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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#690: Sea Squirt

Sea Squirts are sedentary Tunicates, firmly fixed to rock, coral or some other substrate. They are named for their tunic-like rigid covering, which is composed of living tissue. The upper surface contains two siphons, which violently expels water when the animal is removed from its environment, hence the common name of "squirt". The upper, larger, siphon contains cillia, which suck in the water, removing the nutrients and expelling the rest out of the lower siphon. Sea Squirts are hermaphrodites, and fertilisation is external. Juvenile larvae are free-swimming, but within 36 hours will have settled into a sessile lifestyle.

Monday, September 28, 2015

#689: Sea Snake

The Sea Snakes are a subfamily of venomous snakes adapted almost entirely to a marine existence. Many species are laterally flattened, and all have a paddle-like tail. Only one Genus, the Laticauda (which includes this Banded Sea Krait), is capable of moving on land. The other species have greatly reduced scales, rendering them helpless outside the aquatic environment. Sea Snakes feed on fish and small cephalopods. Although most species are considered fairly mild-natured, they are amongst the most venomous of all snakes. These bites are generally quite painless, with no swelling of the wound, but the symptoms include headache and general muscular pain, followed by partial paralysis and the possibility of renal failure or cardiac arrest.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

#688: Sea Otter

The Sea Otter is one of the smallest marine mammals, but the heaviest member of the Mustelid Family. Unlike most marine mammals, she does not rely on blubber to retain warmth, instead possessing a very thick, insulatory pelt. Her fur is the thickest in the Animal Kingdom and, as such, put her in high demand from the early fur trappers. She was pushed to the brink of extinction, and is only now recovering, thanks to the ceasation of this industry. Sea Otter lead a largely aquatic existence, diving for crustaceans and molluscs as well as fish. She uses stones to dislodge prey and break over shells, and will even store a favoured rock in the loose piece of skin under her armpit. Whilst she feeds independently, Sea Otter gather together in rafts to rest and keep themselves together.

Here's the lineart, if you wish to colour her in yourself:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#687: Seahorse

The Seahorse is characterised by his upright posture, segmented body, horse-like face and prehensile tail. There are 54 species spread across the world, varying in colour and number of body rings. Seahorse swim vertically and are weak swimmers, using their dorsal fin and pectoral fins to steer. The Pygmy Seahorse is the slowest moving fish in the world. Because of this, he spends much of his time anchored to a stationary object. His long snout acts as a vacuum, sucking small crustaceans from the water. Fertilzation is external, with the eggs implanted into the male's pouch, where they are incubated and nourished until they hatch and he gives birth.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#686: Seal

When I first became fascinated in animals, Seals were considered in an Order of their own - now DNA studies place them within the Carnivora Suborder: Caniforna, along with mustelids, bears and canines.

Seals can be divided into three types: the "true seals", walruses and the eared seals. Eared seals (also known as Fur Seals or Sea Lions) are capable of holding themselves erect on their front flippers and moving quadrupedally. True seals, however, are more adapted for the aquatic life. Her body is exceedingly stream-lined, lacking in external ears. Her hindlimbs are bound to her pelvis and she is unable to bring them beneath her body. On land, she must move in a clumsy, slug-like manner, wriggling along using her front flippers and abdominal muscles.

Other Seal Entries:

Fur Seal
Walrus (to come)

And other "true" seals that have featured:
Ribbon Seal
Elephant Seal

Monday, September 21, 2015

#685: Screamer

There are three species of Screamer, a handsome South American waterfowl. He is named for his screaming call. This is the Southern Screamer. He makes his home near water in marshes and open areas, where he grazes on water plants. Screamers bear large spurs on his wings, which are used in territorial disputes and fights over mates. These can break off during the combat, but grow back quickly. Chicks are precocial, and learn to swim upon hatching. They imprint easily on humans and are thus ammenable to domestication.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

#684: Scorpionfish

The Scorpionfish are a Family of predominantly-marine fish, which contain some of the most venomous fishes in the world. There are hundreds of species, spread across the tropic and temperate seas. They are characterised by their spines, which adorn their body and appendages, and which contain venom glands. Most are ambush predators, relying on camouflage to hide them from their prey and using suction to, literally, inhale it. This fellow is a Spinycheeked Scorpionfish, found around the Florida coast.

Other species I have drawn:

And similar but not closely related (same Order, NOT same Family):
Stonefish (to come)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

#683: Scorpion

The Scorpions are an Order of arachnid, characterised by their grasping pedipalps and narrow, segmented tail with its venomous stinger. There are around 1750 identified species, ranging across every continent except Antarctica and being absent from many islands. The greatest variation occurs within the tropics.  Scorpions scurry through leaf litter, beneath rocks, up and down trees and across intertidal zones. Predatory in nature, most species feed on other invertebrates, but a larger species will pursuit small vertebrates. Prey is crushed in the claws, or pierced by the venomous tail barb.

This is an African Tri-colour Scorpion, of which there are around 60 species, some of which are popular in the pet trade.

