Ocellated Turkey

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What color is the bare skin of the ocellated turkey’s head?
Blue
Ocellated turkeys lack the chest tuft and the wattles of the North American species and the bare skin of their heads is blue instead of red.
Green
Red
Yellow
What is the population trend of the ocellated turkey?
Decreasing
The ocellated turkey is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it has a moderately small population which is suspected to be in decline owing mainly to unsustainable levels of exploitation, hunting pressure, plus ongoing habitat loss, degradation and destruction.
Increasing
Stable
Unknown
What is contributing to the ocellated turkey’s habitat loss?
Agricultural Conversion
Population estimates of the ocellated turkey in parts of its range indicate a decline in numbers over the last 20 years, especially in Guatemala and parts of the southern Yucatán Peninsula where widespread logging and dry season burning eliminate habitat and destroy nests. Large-scale clear-cutting and agricultural conversion is fragmenting habitat, increasing its susceptibility to hunting.
Clear-Cutting
Population estimates of the ocellated turkey in parts of its range indicate a decline in numbers over the last 20 years, especially in Guatemala and parts of the southern Yucatán Peninsula where widespread logging and dry season burning eliminate habitat and destroy nests. Large-scale clear-cutting and agricultural conversion is fragmenting habitat, increasing its susceptibility to hunting.
Dry Season Burning
Population estimates of the ocellated turkey in parts of its range indicate a decline in numbers over the last 20 years, especially in Guatemala and parts of the southern Yucatán Peninsula where widespread logging and dry season burning eliminate habitat and destroy nests. Large-scale clear-cutting and agricultural conversion is fragmenting habitat, increasing its susceptibility to hunting.
Logging & Timbering
Population estimates of the ocellated turkey in parts of its range indicate a decline in numbers over the last 20 years, especially in Guatemala and parts of the southern Yucatán Peninsula where widespread logging and dry season burning eliminate habitat and destroy nests. Large-scale clear-cutting and agricultural conversion is fragmenting habitat, increasing its susceptibility to hunting.
What sounds do ocellated turkeys make?
Cluck-Putt
Most ocellated turkey calls heard during a Tikal National Park study were limited to the gobbling of males and cluck-putt of both sexes. Its drumming sound replaces the pulmonic huff given by turkeys in North America.
Gobble
Most ocellated turkey calls heard during a Tikal National Park study were limited to the gobbling of males and cluck-putt of both sexes. Its drumming sound replaces the pulmonic huff given by turkeys in North America.
Huff
Whistle
Ocellated turkeys lack which features of the North American species?
Chest Tuft
Ocellated turkeys lack the chest tuft and the wattles of the North American species and the bare skin of their heads is blue instead of red.
Wattle
Ocellated turkeys lack the chest tuft and the wattles of the North American species and the bare skin of their heads is blue instead of red.
Nodules
Tail Feathers
What is the ocellated turkey’s diet?
Omnivorous
The ocellated turkey is omnivorous and feeds on the ground, taking grass, seeds, leaves, fruits, succulent vegetables, insects, and corn where available.
Herbivorous
Carnivorous
What is the ocellated turkey’s rhythm?
Diurnal
The ocellated turkey is diurnal.
Crepuscular
Nocturnal
Cathemeral
The Tikal National Park is a protected park for ocellated turkeys.
True
There are a few protected parks for the ocellated turkey, such as the Tikal National Park.
False
What is the ocellated turkey considered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Near Threatened
The ocellated turkey is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it has a moderately small population which is suspected to be in decline owing mainly to unsustainable levels of exploitation, hunting pressure, plus ongoing habitat loss, degradation and destruction.
Least Concern
Vulnerable
Endangered
What is the ocellated turkey’s scientific name?
Meleagris ocellata
The ocellated turkey’s scientific name is Meleagris ocellata.
Meleagris gallopavo
Meleagris crassipes
Meleagris californica
The ocellated turkey has never been domesticated.
True
The ocellated turkey was never domesticated as the wild turkey.
False
Ocellated turkeys were valued by the Maya for ceremonial banquets.
True
The Maya valued ocellated turkeys for ceremonial banquets. Occupants of the palace at Mayapan, occupied for centuries before Europeans arrived, ate enough of them that 70% of the identifiable bones excavated from the site were from ocellated turkeys. On the island of Cozumel, where the Spanish and the Maya first met, both ocellated and domesticated turkeys were eaten.
False
Ocellated turkeys are commonly bred in captivity.
False
Few ocellated turkeys have been bred in captivity successfully. Sid Drenth, an exotic bird-breeder located at his Fantasia Ranch in Weatherford, Texas, has never been able to breed ocellated turkeys successfully, despite his experience with other exotic birds. He keeps peafowl, cranes, ibises, curassows and other African birds. Few people ask to buy an ocellated turkey from him. Several zoos in the southern and southwestern United States have ocellated turkeys on display, but few of them have bred the birds successfully, either.
True
The ocellated turkey’s vocalizations differ from the North American species.
True
In addition to appearance, the voice of the ocellated turkey readily separates it from the other species of turkey. Its drumming sound replaces the pulmonic huff given by turkeys in North America.
False
What sex of ocellated turkeys has spurs on their legs?
Males
Male ocellated turkeys grow spurs that are half an inch in their first year, an inch and a half as two-year-olds, and two inches or longer as mature birds.
Females
Ocellated turkeys only inhabit bajos during nesting season.
True
Ocellated turkeys seldom use low forests and bajos. During nesting season, however, the edges of the bajos are dry and are used as nesting sites. In bajos, low-lying wet sites, large trees are sparse and rarely exceed 60 feet in height while the understory is choked with thorny shrubs and vines. These low forests consist of either escoba and botan palm, or thick, nearly impenetrable, expanses of tinto or logwood tree. Bajos may be covered with standing water for as many as 6 months of the year.
