2010 in Review: Creature Features

The American crocodile is one of two reptile species represented in the 2010 Creature Feature roster. Photo by Tomás Castelazo via Wikipedia.

The 11 Creature Features we posted in 2010 represent quite a menagerie. Although a bit top-heavy in bird species (4), the list includes two mammals, two reptiles, two gastropod mollusks, and even one arachnid. All of these species inhabit or visit national parks and can be viewed seen by

Lots of different biomes and ecosystems are represented too, including. arctic tundra (muskox), Marine West Coast forest (banana slug), northern coniferous forest (great gray owl), desert/shrubland (desert tarantula), tropical wetland/mangrove forest (American crocodile), and marine (Hawaiian petrel marbled murrelet, Kemps ridley sea turtle, lightning whelk). The common raven and Hawaiian hoary bat add even more variety.

Below is an alphabetized list with handy links. To see a complete list of Creature Features from prior years, visit this site.)

The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is Florida's "comeback kid."

The banana slug (Ariolomax columbianus, A. dolichophallus, and A. californicus) is living proof that a slimy little gastropod mollusk can be loaded with charisma.

The common raven (Corvus corax) is an uncommonly intelligent bird.

The desert tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes) is big, hairy and scary.

The great gray owls of Yosemite National Park may be a genetically distinct subspecies.

The Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) is Hawaii's only native terrestrial mammal.

The Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) has a "fallout" problem due to artificial light.

The Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempi) faces an uncertain future.

The lightning whelk (Busycon contrarium) certainly knows what to do with a clam!

The marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is a flagship species in the old-growth forest preservation movement.

The prehistoric-looking muskox (Ovibos moschatus) is an Ice Age relic that's doing just fine.