Friday, September 18, 2015

#682: Saola

The Saola is the Asian unicorn - in the way that she is extremely elusive and critically endangered. The species was first discovered, from remains, in 1992, with the first living speciman captured on camera in 1999. Her range is extremely small, the isolated forests of the Annamite Range, in Indochina. Due to her scarcity, little is known about her behaviour, but she appears to be solitary and crepuscular in nature. Her tongue can extend up to 16cm and the upper surface bears back-facing barbs, which help her browse foliage.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

#681: Sandhopper

Sandhoppers belong to the subphylum Crustacea, and are terrestrial amphipods. By flexing his abdomen, she can leap several inches into the air, although she cannot control the direction of his leap. During the day, she buries herself in sand above the tidal line (as far down as 50 cm), emerging at night to forage amongst beach detritus cast up by the falling tide. Her diet consists mainly of rotting seaweed. She mates during this time, carrying her brood of eggs. When these hatch, the juveniles must live in damp seaweed to avoid dessication.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#680: Salamander

The Salamanders are a group of lizard-like amphibians. Like all amphibians, his skin is permeable to water and acts as a respiratory membrane. Consequently, Salamander are generally found in moist habitats, near water. Some species, like this Fire Salamander, are capable of exuding a toxic secretion through their skin, which acts as a deterrant to predators. He follows a carnivorous diet, eating anything he can catch and swallow. Like frogs, he begins life as a tadpole, but as he attains his adult form, he retains his tail. If body parts are lost, he is capable of regenerating new ones.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#679: Pronghorn

Despite his appearance, the Pronghorn is not an antelope. He is the final surviving species of a Family of artiodactyls that once roamed the plains of North America, filling a similar niche to their Old World counterparts. The fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere, he can reach speeds up to 56 km, second only to the Cheetah.

(I do not like this picture, so I shall have to try again)

Monday, September 14, 2015

#678: Potato Beetle

The Potato Beetle loves potatoes, and is a major pest on the crops. He originated in Colorado, but has now spread across the US, Europe and Asia. Both adults and larvae defoliate the plants. Females may lay up to 800 eggs. He is quite resistant to pesticides.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

#677: Portugese Man o' War

Despite thier appearance, the Portugese Man O' War is not a Jellyfish, instead they are a siphonophore, a colony of specialised cells that are combined together to create a single, deadly entity. The upper, gas-filled sac acts as a sail, allowing the winds to direct the Man O' War across the water and keep them afloat. This gas bladder contains a mixture of carbon monoxide, nitrogen, oxygen and argon. If threatened, this sail can be deflated allowing the organism to submerge. The tentacles can reach up to 50 m in length, and each bears stinging, venom-filled nemocysts. These entangle, sting and kill small fish and other sea creatures, which are then dragged up into the main body to be consumed.

Being stung by a Man O' War is a painful experience, with serious side effects such as fever, shock and interference with heart and lungs.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

#676: Poison Dart Frog

The Golden Poison Dart Frog is one of the most deadly animals in the world. Their alkaloid toxin is derived from their diet - consisting of insects, wiht the culprit potentially being a Melyridae beetle  - and becomes concentrated in the frog's skin. Contact with one of these bright little fellows will cause nerve failure that forces the muscles to remain in a contracted state, which can lead to heart failure. The only animals capable of eating a Golden Poison Dart Frog is the golden-bellied snakelet - and even they are not completely immune. In captivity, their diet will lead to them eventually becoming harmless but the toxins can remain for years in wild caught specimens.

 It is calculated that the toxins from one frog can kill up to 20 people.

Definition: An animal is considered Venomous if it delivers the toxin to the victim via active means, such as fangs or spines. Creatures are considered Poisonous if the toxin is delivered via consumption or other less deliberate means.

Friday, September 11, 2015

#675: Saiga

The Saiga is an antelope once found across the Eurasian Steppes. Now, due to uncontrolled hunting for food and his horn, numbers have shrunk considerably and he is classified as Critically Endangered. Unfortunately, further pressure has been put on the population by a mysterious illness, which by May 2015 had eliminated one third of the living population. Saiga are herd animals, gathering in large groups on the grasslands. Here they feed on a number of plants, including those distatseful to other animals. The distinctive large snout acts to filter dust during the dry summer months, whilst also cooling the blood. In the winter it warms the frigid air as the animal breathes.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

#674: Planthopper

Another critter suggested by Robert Silberbauer.

The Planthoppers are an infraorder of insect, containing more than 12,500 species. They rely on cryptic camouflage to hide, masquerading as a leaf, bark or fungi. This particular species is one of the Lanternfly Family, named in part for his long snout, although he does not emit light. Instead, he uses it to pierce tree bark and obtain sap. Due to the nature of his diet, he can unwittingly spread diseases between plants and all Planthoppers act as a vector for plant disease.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

#673: Paper Wasp

Yes, it looks a little like we've jumped back in time - but there is a reason for this return to "P". Basically, as I was working through and colouring some of the illustrations from June and assembling the books, I realised that I had overlooked two very important critters for this letter - the Pronghorn and the Portugese Man 'o War. And, it looked like I could easily add another 8 animals into the PQ book. Hence, the addition of 8 new P critters to my animal-a-day project.

This fellow was suggested by Robert Silberbauer, an entomologist.

The Paper Wasps are so-named because they gather wood and plant stems, combining them with saliva to create a water-resistant nest. These nests are built in sheltered areas, and contain an open comb area for the raising of broods. To protect their offspring from ants, a chemical secretion is spread around the base of the nest's anchor. There are over 1000 species worldwide.Her diet consists of nectar, as well as insects and their larvae. She plays an important role in biological control as well as being a pollinator.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

#672: Sacred Baboon

The Sacred, or Hamadryas, Baboon is found in north-east of Africa - from Ethiopia across into Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Here he can be found in the semi-desert areas, using cliffs for sleeping and finding water. He follows an omnivorous diet, feeding on blossoms and seeds during the wet season and dry leaves, small animals and invertebrates during the dry. These Baboons have a complex social structure. Each male lives with up to ten females in a "harem". These harems will join together with one or two others to form a "clan", usually with related males. Several clans will gather together in a "band". These can consist of up to 200 individuals, and travel together as a group. Bands will unite to form a "troop", which essentially share the same cliff.