False
Ocellated turkeys are more vocal than other species of turkey.
False
Ocellated turkeys are not nearly as vocal as the other species and subspecies of turkey. Most ocellated turkey calls heard during a Tikal National Park study were limited to the gobbling of males and cluck-putt of both sexes. With the many predator species found in the tropical forests of Central America, it may be advantageous for ocellated turkeys to remain silent as much as possible and not advertise their position.
True
What does the ocellated turkey eat?
Fruit
The ocellated turkey is omnivorous and feeds on the ground, taking grass, seeds, leaves, fruits, succulent vegetables, insects, and corn where available.
Insects
The ocellated turkey is omnivorous and feeds on the ground, taking grass, seeds, leaves, fruits, succulent vegetables, insects, and corn where available.
Seeds
The ocellated turkey is omnivorous and feeds on the ground, taking grass, seeds, leaves, fruits, succulent vegetables, insects, and corn where available.
Vegetables
The ocellated turkey is omnivorous and feeds on the ground, taking grass, seeds, leaves, fruits, succulent vegetables, insects, and corn where available.
What is a group of ocellated turkeys called?
Gang
A group of ocellated turkeys is called a gang, posse, or rafter.
Rafter
A group of ocellated turkeys is called a gang, posse, or rafter.
Posse
A group of ocellated turkeys is called a gang, posse, or rafter.
Club
When are ocellated turkeys most hunted?
Spring
Uncontrolled market hunting occurring primarily during March, April and May could seriously impact local ocellated turkey populations.
Summer
Winter
Fall
What is the strutting display of ocellated turkeys nicknamed?
Dancing
The strutting display of ocellated turkeys is referred to as “dancing” by the people of Central America.
Floating
Marching
Swaying
What color are ocellated turkey chicks?
Yellow
Ocellated turkey chicks are bright yellow underneath and have black down with yellow tips on their backs and wing stubs. Their heads are buffy yellow with a dark median stripe running down both head and neck. They are sturdily built with large flesh-colored legs. Their bills are also flesh-colored with grey tips.
Green
Blue
Red
The ocellated turkey is one of how many extant species of turkey in the world?
2
The ocellated turkey is one of only 2 species of turkey in the world. Aside from the ocellated turkey, the other species of turkey is the North American wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), divided into 5 distinct subspecies: the Eastern wild turkey (M. g. silvestris), the Osceola (Florida) wild turkey (M. g. osceola), Rio Grande wild turkey (M. g. intermedia), the Merriam’s wild turkey (M. g. merriami), and the Gould’s wild turkey (M. g. mexicana).
1
3
5
In which habitats do ocellated turkeys reside?
Forest
The range of the ocellated turkey is comprised of many diverse habitat types; from arid brush lands and shrublands, savanna, marshland, grassland, and second growth forest interspersed abandoned farmland called milpas and old growth mature rain forests.
Grassland
The range of the ocellated turkey is comprised of many diverse habitat types; from arid brush lands and shrublands, savanna, marshland, grassland, and second growth forest interspersed abandoned farmland called milpas and old growth mature rain forests.
Savanna
The range of the ocellated turkey is comprised of many diverse habitat types; from arid brush lands and shrublands, savanna, marshland, grassland, and second growth forest interspersed abandoned farmland called milpas and old growth mature rain forests.
Shrubland
The range of the ocellated turkey is comprised of many diverse habitat types; from arid brush lands and shrublands, savanna, marshland, grassland, and second growth forest interspersed abandoned farmland called milpas and old growth mature rain forests.
To what continent is the ocellated turkey endemic?
North America
The ocellated turkey only exists in North America in a 50,000 square mile area comprised of the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize, and the El Petén region of northern Guatemala.
Asia
Australia
South America
There is correlation of ocellated turkey spur length and age.
True
Based upon examination of harvested male ocellated turkeys in Guatemala, there appears to be a good correlation of spur length with age, with spurs falling into three distinct groups. Spur lengths of about 0.5 inches were typical of young gobblers less than one year old. The next group of spurs was about 1.5 inches long, and probably indicates two-year-old gobblers. Spur length of two inches and over probably indicates three-year-old or older gobblers.
False
How many eggs does an ocellated turkey lay, on average?
12
Ocellated hens lay 8-15 eggs with an average of 12 eggs, nearly the same size and coloration of those of North American wild turkeys.
4
6
18
When do ocellated turkeys nest?
Spring
Ocellated turkey breeding begins by the end of February or early March, with nesting taking place from April.
Summer
Fall
Winter
Ocellated turkeys have been kept in captivity and fattened in order to be eaten.
True
Ocellated turkeys have been kept in captivity and fattened for eating. 70% of the identifiable bones excavated from the palace at Mayapan, occupied for centuries before Europeans arrived, were from ocellated turkeys and showed an increased size that suggested they were kept captive and fattened. The Maya valued ocellated turkeys for ceremonial banquets. On the island of Cozumel, where the Spanish and the Maya first met, both ocellated and domesticated turkeys were eaten.
False
What preys on ocellated turkeys?
Big Cats
Potential predators of poult and adult ocellated turkeys include gray fox, ocelot, margay, raccoon, coati, jaguarundi, tira, cougar, jaguar, and numerous birds of prey and snakes capable of killing turkeys, especially poults.
Birds
Potential predators of poult and adult ocellated turkeys include gray fox, ocelot, margay, raccoon, coati, jaguarundi, tira, cougar, jaguar, and numerous birds of prey and snakes capable of killing turkeys, especially poults.
Raccoons
