About the Project

The ZooTrophy Animal-a-Day project began on October 15th, 2013 as illustrator Angela "LemurKat" Oliver began working her way, systematically but selectively, through the alphabet and presenting, via social media, an illustrated animal to the world. Daily.

All pieces are drawn as 2.5 x 3.5 inch collectible cards, using a combination of polychromos and prismacolor pencils, along with other art materials. Many are still available for purchase ($10) or trade, so drop her an email if anything captures your eye or if there is an animal you wish to request.

It is predicted this project will take her at least two years to complete - with approximately 36 animals being drawn for each letter. She has also used the images to create a collectible hardback encyclopedia series, playing cards and a desk calendar, as well as the ZooTrophy collectible trading card game.

Friday, July 31, 2015

#640: Rainbowfish

The Rainbowfish are a Family of small, colourful freshwater fish, found in Australia, New Guinea and its surrounding islands. They are also popular within the aquarium trade. He favours an omnivorous diet, feeding on small crustaceans, insect larvae, algae and insects that float on the water. Spawning occurs year-round, but is particularly concentrated during the start of the wet season. Eggs adhere to floating vegetation and hatch after 18 days.

The unrelated Madagascar Rainbowfish will be featured under his local name of "Zono".

Thursday, July 30, 2015

#639: Rainbow Cuckoo Wasp

The Cuckoo Wasps are a colourful Family of wasp, noted for their parasitic behaviours. Their irridescent patterning is achieved by their microscopely structured surface, which interferes with the visibile light to give them a rainbow patterning. There are four sub-families, of which the Chrysidinae are the largest and best known. The female lays her eggs in the nest of a host species. The hatching larvae then devour the host's eggs or larvae, as well as their food source. These wasps cannot sting, with their ovipositor being designed for the placement of the eggs. When threatened, she will curl up into a tight ball, protecting her limbs and vulnerable regions with her sturdy exoskeleton.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#638: Rail

The Rail Family includes an array of semi-terrestrial birds including crakes, coots and moorhen, spread throughout the world. Although generally associated with wetlands, various species have been found to colonise every environment except the very dry and the very cold. Many species are flightless, with the others favouring a terrestrial existence. Island species, in particular, have lost the ability to fly, and with it have been exterminated by introduced predators.

This fellow is a Madagascan Rail, of the Rallus, or "typical rail" Genus. He uses his long bill to forage for invertebrates in his swampy home. His main threat comes from habitat loss, as lowland wetlands are cleared for the formation of rice fields. He is classified as Vulnerable.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#637: Gentoo Penguin

We interrupt the alphabet to give you another penguin! Because who doesn't love penguins?

The Gentoo Penguin is the third largest living Penguin species. He breeds on sub-Antarctic islands such as the Falklands, South Georgia and Kerguluen, favourite ice-free areas. Awkward on land, he spends much of his time in the water pursuing prey in the form of fish, squid and krill. Dives can last for 7 minutes, and reach depths of 200 meters. Adults form long-term partnerships, working together to construct a nest of stones, moss, grass and sticks, into which are laid two eggs.

Monday, July 27, 2015

#636: Radiated Tortoise

The critically endangered Radiated Tortoise is native to Madagascar. He makes his home in the dry forests of the south and southwest. Here his population is in severe decline. Hunting and habitat loss have taken their toll, aqs is illegal poaching for the pet trade. His diet is vegetarian, with Opuntia cacti being a particular favourite. He can live well over 100 years, with the oldest recorded Radiated Tortoise living 188 years.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#635: Raccoon

The Raccoon is a carnivore of the Procyonide family, found in North America, with two related species occuring in South America. She is characterised by her facial mask and dextrous front paws, which are adept at manipulating objects. Although generally a solitary creature, she will share her territory with other females and gather together occasionally to feed or rest. Males also form loose social groups, especially around breeding season, to help defend their territory from intruders. Originally found in deciduous woodland, Raccoons are very adaptable and have colonised urban areas - including attics. Their diet is equally adaptable and she is known to raid rubbish bins and even slip through cat doors, as well as feeding on invertebrates, plant matter and small vertebrates.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

#634: Asian Elephant

Please excuse the current deviation from the alphabet as we know it.

