Nature Journal Report Sample Free Sample

Wildlife plays a vital role in economic, ecological, environmental as well as
cultural spheres. It can include a broad range of species, ranging from amphibians, insects, and birds to mammals. As a rule, fauna includes some organisms that are native and the ones that were introduced or re-introduced to their current habitat (Day et al. 283). This report is an in-depth examination of five wild animals living in the United States of America. These animals are red fox (Vulpes vulpes), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia), northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen), and American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana).

The discussion of every species will answer the following questions:

  • Is the species under consideration native or introduced to the environment?
  • Are there any physical characteristics in terms of color as well as specific
    differences between the sexes of respective species?

The issues regarding the species’ habitats will be addressed. This is attained by establishing their local habitat as well as their habitat range, their ecological role, the types of food they eat and other relevant relationships, such as parasitism and mutualism. The species’ category under IUCN will be also brought to light. At the same time, the report will discover the life cycle of these species and their lifespan as well as how they coexist with people.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

According to Rue (72), red fox is the largest of the animals considered as true foxes. This species is in the family of Canidae, which is comprised of wolves, dogs, and coyotes. These animals are characterized by orange or red fur. Red foxes have white fur on their chest as well as beneath their neck. The tail is usually fluffy and white on the tip. The ears are black and pointed. Their legs are colored black. The animal is about three feet long and weighs 10 pounds. Male species are usually bigger than females with sexual dimorphism more evident in their skull structure.

Red fox inhabits the greater part of the United States as well as Canada, but there is no record to show that they ever existed in Alaska and Texas (Clapham 122). According to IUCN, it is categorized as least concern for extinction and named as world’s worst alien invasive species. They live on a broad range of territories, covering approximately 70 million square km, including woodlands and farmlands as well as prairies.

Historically, red foxes were being preyed by lynxes, wolves, and bobcats. Later, due to the reduced number of these predators, people became the major predator hunting these animals for various reasons, such as sport hunting, as well as for their fur, or by farmers in protecting their crops and livestock (Rue 121). Due to the value of its fur, the fox has a long history of being a victim of people. The depiction of this relationship can be found in human folklore as well as in myths.

Red foxes are opportunistic feeders, whose feeding pattern varies with the season, as they eat everything available during certain periods. This species eats fruits, herbs, and berries. They also feed on birds, insects, and small mammals. They can investigate over five miles looking for food despite the fact that they are not hungry. Surplus foodstuffs are hidden to be consumed later (Clapham 54).

Concerning the reproduction, red foxes reproduce only once a year during the spring. Female estrus lasts for 21 days, during which the male mates with it for some days in burrows to have at least an hour of copulation tie there. The gestation period is approximately two months. Before littering, the female called vixen will get two dens ready. The litter size ranges between four and eight. As the female is nursing the litter, the male looks for food. Within a period of about two weeks, the kits open their eyes, and four days after, lower teeth start emerging (Rue 65). The juvenile takes a period of six to seven months, and then the adulthood comes. In their natural habitat, red foxes live for a maximum of five years compared to fourteen years they live in average in captivity.

These mammals are nocturnal and can hear sounds of low frequencies. They stalk their prey just like cats do, pouncing and chasing it afterward. Foxes spend an insignificant amount of time in dens. As a rule, these animals sleep in the open air, using their tails to save warmth (Clapham 23).

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Also known as marsh hawk, the bird is between 17 and 24 inches with a wingspan ranging from 3.5 to 4.5 feet and weight between 12 and 18 ounces. Males are typically smaller than females. This bird inhabits North America along with Asia and Europe. Their typical habitats include open areas, wetlands, cultivated areas, meadows, grasslands, and tundra. New Jersey’s coastal marshes provide northern harrier with rich habitat. They are typically found in New Jersey, Texas, and Alaska and known to wander over 100 miles a day in search of food (Ferguson-Lees & Christie 97). The species’ appearance resembles that of an owl. Males are grey and white above and below respectively and have a wingtip that is black as well as the trailing edge towards the wings. Male’s white breast has rusty spots on it. Females are brown and buff colored above and below in that order. Contrary to their male counterparts, females’ under-wings are dark, and the black wingtip is obscured. The juvenile looks like a female.