Potential predators of poult and adult ocellated turkeys include gray fox, ocelot, margay, raccoon, coati, jaguarundi, tira, cougar, jaguar, and numerous birds of prey and snakes capable of killing turkeys, especially poults.
Snakes
Potential predators of poult and adult ocellated turkeys include gray fox, ocelot, margay, raccoon, coati, jaguarundi, tira, cougar, jaguar, and numerous birds of prey and snakes capable of killing turkeys, especially poults.
The ocellated turkey is a social species.
True
The ocellated turkey is a social species.
False
Female ocellated turkeys have shorter legs than males.
True
Like North American turkeys, leg lengths of the ocellated turkey differ between sexes. Average leg length for females is less than 5 inches as compared to over 6 inches for males, making male ocellated turkeys stand an inch or so taller than females.
False
Why are ocellated turkeys hunted?
Food
Like their relatives, the North American wild turkeys, ocellated turkeys are excellent eating and are heavily hunted through their small range for food, trade, and occasionally sport, even within reserves.
Trade
Like their relatives, the North American wild turkeys, ocellated turkeys are excellent eating and are heavily hunted through their small range for food, trade, and occasionally sport, even within reserves.
Sport
Like their relatives, the North American wild turkeys, ocellated turkeys are excellent eating and are heavily hunted through their small range for food, trade, and occasionally sport, even within reserves.
Population Control
How many ocellated turkey hens typically die during a nesting season?
30%
Approximately 70% of ocellated turkey hens and 13% of poults survive the nesting and brood-rearing period. A radiotelemetry study in Tikal National Park provided the only information on survival of ocellated turkeys in the wild. During the nesting and brood-rearing period, approximately 30% of the hens die, primarily from predation.
10%
50%
70%
There is little information available regarding the ecology of the ocellated turkey.
True
Much more information is needed regarding the ecology of the ocellated turkey. Information on habitat needs, population dynamics, and management techniques is required to properly conserve this valuable resource.
False
Both male and female ocellated turkeys produce their iconic gobble.
False
The gobble of the male ocellated turkey is preceded by a series of 3-7 low frequency hollow drumming sounds, not unlike the drumming produced by ruffed grouse, followed by a high-pitched gobbling-like noise. It appears to originate a long way down and the turkey makes a series of jerking motions while attempting to bring it out.
True
What was thought to have crashed ocellated turkey numbers in a large forest area in Belize?
Chicken-Born Disease
Ocellated turkey numbers were perceived to have crashed in a large forest area in Belize where they were previously common. As hunting pressure in the area did not seem sufficient to explain their loss, there was speculation that one or another chicken-born diseases may have been introduced into the population by domestic poultry. Wild ocellated turkeys will occasionally come in and feed with flocks of barnyard chickens on the more remote farms in Belize if they are unmolested.
Food Availability
Habitat Loss
Uncontrolled Hunting
Both male and females ocellated turkeys have nodules.
True
Both sexes of ocellated turkeys have a blue-colored head and neck with distinctive caruncle-like growths, called nodules. The nodules can range from orange to red, to coral in color.
False
Why does slash-and-burn agriculture harm the ocellated turkey?
Eroding Earth
Large scale timbering operations followed by slash-and-burn agriculture are one of the ocellated turkey’s primary threats.
Active farmlands occur in the range of the ocellated turkey and are the product of what ecologists refer to as “slash and burn agriculture,” where forestlands are cut, burned to remove any residual vegetation, then planted to corn, beans, and squash. These sites are farmed until the thin soils are depleted of nutrients or eroded away during rainy seasons. Burned areas not farmed are converted to pasture for cattle grazing, but these pasture grasses are soon replaced by thick patches of shrubs and vines unpalatable to cattle.
Nutrient Depletion
Large scale timbering operations followed by slash-and-burn agriculture are one of the ocellated turkey’s primary threats.
Active farmlands occur in the range of the ocellated turkey and are the product of what ecologists refer to as “slash and burn agriculture,” where forestlands are cut, burned to remove any residual vegetation, then planted to corn, beans, and squash. These sites are farmed until the thin soils are depleted of nutrients or eroded away during rainy seasons. Burned areas not farmed are converted to pasture for cattle grazing, but these pasture grasses are soon replaced by thick patches of shrubs and vines unpalatable to cattle.
Thin Soil
Large scale timbering operations followed by slash-and-burn agriculture are one of the ocellated turkey’s primary threats.
Active farmlands occur in the range of the ocellated turkey and are the product of what ecologists refer to as “slash and burn agriculture,” where forestlands are cut, burned to remove any residual vegetation, then planted to corn, beans, and squash. These sites are farmed until the thin soils are depleted of nutrients or eroded away during rainy seasons. Burned areas not farmed are converted to pasture for cattle grazing, but these pasture grasses are soon replaced by thick patches of shrubs and vines unpalatable to cattle.
Lack of Food
What behaviors are included in the ocellated turkey’s strutting display?
Wing Dragging
Before an ocellated gobbler goes into a strut, the tail feathers are held horizontal to the ground and moved from side to side, similar to a dog wagging i’s tail. After the tail wagging, the tail fan is spread, but the head and neck are held back toward the tail fan and pressed down onto the back, rather than tucked back against the breast as in North American wild turkeys. While in strut, the wings are lowered and drag the ground as seen in other turkeys, but the ocellated gobbler also moves one wing rapidly back and forth in a vibrating motion. This part of the strut is done when hens are nearby and the gobbler continues the strut and wing vibration as he attempts to circle the hen(s), making smaller and smaller circles until the hen leaves, or she squats allowing the gobbler to tread on her back and breed. Gobbling often occurs in mid-strut, especially if several hens are in view. During the gobble, the head and neck are elevated straight up over the back rather than projected forward. Gobbling can occur without the bird coming out of strut.
