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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

#861: Yellow-eyed Penguin

The Yellow-eyed Penguin is native to New Zealand and nearby islands. He follows a piscivorous diet, foraging off the coast and on the ocean floor. The largest mainland populations are on the Otago Peninsula - where he is a tourist attraction - and in the Catlins. He is under threat from habitat degradation and predation, as well as disease.  After breeding season, when the chicks have gone to sea (survival rates are as low as 20%), the adults begin their annual moult. Penguins moult all of their feathers at once, shedding the old for a new, sleek plumage. During this time they cannot enter the water, and are extremely vulnerable to predation or starvation.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#860: Yazoo Darter

Related to the vermilion darter, the Yazoo Darter is also restricted to limited range - in this case tributaries in north-central Mississippi. Like the vermilion, the Yazoo is under threat from habitat degradation. He requires clear, flowing water to thrive and he is threatened by urbanization. His diet consists predominantly of insects and other invertebrates. The majority of Darters live less than a year, with very few surviving past two.

Another vectored image. I like how clean it makes the images look.
(My husband laughs because I'm vectoring the images using VectorMagic, but since I'm not subscribed to it (yet), I'm screen capping the images and thus turning them back into bitmaps then saving as PNGs. Never fear, VectorMagic, once I am done with this alphabet I will subscribe for a few months and vectorise all of the pictures. All of them!).

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#859: Yarara

The Yarará is a species of pit viper found in South America. Here, he makes his home in deciduous tropical forest and open savannah. His prey consists of birds and small mammals, which he incapacitates with venom. Although he has a reputation for being deadly, and can inflict a painful & venomous bite, this is rarely fatal. Females are ovoviviparous, birthing up to 20 offspring at a time.

Monday, March 28, 2016

#858: Yapok

The Yapok is a South American marsupial, adapted for an aquatic lifestyle. Her hind feet are webbed, and her forelimbs bear hands, which help her to capture underwater prey. Both the male and female have pouches. A ring of muscle seals the female's pouch firmly shut, preventing the young from drowning, whereas the male's protects his genitalia and keep him more streamlined when swimming. During the day , the Yapok sleeps in burrows on the bank, and she comes out at dusk to forage.

If you are wondering why this image looks a little different from my usual, it's because I used a program called VectorMagic to turn her into a vectorised PNG.

Here's the original JPG:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

#857: Yak

The Yak is a long-haired bovid. There are two species, found in the Himalayas, across the Tibetan Plateau and into Russia and Mongolia. One of these species, Bos grunniens, has been domesticated for thousands of years, both for his meat, milk and fibre. He is also used as a beast of burden, but requires grazing pastures for extended journeys. Wild Yaks live in herds of up to thirty individuals. He is perfectly adapted for a high altitude lifestyle, and will not thrive at low altitudes.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

#856: Yag Baligi

This ray-finned fish, belonging to the carp Family, is found only in one habitat within Turkey: Lake Egridir and its tributaries. He was thought to have become extinct, due to the introduction of the zander fish. However in 1993 a small population was discovered. He is now classified as Endangered.

Friday, March 25, 2016

#855: Yaffle

Yaffle is an English folk name for the European green woodpecker, inspired by his laughing call. He is widespread across Europe. Ants make up the majority of his diet, and he forages on the ground for them, probing at ant burrows with his beak. Once located, he uses his tongue to lick them up. His tongue is long enough to curl around his skull. Unlike other woodpeckers, his beak is relatively weak, and is most useful on soil or decaying wood.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

#854: Yabby

The Yabby is a small Australian crayfish, found in freshwater, such as streams, rivers, reservoirs and dams.  He can be found in ephemeral pools and can lie dormant for several years in dry conditions. Nocturnal, he feeds on detritus such as algae, plant matter and decaying animal matter. During the summer months he becomes more active, and fishing for yabbies - using a piece of meat tied with string - is a popular activity. As he is Vulnerable to extinction, catch size restrictions are in place.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

#853: X-ray Tetra

The X-Ray Tetra is named for his translucent skin, which allows his backbone to be clearly visible. He is naturally found in the Amazon and Orinoco basins and is somewhat tolerant of brackish water.
He follows an omnivorous diet of plants and animal matter. He is generally peaceable among other species and sociable among his own. This, combined with his unique appearance, makes him popular in the pet industry. However, he is small in size and can fall prey to larger fish and amphibians.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#852: Xerosecta