They feed on a variety of foods, including insects as well as small mammals. It is worth mentioning that the bird itself is a prey to skunks and raccoons that steal its eggs, as well as to some birds of prey, feral cats, and red foxes. The acute eyesight makes them perfect hunters that can ambush and grab their victim suddenly. Owing to their sharp eye, they are able to spot their prey. As they circle the area once satisfied with their ambush, they swoop downwards and grab their prey using their sharp claws. Circus cyaneus has coexisted with humanity for a long time. For instance, in Europe, there was a superstition that a northern harrier perching on a house predicts that three people living in that house will lose their lives (Ehrlich et al. 162). Some Native Americans considered this bird to be a symbol of a good luck. If it shows up on a wedding day, it is a sign of a long and happy life of a couple. The majority of farmers like these birds because they help control pests by eating eggs of quail and insects that can destroy their crops.

According to Ehrlich et al. (231), these birds are migratory but native to the region. Due to the decline in population because of predation and habitat destruction, the species has been categorized as endangered. They attain reproduction maturation at the age of one year. Females lay between three to six eggs, depending on the prevalence of small rodents in the neighborhood. The incubation period takes approximately one month. While females hatch their eggs, it is the responsibility of males to hunt, bring food, and feed the females. The species can live for up to twelve years.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia)

Other common names attributed to the species of black and yellow garden spider include “writing spider” or “corn spider”. Black and yellow garden spiders are mostly found in 48 states of the United States of America. Additionally, the species can be found in Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii. The species is uncommon to the Rocky Mountains as well as the Great Basin but can be found in Costa Rico. Moreover, concerning the status of the species, Herbert et al. reveal that the representatives of this species should be treated as endangered or threatened (72).

The abdomen and the cephalothorax of the insect are colored black and yellow, respectively. It is worth noting that females are larger in size than males ranging from 19 to 28 mm and 5 to 9 mm, respectively (Gertsch 147). That is an evident sign of sexual dimorphism.

Through its co-habitation with humans, it has been cleared out that Argiope aurantia is harmless to people. For that reason, it coexists with people in peace. The spider can also help men in predating some disturbing insects. The representatives of this species are typically carnivores and employ a strategy of waiting for their prey in the web, which is zigzag shaped. Once a prey touches the web, it is deemed to be captured by the spider and injected with venom which immobilizes it. Then, the spider wraps it and stores it somewhere to eat it later. Its preys can be flies, moths, beetles, wasps, and mosquitoes (Gertsch 203). The species is native in most parts of the country, but it is most widely spread in California. These spiders inhabit gardens as well as old fields. Their prevalence in California is explained by their ability to avoid predators. Birds and wasps, such as mud daubers, for example, as well as lizards and shrews, can eat them.

Concerning the reproduction, they breed only once per year. For reproduction purposes, males are the ones searching for females. As a sign of interest in the reproduction, the male individuals go plucking strands on the web constructed by a female. It is worth noting that after mating the male often dies, being consumed by the female. Eggs are laid at night on silky material and covered. A spider can produce between one to four egg sacs each having close to 1,000 eggs. The female protects the sacs until spring because during the spring season, the juveniles come out. During the period of growth and development, they shade the exoskeleton. At that time, they may lose their legs but they have an ability to regenerate limbs.

Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen)

The venomous snake called northern copperhead is found statewide apart from barrier islands living in wetlands, edge areas, and forests. Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen is located in numerous states, particularly including Illinois, Alabama, Georgia, and Massachusetts. For that reason, its habitat is wide. The species can be also encountered in open areas made up of rocks, which they use for cover. According to Herrmann (par. 1), the snake has been categorized by the government as endangered.

The snake grows to approximately 76 cm in length. It is characterized by unmarked copper color head and reddish-brown body. They have a thick body and keeled scales. On the sides of its head, an organ which is sensitive to the temperature is located. The juveniles are 7-10 inches. They are greyer than the adults but fade when they reach the age of 3-4 years. The species is sexually dimorphic, males being smaller than females. Sexual maturation is attained at the age of four years. They have two main breeding seasons that usually last from August to October and from February to May. Using their tongues, males seek for sexually active females. Once it finds the female counterpart, a male starts to rub his head on the ground. When sufficiently stimulated, the female avails the cloaca. They mate for between 31/2 and 81/2 hours. During mating, males release a special pheromone that makes a female unattractive to other males. It takes between three to nine months for young ones to pass the larval stages. The life span of this reptile is about 18 years (Herrmann par. 4).

It is worth noting that adult copperhead feeds on a range of small mammals, for instance, mice and other rodents. Occasionally, they eat lizards, small birds, insects as well as amphibians. Their long evolutionary history owes to their ability to escape predators by staying motionless (Herrmann par. 3).