Gobbling
Before an ocellated gobbler goes into a strut, the tail feathers are held horizontal to the ground and moved from side to side, similar to a dog wagging its tail. After the tail wagging, the tail fan is spread, but the head and neck are held back toward the tail fan and pressed down onto the back, rather than tucked back against the breast as in North American wild turkeys. While in strut, the wings are lowered and drag the ground as seen in other turkeys, but the ocellated gobbler also moves one wing rapidly back and forth in a vibrating motion. This part of the strut is done when hens are nearby and the gobbler continues the strut and wing vibration as he attempts to circle the hen(s), making smaller and smaller circles until the hen leaves, or she squats allowing the gobbler to tread on her back and breed. Gobbling often occurs in mid-strut, especially if several hens are in view. During the gobble, the head and neck are elevated straight up over the back rather than projected forward. Gobbling can occur without the bird coming out of strut.
Hen Circling
Before an ocellated gobbler goes into a strut, the tail feathers are held horizontal to the ground and moved from side to side, similar to a dog wagging its tail. After the tail wagging, the tail fan is spread, but the head and neck are held back toward the tail fan and pressed down onto the back, rather than tucked back against the breast as in North American wild turkeys. While in strut, the wings are lowered and drag the ground as seen in other turkeys, but the ocellated gobbler also moves one wing rapidly back and forth in a vibrating motion. This part of the strut is done when hens are nearby and the gobbler continues the strut and wing vibration as he attempts to circle the hen(s), making smaller and smaller circles until the hen leaves, or she squats allowing the gobbler to tread on her back and breed. Gobbling often occurs in mid-strut, especially if several hens are in view. During the gobble, the head and neck are elevated straight up over the back rather than projected forward. Gobbling can occur without the bird coming out of strut.
Tail Wagging & Fanning
Before an ocellated gobbler goes into a strut, the tail feathers are held horizontal to the ground and moved from side to side, similar to a dog wagging its tail. After the tail wagging, the tail fan is spread, but the head and neck are held back toward the tail fan and pressed down onto the back, rather than tucked back against the breast as in North American wild turkeys. While in strut, the wings are lowered and drag the ground as seen in other turkeys, but the ocellated gobbler also moves one wing rapidly back and forth in a vibrating motion. This part of the strut is done when hens are nearby and the gobbler continues the strut and wing vibration as he attempts to circle the hen(s), making smaller and smaller circles until the hen leaves, or she squats allowing the gobbler to tread on her back and breed. Gobbling often occurs in mid-strut, especially if several hens are in view. During the gobble, the head and neck are elevated straight up over the back rather than projected forward. Gobbling can occur without the bird coming out of strut.
What threatens the ocellated turkey?
Exploitation
The ocellated turkey is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it has a moderately small population which is suspected to be in decline owing mainly to unsustainable levels of exploitation, hunting pressure, plus ongoing habitat loss, degradation and destruction.
Habitat Loss
The ocellated turkey is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it has a moderately small population which is suspected to be in decline owing mainly to unsustainable levels of exploitation, hunting pressure, plus ongoing habitat loss, degradation and destruction.
Hunting Pressure
The ocellated turkey is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because it has a moderately small population which is suspected to be in decline owing mainly to unsustainable levels of exploitation, hunting pressure, plus ongoing habitat loss, degradation and destruction.
Food Availability
What percentage of bones excavated from the palace at Mayapan were ocellated turkey bones?
70%
The Maya valued ocellated turkeys for ceremonial banquets. Occupants of the palace at Mayapan, occupied for centuries before Europeans arrived, ate enough of them that 70% of the identifiable bones excavated from the site were from ocellated turkeys. On the island of Cozumel, where the Spanish and the Maya first met, both ocellated and domesticated turkeys were eaten.
10%
30%
50%
What is the mating system of the ocellated turkey?
Polygyny
The ocellated turkey’s mating system is polygyny, in which one male has an exclusive relationship with two or more females. This is associated with one-male, multi-female group compositions.
Monogamy
Polyandry
Polygynandry
What is the ocellated turkey’s Mayan Indian name?
Ucutz Il Chican
The ocellated turkey has several different names that vary by Central American locale including “pavo” and “pavo ocelado”. It’s Mayan Indian name is “ucutz il chican”.
Pavo Ocelado
Meleagris Ocellata
Co-On-Cot-Zitl-Glung
Female ocellated turkeys with spurs have been discovered.
True
On rare occasions, female ocellated turkeys have been spotted with spurs. Although some previous reports have stated that female ocellated turkeys commonly have spurs, during 4 years of field work and trapping activities in Tikal National Park, only 1 female was seen with spurs, which were very small and best described as rudimentary buttons.
False
Ocellated turkeys were once thought to be more related with which bird than turkeys?
Peafowl
The ocellated turkey’s tail feather spots are similar to those seen on peacock feathers which led some scientists to once believe it was more related to peafowl than turkeys.
Bird-of-Paradise
Pheasant
Macaw
What color are the ocellated turkey’s tail spots?
Blue
The tail feathers in both sexes are bluish-gray in color with a well defined, eye-shaped, blue-bronze colored spot near the end followed by bright gold tip.