There are a number of  Xerosecta, a Genus of terrestrial hairy snails found in various locations about Europe. Many of the species, like this Xerosecta giustii, are on the brink of extinction with many classified as Endangered, some even Critical. Xerosecta are simultaneous hermaphrodites, being able to reproduce both as a male and a female. The so-called "love dart" is a calcareous or chitinous appendage, which develops after the snail's first mating. The courtship dance can last for many hours, with both partners circling one another, making contact with one another, and drawing closer. Eventually they will simultaneously fire their darts, locking together, after which mating can begin.

Monday, March 21, 2016

#852: Xerces Blue

The Xerces Blue was a member of the gossamer-winged butterfly Family and endemic to the coastal sand dunes of San Francisco. Here she suffered due to urban development, her habitat disappearing and taking her with it. It is thought that introduced ant species may have contributed. Gossamer-winged butterfly rely on ants in the early stages of larval development. The larvae release a sweet-tasting honeydew which the ants find attractive. They then tend for the caterpillar and are rewarded with the honeydew. Introduced ants may have displaced the naturally occurring ants but not replaced them in the juvenile-care stage.

You can colour the butterfly if you like - the colour is in the name :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

#851: Xenops

And yes... it's another bird beginning with X. I promise you, tomorrow's critter won't be a bird. At least the Xenops doesn't feel like a cheat!

The Xenops are a Genus of ovenbirds, not to be confused with the ovenbird I drew earlier, which was actually a warbler. Anyway, these Xenops are true ovenbirds and there are three species. This fellow is the Plain Xenops. All three species are found in South America and,although their ovenbird kin  build clay nests into which to lay their eggs, the Xenops  instead fills a tree hole with shredded wood and calls that a nest. Into this she lays her eggs, and both parents help raise their offspring. Xenops are insectivores and scurry up and down tree trunks, prodding into crevices for dinner.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

#850: Xavier's Greenbul

The greenbuls belong to the same Family as the bulbul. Xavier's Greenbul is widespread across central Africa, including the Congo and Cameroon. Here he occupies tropical and sub-tropical forests. His diet consists mostly of insects and other invertebrates, although he also dines upon fruit.

Friday, March 18, 2016

#849: Xantus's Hummingbird


John Xantus was a Hungarian Zoologist who was exiled in 1851 and came to live in the United States. Here he went on to give his name to a number of animals, so many that I could probably fill a (relatively small) encyclopedia volume with his X's alone. Among these discoveries were this, the Xantus's Hummingbird. 

The Xantus's Hummingbird is endemic to Baja California, although he sometimes strays up the west coast to Canada during the summer months. Like most hummingbirds, his diet consists predominantly on nectar, supped in flight with his extendable tongue. He is also noted to take insects on the wing, especially when feeding offspring. The nest is cup-shaped and lined with feathers, spiderwebs and animal hair, with the outside including moss for camouflage. In this the female lays two eggs.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

#848: Wren

There are 80 species of true wrens, all but one species of which are found in North and South America. Wrens from Australia and New Zealand are different species, and unrelated, named for their similarity in appearance to their European namesake. These wee fellow is a Carolina Wren. Wren are small and insectivorous, although they will take other invertebrates and even tiny vertebrates when the opportunity arises. Well camouflaged and secretive, he is more often heard than seen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

#847: Wrasse

There are over 600 species of Wrasse, a Family of marine fishes.  Their mouths are protractile, with separate jaw teeth that jut outwards. Their lips are particularly well-formed, giving them the name Lippfische in German. Many species are capable of changing sex, with the larger females switching gender to male if the situation permits it. More rarely, some males become females. This fine specimen is a Mystery Wrasse. He can be found in the pet trade.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

#846: Woylie

The Woylie is a diminutive relative of the kangaroo, standing about 30 cm tall. She once ranged across 60% of Australia. Now, due to habitat loss- her home being cleared for agriculture - and predation by foxes and feral cats, that range has dropped to 1%; she is Critically Endangered. Whilst she does dine on roots, tubers, shoots and other vegetative matter, the bulk of her nutrients come from underground fungi, which is consumed by bacteria in her stomach. She likely played an important role in the dispersal of fungal spores in the desert ecosystem. Her tail is semi-prehensile, and she uses it to carry nesting material back to her dome-shaped nest.

