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Archive for February, 2011

7 Amazing Amphibians


7 Amazing Amphibians

voe-arch-rock-160.jpgWritten by Alka Sharma

Red eyed tree frogPhoto: Careyjamesbalboa

Amphibians are the beautiful residents of Mother Nature’s wildlife garden. They have adapted to living both in the water and on land. A great supporter of environmental health, amphibians play the roles of both predator and the prey. These friendly creatures are the earliest known tetrapods. Let us meet some of these amazing amphibians.

1. Red Spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)Notophthalmus viridescensPhoto: Patrick Coin

The red spotted newt is a common aquarium pet that looks very beautiful colored orange-red with a few black outlines. Newts and salamanders fall under one of the three orders of the amphibia class, called Caudata or Urodela. Though newts belong to the salamander family, not all salamanders are newts. Actually, ‘newt’ is a common term used for those salamanders that spend most of their life living on land.

2. Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)Spotted SalamanderPhoto: Brian Gratwicke

Also known as the ‘mole salamander’, the spotted salamander is the state amphibian of South Carolina, USA. It is dark greyish black in color with as many as 50 beautiful yellow spots. The salamander’s underside is pink and grey. Though it looks tasty, it would not make a good meal as it produces a smelly toxin in the glands on its tail and back.

3. Australian Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)Litoria caeruleaPhoto: Tnarg 12345

Popular as an exotic pet throughout the world, the green tree frog is the largest among all known frog species in Australia. The frog is also known as ‘dumpy tree frog’ or ‘White’s tree frog’. Green tree frogs also have medicinal importance. Their skin secretions have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Frogs and toads fall under the order of anura amphibians. All amphibians are cold-blooded animals.

4. Aquatic Caecilian (Typhlonectes natans)Typhlonectes natansPhoto: Cliff

An interesting order of amphibians, aquatic caecilians very much resemble earthworms and snakes. These carnivorous animals are found mostly in swampy places, feeding mainly on insects like termites and earthworms. Caecilians fall under order of apoda or gymnophiona of the class amphibia. A decline in amphibian populations directly affects humans. So far, there are 170 known species of caecilians.

5. Yellow-Bellied Toad (Bombina variegata)
Bombina variegataPhoto: Waugsberg

Toads and frogs are from the same order of anura of the class amphibia. Yellow-bellied toads are endangered in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. These small toads are usually grey or olive-brown in color, full of warts and swirls. The most attractive part is their underside, which is bright yellow and black in color.

6. Red eye tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas)
Red eyed tree frogPhoto: Vincent Poulissen

The red eye tree frog is one of the most photogenic frog species. Its striking green colored body with stripes of blue and yellow, bright bulging red eyes, and orange toes give it an overall funny appearance. This arboreal animal has three eyelids. The brightly colored third eyelid is often used to cover the frog’s eyes from dangers. This meat-eater sometimes eats other small frogs.

7. Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)
Salamandra salamandraPhoto: Michael Linnenbach

The fire salamander is the best known salamander species in Europe and comes in a striking color combination of black and yellow with various stripes and dots. Native to damp and cool woods, these secretive creatures are nocturnal and spend most of their daytime hidden.

There have been more than 550 known species of newts and salamanders discovered so far. Amphibians play a very important role in maintaining environmental health as biological pest controllers. They also have a significant role in the food chain. In recent years, there has been a decline in their population, and more than 100 species have become extinct since 1980. Also, habitat destruction, global warming and pollution are key factors that are making them vulnerable and endangered. We must not overlook their conservation status and work towards saving their natural habitat.

