ZipcodeZoo.com has many special features that make it unique. This page outlines some of them.
About the Future
Climate Change... Global Warming... Tipping Point... Mass Extinctions...
The future of our wild planet concerns us all. The mission of The 2050 Project is to provide accurate, useful, long-range forecasts and information about the future of the planet. Our favored forecast interval is to 2050 and beyond, because we believe that shorter-range forecasts cannot portray the magnitude of our impending problems, and thus can only guide half-steps toward solution.
Support for all browsers
We believe that every one of our pages should look good in every browser , and we're making progress toward that goal. We test with the most common browsers, and more and more pages now validate at http://validator.w3.org. We validate our feeds at http://validator.w3.org/feed/. Not every one of our 38 million pages is perfect, but we are trying!
Critter ID Forum
The CritterID Forum enlists naturalists from around the world to help identify your photos.
Have a plant or animal that you want to identify? The CritterID Forum is a place where you can submit photos, sounds, or movies for identification, and help others identify what they have seen.
Crosswords and Quizzes
Crosswords and Quizzes help you learn
ZipcodeZoo.com is looking for Curators to improve the quality of our information.
ZipcodeZoo Curators are professional or advanced amateur biologists with specialized knowledge of a taxonomic group at the family level or below. Curators choose the taxonomic group that they will be responsible for. ZipcodeZoo's Curator program provides an opportunity for our users to share their knowledge of a taxonomic group with the rest of the world. Over 16,000 species pages now have curators -- which means that nearly 3 million pages still need one! To learn more about our Curators program, click here.
Definitions and Pronunciations
To think, we need building blocks of terms and understandings. To help think, we must speak. To speak, we must pronounce. ZipcodeZoo can help.
We've added popup definitions for 234,889 terms. For many terms such as "abdominal", the popup definition pronounces the term. Short definitions such as that for "entire" simply popup on mouse over, then go away. Other definitions, such as that for "abdominal" open in small windows. The Latin of taxonomic terms needs to be pronounced too, whether you are talking to yourself or a friend. So we've added a little speaker icon for nearly 17,000 taxonomic terms. Click it to hear a pronunciation.
Delivering the News
Keep Exploring with ZipcodeZoo RSS Feeds, Syndicated News
Every species pages in ZipcodeZoo offers a Keep Exploring tab, with many media feeds of topical photo collections, news from ZipcodeZoo, lists of Featured Critters, and syndicated stories. Each of our media feeds contains thumbnails of up to 100 of our best photos and relevant information on the subject. Feeds are normally refreshed daily. You can find examples of these feeds in the "What is this?" section of our Keep Exploring tabs, and review the offerings (and sign up) here. Syndicated News also appears on the right side of our home page.
the Ecology Chart
the EcoChart shows species most commonly observed with the subject
The EcoChart is a pie chart showing the relative likelihood of observing particular other species commonly observed near the subject. Likelhood considers both the frequency with which the subject is observed at all locations where it has been reported, and the number of observations of all other species at each of those locations. A species that is common where the subject is common will have a higher score than if only one of these species is common at that location. For an example, see the Ecology tab here.
the Ecology Wheel
the EcoWheel shows ecological relations
Our "EcoWheel" on the Ecology tab of pages such as this shows the species of interest and those species most commonly observed where it is observed. A line connects the subject species to each of these species. Each of these species, in turn, has a line connecting it to any of the others when they are commonly observed in the same locations. Moving your mouse pointer over a species name will highlight the links from that species to others, and each species name is also a link to a ZipcodeZoo page for that species. Data for the EcoWheel is computed by examining all locations where our subject species has been reported, and determining the most commonly observed species at each of these locations. These observations are weighted, so that those where the subject is most common are given more weight than species at those locations where the subject is rarely observed. It's a lot of work, but our computers are willing.
Tastes Great, Less Filling.
We know what a pain it is to wait. So we've started with the fastest server we could configure, and added the fastest connections available. Then we spent hours designing pages that load quickly. The result is that a page like this which delivers about 288 Kb of information, can load in as little as 4 seconds. Try it!
Feedback on Reported Sightings
Feedback on Reported Sightings
With our database of 180,206,609 field observations, errors are very likely to creep in. ZipcodeZoo has pioneered a means by which users can help remove errors from observations. Our approach is described here, and demonstrated here. We have implemented this on each species page's Distribution tab, Observations Data menu item, such as here.
Use your favorite font size and face on our pages.