Grey
Green
Orange
What colors are the tips of an ocellated turkey’s tail feathers?
Orange
The tail feathers in both sexes are bluish-gray in color with a well defined, eye-shaped, blue-bronze colored spot near the end followed by bright gold tip.
Grey
Green
Blue
Ocellated turkeys remain still while gobbling.
False
The gobble of the male ocellated turkey is preceded by a series of 3-7 low frequency hollow drumming sounds, not unlike the drumming produced by ruffed grouse, followed by a high-pitched gobbling-like noise. It appears to originate a long way down and the turkey makes a series of jerking motions while attempting to bring it out.
True
What is increasing the ocellated turkey’s susceptibility to hunting?
Agricultural Conversion
Large-scale clear-cutting and agricultural conversion is fragmenting habitat, increasing the ocellated turkey’s susceptibility to hunting. There are a few protected parks for the ocellated turkey, such as the Tikal National Park.
Clear-Cutting
Large-scale clear-cutting and agricultural conversion is fragmenting habitat, increasing the ocellated turkey’s susceptibility to hunting. There are a few protected parks for the ocellated turkey, such as the Tikal National Park.
Few Protected Areas
Large-scale clear-cutting and agricultural conversion is fragmenting habitat, increasing the ocellated turkey’s susceptibility to hunting. There are a few protected parks for the ocellated turkey, such as the Tikal National Park.
Habitat Fragmentation
Large-scale clear-cutting and agricultural conversion is fragmenting habitat, increasing the ocellated turkey’s susceptibility to hunting. There are a few protected parks for the ocellated turkey, such as the Tikal National Park.
Ocellated turkey spurs are shorter and less attenuated than those of North American turkeys.
False
Ocellated turkey spurs are longer and more attenuated than those of North American gobblers.
True
How many of an ocellated turkey’s eggs will hatch, on average?
1/2
Ocellated hens lay 8-15 eggs with an average of 12 eggs. Based on information obtained during the radiotelemetry study in the Tikal National Park, approximately 60% of the hens were able to hatch a clutch and produced an average of 6 poults per hen. At least half of all nests were destroyed by predators.
1/4
1/3
1/1
Ocellated turkeys inhabit the same range as North American turkeys.
False
The ocellated turkey only exists in North America in a 50,000 square mile area comprised of the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize, and the El Petén region of northern Guatemala. Unlike the ocellated turkey, the 5 subspecies of the North American turkey can be found from northern Mexico throughout all the United States, except Alaska, and into Ontario, Canada.
True
The crown and nodules of the male ocellated turkey enlarge during the breeding season.
True
The head of the male ocellated turkey has a fleshy blue crown or knob behind the snood which is adorned with yellow-orange to red-coral nodules similar to those on the neck. During breeding season, this crown enlarges and the coloration of the nodules becomes more pronounced.
False
What color is the distinct eye-ring skin of the ocellated turkey?
Red
Ocellated turkeys have a distinct eye-ring of bright red colored skin, especially visible on adult males during the breeding season.
Blue
Green
Yellow
How many ocellated turkey poults survive until their first Fall?
13%
Approximately A radiotelemetry study in Tikal National Park provided the only information on survival of ocellated turkeys in the wild. During the nesting and brood-rearing period, approximately 30% of the hens die, primarily from predation. Survival for poults is even lower, as only 13% of poults hatched in April were alive by September.
23%
53%
73%
The ocellated turkey’s name originates from what feature?
Tail Spots
The name of the ocellated turkey refers to the blue and bronze ocelli on its tail, the eye-shaped markings that are similar to the ones peacocks display.
Colorful Feathers
Nodules
Spurs
Ocellated turkeys are larger than all other turkeys.
False
The ocellated turkey is the smallest species of turkey and is significantly smaller than any of the five subspecies of North American wild turkeys.
True
More is known about the ocellated turkey than any other turkey.
False
Very little research has been done on the ocellated turkey and less is known about the ecology of this turkey than any of the 5 subspecies of North American wild turkeys, including the Gould’s wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana).
True
How many ocellated turkeys subspecies are recognized?
0
The ocellated turkey has no recognized subspecies.
2
3
5
It’s possible to age ocellated turkeys based on the width of the copper band on their wings.
True
It may be possible to age male ocellated turkeys based on the width of the rich copper band on their wings as adults of both sexes appear to have wider bands, but more research is needed to confirm this trait. This method probably isn’t totally reliable for females after the first year.
False
Female ocellated turkeys are taller than males.
False
Like North American turkeys, leg lengths of the ocellated turkey differ between sexes. Average leg length for females is less than 5 inches as compared to over 6 inches for males, making male ocellated turkeys stand an inch or so taller than females.
True
In what countries does the ocellated turkey reside?
Mexico
The ocellated turkey only exists in North America in a 50,000 square mile area comprised of the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize, and the El Petén region of northern Guatemala.
Belize
The ocellated turkey only exists in North America in a 50,000 square mile area comprised of the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize, and the El Petén region of northern Guatemala.
Mexico
The ocellated turkey only exists in North America in a 50,000 square mile area comprised of the Yucatán Peninsula of Guatemala, northern Belize, and the El Petén region of northern Guatemala.
United States of America
Female ocellated turkeys have more pronounced nodules than males.
False
Both sexes of ocellated turkeys have a blue-colored head and neck with distinctive caruncle-like growths, called nodules. The nodules can range from orange to red, to coral in color. Nodules are more pronounced on males.
True