American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

According to Stebbins (32), American bullfrog is the largest frog that reaches 9 to 20.3 cm in the length. Its color ranges from yellow to green with some dark grey mottles. The frog has a large external eardrum with the hind legs webbed apart from the last joint made up of loner toe. The amphibian has no dorsolateral ridges. The belly’s color ranges from cream to white, and sometimes, it has grey mottles. The species is also sexually dimorphic. Its females are bigger than males. In addition, they differ in color; males have yellow throats in contrast to females. The species is not native to all the parts of the USA except of central and eastern parts of the country. The range of its habitat is typically eastern and central U.S., New Brunswick as well as Nova Scotia. They inhabit marine areas, including ponds, slow moving streams, and lakes. Regarding diet, they are capable of eating any types of food if they can swallow it. Their diet consists of fish, mammals, frogs, insects as well as birds. Their hatchlings eat algae, invertebrates, and plants. The introduced species is responsible for the decline of native fauna (Day et al. 83). This species has gained a competitive advantage over the native ones because the first grow and develop in an environment where competition is fierce. Thus, their prey is deemed to be captured.

The reproduction periods take place between May and June. Fertilization is external. Bullfrogs attain sexual maturation between one to three years of age. After tagging a territory, a male makes a call at night to attract a female. The choice is made after a female enters the tagged territory. Eggs (about 20,000) are laid initially floating the sink under aquatic vegetation (Stebbins 34). The tadpoles are between 10 and 17 cm in the length taking two years to transform. It has been established, that these amphibia can live from eight to ten years in their natural habitat. However, in captivity, they live even longer, usually reaching the age of sixteen years. Having described all the species, it is possible to conclude that though being representatives of different classes, they still have something in common. For example, all the species under the analysis have sexual dimorphism, which is seen in size and/or color of female and male counterparts. Moreover, they all are predators though some of them may be omnivorous. Some species turned to be local while others are not native to some areas of their habitat. The most vivid examples of differences between these animals were discovered in their lifespan and reproduction.

Works Cited

Clapham, Richard. Foxes, Foxhounds and Fox-Hunting. General Books LLC, 2010.

Day, Leslie, et al. Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City. Johns Hopkins UP, 2007.

Ehrlich, Paul R., et al. The Birder’s Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds: Including All Species That Regularly Breed North of Mexico. Fireside, Simon & Shcuster Inc., 1998.

Ferguson-Lees, James and David A. Christie. Raptors of the World. Christopher Helm, 2001.

Gertsch, Willis John. American Spiders. General Books LLC, 2010.

Herrmann, Bree. Agkistrodon contortrix, 2000. Web.

Rue, Leonard Lee. Complete Guide to Game Animals: A Field Book of North American Species. Grolier Book Clubs, 1981.

Stebbins, Robert. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

Takht And Dabke As Part Of Musical Heritage

My family’s musical heritage

Since my early childhood, my parents and especially my grandparents have taught me that music is an essential part of our culture. I agree with them because growing up, I have realized how much it influenced my identity. That is why I knew what music they liked most of all, even before I interviewed them. I still asked them some questions about their preferences and how much music means to their cultural identity and found out the two main genres of music they prefer and listen to most often. The first one is Arabic music, encompassing the Takht ensemble and Tarab genre, and the second is Dabke, which refers both to the dance and the music that accompanies it.

Takht ensemble

Takht is a traditional Arab ensemble that became popular at the beginning of the 18th century and consists of the ‘oud, the qanun, the kamanjah, the ney, the riq, and the darbuka (El-Shawan, 1984). You can see all of these instruments on the slide. Like all Arab music, the Takht ensemble is common in parts of the Arab Peninsula, North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East, as well as among diasporic communities in the US, Europe, and elsewhere (Lawrence University, n.d.).

Takht ensemble

In my family, we often see and listen to performances that are accompanied by the Takht ensemble. It is an integral part of all celebrations, such as weddings, family gatherings, graduations, and other parties. Picnics and vacation days also include Takht music: that is why I associate celebrations and other important occasions with it.

Tarab (Taarab)

In Arab culture, Arab, or taarab, refers to both the art of music and the emotional effect it has on people. Words like “ecstasy,” “excitement,” or “enchantment” can be used to describe the meaning of the word “tarab.” A. J. Racy explains the term “as full of subtlety and layered meanings, both historical and regional” (Racy, 2014, p. 14).

Tarab (Taarab)

As a musical effect, it has a deep relationship with the listener, evoking “intense emotions, exaltation, a sense of yearning or absorption, feeling of timelessness, elation or rapturous delight” (Racy, 2014, p. 18).