Every page allows you to change your font size to one of three levels - large, normal, and small -- as an aid to users with various visual capabilities and screen resolutions and settings. And Font Settings on our pages also allow a choice of Verdana, Geneva, and Georgia fonts. All font settings are remembered with a cookie, so you can "set it and forget it". But because every pages has a Font Settings control, you can change your mind any time.
Filling in the gaps in our knowledge of habitat.
On every species page with an Ecology tab, you'll find a section entitled "Characteristics of Habitat". This section provides the information we have on habitat, and then supplements it with additional inferences. We make some habitat inferences based on the known habitat preferences of those species most commonly reported where the subject species is most commonly reported. Such inferences may include lists of zones, vegetation types, terrains, soil and rock details, water, slopes, and more where the subject is commonly found. For an example, see the Ecology tab here.
Our focus is Applied Biogeography: understanding plants and animals in their place, perhaps even your backyard.
A typical species page contains a Distribution tab, with four menu options: Distribution, Observations Data, View Choropleth Map, and View Observations Map. The Distribution page shows information on Range and Population, perhaps one of 240,593 State Maps if found in the U.S., perhaps one of 744,777 Country Maps, a Google map showing the points on the map where this species has been reported, and an Occurrence Overview map. The Observations Data menu item provides details of the observations in a sortable spreadsheet format. On the Choropleth Map tab, you may pan and zoom to see where the species is most commonly found, with reds showing the highest densities of observations, yellows the lower densities. This embedded Google Earth map may be panned, zoomed, and rotated, as can the Observations Map on this menu item. Our nearly 500,000 maps of observations draw on a total of 85,345,065 field observations from 28,481 data sets and 1,547 data providers which show latitude and longitude. Click on a pinpoint on any map with such pinpoints, and you'll learn more about that observation. For an example of the 479,824 species pages with observation maps, see here.
Personal Home Page
We know where you live. Enjoy your personal home page.
Your custom home page on the "My Home" tab at http://ZipcodeZoo.com/ uses your location to provide information about your part of the world. Everyone will see info on invasive species, species that are threatened, and all species that live in this area. Visitors from the U.S. will also see zipcode demographics, local attractions for naturalists, and the local weather. ZipcodeZoo guesses where you live based on the location of your ISP, but you can improve on our guess, if you wish, by correcting the location info here.
Photos by the people, for the people.
All pages which present information about a plant or animal include a link to upload an image. If you have a photo that is positively this critter, a click will take you to a simple form, where you can upload a photo you've taken, and get that photo posted on ZipcodeZoo. Over 1,000 amateur and professional nature photographers have found this the quickest way to get their photos on the site.
Podcasts, Videos, and Slideshows.
Photosynth is Microsoft's new potent mixture of two independent breakthroughs: the ability to reconstruct the scene or object from a bunch of flat photographs, and the technology to bring that experience to virtually anyone over the Internet. We don't think that Photosynth will ever be able to bring the Passenger Pigeon back to life, but it will be able to make a mounted specimen more lifelike, and viewable from all sides by the entire world. ZipcodeZoo now has hundreds of Photosynths -- see our catalog -- with each posted on the species page, Photos/Sounds/Video tab, Photosynth menu item as we do here and here. If you have a museum collection that we might capture and share using Photosynth, please contact us.
Browse images, then zoom and pan large images. Or watch a slideshow to see everything.
Slideshows can be paused, viewed full screen, and run at the pace you want. Clicking a large image with the image browser will usually display an image that is much bigger than your screen, with controls in the upper left. (A vertical slider will zoom in and out. Pan arrows take you around the image, or pan by dragging your mouse. A center icon will re-center the image. Popup help is available that explains all viewing options. To see those lions, click here, then choose the Photos/Sounds/Video tab, then choose the Image Browser menu item.
Computers should be smarter than books. We think a web page shouldn't just sit there, dumb as a book page. We think it should do something.
Our listing tools can help you find what you are looking for. Red headed bird in your back yard? There aren't many possibilities, and we know how likely each one is. All you need to do is tell BirdFinder about that red head, and where you saw the bird.
Our Listing tools can give lists based on latitude and longitude, place name, or species characteristics.
- Country and Region Lists: List species found in an area you specify.
- Proximity Lists: List species found near a specified Latitude and Longitude.
- Plant Finder: Find one or more plants that match some set of characteristics of interest using 1,555,827 attributes for 209,411 plants on this site.
- Butterfly Finder: ButterflyFinder's database currently includes lookup info and photos for 2,308 different butterflies, skippers, and moths of the 271,314 on this site.
- Bird Finder: Find one or more birds that match some set of characteristics of interest using 102,204 attributes for 4,753 of the birds on this site
- Life List: Build or manage your life list of plants and animals you have seen.