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Learn More About the Ocellated Turkey

Ocellated Turkey

Ocellated hens lay an average of 12 eggs, with an average of 6 poults hatching per hen.

Ocellated hens lay 8-15 eggs in a shallow scrape on the ground, with an average of 12 eggs, nearly the same size and coloration of those of North American wild turkeys. Breeding begins by the end of February or early March, with nesting taking place from April. The incubation period is 28 days.

Based on information obtained during the radiotelemetry study in the Tikal National Park, most adult hens attempt to nest. Approximately 60% of the hens were able to hatch a clutch and produced an average of 6 poults per hen. At least half of all nests were destroyed by predators.


Image | © Panegyrics of Granovetter, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; del Hoyo, Collar, Christie, Elliott, & Fishpool, 2014; Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

Potential predators of poult and adult ocellated turkeys include gray fox, ocelot, margay, raccoon, coati, jaguarundi, tira, cougar, jaguar, and numerous birds of prey and snakes capable of killing turkeys, especially poults.

Potential predators of poult and adult ocellated turkeys include gray fox, ocelot, margay, raccoon, coati, jaguarundi, tira, cougar, jaguar, and numerous birds of prey and snakes capable of killing turkeys, especially poults.


Image | © Nathan Rupert, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

Approximately 70% of ocellated turkey hens and 13% of poults survive the nesting and brood-rearing period.

A radiotelemetry study in Tikal National Park provided the only information on survival of ocellated turkeys in the wild. During the nesting and brood-rearing period, approximately 30% of the hens die, primarily from predation. Survival for poults is even lower, as only 13% of poults hatched in April were alive by September.

Predator populations in these tropical forest habitats are diverse and apparently abundant. Potential predators of poult and adult turkeys include gray fox, ocelot, margay, raccoon, coati, jaguarundi, tira, cougar, jaguar, and numerous birds of prey and snakes capable of killing turkeys, especially poults.


Image | © LenorEatWood, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

Much more information is needed regarding the ecology of the ocellated turkey as habitat needs, population dynamics, and management techniques are required to properly conserve this valuable resource.

Much more information is needed regarding the ecology of the ocellated turkey.

Population estimates of the ocellated turkey in parts of its range indicate a decline in numbers over the last 20 years, especially in Guatemala and parts of the southern Yucatán Peninsula where widespread logging and dry season burning eliminate habitat and destroy nests. Uncontrolled market hunting occurring primarily during March, April and May could seriously impact local populations.

More research on the ocellated turkey is being planned, including distribution and singing surveys in Guatemala and a distribution survey in the Yucatán of Mexico. Long-term studies, similar to an initial radiotelemetry project in Tikal National Park, should be implemented in areas where the birds are hunted for sport as well as for the market.

Information on habitat needs, population dynamics, and management techniques is required to properly conserve this valuable resource. Large tasty birds in a small range where they are protected inadequately, if at all-the remaining ocellated turkeys are going to need a lot of help if they are to continue to survive, and so far that help has not been forthcoming, partly because these birds are so little known.


Image | © Nathan Rupert, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

Large-scale timbering operations followed by slash-and-burn agriculture are one of the ocellated turkey’s primary threats.

Large scale timbering operations followed by slash-and-burn agriculture are one of the ocellated turkey’s primary threats.

Active farmlands occur in the range of the ocellated turkey and are the product of what ecologists refer to as slash-and-burn agriculture, where forestlands are cut, burned to remove any residual vegetation, then planted to corn, beans, and squash. These sites are farmed until the thin soils are depleted of nutrients or eroded away during rainy seasons. Burned areas not farmed are converted to pasture for cattle grazing, but these pasture grasses are soon replaced by thick patches of shrubs and vines unpalatable to cattle.

Quality wildlife habitat across Central America is being lost at an alarming rate, especially in the range occupied by ocellated turkeys.


Image | © RusselStreet, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

The strutting display of ocellated turkeys is referred to as dancing by the people of Central America.

The ocellated turkey’s display differs in several ways from the ocellated turkey’s North American cousins.

Before an ocellated gobbler goes into a strut, the tail feathers are held horizontal to the ground and moved from side to side, similar to a dog wagging its tail. After the tail wagging, the tail fan is spread, but the head and neck are held back toward the tail fan and pressed down onto the back, rather than tucked back against the breast as in North American wild turkeys. While in strut, the wings are lowered and drag the ground as seen in other turkeys, but the ocellated gobbler also moves one wing rapidly back and forth in a vibrating motion. This part of the strut is done when hens are nearby and the gobbler continues the strut and wing vibration as he attempts to circle the hen(s), making smaller and smaller circles until the hen leaves, or she squats allowing the gobbler to tread on her back and breed. Gobbling often occurs in mid-strut, especially if several hens are in view. During the gobble, the head and neck are elevated straight up over the back rather than projected forward. Gobbling can occur without the bird coming out of strut.

With all this movement, it is easy to see why strutting is referred to as “dancing” by the people of Central America.


Image | © Ereenegee, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

There appears to be a good correlation of ocellated turkey spur length with age; the longer the spur, the older the turkey.

Based upon examination of harvested male ocellated turkeys in Guatemala, there appears to be a good correlation of spur length with age, with spurs falling into three distinct groups.

Spur lengths of about 0.5 inches were typical of young gobblers less than one year old. The next group of spurs was about 1.5 inches long, and probably indicates two-year-old gobblers. Spur length of two inches and over probably indicates three-year-old or older gobblers.


Image | © Roberto González, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

The ocellated turkey is referred to as “pavo” and “pavo ocelado” by Central American locale, and its Mayan Indian name is “ucutz il chican”.

The ocellated turkey has several different names that vary by Central American locale including pavo and pavo ocelado. It’s Mayan Indian name is ucutz il chican.


Image | © Dick Daniels, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

On rare occasions, female ocellated turkeys have been spotted with spurs.

On rare occasions, female ocellated turkeys have been spotted with spurs.

Although some previous reports have stated that female ocellated turkeys commonly have spurs, during 4 years of field work and trapping activities in Tikal National Park, only 1 female was seen with spurs, which were very small and best described as rudimentary buttons.


Image | © Chloe Reid, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

An ocellated turkey’s tail spots are similar to a peacock’s, causing scientists to once believe it was more related to peafowl.

