless wildlife, while in real sense. You are taking advantage of them. Completely working to keep them silent forever.

In the face you make us believe that you are working towards species conservation. While in real sense , you are working towards their extinctions.

You invest heavily and make everyone believe that you are doing a good cause. Build influence and take up important positions in wildlife committees.

You make your way into the decision making panels. Hence becoming almost unstoppable. Coming up with policies that are unsuitable to wildlife survival.

The innocent make generous donations, knowing very well that they are doing good for the nature. Unknown to them that they are unknowingly contributing to evils being done to wildlife.


Read full letter here.

Humpback Whale Migration

Humpback whale are one of the baleen whale species. They are toothless whales. They have baleen hence their name. They consume their meal whole. One of the technique they use to hunt food is known as bubble net. The baleen helps them to separate their prey from water.

Humpback whales are found in all oceans in our planet Earth.

They do have two important migrations:

  • Breeding migration
  • Feeding migration

What’s the difference between these migrations?

Breeding migration involves movements from the colder areas to warmer areas. While feeding migration involves movements from the warmer areas to colder areas.

Breeding migration allows the whales to mate and give birth. While feeding migration allows them to get food.

They feed via bubble net technique
They feed via bubble net technique

Humpback whale migration

Humpback whale migration involves movements from the colder areas (poles) to warmer areas (tropical). One of this trips include movement from the Antarctica into the East African Coast.

In Kenya, you cane be able to enjoy this migration at the Watamu Beach.

The migration happens annually and known to be the longest one among mammals. The whales travel in small groups during the migration. The older juveniles lead the way, followed by the mature males and lasts mothers and calves.

During the migration, the humpback whale observe fasting. They depend on their reserved fats for energy.

It is a very important migration to these whales. As it enable them to procreate and multiply. It is primarily for breeding and giving birth.

Gestation period

The female humpback whales have a gestation period of eleven months. The calves are mainly born in the months between December and April.

The calves are taken care for by their mothers for one year. Before they can go separate ways.

The calf is taken by their mothers for one year.
The calf is taken by their mothers for one year.

Humpback whales do not observe long social bonding. The males have to compete so as to court a female. They do also produce complex songs which may last up-to 20 minutes.

Humpback whales have a lifespan of around forty years.

Benefits of the Humpback whale migration

Read the full article here.

The Great Wildebeest Migration

It is believed to be one of the Seven New wonders of the World. Mainly involves two countries, Kenya and Tanzania.

The migration is primarily driven by the search of fresh pasture and water. And has been there for many years now.

For you to enjoy this migration, you have to be conversant with the weather patterns and animals behavior. It includes calving, whereby hundreds of calves are born. This happens in the month of January on the Tanzania side, Serengeti National Park.

Once they get a route, they follow through.
Once they get a route, they follow through.

The most interesting and famous part this migration happens between June and August. This is the time the animals cross the great Mara river , found in Kenya.

Despite being named Wildebeest migration, it also comprises of other animals. They include zebras, grant gazelles, eland, among others. Wildebeest are usually in big numbers hence the name.

The migration involves almost two million animals
The migration involves almost two million animals

This migration involves over two million animals. And they have been migrating almost the same way annually. No two migrations are the same. Hence it would be great to enjoy it over few years to fully get something interesting out of the migration.

So how do they manage to co-existence together?

All the involved animals are social. They mark their territories and do not join or leave their groups. This arrangement is observed throughout the migration.

Yes, they will migrate together but do it in their found groups. They will continue defending their territories. Ensuring  no intrudes and safety of the group.

The migration also accommodates other animals such as the zebras
The migration also accommodates other animals such as the zebras

Togetherness is key during this migration

This migration maybe fun to the tourists. But its a hard journey full of obstacles and death for the animals.

The animals suffer several short comings during the journey and rule of nature prevails. Survival for the fittest is evident during this migration.

Predators such as the lions, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, crocodiles and many others anticipate for this migration. They are able to hunt easily , as  prey are in large numbers.

Did you know?

That Maasai Mara National Reserve is the home to the largest population of lions in the world.

They wait for each other before crossing the river
They wait for each other before crossing the river

Amazingly, all the animals migrating do wait for each other. They do before crossing any water bodies. Once they are in good numbers then they go ahead to look for a good stop to dive into the rivers. They do so by roaming different spots at the riverside.

Unfortunately, sometimes they can decide to just dive in from any side into the river. And start swimming across the river. Due to how they travel following each other. The ones behind just follow behind and rarely divert.

Mostly they will avoid densely vegetated areas and deep waters for the fear of predators. Since such places act as best hide outs for predators.

How many rivers do they cross?

Read the full article here.

Zebras

Zebras are well known for their beautiful stripes. Just like the other animals, they have amazing coats that offer useful insights and ideas to fashion industry.

Zebras are closely related to the horse and donkeys. They do interbreed sometimes, giving birth to zebroids. The zebroid can be zedonk, zenkey, zorse, zebra mule, zonkey or zebmule. Depending on which species they interbreed with.

Most of the zebroid are usually sterile and infertile. This is due to the odd numbers of chromosomes. As a result the process of meiosis is interrupted. Making it difficult for them genetically.

Zebras are native to Africa. Mainly found in the Savanna, grassland, mountains and semi-arid areas.

Their main dish is grass. But they do consume leaves, herbs, bark and shrubs occasional. They are herbivores and spend most of their time feeding.

Zebras are social animals hence live in groups. The groups known as harems with a dominant male or bachelor for the young male zebras.

When attacked, they fight as a group. Whereby the baby zebras, foal, are placed in the middle as the dominant male fight the predators. They are good at escaping their enemies, by running in zigzag(galloping). Their kicks are also dreadful.

Just like giraffes, zebras sleep while standing.

The stripes not only gives zebras a beautiful look. But helps to disperse heat from the bodies by roughly 70%. It also offer camouflage from the enemies.

Just like human fingerprint, zebras’ stripes are unique to each zebra. Meaning no two zebras can have same stripes. Foals are able to identify their mothers using the stripes.

The foal will have brownish and white stripes while growing up. Then turn to black and white, as they mature.

Foal have brownish and white stripes.
Foal have brownish and white stripes.

Do you know about the famous Wildebeests Migration? (If not, worry not, will give you full details in the next post.) Zebras do take part in this migration.

Zebras have 3 species. Namely:

 

Read the full article here.