 I have been working back to fill in a few gaps as part of another project - a project that could see my art in selected independent book stores, i-sites and zoo shops across New Zealand. NZ Art Cards are a company that works extensively with New Zealand artists and designers, and I have recently been invited to join their team. It is a huge honour and a very exciting step for me - I hope that we can make it work!

You can few my cards, and a selection of others, in the Kiwi Eco Kids Range. Look out for them in a store near you soon!
The Asian Elephant is smaller than her African cousin and characterised by the distinctive twin domes on her head. She also has more toes and only one "finger" on her trunk. Her range covers mainland Asia, Sri Lanka and Sumatra where she can be found in a variety of habitat types from rainforest to open grassland. A generalist vegetarian, she grazes and browses, consuming up to 150 kg of plant matter per day. Females live in small groups with their calves, whilst the males follow a solitary, bachelor lifestyle. Asian Elephants have been captured and trained by humans for centuries, used as siege weapons, beasts of burden and hunting platforms. More recently, in circuses and tourism. The process of training an elephant is often unpleasant and violent, with the animal being beaten, or otherwise tormented, into submission and obedience.

Friday, July 24, 2015

#633: Pygmy Marmoset

The Pygmy Marmoset is the smallest monkey in the world, weighing in at just over 100 grams and measuring up to 152 mm (not including her tail). She can be found in the western Amazon baisin, living in troops of up to nine individuals. These mostly consist of family members. Her teeth are adapted for gnawing into vines and trees to extract the gum, which is a main food source. She also eats insects, fruit and nectar. Like most marmoset species, only the dominant female produces offspring - usually twins - which are cared for and taught by the whole family.

The Pygmy Marmoset is currently considered "least concern" on the IUCN database, but she is under threat from deforestation and also poaching for the pet trade. Her small size and generally docile manner make her seem attractive as a pet. One must remember, however, that "exotic animals" are not domesticated and require specialist care and attention. They do not make good pets.

Monday, July 20, 2015

#632: Rabbitfish

The Rabbitfish are a Genus of brightly coloured Perciformes, named for their small, rabbit-like mouths. Other charming names for members of this Genus are foxfaces and spinefoots. The Rabbitfish's fins are formed from spines, which come equipped with venom glands. These are used to
deter predators, and are painful to humans.  This fellow is a Magnificant Rabbitfish. His diet consists mostly of algae and other vegetation. He can grow up to 24 cm in length and makes his home in the eastern Indian Ocean.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

#631: Rabbit

Rabbits are eight species in the Leporidae Family, which also includes the hare and pika (as seen earlier in this blog). The most significant is the European Rabbit - who will be featured here shortly - which has been widely introduced across the world, farmed and domesticated. He can be naturally found in southeast Europe and northern Africa, which means he is not even native to England. Although in his native range he is on the decline, he has established himself as a pest in New Zealand and Australia. Rabbits are social, with up to ten individuals sharing the same warren, or tunnel system. At dawn and dusk, he ventures out of his burrow to graze on grass or browse on leaves. He will sometimes come out during the day - provided there is good cover to protect him from danger. Rabbits are noted for their reproductive capacity - female ovulate immediately upon being mated and give birth to up to twelve kits at a time. She is sexually mature at four months of age and can produce multiple litters each year. Dominant males will have multiple mates, whereas lower ranking males form a monogamous partnership.

One of my favourite books of all time, is "Watership Down", and much of its information about rabbit behaviour is factually correct.

This rabbit is an Enderby Island rabbit. This "rare breed" was introduced to the sub-Antarctic Enderby Island to provide a food source for sailors. They quickly spread across the island, lacking in predators. In the 1990s, the island's restoration period began, with a number of the rabbits being removed and the remainder exterminated.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

#630: Quoll

The Quoll are six species of cat-like marsupials, found in Australia and New Guinea. He is nocturnal in nature, spending the day sleeping in a hollow log and coming out at night to hunt. His prey ranges in size from frogs and reptiles, up to possums, rabbits and hare. Unfortunately, the Northern Quoll has also been known to prey on the poisonous cane toad, with fatal results. Other threats come from foxes and feral cats. Mostly solitary, during the breeding season, all female Quoll come into heat simultaneously. This drives the males into a rampant three-week long, sex frenzy, filled with violent, vigorous mating marathons. During this period they stop eating, deplete their energy reserves and die.