The ocellated turkey’s tail feather spots are similar to those seen on peacock feathers which led some scientists to once believe it was more related to peafowl than turkeys.

The tail feathers in both sexes are bluish-gray in color with a well defined, eye-shaped, blue-bronze colored spot near the end followed by bright gold tip.
 


Image | © josh_vandermeulen, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

Legs of adult male ocellated turkeys have pronounced spurs that are longer and more attenuated than those of North American gobblers.

Ocellated turkey spurs are longer and more attenuated than those of North American gobblers.

Male ocellated turkeys grow spurs that are half an inch in their first year, an inch and a half as two-year-olds, and two inches or longer as mature birds.


Image | © ColinDJones, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Sources | (Heinrichs, 2010; Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

The ocellated turkey only exists in a 50,000 square mile area on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize, and the El Petén region of northern Guatemala.

The ocellated turkey only exists in North America in a 50,000 square mile area comprised of the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize, and the El Petén region of northern Guatemala. The Yucatán Peninsula range includes the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Petén, and Yucatan, as well as parts of southern Tabasco and northeastern Chiapas.

Unlike the ocellated turkey, the five subspecies of the North American turkey can be found from northern Mexico throughout all the United States, except Alaska, and into Ontario, Canada.


Image | © Geoff Gallice, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY 2.0)
Sources | (AOU, 1998; BirdLife International, 2016; Miller & Miller, 2007; Naish, 2013; Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

The head of the male ocellated turkey has a fleshy blue crown adorned with yellow-orange nodules which enlarge during breeding season.

The head of the male ocellated turkey has a fleshy blue crown or knob behind the snood which is adorned with yellow-orange to red-coral nodules similar to those on the neck.

During breeding season, this crown enlarges and the coloration of the nodules becomes more pronounced.

Ocellated turkeys also have a distinct eye-ring of bright red colored skin, especially visible on adult males during the breeding season.


Image | © Roberto González, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY 2.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

The spots on the ocellated turkey’s tail helped give it its name, as the Latin word for “eye” is “oculus”.

The tail feathers in both sexes of the ocellated turkey are bluish-gray in color with a well defined, eye-shaped, blue-bronze colored spot near the end followed by a bright gold tip.

The name of the turkey refers to the blue and bronze ocelli on its tail, the eye-shaped markings that are similar to the ones peacocks display.
 


Image | © Aaron Fellmeth Photography, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Heinrichs, 2010; Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

The ocellated turkey is the smallest species of turkey and is significantly smaller than any of the 5 subspecies of North American wild turkeys.

The ocellated turkey is the smallest species of turkey and is significantly smaller than any of the 5 subspecies of North American wild turkeys.

They are roughly two thirds the size of North American turkeys with adult hens weighing approximately 8 pounds just prior to egg-laying and nesting and about 6-7 pounds the remainder of the year. During the breeding season adult males weigh approximately 11-12 pounds.


Image | © Amaury Laporte, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

Very little research has been done on the ocellated turkey and less is known about it than any other turkey species or subspecies.

Very little research has been done on the ocellated turkey and less is known about the ecology of this turkey than any of the 5 subspecies of North American wild turkeys, including the Gould’s wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana).


Image | © Ereenegee, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

The ocellated turkey is one of only 2 species of turkey in the world, the other being the North American wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).

The ocellated turkey is one of only 2 species of turkey in the world.

Aside from the ocellated turkey, the other species of turkey is the North American wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), divided into 5 distinct subspecies: the Eastern wild turkey (M. g. silvestris), the Osceola (Florida) wild turkey (M. g. osceola), Rio Grande wild turkey (M. g. intermedia), the Merriam’s wild turkey (M. g. merriami), and the Gould’s wild turkey (M. g. mexicana).


Image | © Natascha
, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Ocellated Turkey

Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata)

Summer is starting as the month of June begins! This month’s featured animal species is the Ocellated Turkey, a member of the Phasianidae family and part of the larger Aves class.

 

GET INVOLVED

Create art inspired by the Ocellated Turkey and share it in the FaunaFocus Discord Server or on social media with #faunafocus. Learn about more ways to get involved with FaunaFocus!

 

EVENTS
Event Date Time (CDT)
Free-For-All: Deadline June 28 11:30 pm
Free-For-All: Livestream June 29 9:00 pm

 


Image | © Roberto González, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY 2.0)

Ocellated Turkey

It may be possible to age male ocellated turkeys based on the width of the rich copper band on their wings as adults of both sexes appear to have wider bands.

The ocellated turkey’s upper, major secondary wing coverts, or wing bar, are a rich copper color and highly iridescent.

It may be possible to age male ocellated turkeys based on the width of the rich copper band on their wings as adults of both sexes appear to have wider bands, but more research is needed to confirm this trait. This method probably isn’t totally reliable for females after the first year.


Image | © Dick Daniels, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Sources | (Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

Leg lengths of the ocellated turkey differ between sexes as females have shorter legs than males.

Like North American turkeys, leg lengths of the ocellated turkey differ between sexes. Average leg length for females is less than 5 inches as compared to over 6 inches for males, making male ocellated turkeys stand an inch or so taller than females.


Image | © RusselStreet, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (Heinrichs, 2010; Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002)

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Ocellated Turkey

Both sexes of ocellated turkeys have distinctive caruncle-like growths, called nodules, but they’re more pronounced on males.

Both sexes of ocellated turkeys have a blue-colored head and neck with distinctive caruncle-like growths, called nodules. The nodules can range from orange to red, to coral in color.

Nodules are more pronounced on males.


Image | © Nathan Rupert, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Heinrichs, 2010; Taylor, Quigley, & Gonzalez, 2002; Weyer, 1983)

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Aardwolf

Aardwolf

The mandibular salivary glands of the aardwolf are twice the size of the glands of a similar-sized dog.

