Species Hierarchy
Common name: SCOOTER - SURF

Species Info:

This lifeform is found in Europe. This lifeform is found north of the Mason Dixon line in North America.

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) breeds on the Canadian tundra and Alaska. It winters along both coasts of North America. The all black coloration with a tiny patch of white on its forehead and tiny patch of white on the back of its head help identify this diving duck. It measures eighteen to twenty inches.

The Diving Ducks (Subfamily Aythyinae) contains the ducks known as pochards. The following twenty-five species are assigned to this subfamily:
   Aythya affinis     Lesser Scaup      N. America
   Aythya americana   Redhead           New World
   Aythya australis   White Eye         Australia
   Aythya baeri       Baer's Pochard    Eurasia
   Aythya collaris    Ring Necked       N. America
   Aythya ferina      Scaup             Old world
   Aythya fuligula    Tufted            Old World
   Aythya innotata    Madgscr Pochard   EXTINCT Madagascar
   Aythya marila      Greater Scaup     Holarctic
   Aythya novaseelandiae N. Zlnd Scaup  Australian
   Aythya nyroca      Ferruginous       Old World
   Aythya valisineria Canvas Back       N. America
   Bucephala albeola  Bufflehead        N. America
   Bucephala clangula Goldeneye         Holarctic
   Bucephala islandica Barrow's          N. America
   Camptorhynchus labradorius Labrador  EXTINCT Canada
   Clangula hyemalis  Old Squaw         N. Hemisphere
   Histronicus histronicus Harlequin    N. Hemisphere

   Melanitta fusca    Velvet Scooter    N. Hemisphere
   Melanitta nigra    Common Scooter    N. Hemisphere
   Melanitta perspicillata Surf         N. Hemisphere

   Somateria fischeri  Spectacled Eider N. Hemisphere
   Somateria mollissima Common Eider     N. Hemisphere
   Somateria spectabilis King Eider     N. Hemisphere
   Polystica (Somateria) stelleri       N. Hemisphere

Duck and Geese Family (Family Anatidae) contains the familiar  ducks and geese. There are about one hundred and fifty-three species in this family.

Some forms are sometimes regarded as species, and at other times are regarded as subspecies. An attempt has been made here to include as species those forms that frequently appear both ways (Anas crecca/carolinensis, for example).

It is also difficult to exactly count the species, as some authors ignore recently extinct species, and other authors include them in their counts. The following recent extinctions have also been included in the lists that follow as these may cause problems for the taxonomist trying to tie out exact counts:

         Labrador Duck         Camptorhynchus labradorius
         Korean Shelduck       Tadorna cristata
         Madagascan White-Eye  Aythya innotata
         Auckland Merganser    Mergus australis
         Pink Headed Duck      Rhodonessa caryophyllaca

This family is usually divided into several tribes as it helps the taxonomist and student alike in learning the many species. There is no agreement upon the natural subdivisions of this family. The following divisions were arbitrarily chosen and placed into alphabetical order:

        Surface Ducks      Anatinae        80 species
        Geese and Swans    Anserinae       33 species
        Diving Ducks       Aythyinae       25 species
        Mergansers         Mergini          6 species
        Ruddy Ducks        Oxyurinae        9 species
                                 Total    153 species

Waterfowl Order (Order Anseriformes) contains two different
families of rather divergent appearance and habitat. The South American (Neotropical) Screamers contain three species, and the worldwide ducks and geese contain about 153 species to total about 156 species in the order. Actually, at least five of these species are recently extinct, so there are less than the above numbers remaining.

Aves contains about 8,650 different species of living birds known to science. Each year about one new species is discovered in some remote rain forest or remote island. In addition, scientists have been raising many subspecies to full species status which may raise the species count to 10,000.

However, each year about one species goes extinct. The rate of extinction is increasing, and the rate of new discovery is decreasing, so that the number of bird species will soon begin to decline rapidly. Although different taxonomists would organize the birds differently, there are approximately twenty-seven orders of birds. These orders are broken down into about one hundred and fifty-five different families.

Recent research of the genetic structure of some of the shore birds and owls would indicate that the present organization of orders and families should have some modification.

The birds are a worldwide group of animals that are characterized by having the front limbs modified into wings that are used for flying. Perhaps the most unique feature of the birds is the feathers. These feathers are made up of a central support called a quill and a series of small filaments that are hooked together as barbs.

For many years it was believed that Archaeopteryx discovered in Bavaria was the oldest bird from about 150 million years ago.  However, in l986, Sankar Chattterjee, a Texas paleontologist, reportedly discovered a bird in the genus Protoavis that lived about 225 million years ago.

Backboned Animals (Phylum Chordata) are the most advanced group of animals on earth. These animals are characterized by having a spinal cord or backbone. Most members have a clearly defined brain that controls the organism through a spinal cord. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are in this phylum.

Currently, some taxonomists believe that the fish should be divided into two groups (sharks and regular fishes) and that there are some other primitive groups in the phylum such as hagfish or lampreys.

Animal Kingdom contains numerous organisms that feed on other animals or plants. Included in the animal kingdom are the lower marine invertebrates such as sponges and corals, the jointed legged animals such as insects and spiders, and the backboned animals such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.


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