Monday, March 14, 2016

#845: Woolly Monkey

There are four species of Woolly Monkey, found in South America. Troops can number between 10 and 45 individuals, sometimes even more. However, they do tend to split into smaller groups for foraging. Fruit forms the staple part of her diet, although leaves and seeds are eaten in leaner times.  Woolly Monkeys live in the canopy of cloud forests. Her strong tail is prehensile, and can easily hold her weight, helping her to navigate the arboreal environment. She is hunted by eagles, jaguar and humans.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

#844: Woodpecker

The Woodpeckers are a wide-ranging Family of birds characterised by their sturdy bills. These are used for hammering on tree trunks, drilling or pulling off bark to expose the various crevices in which tasty grubs can be located. His brain is small, and positioned such that the repeated impact does not cause a concussion. The Woodpecker has a long, sticky tongue, covered in bristles, which he wraps around the edible morsels. Nests are constructed in cavities, generally in trees, although some species nest in cacti. Demand is always high among cavity-nesting birds, and competition can be fierce. Partnerships are generally monogamous.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

#843: Woodcock

The Woodcocks are seven species of wading bird, being related, and similar in appearance, to the snipes. These species are ranged across the Northern Hemisphere, with some ranging down as far as New Guinea. The Woodcock is characterised by his stocky body and long bill. He is one of the few birds to have a flexible upper mandible. His large eyes are positioned such that he has 360° vision. He leads a nocturnal lifestyle, foraging for invertebrates and relying on his cryptic colouration to hide him during the day.

Friday, March 11, 2016

#842: Woodlouse

Woodlice are isopodic, (mostly) terrestrial crustaceans with many names, including slaters (which is what we always used to call them, here in NZ) and pill bugs. The latter cames from the ability of some species to roll themselves up into a protective ball when threatened. This fine speciman is a rosy woodlouse, her species ranges from the British Isles to North Africa. The female woodlouse carries her eggs in a special pouch on her underside. These hatch into white, miniature versions of the adult. She is generally found in damp, dark places where she feeds on decaying plant matter.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

#841: Wombat

This post is dedicated to Ursula Vernon, author/illustrator of the Digger comic and Dragonbreath series, plus much more.
Everytime I see a wombat, I think of her.

The Wombats are three species of solidly built marsupial found, as most marsupials are, in Australia. She is characterised by her sturdy digging claws, short legs, stumpy tail and adorable bear-like face. Of the three species, two are of Least Concern, but the northern hairy-nosed wombat (named such for her hairy nose and northern distribution) is Critically Endangered. She is nocturnal, spending her days resting in her warren of burrows and coming out at night to graze on grasses and other foliage. Therefore, she is essentially Australia's equivalent of the bunny rabbit. Like all maruspials, the baby is carried in a pouch - hers faces backwards so that as she digs, it does not get filled with dirt.

A group of Wombats is known as a wisdom.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

#840: Wolverine

The Wolverine is one of the largest mustelid species, and has a wicked reputation. Despite his relatively small size, he has a fierce appetite and vicious nature. Wolverine are known to attack reindeer, and are a bane to the herders in the Lapland and other Arctic regions. He will pounce on the deer as it slogs through snow, ripping out a chunk from its shoulders, a chunk which crushes the spinal column and paralyses the deer. In this manner, the food remains fresh and warm as long as the deer survives, and the wolverine can feed on it. More commonly, his prey consists of smaller animals and carrion.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

#839: Wolpertinger

Found in the Barvarian forests of Germany, the Wolpertinger has relatives in Austria and Sweden, and is closely related to the American Jackalope. Elusive and solitary, the best way to catch a glimpse of a Wolpertinger is to be a beautiful young woman (or in the company of one). The Wolpertinger is irresistably drawn towards beauty and, if the woman visits his territory during the full moon, he may be drawn out of hiding.