Friday, July 17, 2015

#629: Quokka

The Quokka is an adorable marsupial, among the first seen by Europeans. She is about the same size as a domestic cat and related to the kangaroos. She comes out at night to feed on vegetation. Her range is mostly limited to offshore islands in southern Australia, mainland populations having been decimated by introduced predators such as foxes, cats and dingo. Deforestation is another threat. On the islands,such as Rottnest, she has no fear of humans and is fairly common, however it is illegal to handle her in any way.

Her apparently smiling face and overall adorable-ness, led to an influx of Quokka selfies and photobombs here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/quokka-happiest-animal-in-world_n_2426133.html

Thursday, July 16, 2015

#628: Quietschbükers

The Quietschbükers is found only in the one lake - Lake Breiter Luzin in Germany. It suffered a population decline in the 1970s, when the lake became degraded and eutrophic, rich in nutrients and thus plant life, that consumed much of the oxygen. However, with water quality restoration, the numbers of this dwarf whitefish have improved. She lives for six years, spending much of her time in the deeper reaches of the lake, where she feeds on insect larvae. In spring/summer, she moves into the shallows to spawn. Although there are no current threats to her population, due to its confined nature and the risks of introduced predators, she is classified as Vulnerable to extinction.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

#627: Quetzal

There are six species of Quetzal, of which the Resplendent Quetzal is the best known. He is the national bird of Guatemala and even lends his name to their currency. The male is distinguished by his long tail feathers, which can measure up to 65 cm in length. A weak flier, he forages in the canopy for fruit, particularly wild avocado. These are swallowed whole, and he reguigitates the pits, thus helping to disperse the trees. Solitary in nature, he pairs up with a female only for breeding. Nests are built in tree hollows, and both birds take turns incubating. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#626: Quelea

There are three species of Quelea, a Genus of weaver bird found in Africa. The most well known is the Red-billed Quelea, which is currently the most abundant wild bird in the world. Perhaps as many as 10 billion individuals inhabit the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. Flocks can take 5 hours to fly past. These birds breed during the rains, gathering in vast numbers. The males weave the nest and within twelve days of laying, up to four chicks hatch. These chicks grow fast, fledging at only two weeks old. It is this swift breeding system which leads to the population explosion. his diet consists of seeds and grains, and flocks can decimate crops, making them a serious agricultural pest. To counteract this, millions of birds are shot every year, and roosting sites are targeted at night, obliterating the birds in their sleep. Non-target species may, unfotunately, get caught in the crossfire, leading to their decline - while the Quelea still swarms on and on.

Monday, July 13, 2015

#625: Queen Snake

The Queen Snake is a non-venomous North American snake. His diet is very specific - he preys almost exclusively on newly-moulted crayfish, supplemented by the occasional frog, fish or invertebrate. These he locates by using his tongue, transfering scent from the air to receptors inside his mouth. During the colder months, he retreats into a crack - either natural or artificial - to hibernate. This is when he is at his most vulnerable and may fall prey to predators - including the very crayfish upon which he feeds.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

#624: Queen Malachite

The Queen Malachite is a species of damselfly. He makes his home near fern-lined streams, in the forests of South Africa. His range is limited, and deforestation has caused numbers to decline and earning him the classification of Near Threatened. Small and relatively inconspicious, males hover closest to the waters edge. Like all damselfly, he is a predator, hunting smaller insects.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

#623: Queen Butterfly

The Queen Butterfly ranges across the tropical regions of the Americas. Like his relative, the Monarch, the Queen is poisonous to predators, a fact advertised by his vivid colouration in both adult and juvenile forms. The poison comes through the diet of the caterpillar, which feed upon milkweed. The adults feed on nectar, rotting fruit, sweat and even dung. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

#622: Queen Angelfish

The Queen Angelfish inhabits the reefs near Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. His preferred diet is sponges, but he also eats tunicates, plankton, jellyfish and coral. He can normally be found in pairs, and may form a monogamous bond. During mating, the pair join their bellies together, rising up in the water and simultaneously releasing their eggs or sperm. Fertilised eggs hatch into embryonic larvae, which develop into free-swimming fish. Juveniles often serve as "cleaners" and feed on the parasites of larger fish.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

#621: Quarry Worm Salamander

The Quarry Worm Salamander is one of 29 species in the Oedipina Genus. They are lungless, elongated amphibians who use their skin and the inside of the mouth to breathe. The Quarry Worm Salamander is found in a restricted range in montane and semi-montane rainforests of Costa Rica. He makes his home in moss mats on the banks of streams and is semi-aquatic. Sometimes he can be found in road cuts and quarries as well. He is under threat from habitat destruction and classified as Endangered.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#620: Quarrion

The Quarrion is more commonly known as the cockatiel, but as I had a lot of Cs and very few Qs, I saved him for this letter. Although the origination of this name is unclear, it is thought that it is one of the native names for him. Another is weiro, based on his call.

