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5 April 2014

Antarctic food web

Adelie Penguin (阿德利企鵝)
Ross Dependency (2013)
14th February, 2014. Christchurch

This issue highlights one of the marvels of Antarctica: its ‘food web’, which enables a vast array of wildlife to find the sustenance they need to survive. The key to its success – and the element that enables every one of these animals to endure – is a tiny, delicately pink crustacean called krill.

The Adélie penguin – named in 1840 by French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville after his wife, Adélie – is one of only two species found on the Antarctic mainland; the other is the much larger emperor penguin. Easily recognised with its blue-black back and white chest and belly, the Adélie is a highly efficient hunter, with flippers that enable it to dive to depths of 175 metres in search of food.

One of only three bird species that breed exclusively in Antarctica, and the only one of its kind with pure white plumage, the snow petrel grows to about 40 centimetres long and can live for up to 20 years. The name ‘petrel’ derives from the story of Peter the Apostle and his walking on water – a reflection of the bird’s appearing to run on the water to take off.

Left : Lesser Snow Petrel (雪鸌) ; Right : Adelie Penguin (阿德利企鵝)
Ross Dependency (2013)
14th February, 2014. Christchurch

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