Many Photos, Many Sources
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what is the value of 264,957 pictures?
We believe that only with multiple photos can we clearly see differences between individuals of different age, sex, season, condition, and activity. Individuals of a species may differ in look from each other; these differences may be important in natural interactions, and absolutely need to be seen if the naturalist is to identify an observation correctly. Whereas the high cost of producing photos for books limits traditional texts to one or two photos per species, the Internet makes possible this unlimited use of photos. ZipcodeZoo.com is home to 264,957 photos and illustrations and 1,470 sound recordings. This represents the best efforts of 1,387 of the world's best wildlife photographers, artists, and sound recordists. We are very proud to be associated with the talent listed here.
ZipcodeZoo analyzes changing populations, based on changes in observation rates, to help identify species that may be in trouble.
ZipcodeZoo's database of 85,345,065 field observations include information on when the observation was made, so it is possible to track changes in the number of observations for a species, or any grouping of species, over time. By comparing the number of observations of a species over time with the number of observations for that species' Class, we can make inferences about changing population sizes. Our statistical analyses suggest which species may be in trouble, which might be prospering in these difficult times. You can find lists of invasive, endangered, vulnerable, and extinct animals, as well as lists of invasive, endangered, vulnerable, and extinct plants. More information on our statistical analyses may be found here.
ZipcodeZoo Rangers are young naturalists who value our wild heritage, and are determined to help preserve and strengthen it.
We follow the Ranger Code, and explore, learn, and to act to improve the environment. We care about all living things, and appreciate the complexity, beauty, and wonder of natural systems. We are looking for more members. Learn more about the Rangers here.
Species in Trouble
ZipcodeZoo provides summary lists of species that are invasive, have declining populations, or have been categorized as of Special Concern, Vulnerable, Threatened, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extirpated in part of their range, are Extinct in the Wild, or are Extinct.
In addition to our own population analyses, which can identify declining populations, ZipcodeZoo provides summary lists of species that are invasive, have declining populations, or have been categorized as of Special Concern, Vulnerable, Threatened, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extirpated in part of their range, are Extinct in the Wild, or are Extinct. In addition to our own population analyses, which can identify declining populations, ZipcodeZoo summarizes the conservation statuses reported by the IUCN Red List, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and NatureServe. Our indexes to plants and animals of various conservation statuses may be found here.
ZipcodeZoo.com provides text, photos, and maps for 173,246 taxonomic groups.
ZipcodeZoo is the home for taxonomic information on all living things, from Domain to Genus.
ZipcodeZoo.com provides text, photos, and maps for 173,246 taxonomic groups, from Domain, Kingdom, Subkingdom, Branch, Infrakingdom, Superphylum, Phylum, Subphylum, Infraphylum, Superclass, Series, Class, Subclass, Infraclass, Superlegion, Legion, Sublegion, Infralegion, Supercohort, Cohort, Magnorder, Superorder, Grandorder, Mirorder, Order, Suborder, Infraorder, Parvorder, Superfamily, Family, Subfamily, Tribe, Subtribe, Alliance, down to Genus. Start your reading here.
Read 2,736,171 web pages in any of 23 languages
Every one of our 2,736,171 species pages is available in 23 languages: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. For most species pages, we have already done the translations for Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish using the best translation software available. Other translations are provided by translate.google.com. Use the "Font Settings and Languages" menu at the top of a species page to select a language.
Edit this Page
All pages which present information about a species include a link at the bottom to "Edit this Page". A click will allow you to edit (add, subtract, or change text) for 18 animal fields and numerous plant fields. Your suggestions are usually reviewed within an hour or so, and accepted changes are then immediately posted.
View Thumbnails in your favorite size without distortion.
ZipcodeZoo has improved its photo thumbnail display technology, and updated pages for 75,485 species. Users can now choose to view thumbnails in any of 4 sizes, and thumbnails all size without distortion. A mouse-over of a thumbnail reveals the photographer's name and caption, and a tip on whether clicking the thumbnail will reveal an image that fits within the user's screen, or is oversized, allowing for panning and zooming. For an example, see the thumbnails page for Creel's Calico Sweet Pepper Bush.
Videos can help us understand animal behavior.
We've improved our mechanism for displaying videos, and have added hundreds of videos to our pages. For an example, see our African Lion.
Waveforms and spectrographs can help us see sound.
ZipcodeZoo now has animated real-time sonograms for each of the 1,470 animal sound files used in the site. The sonograms show both the waveform and the spectrograph of the sound. To our knowledge, no other web site can display real-time sonograms without requiring special client software. For an example, see our page for the Black-Crested Titmouse.