I can say that this description best explains what tarab means to my family and me. I feel grateful for belonging to the Arabic culture and being able to enjoy this fascinating meditative experience. My grandparents and parents can play some instruments that are a part of Tarab, such as the oud and the qanun, so it has been a part of our household tradition for as long as I can remember. Most of all, however, my family likes to sing, and so do I. Like the Takht ensemble music, Tarab music is played on various occasions and celebrations, and we often sing along. Our favorite artists of Tarab music are Oum Kalthoum, Farid al-Atrash, and Abdel Halim Hafez, which are all famous Egyptian singers that have made a major contribution to the Arabic art of music. My parents have listened to them since I was a child, so these singers have influenced my music preferences immensely. Because of them, the main things I value in music and in singing styles are honesty and genuineness. These people were genuinely passionate about music, and it is always seen in the way they perform. I realize now that the main reason why I dislike certain singers or genres is that they seem too pretentious and showy to me in comparison to the legends that my family has introduced me to.

Dabke (the dance and the music)

Dabke music is another genre that my family and I often listen to. It originates from an Arabic folk dance of the same name. When the Dabke dance was first created, it was common among the people living in villages in “Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, and some quasi-bedouin tribes that were living in nearby territories” (“Dabke – an Arabic folk dance,” 2013). The dancing tradition has been passed through many generations and is still performed in almost every household in Lebanon and other Arab countries on every celebration and other joyous occasions. In my family, we listen to Dabke at different family parties, when there is also the dance performed. Even when we do not have any events that involve dancing, we listen to the music itself, because it is very festive and can improve everyone’s mood. The tradition of this exuberant, expressive dance has influenced me a lot. It has helped to shape my understanding of love and unity: all the people coming together to join in this joyful form of dancing. This is what family gatherings are to me: people who are together and, therefore, happy.

Dabke, in its modern interpretation

Nowadays, the dance is usually performed with all the dancers standing in a line.

It starts with a musician playing a solo, and then the dancers join the melody and move together to create a synchronized movement and step. They step with the left foot and right foot and then cross the left foot and right foot over.

Dabke, in its modern interpretation

The influence of Arabic music on my identity

The music heritage that my family handed me has significantly and positively influenced the way I view the world. All kinds of Arabic music have shaped my identity and made me the way I am. For instance, when I listen to any other type of music, I always bring my Arabic identity to the other song. When I dance, I tend to use Dabke elements, such as stepping. When I sing, I may use quarter tones in compositions that only have whole or semi-tones, which is characteristic of the Takht ensemble music but not as common in Western music. The way we celebrate different occasions is also the closest to me. While I do enjoy visiting events that are not connected with my culture, Arabic celebrations still make me feel happier, more involved, and at home.

References

Arab America. (2019). What is Tarab and why is it important to Arab music? 

El-Shawan, S. (1984). Traditional Arab music ensembles in Egypt since 1967: “The continuity of tradition within a contemporary framework”? Ethnomusicology, 28(2), 271. 

Lawrence University. (n.d.). Michigan Arab orchestra Takht ensemble | Lawrence University. 

Qatar Foundation International. (2018). Infographic: The traditional Arab ensemble. Web.

Racy, A. J. (2004). Making music in the Arab World: The culture and artistry of Tarab. Cambridge University Press.

The dabke-an Arabic folk dance. (2013). History and Development of Dance. 

The Comprehension Of The American Dream In “Death Of A Salesman”

Introduction

The phenomenon of the American Dream appears vague and indeterminate in the American literature. In a broad sense, this term indicates both material and spiritual values of the American citizens. It is a complex of various ideals, inherent for the Americans since their childhood. The American Dream is a common topic in literary works, including novels, poems, plays. A playwright Arthur Miller had concerns on that subject and created a play called Death of a Salesman, narrating a story about Willy Loman, a salesman with a low salary and many debts. This play is a perfect example of a typical story of people attempting to define their American Dream and follow it through the struggling, yet those attempts are not successful.

The American Dream as the keystone in Death of a Salesman

The protagonist of Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, lives in two worlds. The real one oppresses him with his inability to change things for better tomorrow, whereas in his visionary world Willy still sees chances for him and his sons to turn things around. He looks up to his brother Ben, who made a fortune working in Africa. Remembering him, Willy says “The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he’s rich!” (Miller, 1980, p. 28). The protagonist is permanently preoccupied with his American Dream – the brighter future not only for him, but for his family as well.