The mandibular salivary glands of the aardwolf are twice the size of the glands of a similar-sized dog.

The aardwolf’s large glands are serous and mucous secreting, while the parotid, sublingual, and zygomatic glands are serous and mixed.

The mucous secretions provide a relatively thick and sticky substrate and facilitate the licking up of termites. In addition, the mucous could provide protection for the oral cavity and oesophagous from the termites’ terpene secretions, as has been speculated to be the case in myrmecophagous elephant shrews. It is not known whether the saliva may play a role in the detoxification of the terpene secretions in a similar fashion to the tannin-binding proteins found in the saliva of browsing ruminants.
 


Image | © Tambako the Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson, 2004; Kratzing, 1988)

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FFA
Judges
Noelle M. Brooks Louis Herlihy PrendorianCrab
Date May 2017 Theme Aardwolf
Entries 7 Winner Shane S. (Yodeldog)

 

This month’s Free-For-All has come to an end, marking the first ever Free-For-All as complete! Thank you to everyone who submitted entries! There was a wonderful culmination of styles, media, and perspectives, and it made the first FaunaFocus Free-For-All a triumphant success!

Congratulations to May 2017’s Free-For-All Winner, Shane S. (Yodeldog)! Yodeldog has chosen the featured animal species for the month of June, the radiant ocellated turkey, sporting a multitude of colored feathers. It will be interesting to see how each artist interprets this colorful bird next month!

 


Calendar | Free-For-All | Free-For-All Archives

Aardwolf

Aardwolf

Despite its relatedness to hyenas, the aardwolf is one of only 18 species that feeds exclusively on termites and is one of the few true mammalian myrmecophages.

Despite its relatedness to the hyaenids, the aardwolf is one of only 18 species of the over 4,000 living mammal species that feed exclusively on termites and is one of the few true mammalian myrmecophages.

Aardwolves feed primarily on nasute harvester termites, mainly on Trinervitermes bettonianus in East Africa, Trinervitermes rhodesiensis in Zimbabwe and Botswana, and Trinervitermes trinervoides in South Africa.
 


Image | © Josh More, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson, 2004; Cooper & Skinner 1979; Kruuk & Sands, 1972; Redford 1987; Richardson, 1987c; Vaughan, 1987; Wikipedia, 2017)

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Aardwolf

Aardwolf

Aardwolves cannot be caught with food-baited traps, but may be lured with scent-marks of other aardwolves.

Aardwolves cannot be caught with food-baited traps, but may be lured with scent-marks of other aardwolves.


Image | © Neil McIntosh, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY 2.0)
Sources | (Koehler & Richardson, 1990; Richardson, 1985)

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Aardwolf

Aardwolf

The aardwolf has a black mane extending from head to tail which it erects when threatened to appear larger.

The aardwolf has a black mane extending from head to tail which it erects when threatened to appear larger. During fights and chases, the aardwolf’s mane is fully erected.

If only slightly disturbed, the aardwolf just fluffs out the hairs of the tail. This is frequently seen in cubs while playing.


Image | © Valerie, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Koehler & Richardson, 1990; Richardson & Bearder, 1984)

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Aardwolf

Aardwolf

Aardwolves are solitary foragers, except when accompanying their young cubs.

Even within mated pairs, individual aardwolves forage away from one another.

The un-weaned young are the only individuals that will be tolerated to accompany an adult when foraging, but even 4-month-old cubs spend most of the night foraging alone.


Image | © Greg Hume, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Sources | (Bothma & Nel, 1980; Koehler & Richardson, 1990; Kruuk & Sands, 1972; Richardson, 1985; Richardson 1987c; Richardson & Coetzee, 1988)

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Aardwolf

RedBubble

Aardwolf

Aardwolf

Aardwolf cubs are raised in dens, often old aardvark, porcupine, or springhare burrows.

Aardwolf cubs are raised in dens, often old aardvark, porcupine, or springhare burrows.

Most aardwolf dens are oval-shaped, about 32 centimeters high and 42 centimeters wide at the single entrance and rapidly narrowing to about 20 by 30 centimeters inside the tunnel.

Dens are sought for refuge during the day and are regularly slept in for six-eight weeks at a time before another den is used, though a den may be re-occupied 6-18 months later.
 


Image | © Alex Derr, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson, 1994; Koehler & Richardson, 1990; Richardson, 1985)

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Aardwolf

Silhouette

RedBubble

Aardwolf

Aardwolf

The aardwolf is primarily nocturnal as its activity is determined by the activity of the termites it eats.

The aardwolf is primarily nocturnal as its activity is determined by the activity of the termites it eats.

Aardwolves feed primarily on nasute harvester termites, mainly on Trinervitermes bettonianus in East Africa, Trinervitermes rhodesiensis in Zimbabwe and Botswana, and Trinervitermes trinervoides in South Africa.

Trinervitermes trinervoides cannot tolerate direct sunlight and is therefore almost entirely active at night.


Image | © Josh More, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Koehler & Richardson, 1990; Richardson, 1987c)

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Aardwolf

Aardwolf

Although aardwolves are socially monogamous and often live together in pairs, they’re genetically polygynous and mating is not necessarily exclusive.

Although the aardwolf is socially monogamous and mated aardwolf pairs occupy the same perennial territory together with their most recent offspring, copulations are not necessarily exclusive within the pair. Extra-pair copulations regularly occur between the most aggressive males and females of less aggressive neighbors in a polygynous fashion.
 


Image | © Mark Dumont
, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Sources | (Koehler & Richardson, 1990; Richardson, 1985; Richardson, 1987a)

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