Sources:
http://www.honoluluzoo.org/Red-eyed_Tree_Frog.htm
http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/salamander/
http://www.uga.edu/srelherp/salamanders/notvir.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombina_variegata
http://www.amphibianark.org/education/what-are-amphibians/
http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/caecilian.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Green_Tree_Frog
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Salamandra_salamandra.html

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Recommended Vegan Reads


Cover: Recommended Vegan Reads
Posted 2011-02-23 16:51:34 by Amy Spencer

Last year we talked to Krystina McIntyre (pictured) from vegansalt.com. McIntyre works in a bookstore, knows her vegan reads and she says many customers come in looking for recommendations on veganism, or anything that will help lower their cholesterol, reduce inflammation or handle diabetes. Here is what’s on the top of her list:

The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell • This one is for the scientifically inclined. It’s heavy on studies, statistics and biology, for those who need convincing that a vegan diet is good for your health, particularly cancer prevention.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer • Sometimes you need a little motivation to stick with a lifestyle change. Foer is an award-winning fiction writer, so this book is a much-needed right-brained look at the lives and deaths of the fish, birds, and other animals that end up on plates. If nothing else, read the list of the 145 sea-dwelling species that get killed and thrown overboard as “bycatch” in the hunt for tuna.

The Happy Herbivore Cookbook by Lindsay Nixon • This is a brand new cookbook (full disclosure ­— I know the author), that contains a bunch  of simple, healthy, everyday recipes from (portabella) steaks to brownies, with no hard-to-find ingredients. This is my go-to vegan cookbook for beginners.  Bonus points: It’s inexpensive, and filled with full-page, color photos!

Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr • Don’t let the name deter you!  I just barely picked this one up, but it’s already changing my life. Written by a cancer survivor who treated herself through nutrition, this book gives you all the tools to reverse or prevent chronic disease. And it isn’t just about the food. She shows you how to maximize the benefits of stress-reduction, sleep, and Ph levels until you glow.

 

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone • Part personal story, part how-to, part cookbook. The actress-turned-activist leads you from the standard American diet to macrobiotic vegan cooking. Go at your own pace, she has an online community to help you stay on track and learn new recipes.

Diet For A New America by John Robbins • Robbins, heir of the Baskin Robbins industry, renounced the business (and all animal products) and in this book, he explains how choosing a vegan diet can improve your health, and benefit all of life on earth!

The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau • When I first became vegan, I thought my baking days were over, but then a friend gave me this book. Every recipe I’ve made from this has turned out perfectly! Yes, these desserts have sugar and gluten, but they’re still healthier than their non-vegan counterparts.

And two for specific health concerns:
Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes by Niel Barnard and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn • These two doctors have cured countless diabetes and heart disease patients without drugs, using the same whole food, oil-free, vegan diet.  I’ve met someone whose life was saved by following their advice.  These contain powerful truth!

SuperVegan – Help someone go vegan, or make a new friend, with L.O.V.E.’s Vegan Pen Pals Project


SuperVegan – Help someone go vegan, or make a new friend, with L.O.V.E.’s Vegan Pen Pals Project.

Top 10 Vegan Cookbooks Best Seller


http://veganworldwidenews.blogspot.com/2011/02/top-10-vegan-cookbooks-bestsellers.html

 

Top 10 Vegan CookBooks- Bestsellers

Top 10 Vegan CookBooks: It’s incredible that a vegan cookbook has made it into the amazon.com best sellers list, something no one would have thought possible a few years ago, in fact a few weeks ago.

No doubt it’s a lot, nay, all to do with Forbes no. 1 celebrity Oprah Winfrey, as it was Oprah that featured Kathy Freston’s book, the Veganist on her show, and on the Oprah website, and got 378 of her staff to follow the book’s advice for a week.

The American Vegan Cookbooks dominate sales of vegan recipe books, (especially ones about cupcakes) even on amazon.co.uk you won’t see a British vegan cookbook tackling vegan diets until number 6 on the ‘Vegan cookbooks’ listings.

Its a good book too even if I do say so myself, so many of the books don’t have pictures and us cooks like pictures. The Complete Book of Vegan Cooking is full of them, but is currently down to rank number 41 in the Vegetarian and vegan section, despite selling out and having to be reprinted within 6 months of it’s publication.

Still, having a vegan cookbook in the bestsellers list bodes very well for the Plantarian 2011 One World Day.

Posted by Tony – FoodsforLife at 1:40 PM
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