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, April 25, 2016

Ecosystem: The Rainforest is like a living pharmacy

Tropical rainforests are among the most bio-diverse habitats on the planet. They are located around the equator - Brazil, central Africa and Madagascar, Southeast Asia, Northern Queensland and numerous islands. They are characterised by their warm temperature and high humidity. Whilst tropical rainforests cover less than 6% of the planet, they account for more than 50% of the world's terrestrial plant and animal species, and there are more that have yet to been discovered (mainly in the form of invertebrates).

There are four layers to the rainforest: the forest floor, where little light penetrates and leaves and dropped fruit decay very fast; the understory, which mostly consists of large leafed plants, trying to capture what light filters through; the canopy, which forms a roof above the forest, and is abundant with life and epiphytes and the emergent layer, where the tallest trees stick out. Considered the "lungs of the planet", rainforests are not responsible for as much oxygen as was originally thought, but they are sort of like a living pharmacy. Some of the most popular foods and flavours originate from the rainforest: chocolate, coffee, vanilla, as well as fruit, like bananas.

Rainforests are a highly threatened environment. Deforestation - where trees are cleared for mining, farming or for fuel, charcoal or paper - removes large portions of forest that will never fully recover. Madagascar, for example, has lost 90% of its original forest and contains hundreds of animals found nowhere else in the world.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

#883: Zosterops

The Zosterops are tiny passerines, with species spread throughout Africa, Southeast Asia and Australasia. Many are characterised by the white rings around their eyes. He follows an insectivorous diet, favouring fruit and nectar during the warmer months, and consuming more insect prey in the colder months. This fellow is the critically endangered Mauritius olive white-eye. He feeds on nectar and insects, with a special preference for rare endemic flowers, which have been largely overtaken by introduced plants. His nests are also destroyed by introduced pests like rats and macaques.


And thus concludes the last in my animal alphabet, but not truly the end, for I have a few animals to fill in the gaps from previous and will be taking requests, preferably around 17 to bring me up to the #900. If you wish to request an animal that has not already been included, comment here or email me: lemurkat@gmail.com, subject: ZooTrophy.

And I will, at some point in the not TOO distant future, be undertaking a similar, but smaller, project on prehistoric animals.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

#882. Zorro

The Zorro are six species of South American canids, sometimes known as the South American foxes, although they are a different Genus from the "true" foxes. This fellow is Darwin's Zorro. His range is very restricted; he is found only on ChiloƩ Island and in an isolated patch of Chile. There are considered to be less than 400 individuals in the wild. He lives in dense forest, hunting small vertebrates and eating fruit, and occasionally carrion.

Only one day to go and I've finished the Z's!

Friday, April 22, 2016

#881: Zorilla

The Zorilla, a striped polecat, bears both a physical and behavioural resemblance to the skunk. If threatened, he arches his back, raises his tail, and sprays the predator with a foul musk from his anal glands. This both burns the predator's skin and can temporarily blind them. He leads a solitary existence, foraging at night for insects, invertebrates and small vertebrates, which he digs up with his clawed paws.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

#880: Zono

Zono, or Zona, is the name given to various species of small, colourful rainbowfish, endemic to Madagascar. Several species are popular in the pet industry, and are capable of hybridisation. Inhabiting fast-flowing streams, he favours the calmer, shaded areas and feeds on insects that fall into the water. Eggs are attached to vegetation and left unguarded. Juvenile larvae remain near the banks, whilst adults occupy the deeper waters.

#879: Zokor damages plants & soil as he excavates and forages.

Zokors are six species of burrowing rodent, living in Asia, and bearing a superficial resemblance to the mole. He is characterised by his powerful front claws, adept for digging. Solitary in nature, his preferred diet is plant roots and shoots. He can have a powerful ecological effect on a region, causing damage to plants and soil.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#878: Zigzag Heron

The Zigzag Bittern is a small member of the heron Family. She inhabits subtropical and tropical swamps in the Amazon basin. She is elusive and well camouflaged, making her rarely seen and little studied. Her diet is thought to consist of fish and flying insects, and she has been observed foraging through leaf litter. As further tracts of the Amazon are being cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, she is now considered Near Threatened with extinction.

Monday, April 18, 2016

#877: Zebra Spider males dance to impress the females.

The Zebra Spider is a small and common jumping spider widespread across Europe, North America and the United Kingdom. Like all jumping spiders, he uses his large eyes to locate prey - anything his size or smaller that tastes good (ie: not ants) - before stalking it in a manner not unlike a feline.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

#876: Zebra Loach

The Zebra Loach is endangered in the wild, but readily available in the pet trade. He is a freshwater loach, native to the Western Ghats of India. A bottom-feeder, he hunts for invertebrates in the substrate, and has a particular fondness of snails, which make him popular with aquarists. If kept singly or in pairs, he can become reclusive and stressed; it is recommended to keep at least five. As with many popular pet species, poaching is a problem and Zebra Loach do not readily breed in the captivity. Commercial aquarists breed them with the use of hormones.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

#875: Zebrafish

The Zebrafish is a small minnow, native to the Himalaya regions. He has also found some popularity in the pet trade. He was the first vertebrate to be cloned, and has amazing regenerative properties. He is used in heart research and has also been genetically modified to be fluorescent, branded as a GloFish.