Although commonly recognisable as a pet bird, the Cockatiel lives wild in Australia's arid or semi-arid regions. He is the smallest member of the Cockatoo Family, with the longest tail in proportion to his body size. Social and nomadic, flocks travel from food source to food source, stopping in at watering holes and decimating cultivated crops. His distinctive crest is used for communication his emotional state, and is laid flat when he is angry or defensive and raised when excited.

Monday, July 6, 2015

#619: Quail

Quail is the name given to two Genera of birds within the gamebird family. They are generally then divided into the Old World Quail of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia and the New World Quail of the Americas. This cheeky fellow, a Californian Quail, hails from the New World Genus. All are stocky and medium-sized birds that favour a territorial existence, although are capable of flight. Many are social, relying on group size to help protect from predation. A number of species have been domesticated for their eggs and also their meat.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

#618: Quagga

The Quagga was a subspecies of plains zebra. He was characterised by his bi-cokloured body, with the forequaters being striped and the hindquarters a solid brown. His range was the lowest tip of South Africa, where he favoured open grasslands. When the Dutch colonised South Africa, he became a target of the hunters for his meat and his skin. Already occuring across a fairly limited range, he would also have competed with introduced livestock for food. By the 1850s, numbers had declined drastically and the last wild population was eliminated in the late1870s, with the last wild individual dying in 1878.

However, that does not necessarily mean the end for this unique equine. DNA from skins has been analysed and comparisons made to the still extant Burchell's zebra and in 1987, selective breeding of these began. Whilst it is impossible to recreate the Quagga exactly as it was, it is possible that a very similar zebra will once again roam the grasslands of South Africa.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

#617: Python

The Pythons are a Family of non-venomous snakes found in Australia, Africa and Asia. Like the boa, to which they are not closely related, Pythons kill by constriction. She is an ambush predator, lying in wait for prey to wander by, then she strikes. Her back-curving teeth grip the unfortunate creature, and she wraps her coils quickly about it. The force is significant, but it is suffocation that kills her victim, not crushing. The animal is then swallowed whole. Unlike boa, Pythons are oviparous and the female even incubates her eggs, her body vibrating to keep temperatures constant. There are many species and many colour-morphs, with some specimen attaining 8m or more in length.

I am not entirely sure what species this is - I suspect the reference image was a colour-morph of the Ball Python. She does bear some resemblance, however, to a Scrub Python.


Tomorrow we begin on the Qs.
At this rate, I predict that I will be finished the alphabet some time in January.

Friday, July 3, 2015

#616: Pygmy Falcon

The Pygmy Falcon is a very small raptor, measuring no more than 19-20 cm in length. She lives in the dry forests of Africa, preying on insects, small reptiles and small mammals. During breeding season, she claims a nest among a weaver bird colony - while the original inhabitants are still present. The extra insulation of the nest helps her and the chicks to keep warm and dry. She provides a service for the weavers, preying on snakes and lizards that might predate their chicks. However, if food is scarce, she has been known to take the occasional weaver nestling.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

#615. Puma

The Puma, also known as the cougar, is a large feline, found in America. His range extends from Yukon, Canadian to the southern Andes. Highly adaptable and generalistic, he can be found in almost every habitat across his range. Like all cats, he is an obligate carnivore and will feed on everything from insects up to large ungulates, favouring deer and sheep. Solitary and secretive, he comes in contact with the female only long enough to mate and plays no role in raising the cubs.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#614: Perch

The Nile Perch is a large freshwater fish, measuring up to 2m in length. He is native to parts of Africa, and has been introduced to other other parts. A voracious and fierce predator, he feeds on small fish, including his own species. When this species was introduced to Lake Victoria, it proved an ecological disaster, devouring the native cichlids before moving onto smaller prey. The establishment of large fishing industries also affected the local human populations and has caused further environmental damage.