Saturday, March 31, 2012

Australian Stamp: The Bush

The bush is a term used for rural, undeveloped land or country ares in certain countries. 

It is an iconic term in Australia. In reference to the landscape, bush describes a wooded area, intermediate between a shrubland and a forest, generally of dry and nitrogen-poor soil, mostly grassless, thin to thick woody shrubs and bushes, under a sparse canopy of eucalyptus. The bush was something that was uniquely Australian and very different to the green European landscapes familiar to many new immigrants.

The Bush also refers to any populated region outside of the major metropolitan areas, including mining and agricultural areas.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Canadian Stamp: Skunk

Skunks (in the United States, occasionally called polecats) are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor. General appearance varies from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks, together with their closest living relatives, the stink badgers, belong to the "skunk family", the "Mephitidae" and to the order Carnivora. There are twelve species of Mephistids, which are divided into four genera: Mephitis, the (hooded and striped skunks, two species), Spilogale the (spotted skunks, four species), the Mydaus or stink badgers, two species), and Conepatus, the (hog-nosed skunks, four species). The two stink badgers in the Mydaus genus inhabit Indonesia and the Philippines; while all skunks inhabit the Americas from Canada to central South America. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Canadian Stamp: Peary Caribou

The Peary Caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi) is a caribou subspecies found in the high Arctic islands of Canada's Nunavut and Northwest territories. They are the smallest of the North American caribou, with the females weighing an average of 60 kg (132 lb) and the males 110 kg (243 lb). In length the females average 1.4 m (4.6 ft) and the males 1.7 m (5.6 ft).

The Peary caribou, called tuktu in Inuinnaqtun/Inuktitut, is a major food source for the Inuit and was named after Rear Admiral Robert Peary.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Australian Stamp: Tasselled Anglerfish

The Tasselled Anglerfish (Rhycherus filamentosus), also called Tasselled Angler and Tasselled Frogfish, is a type of frogfish and is of one of over 200 anglerfish species.

Tasselled Anglers are brown to red above. They have dark blotches or bars on their sides separated by whitish areas extending up from below. Its dorsal fin has four parts: a long illicium with an esca that resembles two worms, a second and third dorsal spine, and 12 to 13 soft rays.

The Tasselled Anglerfish is very similar to the Glover's Anglerfish. They can be separated by the shape of their escas and length of the illicium, which is longer in the Tasselled Anglerfish.

It is endemic to Australia, living on kelp covered rocky reefs from Bass Strait to South Australia.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Philippine Stamp: Aerides lawrenciae orchid

Aerides lawrenciae is a species of plant in the Orchidaceae family. It is endemic to the Philippines. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Growing in brightly lit environments at low altitude, on the islands of Mindanao and Cebu, Aerides lawrenciae is a robust species up to 5 ft (1.5 meters) tall. It sometimes becomes pendulous. The inflorescence has up to 30 strongly fragrant flowers, each about 4 cm across. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Zealand Stamp: Kōkako

The Kōkako (Callaeas cinereus) is a forest bird which is endemic to New Zealand. It is slate-grey with wattles and a black mask. It is one of three species of New Zealand Wattlebird, the other two being the endangered Tieke (saddleback) and the extinct Huia

The Kōkako illustrated is a North Island Kōkako (Callaeas cinerea wilsoni). It has blue wattles while the South Island Kōkako (Callaeas cinerea cinerea) by contrast has largely orange wattles, with only a small patch of blue at the base.

The North Island Kōkako is now quite rare—barely surviving its orange-wattled South Island cousins, considered today to be extinct. Kōkako populations throughout New Zealand have been reduced by the predations of mammalian invasive species such as possums, stoats, cats and rats and their range has contracted significantly.