Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Birds of Prey - Cyprus

On September 25th, 2003, Cyprus Post released the stamps features the Birds of Prey in Cyprus. The species depicted are Imperial Eagle, Eleonora’s Falcon, and Owl.  The issued stamps have specific shape, triangular and have differ nominal values.


Eleonora’s falcon
Eleonora's Falcon or (Falco eleonorae) is an elegant bird of prey, 36–42 cm long with an 87-104 cm wingspan. Its long pointed wings, long tail and slim body. Eleonora's Falcon is a medium-sized falcon. It belongs to the hobby group.
This species breeds on islands in the Mediterranean particularly off Greece (where two-thirds of the world's population breeds). This species has a delayed breeding season, in late summer, because it is a specialist hunter of migrating birds which pass through the Mediterranean islands at this time of year. It captures small birds in flight, using its speed and aerobatic skills.

Imperial eagle
Imperial eagle or Aquila heliaca is monotypic species, no subspecies distinguished. Their  distinctive  are length ranged 72-84 cm, wingspan  ranged 180-215 cm, weight  ranged 2450-4530 g. Colour of adults are dark brown - almost black - in their body, with the back of head and neck golden. Normally it has two white shoulder patches of variable size, which may lack completely in some individuals. The imperial eagle is a priority species in a number of international conventions.
The distribution range of the species stretches from Central and South-Eastern Europe to Central Asia.The imperial eagle breeds both in mountains and agricultural lowland areas.
The favourite prey of the imperial eagle are daytime-active small to medium size mammals such as the suslik ( Spermophilus citellus ) and the hamster ( Cricetus cricetus ).
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 extant bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions (e.g. the Northern Hawk Owl). Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica, most of Greenland and some remote islands.
Different species of owls make different sounds; this wide range of calls aids owls in finding mates or announcing their presence to potential competitors, and also aids ornithologists and birders in locating these birds and recognizing species.(Resources : Wikipedia)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Australia’s Whale

Australian Post have concerned about the species of Whales, and issued the stamp features that Sperm Whale, Southern Right Whale, Blue Whale, and Humpback Whale on the different nominal value . The stamps have issued on February 17,1982 and designed by Robert and Katrina Ingpen.

The stamp 24c  - Sperm Whale
The Sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus, is a marine mammal species, order Cetacea, a toothed whale (odontocete) having the largest brain of any animal. Sperm whales are the deepest diving whales. The name comes from the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in the animal's head. Spermaceti found many important uses, such as candles, soap, cosmetics and machine oil.
Sperm whales produce ambergris, a dark, waxy substance (related to cholesterol) that is produced in the lower intestines, and is sometimes found containing squid beaks. Ambergris may help protect the sperm whale from the stings on the giant squid, its major food. Large lumps of ambergris may be vomited up by the sperm whale.
The sperm whale is the largest toothed whale, with adult males measuring up to 20.5 metres  long and weighing up to 57,000 kilograms.The sperm whale's distinctive shape comes from its very large head, which is typically one-third of the animal's length. The blowhole is located very close to the front of the head and shifted to the whale's left.This gives rise to a distinctive bushy, forward-angled spray.
The sperm whale's flukes are triangular and very thick. The whale lifts its flukes high out of the water as it begins a dive .Sperm whale teeth are uniform. The teeth in the upper jaw never erupt.

The stamp 35c - Southern Right Whale
The southern right whale  or Eubalaena australis is a baleen whale, one of three species classified as right whales belonging to the genus Eubalaena.The right whale's callosities appear white due to large colonies of cyamids (whale lice).Approximately 12,000 southern right whales are spread throughout the southern part of the Southern Hemisphere.
The maximum size of an adult female is 18.5 m and can weigh up to 80 tonnes. The testicles of right whales are likely to be the largest of any animal, each weighing around 500 kg. This suggests that sperm competition is important in the mating process. Right whales cannot cross the warm equatorial waters to connect with the other (sub)species and (inter)breed: their thick layers of insulating blubber make it impossible for them to dissipate their internal body heat in tropical waters.

The stamp 55c - Blue Whale
The blue whale  or Balaenoptera musculus is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales .Blue whales are rorqual whales, whales that have pleated throat grooves that allow their throat to expand during the huge intake of water during filter feeding. Blue whales have 50-70 throat grooves that run from the throat to mid-body.
Blue whales are the loudest animals on Earth! Their call reaches levels up to 188 decibels. This low-frequency whistle can be heard for hundreds of miles. The blue whale is louder than a jet, which reaches only 140 decibels!
The blue whale's skin is usually blue-gray with white-gray spots. The underbelly has brown, yellow, or gray specks. They have a very small, falcate (sickle-shaped) dorsal fin that is located near the flukes (tail). Blue whales have long, thin flippers 8 feet long (2.4 m) and flukes that are 25 feet (7.6 m) wide.
Its diet consists almost exclusively of small crustaceans known as krill. Long and slender, the blue whale's body can be various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath.

