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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

#831: Whelk

Whelk is a term given to various species of sea snail, generally those that are consumed by humans and other animals.This fellow is an ivory whelk. Unlike their terrestrial kin, marine snails are not hermaphrodites and have distinct genders. True whelks prey on other molluscs, such as other snails, and clams, as well as carrion. For this, he has a very well developed sense of smell and can sense chemical signals from their prey. Once the prey has been located, the Whelk will bore through the shell.  

Friday, February 26, 2016

#830: Whale Shark

Like the largest mammal, the largest fish also dines upon the smallest of creatures - plankton*. Whale Sharks can grow over 12m in length, weighing in at around 20 tons, and may grow significantly larger.He is a slow-moving shark, swimming through the water with his huge mouth open. Water is filtered through his 300 rows of tiny teeth and over his sieve-like filter pads. Crustaceans and other plankton is then swallowed, with excess water expelled through his gills. Whale Sharks are docile fish, and Vulnerable to extinction due to their long life and slow maturation.

* Not that plankton is exactly one creature. It is considered an ecological niche and can be divided into four trophic groups: Zoo- (crustaceans, larvae and any small lifeform ranging in size from microscopic to jellyfish); phyto- (lifeforms that require photosynthesis); myco- (fungi etc) and bacterio- (bacteria and archea).

I suspect the Whale Sharks diet consists predominantly of zooplankton.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

#829: Whale

The Whales are a diverse group of marine mammals, ranging in size from the 2.6 m dwarf sperm whale to the largest living mammal on Earth, the blue whale (30 m). The diet of whales is varied, this humpback and the blue are baleen whales, filter feeders. The smaller species, like the sperm whales, are toothed whales, and hunt their prey, singling out individuals for pursuit. Baleen whales favour a more indirect technique, either swimming forward, mouth agape, or gulping in great mouthfuls, filtering out the edible contents and expelling the water. Many whale species are threatened with extinction; they are long-lived, slow to mature and rarely bear more than one calf every few years. Some species have been actively hunted to the brink of extinction, and all suffer from deep-sea trawling and other human interference.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#829: Weta

Weta are various species of flightless crickets, endemic to New Zealand. This giant weta, weighing in at around 35g (but with some individuals weighing 70g or more), is one of the heaviest insects in the world. Diet varies between species, with some preying on invertebrates, whereas the giant weta favours lichens, leaves and flowers. With her powerful jaws, she is capable of inflicting a painful bite, although she prefers to threaten her prey and retreat, rather than attack. Her ovipositor, which resembles a stinger, is used to deposit her eggs deep into rotting wood or soil.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#828: Weevil

Weevil is the name given to various species of small beetle, some of which may be more closely related than others. They are generally regarded to be pest species, causing damage to crops due to their herbivorous diet. This fellow is a blue weevil from New Guinea. He is one of the so-called "colourful weevils". His colouration acts as a warning, advertising that they are distasteful.

Biscuit weevils are not actually weevils at all, they are indeed members of the wood borer insect family.

Monday, February 22, 2016

#827: Weedy Seadragon

The Weedy Seadragon is a member of the seahorse Family. He inhabits coastal reefs, to depths of around 50 m. Slow moving, he relies on camouflage for protection and will generally be found amongst swaying seaweed, where his various leaf-like appendages blend in. His tail is not prehensile. His long, slender snout is used to suction up zooplankton. Like his hippocampus cousins, the male Weedy Seadragon carries the eggs in a pouch on the underside of his tail. Here he fertilised them, then carries them until they hatch into tiny, independent dragons.

The Weedy Seadragon is Near Threatened. Whilst there is some popularity for his species in the pet trade, survival rates are low and reproduction rare. However, it is mainly habitat disruption and destruction that is reponsible for his decline.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

#826: Weaver Ant

The Weaver Ants are large, arboreal ants. They are named for their complicated nests, which are constructed from leaves, which the colony stitches together. Currently there are only two extant species: one of which is this green tree ant. She is found in Northern Australia and Asia.  These ants are eusocial, with only a few females breeding and the rest are infertile workers. Workers are divided into minor or major, with the major being the larger (up to 1cm in length) and more adventurous. Minor workers remain within the nest, caring for the broods. She follows an insectivorous diet, supplementing the small invertebrates with honeydew, "milked" from scale insects.

