Wild animals showing signs of aging

It’s pretty common to see bees getting tatty wings as well: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/90575144

Would be interested to see a project about this.

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Swallowtails showing wear and tear:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/92153826
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/89542496

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This is actually a different topic, sort of. You’re talking about creatures whose species live a long time, and OP is asking about animals that have lived a long time for their species. Like how an 80 year old human is elderly and will be showing signs of aging, but an 80 year old live oak tree is just getting started and will remain vital for a long time. It’s not too noteworthy for a jaguar to live to be 5 years old, but a field mouse that lives to that age would be fascinating. Age relative to normal life expectancy is the important thing there.

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He is asking for examples of creatures that show aging signs ? There must be some pictures somewhere. I was just typing what came to my mind. I didn’t provide any example, but I suggested Greenland sharks, and if someone has pictures of old Greenland sharks, then my comment will be mildly useful. If you are an teacher, you might get annoyed at students who don’t answer to a question. In internet forums, there is less structure generally.

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Just as a side-note, faded moths are one of @gcwarbler 's favorite things to identify. Thanks, Chuck! ;)

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Our village did a contraception treatment on white tailed deer a couple of years ago. The treated females wear tags and are still roaming the neighborhood. I noticed that one of the older regulars has faded color on her legs, which looks like what looks like ‘spats’ or ‘white socks’. This I only saw on the older female. I’ll take a picture next time she pops up again.

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Our village did a contraception treatment on white tailed deer a couple of years ago. The treated females wear tags and are still roaming the neighborhood. I noticed that one of the older regulars has faded color on her legs, which looks like ‘spats’ or ‘white socks’. This I only saw on the older female. I’ll take a picture next time she pops up again.

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Pacific salmon come to mind. They definitely look decrepit at the end of their lives.

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Interesting! Pelt characteristics continue to change with age well into adulthood? Do you see individuals who you can identify right away as clearly old and declining?

That’s amazing. I’m not sure I would ever notice a cataract on the eye of a wild bear, but you are right, it is there.

Pacific Salmon are the poster-child for breeding then dying, but it turns out this is triggered by the stress of the breeding process, rather than directly by age. If one artificially removes the stressful components of the breeding process, they will breed and then live on post-reproductively.

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I have a project called Wounded Wings that collects observations of living organisms with injured, tattered, or damaged wings but are still flying.

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I have definitely noticed aging animals, in particular a bobcat. I saw it multiple times and it appeared to have arthritis, as well as a bit of sway back and prominent hips like an old horse.

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Yes, but it’s not major and it’s easiest to see on the head and face. As with humans the hair on the head and in their crest gets more and more white, wirey, and disorganized. The hair on their faces thins out, especially in the area we would call sideburns on a human.

If two mature animals are relatively close in age you can’t really tell which one is older, but if there is a bit of a gap then you can usually tell which one is older.

EDIT:

Here’s an example. All three are mature individuals, but the one of the right is oldest. The one in the middle is youngest. In this case it’s easier because the oldest one has some visible healed injuries, but even setting those aside you can see that there is a bit of difference in hair density, how well coiffed it is, and that it’s a bit lighter in color.

This was a bit of a dark day, so when editing the photo to bring out details some of the highlights wound up being blown out, but not majorly so.

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