The stamp 60c - Humpback Whale
The humpback whale  or Megaptera novaeangliae is a species of baleen whale. Adults range in length from 12–16 metres  and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms .The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head.
Humpback whales can easily be identified by their stocky bodies with obvious humps and black dorsal colouring. The head and lower jaw are covered with knobs called tubercles, which are actually hair follicles and are characteristic of the species. The fluked tail, which it lifts above the surface in some dive sequences, has wavy trailing edges.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Migrator Fishes of Portugal

On 07.04.2011 Portugal Post has issued the stamp series of migrator fishes in two miniature sheet and four single stamps.The migrator fishes are called Diadromous and are classified in two group: Anadromous fish (live mostly in the ocean and breed in the rivers) and Catadromous fish (live in fresh water and breed in the ocean). They migrate from the ocean to the river or reverse during their life cycle.Most of these fish are threatened by extinction.
In Portugal, the main threats are posed by the construction of obstacles to the migration routes (such as dams and dikes), destruction of spawning grounds, overfishing, illegal fishing and widespread pollution.
The disappearance of these species is a major loss for the aquatic biodiversity, with both economic, gastronomic and cultural consequences.
To solve this condition, the action plans have been  implementing such as to  improve the quality of the aquatic habitats, ensure the continuity of the rivers, rehabilitate the natural breeding grounds, control pollution and gravel removal, re-establish the natural hydrologic systems and carry out a sustainable fishing management.  


Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar
Atlantic Salmon is a species of fish in the family Salmonidae, which is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean and in rivers that flow into the north Atlantic and (due to human introduction) the north Pacific.Also commercially known as bay salmon, black salmon, caplin-scull salmon, fiddler, grilse, grilt, kelt, landlocked salmon, ouananiche, outside salmon, parr, Sebago salmon, silver salmon, slink, smolt, spring salmon or winnish.
This species’ situation is critical, with less than 250 individuals, most of which consist of a subpopulation of the Minho River.Salmons hatch in the rivers where they remain for roughly two years. They migrate to the ocean and when they reach their sexual maturity they return to the rivers to breed, to the same place where they were born.

Shad, Alosa alosa
The shad, which is an endangered species, can be found in Portugal in the hydrographic basins of the Minho, Vouga, Mondego (that holds the biggest subpopulation), Tagus, Guadiana rivers and, occasionally, in the Douro River.
The juveniles migrate down the rivers to the estuaries, where they grow and mature. At a later stage they migrate to the ocean, where they remain feeding on plankton, returning to the rivers to breed.

River lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis
This is a critically endangered species; in Portugal it can be found in the hydrographic basins of the Douro, Vouga, Mondego, Lis, Ribeiras do Oeste, Tagus and Sado Rivers.
It is a very primitive fish, with a simple cartilaginous skeleton and a toothed, cupping shaped mouth that enables it to feed on the blood of other animals. The adults spawn in fresh water, on the bottom of the rivers, dying shortly afterwards. The juveniles migrate downriver to the estuaries and later out into the ocean where they complete their growth.

European eel, Anguilla anguilla
This endangered species can be found in all the hydrographic basins of the Portuguese Mainland and in the coastal zones of the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira; it hunts during the night and feeds on crabs, crayfish, molluscs, amphibians and fish eggs. The European Eel spawns in the Sargasso Sea, Northwest of the Caribbean. The larvae cross the ocean in the opposite direction, towards continental waters and complete their maturity in the European rivers, and later, when it is time to breed, they migrate back into the ocean.
Thin-lipped grey mullet, Liza ramada
This species, that is highly adaptable to the variation in salinity, can be found abundantly along the whole Atlantic coast. They move around in large shoals, in coastal waters, estuaries, lakes and rivers where they feed on algae, invertebrates and waste.
At the end of spring the adults and juveniles migrate upriver to freshwater environments. In the fall the adults return to the ocean to breed. The next generation of juveniles enter the estuaries by the end of winter.
Flounder, Platichthys flesus
Present along the whole Portuguese coast, particularly north of the Tagus River, the founder can be found along the littoral shore down to depths of 80 meters; it lives on sandy or muddy bottoms, feeding on small fish and invertebrate. When they reach sexual maturity (four years in the case of the females or three years in the case of the males), they migrate to the ocean to breed, in the winter and beginning of spring. The juveniles enter the estuary in the spring and beginning of the summer.(Resources: Portugal Post, Wikipedia.)
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