We have a few photos of the green tree ants, which were fairly common around the Northern Territory. The nests are so neatly stiched together, that it is fascinating to think that they were created by an insect.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

#825: Weaver

The Weavers are a Family of passerines related to finches.  Most of the species are found in Africa, although a few inhabit Asia. These seed-eating birds are renowned for their nesting behaviour, which varies between species. Some create small, neat and beautifully woven conical nests, others create great sprawling apartment-style complexs. Males are generally more colourful than females.

Other species of Weaver I have illustrated:
Red Fody 
Yellow Bishop

Friday, February 19, 2016

#824: Weasel

The Least Weasel is the smallest in the mustelid Family, but he has the courage of a lion. Measuring no more than 260mm in length, he preys predominantly on rodents, although will also go after birds and even rabbits. Found naturally in Europe, North America and North Africa, Weasels have been introduced to many countries, mostly islands, including New Zealand.

Here's a Bridled Weasel I drew a few years ago. As you can see, they're stoatly different.
Or not...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

#823: Wattlebird

The Wattlebirds are various species of Australian honeyeater, characterised by the presence of the wattle: a bare, fleshy appendage generally around the face or neck. However, not all Wattlebirds actually have wattles. These are thought to play a role in courtship or territorial displays. This Red Honeyeater is native to southern Australia, where he inhabits open woodland. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

#822: Water Boatman

The Water Boatman are a Family of aquatic insects, found in ponds and slow-moving streams. Their bodies are flattened, with the hind legs being modified into "oars". Water Boatman are vegetarian, feeding on algae and aquatic plants. These are dissolved externally, with a digestive enzyme being injected via the insect's mouth parts. The liquefied food is then sucked up through the mouth parts. Eggs are laid annually, deposited on submerged sticks, weed and stones. In some situations, every available surface will be covered in eggs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#821: Wasp Moth

There are over 1000 species of Wasp Moth. They are called such due to their resemblance to wasps. this is a form of protective mimicry, designed to deter predators.  This fellow, Euchromia Polymena, is native to India and South-east Asia. She is a diurnal moth. Her eggs are laid on the underside of leaves, and the hatching caterpillars remain together until they are almost fully grown.

Monday, February 15, 2016

#820: Wasp

This Wasp is also a Yellowjacket.
I guess that's one less critter for Y.... Oh well...

Wasps are any of a large number of hymenoptera insects, related to ants and bees. There are numerous species, but the most commonly considered "wasps" are the vespidae Family. Soem species are solitary, whereas others are eusocial, like bees, living in large colonies with one very fertile female and less fertile workers. Many are yellow and black, like this yellowajcket, and can be distinguished from bees by their slender waist, or petiole. The larvae of most species are carnivorous, often parasitising other insects. The adults, however, follow a diet of nectar and play a role in pollination.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

#819: Warthog

Happy Valentine's Day!
And what could be more romantic than a warthog?
Well, many things, I guess...

Anyhow, Warthogs are a Genus of wild pigs, comprised of two species: the Common Warthog and the Desert Warthog. They are named for the fleshy protrusions about the pig's face; this is more pronounced in males. He is the only pig adapted to a savannah lifestyle, and he follows an omnivorous diet consisting of whatever he can find and eat.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

#818: Warrah

The Warrah, or Falklands Island Fox,  is something of an enigma to science. She was the only land mammal endemic to the Falkland Islands. DNA analysis of the few remaining museum specimens have shown her closest relative to be the maned wolf of South America. Recent theories suggest that her ancestors may have made her way to the isolated islands via an ice bridge.  After that, she adapted to survive on the rugged terrain, feeding on nesting sea birds and penguins. She showed little fear of people, and hunters would lure herwith fresh meat, felling her with a club or knife. With no forests or other such retreats on the islands, the numbers fell into rapid decline. By 1880, her species was extinct.

Friday, February 12, 2016

#817: Warbler

Like many bird Families, Warblers can be divided up into New World, Old World and Australian, with none of the types being especially closely related to the others. Generally speaking, Warbler are passerines characterised by their diminutive stature, relatively dull colourations and musical voices.

The Old World Warblers are spread across Asia, Africa and Europe. Once considered part of one Family, they are now divided into a multitude and this fellow, the Willow Warbler, is one of the "leaf warbler" Family. All species are insectivorous, and the Willow Warbler hawks his food in flight.  Other species may glean them from the canopy.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

#816: Walrus

I am the walrus!
Coo coo cachoo!

