Tonight: A fair sky with an overnight low in the mid/upper 60s.
Saturday: Sunny to partly sunny and hot with an afternoon high in the lower 90s. An isolated shower over the Blue Ridge Mtns. A southwest wind at 5-10mph.
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Oh Baby! Tennessee Aquarium has a Nursery Full of Tiny Turtles
Tiny terrapins are taking over the Tennessee Aquarium, triggering a tidal wave of tasks for turtle keepers. This month to date, herpetologists have tallied two dozen new turtles. While many might think tracking turtles would take a tortoise-like tempo, the Aquarium’s collection of more than 500 turtles from 75 different species makes herpetology truly a trade that’s tackled in track shoes. “In addition to all of the exhibits with turtles, we care for a large number of pairs off exhibit. So we stay busy throughout the year,” said Aquarium senior herpetologist Bill Hughes. “While many species nest at specific times of the year, they don’t choose specific times of the day to lay eggs. So, we really have to keep a close eye on all of the enclosures to make sure we collect the eggs in a timely fashion for incubation.”
Up-To-Date Turtle Tot Totals – 21 New Babies Help Conservation Efforts
Hughes reports eight yellow-blotched map turtles, Graptemys flavimaculata, this year. A few more could hatch at the Aquarium before the season is over. This species of map turtle is endemic to the Pascagoula River and some of its tributaries in Mississippi. “They are declining in the wild because of habitat loss and are currently federally-protected,” Hughes said. Success with species like the yellow-blotched map turtle helps provide offspring that can be placed at other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). “We’re then able to reach guests with important conservation messages about rare or protected species that cannot, or should not, be removed from the wild,” said Dave Collins, the Aquarium’s curator of forests. See video: http://bit.ly/LPGPE2
The sex of these hatchlings depends on the incubation temperature. Aquarium experts are able to manage the temperature carefully to get an even number of male and female yellow-blotched map turtles. This is critical for the long-term success of any turtle breeding program. “This builds assurance colonies. If these species should disappear in the wild, they won’t become totally extinct,” said Collins. Adult yellow-blotched map turtles can be seen in the Aquarium’s Delta and Pascagoula River exhibits.
The red-headed Amazon River turtle, Podocnemis erythrocephala, is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, IUCN, but the reality of their status could be much grimmer. “The most recent information is from 1996 so we don’t really know how many are left in the wild,” said Hughes. “It’s difficult to believe their populations have increased significantly since the last report.” There are now seven new baby red-headed Amazon River turtles at the Aquarium. “In the previous years combined, we have only hatched five of this species,” Hughes said. “We still have one egg incubating that appears to be viable.” Aquarium guests can see an adult male red-headed Amazon turtle in the Rivers of the World Gallery. See video: http://bit.ly/MLir6h
The four-eyed turtle, Sacalia quadriocellata, is listed as Endangered by IUCN. The Aquarium has three new four-eyed turtle hatchlings. This species gets its name from the false eye markings on their necks. Hughes said these most recent babies hatched from eggs laid in April. The Aquarium displays a hatchling from last year in the nursery exhibit in the River Journey Turtle Gallery. Baby four-eyed turtles from previous years have been placed at other AZA institutions. The majority of the U.S. population of these turtles is at the Tennessee Aquarium, the only zoo or aquarium currently breeding this species. “Critically endangered species, including many Asian species such as the four-eyed turtle, face a very real threat of disappearing in the wild,” said Collins. Guests can also see four-eyed turtles in the Asian River exhibit. See video: http://bit.ly/QkZzyl
Finally, two Florida chicken turtles, Deirochelys reticularia chrysea, joined the rest of this recent baby boom at the Aquarium. This pair hatched from eggs laid at the end of January. This species is not threatened or endangered in the wild in spite of their common name. They were once commonly sold in southern markets as food. The meat was said to “taste like chicken.” Collins says breeding success among these rather abundant turtles can help other endangered species.
“Chicken turtles have unusual reproductive strategies,” said Collins. “They breed in winter and their eggs need to be cooled for several weeks before being warmed to begin developing. Research in zoos and aquariums helps uncover these details. And that can lead to successful breeding of rare species for conservation purposes.” Aquarium guests can see chicken turtles in the Delta exhibit. See video: http://bit.ly/PuJUJz
More Entertainment News
Last Update on July 25, 2014 07:07 GMT
"HERCULES" - DWAYNE JOHNSON
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dwayne Johnson remembers the first time he ever encountered the idea of Hercules. He was five years old and he saw a poster of Steve Reeves as Hercules breaking chains from pillars. Johnson says at the time, he didn't know anything about the myth of Hercules. He just thought it was a cool picture. Now it's his turn to bring the myth to life. Johnson plays a modern version in "Hercules," which opens today.
Dwayne Johnson says he never thought Hercules should be a young man.
<<CUT ..003 (07/25/14)>> 00:16 "I am Hercules"
Dwayne Johnson says he remembers his first exposure to Hercules.
<<CUT ..004 (07/25/14)>> 00:17 "made this movie"
Dwayne Johnson says Hercules is the first superhero.
HERCULES APPEARS AT COMIC-CON
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- "Hercules" has muscled-in on Comic-Con. Hercules star Dwayne Johnson made a surprise appearance at the pop culture convention yesterday. He high-fived fans -- and invited them all to special screenings of the new movie. Johnson says he booked three San Diego theaters for the screenings. Johnson isn't the only star to drop by Comic-Con's opening day in San Diego. Actors Jeff Bridges, John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch made appearances.
Comic-con opened yesterday - with some star power. The AP's Jamie Friar reports on the pop culture convention in San Diego.
<<CUT ..007 (07/25/14)>> 00:07 ""
Sound of an excerpt of Dwayne Johnson
Sound of an excerpt of Dwayne Johnson, in "Hercules" trailer. ((Cut used in wrap))
<<CUT ..008 (07/25/14)>> 00:02 ""
Excerpt of Dwayne Johnson
Excerpt of Dwayne Johnson, in "Hercules" trailer. ((Cut used in wrap))
ALEC BALDWIN ADMONISHED TO "BE A GOOD BOY"
NEW YORK (AP) -- It sounded more like a warning a parent might give a wayward child -- not something a judge would say to a grown man. But that's the admonition Alec Baldwin got from a judge in New York City yesterday. The actor was in court to face charges of mouthing off at police who stopped him while riding a bike. After examining the allegations against him, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge John DeLury told Baldwin: "looks like you have a short fuse." Baldwin repeatedly said he'd pay the fine, but the judge said he only wanted the actor to apology. The judge set the case to be dismissed if Baldwin stays out of trouble for six months. Speaking to the actor with his given name, DeLury asked Baldwin: "Can you stay out of trouble, Alexander?" Baldwin responded: "Sure, sure" -- then the judge told him: "Be a good boy from now on. Have a good day!" before adjourning the case.
SHIA LaBEOUF SEEKS RESOLUTION OF CASE
NEW YORK (AP) -- Shia LeBeouf has another court date set for September in an incident in which he's accused of acting out while in the audience of a Broadway play last month. The actor's lawyer and prosecutors are trying to hash out a settlement over the incident in which LeBeouf lit cigarettes, yelled at actors onstage and cursed security guards. As he was ushered out of the theater, he hollered: "Do you know who I am." LeBeouf's publicist says the episode stemmed from an alcohol problem -- and that the actor has since gotten treatment.
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