A photographic journal exploring the smaller--and often overlooked!--natural wonders encountered "off the beaten path" at the Virginia Living Museum. New entries posted every two weeks.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
More "Whose Feet?"
The topic today is feet....so here's the first set of feet. Can you guess what they belong to?
What about this one? Hint: It's the hind foot of an animal that spends a lot of time in the water, but can also come out onto land:
This next one is an odd sort of "foot" belonging to a marine snail:
The last photo shows an animal that has lots and lots of tiny "tube feet" that are like little suction cups:
Have it all figured out? The first set of feet--with the nice talons!--belongs to a black vulture. We have the black vulture and a turkey vulture on our Outdoor Trail:
In the second photo, the hind foot belongs to a newt--a type of salamander:
The third photo shows the underside of a knobbed whelk--a marine mollusc, and specifically, a "gastropod" which means "stomach foot." The bottom part, which is soft and slimy, is the "foot." When the animal is threatened, it can pull its "foot" into it's hard shell, and close a hard bit of shell (the "operculum") over the shell opening to protect itself from predators. Think of it as a built-in "trapdoor." The next photo shows the "foot" starting to move into the shell, and the photo after that shows the operculum:
The tiny "tube feet" belong to a seastar--or "starfish" if you prefer. Seastars eat clams and use their tube feet to pry apart the clam. The seastar can then evert it's stomach into the clam shell, digest the clam and pull it's stomach back in. In the top photo below, you can see the "suction cup" action of the tube feet--the seastar is sticking to the glass side of it's aquarium. In the bottom photo below, you see the seastar beginning to engulf a clam :
In the last photo, you see the underside of the seastar--notice its radial symmetry. In the center of its body is its mouth opening:
Hope you enjoyed looking at these feet. More "off the beaten path" in two weeks!