We’re talking about the opuses of the sea, and they’re the penguins’ most prominent and best-known members.
They live in the Southern Hemisphere and are known for their enormous eyes, bold, scaly skin and their tendency to swim with their heads pointing upward.
Opus, as its named, is a penguin-specific species.
It has an almost cartoonish appearance, its dark brownish fur is slightly longer than its body and its eyes are black, white and red, a striking resemblance to a crocodile.
The opuses that live in southern Australia, like most penguins, are solitary animals.
They prefer to stay together in pairs.
But this is the first time the opuscas have been found on land.
“The first penguin that we found was in a nest in Tasmania,” said Dr Andrew Millington, the director of the zoo’s penguin research.
“The penguins were feeding on a few other opuses, but then suddenly there were about five of them in a little area, and there was a penguins nest in the ground, so it was pretty clear that something was wrong.”
The penguin’s nest is a unique feature of the southern coastline, where there are lots of penguins.
This means that the opuss population has gone extinct, and it has been recorded only once before.
But a new species of opus was discovered on the beach in Tasmania last week, and researchers are hoping to find more.
“We are really hopeful that there will be another opus that we will be able to track down,” said the zoo director.
As a species, the opusa has a fairly well-established habitat, with some areas of southern Australia having opuses in abundance.
“They are the first to be found in Tasmania and they were probably there a while ago, but they haven’t been recorded,” said Milling, adding that the penguers were a very small number.
While the new species is still a little bit unknown, it could potentially be the first penguins ever to be spotted in northern Australia.
In fact, scientists have already identified several more opus populations on land in Australia, including the Australian Opuscatops, which live in northern Tasmania and is now extinct.
Other animals that are known to have opus relatives include sea otters and dolphins.
So, the penguini’s newfound habitat in the middle of the desert isn’t exactly a surprise.
But how do penguins breed?
The opus population is thought to be closely related to other opus, so a lot of research has been done on breeding methods for the species.
“There’s a lot that we know about the breeding and how they’re breeding and what they’re doing in their habitats,” said Dr Andrew Menington, Director of the Zoo Australia.
“So we’re hoping to get some data from other penguins in that area and from other populations, and see if we can get some more information about what’s happening with that.”
What do you think?
Have you seen an opus before?
Let us know in the comments below.
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