Friday, April 15, 2016

#874: Zebra Finch

The Zebra Finch is an Australian finch, well represented in the pet industry. In the wild, he inhabits the interior of Australia, gathering in flocks in the outback. He dines mostly on seeds, dehusking them with his sturdy beak, however he will also take fresh food such as plant matter and fruit when it is available. Breeding occurs after heavy rain, regardless of the season, and nests will be constructed in any crevice or crack available: termite mounds, rabbit burrows, buildings, as well as trees and shrubs.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

#873: Zebra Duiker

The Zebra Duiker is a small antelope. His natural habitat are the closed-canopy rainforests of West Africa, centered around Liberia. He is shy and reclusive, rarely seen except on camera traps. He is greatly affected by logging, and is Vulnerable to extinction. Although his diet consists predominantly of fruits, seeds and sometimes leaves, he has been observed eating rodents and frogs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#872: Zebra Dove

The Zebra Dove is a ground dwelling pigeon, found in Southeast Asia.  She forages in short or barren ground, in pairs or alone, feeding on grass seeds, insects and other small invertebrates. Her plumage offers her some camouflage against the barren ground. Whilst widespread and common, in some areas she has become scarce, as specimens are captured for the pet trade.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

#871: Zebra

There are several species of Zebra, striped equines found in Africa. Like other equines, Zebra are social creatures and live in herds, mostly consisting of females and their foals and lead by a single stallion. Male Zebras live in small bachelor groups, or alone, until they are strong enough to challenge the breeding stallions.Although Zebra have been long considered to be white with black stripes, evidence indicates that they are, in fact, black with white stripes. These stripes break up their outline, making it hard for predators to single one Zebra from another in a herd and helping to confuse predators.

Monday, April 11, 2016

#870: Zacatuche

Zacatuche, the volcano rabbit, is a tiny bunny, found only in the mountains of Mexico, more specifically, four volcanoes south of Mexico City. She lives in small groups of 2-5 rabbits, digging burrows and creating runways through the low tussock grass. She lives at high altitude, and is greatly affected by human disturbance. This disturbance has also fragmented the population, pushing her close to the brink of extinction.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

#869: Yucatan Jay

(This is a juvenile, still retaining his yellow bill but having his adult plumage.)

The Yucatan Jay is a Central America corvid, native to the Yucatan Peninsula. He inhabits tropical forest and subtropical dry forests, as well as colonising heavily degraded areas. Fledglings are white feathered. As they mature, they moult into their blue and black adult plumage, but retain their yellow beak, feet and eye rings for up to four years. Breeding is cooperative, with the juveniles helping raise their younger siblings.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

#868: Yonahlossee Salamander

The Yonahlossee Salamander is a large species of woodland salamander. He inhabits the southern Appalachian Mountains of North America. Here he favours deciduous woodland, and can be found at relatively high altitudes. During the day he takes cover in damp, shaded areas, becoming most active on humid or rainy nights, when he forages for insects and other invertebrates.  As the weather grows colder, he migrates underground.

Friday, April 8, 2016

#867: Yeti Crab

This "furry lobster", the Yeti Crab, was only discovered in 2005. His appendages are covered in a fur-like setae, which contains filamentous bacteria. It is thought this may detoxify poisonous minerals from his environment, given he is often found near hypothermic vents.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

#866: Yellow-throated Marten

The Yellow-throated Marten is a large and feisty mustelid, growing up to 720 cm in body length. His natural range is Asia, where he inhabits tropical and sub-tropical forests. He regularly preys on small deer, and even larger species, such as wapiti, wild boars and even panda cubs. Nectar and fruit also feature in his diet, and he is important in seed dispersal.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#865: Yellow-tailed Moth

The furry Yellow-tail Moth is spread throughout Europe and across Russia. Her wingspan can measure up to 45 mm, and she is pure white, except for her yellow abdomen. When at rest, she keeps her wings steepled and, if disturbed, will lie on her side, wings closed, feigning death.

#864: Yellow-headed Day Gecko

The charming Yellow-headed Day Gecko lives in Madagascar, where his range is limited to the North-western area around Antsatsaka. His habitat is bamboo forest, where he favours the yellow bamboo canes, which offer him camouflage. He grows to about 10 cm in length.  His preferred diet is insects and other invertebrates, but he also enjoys pollen.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

#863: Yellowhammer

The Yellowhammer is a songbird native to Eurasia and introduced to New Zealand and several other islands. Male and female are similar in appearance, with males being more brightly coloured, with less brown streaking. His song has made him popular, with birds from different regions having their own variations. Beethoven and Messiaen have composed pieces based on his song structure.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

#862: Yellow Bishop

The Yellow Bishop is a small, stocky weaverbird. He occupies vegetated areas, ranging across many of the African countries. His food consists mainly of seed, grain and the occasional insect. During the breeding season, the male's plumage grows in glossy black, with the yellow rump and shoulders. Outside of that time, he dons more dowdy browns and greys, not dissimilar to the female.

Friday, April 1, 2016

#862: Yeti

The Yeti is a large semi-bipedal bear, occasionally seen in the Himalayas. He is a creature of myth and legend, often mistaken for an ape. Yeti are extremely shy, and when danger threatens will run and hide, even burying themselves in snow. His white pelt offers ideal camouflage against his snow-covered environment. His main diet consists of Himalayan ungulates, such as tahr, markhor and takin. To hunt, he uses ambush tactics, relying on his camouflage to disguise him against the snow until the prey comes close enough to seize.