Actually, he is a paralarval squid that is found in the North Atlantic Ocean. The polka dots that add to his cuteness are actually chromatophores — a special type of pigment-containing, light-reflecting cell that helps certain animals (fishes, cephalopods, amphibians, crustaceans) to camouflage or communicate.
A litter of 3 mountain lions (Puma concolor) was born late last month in the Santa Monica Mountains….the first documented litter in 6 years!!! The National Park Service has been tracking a population of about 19 mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains to better understand how they live amidst so much development.
The birth of the kittens is exciting for reasons other than just cuteness. Their father made headlines in spring of 2009 after he successfully crossed (over? under?) Highway 101 to enter the mountains last spring…..bringing new genetic material along with him. Here in Southern California, there is limited open space and a serious lack of wildlife crossings that allow for safe passage to other wild areas to the north and west. This can lead to conflicts over territory and often results in inbreeding within the confined mountain lion population….so the “new genetic material” is a welcome contribution. The National Park Service is informing project proposals that are currently under way to establish a safe and effective wildlife crossing point (a.k.a. habitat corridor) under Highway 101.