The Walrus is a large marine mammal, characterised by the long tusks displayed by both male and female. The males' tusks are longer and used in fighting and territorial displays. They are also used to form and maintain holes in the ice, and to help the animal drag himself out of the water. He feeds on the ocean floor, dragging his tusks through the sediment and using his snout to dig up prey. For such a large animal, his prey is fairly small and generally sessile: tunicates, molluscs, soft corals, clams, although he will also eat crabs and, more rarely, other seals or sea birds.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

815: Wallaby

Wallabies are small-to-medium sized macropods, found in Australia. Their long legs are used to propel  themselves along at high speed and at great height. This fellow is an Agile Wallaby of Northern Australia. She is common and wisdespread, found in dry woodlands and open grassland. Although she often forages alone, she will gather with others in open areas. Here the increased numbers of eyes make it dificult for predators to come close.

Related species:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

814: Walpole Burrowing Crayfish

The Walpole Burrowing Crayfish is one of five burrowing crayfish species in the engaewa Genus, all of which are found in the southern corner of Western Australia. Walpole Burrowing Crayfish occurs in a very limited range, and as such is classified as Endangered. This tiny crayfish grow up to 50mm in length. He inhabits peat moss, swamps, and other areas with a heightened water table, but does not live under water.

Monday, February 8, 2016

#813: Waldrapp

The Waldrapp is a Critically Endangered species of ibis. Once he ranged across much of the Middle East, northern Africa and parts of Europe. The reasons for his decline are not fully understood, but there are estimated to be 500 birds surviving in the wild, with a further 1000 in captivity. Populations are being heavily monitored and breeding programs are working to train and re-establish captive-born birds in the wild.

An Austrian fellow succesfully bred this birds in captivity and helped re-establish a wild colony. In the process, he had to teach the birds their migration paths.
You can watch part one of the video here:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

#812: Wagtail

The Wagtails are a Genus of passerine songbirds, characterised by their long tails, which he wags conspicuously and constantly. The eleven species are spread across the Old World. The willie wagtail of Australia displays similar behaviour but is not related. Wagtails follow a diet of insects, and often forage near water. This fellow is a Pied Wagtail, in his summer plumage. He is widespread across Europe, Asia and parts of North Africa. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

#811: Vulture

The Vulture may not be the prettiest bird in the world, but he is essential to the environment. He acts as nature's cleaner, scavenging the bits of the animal that no other predator can manage. Vultures will even eat blood-soaked sand. Vulture species fall into two categories: Old World and New World. The Old World species inhabit Africa, Europe and Asia. Vultures are in sharp decline, especially in India and Nepal. A drug used on animals in that part of the world, Diclofenac, is thought to be the major cause. In Africa they are also suffering from poisoning and habitat loss.

This fellow, the Ruppell's Vulture, is the highest flying bird in the world - sighted at 11, 300 m above sea level. He is Critically Endangered.

Friday, February 5, 2016

#810: Vole

There are over 150 species of Vole, small rodents similar in size to a mouse, but rounder in body. Voles breed fast and die young, producing between 5 and 10 litters a year, with up to 10 offspring each litter. Very few Voles live longer than a year. They play an important role in the food chain of many species - from owls, mustelids, foxes, cats, basically anything of medium size and carnivorous diet. Her own diet is vegetation, and she enjoys snackinmg on succulent root systems of plants, not stopping until the plant is dead. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

#809: Vleihaas

The Vleihaas, or Riverine Rabbit, is one of the rarest mammals in the world - with less than 250 adults remaining. She is found only in isolated areas of the Karoo Desert, in river basins. She browses on foliage and flowers during the night, retiring to shallow scrapes during the day. She is slow-breeding, for a rabbit, with does birthing only one or two kits a year. Her habitat is under threat from farmland conversion, and much of it lies on privately owned land.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

#808: Viscacha

The Viscacha of South America may look a little like a rabbit, but it is actually a rodent, closely related to the chinchilla. Unlike its thicker-furred companion, Viscacha are not endangered. There are five species.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

#807: Vireo

The Vireos are a Family of small-to-medium sized passerines, found in Central and South America. Many species can be characterised by the white markings about their eyes. He follows a diet of insects, gleaned from branches, or hawked in flight.

Monday, February 1, 2016

#806: Viperfish

The Viperfish grows between 30-60 cm in length, and makes his home in the depths of the ocean - down to 1,500 m. In this lightless environment, he lures prey towards him using his bioluminscent photophores, both the one attached to his dorsal fin and lights along his body. His fangs remain folded back in his jaw, rather like a viper's, for they are so long he would be unable to close his mouth. These are used to incapicitate his prey.