Monday, March 7, 2016

#838: Wolf Spider

Wolf Spiders are solitary and agile hunters, with various species ranging in size from 1 - 3.4 cm in length. Due to their active lifestyle, Wolf Spiders do not build webs nor nests, instead the female carries her egg sac on her abdomen. Although this appears awkward, she is still capable of hunting. When the spiderlings hatch, they crawl up onto her abdomen, and travel with her.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

#837: Wolf

The Wolf is a large canine, historically spread across the Northern Hemisphere, although now some subspecies are Extinct or Critically Endangered. She is a pack animal, living in family groups led by a male and a female, and consisting of her growing offspring.  Pups remain with their parent pack for up to 4 years, before dispersing to form their own. Wolves hunt cooperatively, and share their kills, with the adult pair dining first. The Wolf has been shown to morphologically share a common ancestor with the domestic dog, and the two readily interbreed.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

#836: Wobbegong

The Wobbegong, or carpet sharks, are a Family of sharks. They can be characterised by their cryptic colouration and generally flattened form. This makes her an ideal ambush predator and she spends much of her life resting on the ocean floor. Her whisker-like lobes are sensory organs, used to detect prey as it comes near her. Her teeth are small, but sharp, and although she mostly consumes small fish, she will bite if stepped on or provoked by divers.

Friday, March 4, 2016

#835: Wildebeest

The Wildebeest are a Genus of large antelopes, sometimes known as gnu. They live in large herds, sometimes combining with zebra and other hoofed megafauna. The blue wildebeest undertakes a vast annual migration, migrating with the rains. Animals gather into large herds, moving together with the younger animals towards the centre. protecting them somewhat from the multitude of predators. Wildebeest are affected by agriculture, with fences disrupting their migration routes and competition with cattle proving detrimental to the non-migratory herds.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

#834: Wigeon

The Wigeons are three species of dabbling duck, found in Eurasia and America. All are characterised by their rounded head and large forehead. During the breeding season, the American Wigeon drake sports a colourful face and cream crown. Outside of this time, his plumage is more subdued. They are talkative birds, with the drake whistling, whereas the female grunts and quacks. Found in wetlands and swamps, he feeds by grazing on land, or dabbling in the water; he is also known to steal weed from diving birds such as coots.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

#833: White Bat

The Honduran White Bat is a teeny-tiny bat found in Central America. He measures less than 5 cm in length. To create shelters, he slices the side veins of Heliconia leaves, causing them to fold downwards like a tent. These can house up to half a dozen individuals: usually a male and his harem of females.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

#832: Whistling Tree Frog

In memory of Lazarus.
There are several species of frog commonly referred to as Whistling Frogs, but two species in particular come from Australia: Litoria ewingii and Litoria verreauxii. They are named for their call, although it does not much sound like a whistle. Neither species grows more than 45 mm in length and both lead a semi-arboreal existence, ascending to the trees once they have assumed their adult form. Ewingii has been introduced to New Zealand, where it is locally common.

Lazarus came to us in the mid-90s, taken from an abandoned bath tub on my uncle's farm, and making the journey in a large jar filled with water. The rest of his life was spent in a terranium, normally housed in the cool of our bathroom. In the early years, he would whistle when we showered, but eventually gave up when his songs went unanswered. His name came from an incident when, upon arriving home from school, I found him lying in his swimming tub, motionless. Even shaking his tub had no effect. I left a note for my mum (along the lines of "think frog might be dead?"), then went out with some friends. When I got home, my mother had left another note: "frog is fine, croak, croak" and he was. Lazarus never hibernated, and when the flies upon which we fed him disappeared with winter, I would feed him meal worms, warming him in my hands first (frogs, being ectotherms, become sluggish in the cold). I know now that you are not supposed to handle frogs due to chemicals, but Lazarus lived a full 15 years with us, gradually getting slower and less adept at hunting his living prey as he aged. I do feel a little sad for him, he spent his entire life in the terranium, never knew the love of a frog-woman, and his diet was fairly limited. I would not keep frogs inside again - now we have a pond in our garden. I released the tadpoles into it, saw some of them assume their adult forms and hope that they are still out there, somewhere, succesfully avoiding predation by cat, starling and hedgehog. At least Lazarus never had to worry about that.