The concept of the American Dream in the play The American Dream represented in the play does not appear extremely sophisticated, yet it seems unreachable for the characters. Willy Loman simply wants his sons to succeed in life like his brother did. Ben, Willy’s brother, appears to be a person who started with nothing and acquired everything, but he had to live a relentless life to succeed. Miller mentions in his introduction that “His brother, Ben, by the same token, is less a substantial fact than an embodiment of that ruthless drive and achievement…” (Miller, 1980, p. 16). Biff and Happy, sons of the salesman, inherited his hopes and dreams, however they both see different ways of receiving what they want to achieve. The lives of the salesman and his sons are not as joyful as they would want them to be. At first sight, the American Dream in the play is represented in the way the author sees it. Though after deeper exploration it starts to look more like criticism of the American Dream itself. According to Roudane (2020), the central force of Miller’s work is not the American Dream, but the myth of it. However, Miller does not actually criticize the American Dream as it was conceived in XX century – as an opportunity for any citizen to get what they want. The author censures the idea of the American dream as an endless chase for recognition and money. That is the main reason the characters of the play could never really achieve their American Dream – they do not understand what it is.

Willy Loman, pursuing his American Dream

Willy Loman, the salesman himself, is probably the most ambivalent character in the entire play due to the divergence between the reach of his American Dream and his current life conditions. He is “seeking for a kind of ecstasy in life” (Sudha, 2018, 62). His salary is not enough for him and his family to live a prosperous life and settle his numerous debts. Willy struggles to mentor his sons properly, hoping they, or at least one them, could one day repeat the glorious success of his wealthy brother. Yet none of his sons can please him and make him proud.

Willy’s younger son named Happy always magnifies his own achievements. Although in fact he is just “one of the two assistants to the assistant” (Miller, 1980, p. 104). Happy truly believes that being optimistic along with a snow-white smile will lead him to richness. Biff, the elder son, does not have much to boast as well. He fails his studies, cannot get himself a job and, moreover, he is afraid to disappoint his father.

At some point, Willy starts to realize the true state of affairs, which leads him to sinister thoughts. The insurance payment for his death should be enough for his family to start a new life and finally achieve their notorious American Dream. Those are his thoughts before committing suicide, but in very deed, he is simply tired of “a life of hopeless chasing of a dream of a triumph” (Devi, 2019, p. 99). Willy Loman loses all his hope and at last realizes, that his American Dream was only a fantasy.

The characters of the play and their own American Dream

Willy Loman is not the only one to miss his American Dream – the other characters are not successful either. Willy’s elder son Biff has built his life around the ideals of his father, trying to follow them whatever it takes. But his illusionary dreams are crushed the very moment he finds his father in a bed with another woman. As Biff says, “I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been. We’ve been talking in a dream for fifteen years” (Miller, 1980, 81). Biff cannot neither forgive his father for his betrayal nor build himself a new life. His ideals are completely broken, and his chances for new ones are most improbable.

Willy’s younger son Happy lives an idle life, believing that one day he will become wealthy. He knows for sure what his American Dream is supposed to be, but he does not know what to do to achieve it. He does not even want to know it, as well as make any considerable efforts. He is “not so much baffled by the erosion of affliction” (Devi, 2019, 100). Happy is wholly satisfied with his immense optimism, and his American Dream is most likely to remain just a dream for the rest of his life.

Conclusion

The story of the salesman Willy Loman and his family depicts futile endeavor to achieve the goals which are yet undefined. Willy and his sons likewise sincerely believe in their American Dream, but they do not understand the true purpose of it. They try not to get what they want, but to get what other people have. Lack of awareness of their own personal desires is what makes the characters of this play unsatisfied. Willy Loman, exhausted by his unending worthless struggle, lays hands on himself in his last attempt to push his family closer to the American Dream of which he had always fantasized. Biff cannot handle the fact that his entire life was a huge lie, and has miserable chances to ever recover. Happy is stuck in a stasis, created by his own beliefs and dreams of a better life that comes on its own. The American Dream only seems a clear goal, but in fact it is obscured. It is necessary for anyone to find their own dream before they could understand what to do to achieve it.

References

Devi, B. (2019). Willy Loman as the paragon of American Dream in the play ‘Death of a Salesman’. Seshadripuram Journal of Social Sciences, 1(4), 99-106.

Miller, A. A. (1980). Death of a salesman. Dramatists Play Service.

Roudane, M. (2020). Arthur Miller, essayist. In S. Marino et al. (Eds.), Arthur Miller for the twenty-first century: Contemporary views of his writings and ideas (pp. 211-218). Springer International Publishing.

Sudha, T. B. (2018). The individual and the American Dream in Death of the Salesman. Research Journal of English, 3(1), 61-64

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