Friday, July 29, 2011

Mandarin Goby

On June 1, 2010, the Marshall Islands Postal Service issued a new stamp featuring the Mandarin Goby. Part of a family of fish known as dragonets, the spectacular Mandarin Goby, also known as the Mandarin fish, possesses a scale less body covered with an intricate pattern of many hues.
The Mandarin Goby, has the latin name is  Synchiropus splendidus, is a small, brightly-colored member of the dragonet family, which is popular in the saltwater aquarium trade. The mandarin fish is native to the Pacific, ranging approximately from the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia.In the Marshall Islands, where several species of Mandarin fish live, these attractive creatures inhabit the islands' plethora of shallow lagoons and inshore reefs.
The Mandarin Goby's name comes from its brilliantly vivid colours, evoking the robes of an Imperial Chinese mandarin. Its unique coloration makes this fish a very popular addition to private aquariums throughout the world, although its finicky eating habits can make it difficult to keep. It feeds primarily on small crustaceans and other invertebrates.
Mandarin Goby are reef dwellers, preferring sheltered lagoons and inshore reefs. While they are slow-moving and fairly common within their range, they are not easily seen due to their bottom-feeding habit and their small size (reaching only about 6 cm).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nudibranchs of Vanuatu

On October 8, 2008, Vanuatu Post issued the stamp features the jewels of sea, Nudibranch. The stamp issued in one miniature sheet consist of 12 single stamps which each stamp depicts species of nudibranchs and composed in one beautiful colour scene of bottom the sea



The 3,000-plus known nudibranch species are possibly the most colourful creatures on earth. In the course of evolution, these “sea slugs” have lost their shell developing other defence mechanisms. Nudibranchs are blind to their own beauty, their tiny eyes discerning little more than light and dark. Instead the animals smell, taste and feel via oral tentacles. Chemical signals help them track food—not just coral and sponges but barnacles, eggs, or small fish - and other nudibranchs.
As members of the gastropod class, and more broadly the molluscs, they live fully exposed at virtually all depths of salt water, their gills forming tufts on their backs. Varying in adult size from just 20 to 600mm, they reach their greatest size and variation in warm, shallow waters and are found extensively on Vanuatu’s many reefs.  Hermaphroditic, nudibranchs have both male and female organs and can fertilise one another, an ability that speeds the search for mates and doubles reproductive success.
Nudibranchs are carnivorous. Some feed on sponges, others on coral animals (hydroids) and some are cannibals, eating other sea slugs, or, on some occasions, members of their own species. There is also a group that feeds on barnacles and occasionally anemones.  Some nudibranchs rely on enzymes, rather than teeth, to break down prey. In turn they are also the prey of certain fish, sea spiders, turtles, sea stars, a few crabs.

They are well equipped to defend themselves however. Tough-skinned, bumpy and abrasive, some are able to camouflage, however, others have bright colouring making them highly visible. This warns they are distasteful or poisonous. Nudibranchs hoard capsules of tightly coiled stingers, called nematocysts, and automatically release a sour liquid from the skin when touched. .(Resources: Vanuatu Post)

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tropical Fish I

On May 12, 2008, the Marshall Islands Postal Service issued stamps featuring colourful Tropical Fish , i.e: the Common Longnose Butterflyfish, the Longfin Bannerfish and the Emperor Butterflyfish. Featuring artwork by noted artist Gordon Drummond.

The $0.94 stamp depicts the Common Longnose Butterflyfish. The Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish lives alone, in pairs or in small groups consisting of less than six individuals. Adult fish usually live in pairs. The Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish has a bright yellow body adorned with a black eye-spot on the anal fin (close to the caudal peduncle). The head is black above and silvery-white below. Over the eye, you can see a disruptive black bar.The Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish inhabits the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific. In the Indo-Pacific, the species is found from East Africa and the Red Sea to Hawaii and the Easter Islands . Northwards, their range proceeds up to southern Japan.

The $4.80 stamp depicts the Longfin Bannerfish. The Longfin bannerfish has a white and black striped body. The stripes or bands are wide and vertical. The dorsal fin is extremely elongated extending upwards and then backwards. It ends far behind the tail fin. The tailfin is yellow.The "Poor Man's Moorish Idol" or Longfin bannerfish is suitable for community tanks with other peaceful species. They should not be kept with aggressive species.The Longfin bannerfish originates from Indo Pacific Ocean. It can be found from the coast of east Africa in the Indian Ocean to the Society Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The northern distribution limit is located in southern Japan and the southern distribution limit is situated at Lord Howe Island.

The $ 16.50 stamp depicts the Emperor Butterflyfish.The latin name is Chaetodontoplus mesoleucos. This species is belong of the genus Chaetodontoplus.The alternate common name is Red sea butterflyfish. Found singly or in pairs in coral rich areas of coastal reefs and lagoons.They feed on sponges, algae and benthic invertebrates.The length of body  is 18 cm .They live in depth of the sea ranges from 2 – 20 m and wide spread in the Asian Pacific .

