Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Illustration Friday- speed

I thought at first i'd paint something really speedy - a peregrine falcon maybe [fastest animal on the planet , reaching speeds of 200 miles per hour in dives] or the sailfish [fastest fish reaching speeds of almost 70 miles per hour in short bursts ].

I also thought about butterflies that are too quick off the mark to be photographed as i spent some time on Saturday trying to photograph some Aurore de Provence butterflies [Provence orange tip, Anthocharis euphenoides] without even getting close.

In the end I decided to go with one of the slowest creatures - ones with slow and ponderous speed that gives them a great advantage since they are so difficult to see -the sloths.

This one is a two toed sloth - so called becuase the front feet have two toes and long claws. The three toed sloths have three claws on the front but all sloths have 3 toes/claws on the back legs.

Sloths hang upside down most of the time and their specially adapted limbs mean that they cannot walk. If they need to move over the ground they have to use a slithery crawl as their legs won't support their weight, although they are very good swimmers.

They move very, very slowly; only moving one foot at a time. They spend most of thier lives dangling from tree branches , even sleeping [15+ hours] , mating and giving birth in this position.

They eat mainly leaves but will also eat birds eggs , small lizards and bugs. Thier metabolism is very slow and digestion takes a long time. Their body temperature varies according to the air temperature.

Blue-green algae [cyanobacteria] live in the fur of most species of sloth - its a symbiotic relationship - the bacteria have a useful place to grow and the sloths get some camouflage and nutrients during grooming and can even absorb nutrients via the skin.




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12 comments:

fenris said...

lovely painting, i like how the colours suggest slowness as well, kind of rich and calm and dark... like the look on its face as well :)

the heartful blogger said...

A beautiful painting, and a very informative post! Thanks.

Rowantree said...

I love this animal, very clever to think the opposite of speed !

ValGalArt said...

absolutely beautiful painting!!! I love this and I learned so much too!

Alina Chau said...

Sooooo prettty!! Love it!! Great leave texture, and nice fur!

Rebecca said...

looks like we had the same idea! Brillian people think a lot alike. I love your texture!
http://artipantz.typepad.com/

Rrramone said...

Ah the poor sloth, named after a deadly sin, and slow to boot. :-)

Very nice painting.

Twisselman said...

Don't know a lot about sloths, but what I've seen (on nature documentaries) is very interesting.
Great illustration... mesmerizing eyes and beautiful background.

isay said...

so beautiful! the texture is great. you've always been so good with fur and the green background is awesome.

carla said...

What a life... the painting is very beautiful. It has such a lush, jungle look with the deep green background. There's something very mesmerizing about his expression...I think I'm feeling sleeeeepy...

disappointed said...

slow speed is my kind of speed.....

when i'm hanging!

i like your picture very much too.

violetismycolor said...

I am intrigued with the way this guy lives life...nice illo!