Tropical Fish II


On June 24, 2008, the Marshall Islands Postal Service issues two new stamps each on its own sheet featuring colourful Tropical Fish, the Threadfin Butterflyfish and the Copperband Butterflyfish. Featuring artwork by noted artist Gordon Drummond.
The US$ .42 stamp shown the Threadfin Butterflyfish .The Threadfin Butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga, is a species of butterflyfish (family Chaetodontidae). It is found in the Indo-Pacific region from the Red Sea and eastern Africa  to the Hawaiian, Marquesan, and Ducie islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe Island and Rapa Iti, at depths of between 1 and 35 m.Length is up to 23 cm. Chaetodon auriga has a neck patch of ascending and a belly patch of descending oblique dark lines.
The US$ .27 stamp shown the  Copperband Butterflyfish. The Copperband Butterflyfish, or Chelmon rostratus, also commonly called the Beak Coralfish, is found in reefs in both the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This butterflyfish is one of the three species in the genus Chelmon, all being known for having longer beaks.These fish are easily identified by the yellow banding and long snout, juveniles being similar to adults. They grow up to 20 cm in length.Found at depths of 1-25 metres either singly or in pairs, forming monogamous pairs during breeding. They are usually found on coral reefs or rocky shorelines, and also in estuaries and silty inner reefs. This species is territorial and oviparous

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Massena’s Lorikeet

The Rainbow Lorikeet, through 21 different races is found throughout Indonesia, New Guinea, the Solomons and parts of Australia. Massena’s Lorikeet or Trichoglossus haematodus massena listed as a sub-species of the Rainbow Lorikeet,  also known as the Coconut Lory and in Bislama – Nasiviru. Massena is found only in the Bismarck Archipelago (near New Guinea), the Solomons and throughout Vanuatu except Futuna and Lopevi.


Growing to around 250mm including a 100mm tail, these striking coloured lories are mainly bright green with a red breast, bluish-mauve head and red-orange beak. Plumage is overall green, green wings, tail, neck, back and underbelly.

Chest is orange/red with thin green to black horizontal barring and sometimes some yellow areas in the chest plumage. Head is blue with lighter blue streak feathers moving backwards to a chocolate brown with lighter brown streaks. Eyes are orange, brown in juveniles.

They frequent flowering trees but their movements are usually erratic as they travel, even between islands, in search of food.Living primarily in wooded habitat in lowland areas, they are sometimes found in steep terrain where favourite trees or shrubs are flowering. They prefer habitat other than true forest or mangroves however and are found in trees bordering watercourses surrounding paddocks, in suburban gardens and in nearly every coconut plantation.

The nectar and pollen from these coconut palm flowers form their staple diet and in return the lories are important pollinators of these trees. Other sources of food include the Indian Coral tree, the African Tulip tree and the Sago palm. They also enjoy the soft fruit of the Panama Cherry tree and ripening fruit from domestic orchards. Maize and sorghum crops are also targeted. 

When alarmed while feeding, these generally noisy and active lories will remain motionless in the trees and turn their backs on the intruder in camouflage while eyeing them over their shoulder. They generally travel in pairs or small flocks and are identified by their bright colours, and shrill chatter. The flight of these parrots is swift with rapid wing beats. They are agile when flying short distances through the forest canopy while for longer flights they fly high. The Massena’s Lorikeet is listed in the Cites Appendix II as endangered and may need measures taken in Vanuatu, for their future protection.(Resources: Vanuatu Post, Wikipedia)

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Clematis Flower of Guernsey

In 1985 Raymond Evison OBE, VMH, founded the Guernsey Clematis Nursery. The nursery has grown rapidly in recent years and is now the leading producer of young clematis plants in the world.
Clematis now follows behind other crops that have upheld the tradition in horticulture on the island of Guernsey. The clematis featured in this Guernsey stamps have all been bred or developed in Guernsey by Raymond Evison.


Rosemoor Evipo002 has distinctive reddish purple flowers with contrasting yellow anthers. The large flowers are borne from May to September and it is an ideal plant for growing with other wall trained trees and shrubs.


Blue Moon Evirin launched at the 1997 Chelsea Flower Show in conjunction with EMI, the record label company. Marvellous wavy edges to the whitish/blue sepals.


Wisley Evipo001 is a modern day jackmanii type named after the RHS famous garden. It produces a mass of bluish medium sized flowers. Outstanding for growing with roses.


Arctic Queen Evitwo is remarkable free flowering white double clematis flowering for most of the summer months .It produces a stunning plant when in flower, grown in a container or through an evergreen wall trained shrub


Harlow Carr Evipo004 named after the RHS northern-most garden is extremely free flowering from early summer onwards. The  produced four sepal, each width of 3”,  deep purple en-mass making it ideal for growing with roses or ground cover.


Liberation Evifive named in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of the Channel Islands from wartime occupation. This clematis has dramatic deep pink reddish large flowers.


Royal Velvet Evifour has deep purple flowers born in abundance during late spring early summer. An ideal container plant or for growing with grey foliage shrubs.


Guernsey Cream, raised from the species clematis patens from China, is very free flowering in the late spring early summer and is very winter hardy. Fully rounded cream flowers.


Josephine Evijohill discovered by Josephine Hill in England and developed in Guernsey has remarkable full double pinkish mauve flowers. A great plant for growing in a container.


Hyde Hall Evipo009 selected for its compact early summer free flowering habit. A superb plant for the patio or the small town garden. Large white flowers suffused with pink with occasion green highlights.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey

Guernsey Post has been issued the stamp series features the endangered species, the Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey on January 29, 2004.The Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey lives in the mountainous regions of south-western China and is at the top of the state protection list along with the Giant Panda. 

Breeding in captivity has, however, been successful and it is hoped that new babies will be the beginning of a successful conservation programme for the animal. The adult and sub-adult golden snub-nosed monkey is sexually dimorphic. Adult males ,was estimated at over 7 years of age, have large bodies covered with very long, golden guard hairs on their backs and cape area. The crest is medium brown while the back, crown to nape, arms and outer thighs are deep brown.

The Golden Monkey has a big soft blue muzzle, bare bluish skin around the eyes and the feature that gives them their name, a small turned up nose. The Golden snub-nosed monkey is found in groups ranging in size from 5-10 individuals to bands of about 600.

The Golden snub-nosed monkey eats (from greatest to least in amount) lichens, young leaves, fruits or seeds, buds, mature leaves, herbs, bark, and flowers. This diet varies from season to season, showing a correlation once again between food availability and home range.
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