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Indian Peafowl Feathers. Credit: USFWS

Students and Educators

LIBRARY OF MYSTERY PHOTOS

Hornbill Skulls

Common Name: Various African hornbill species
Scientific Name:  Bucerotidae (hornbill family)
Protected Status: Not protected by U.S. law or international treaty.
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  Although most Asian hornbills are protected, the African species are not.  There is growing concern that these birds are threatened by habitat loss and the trade in “bush meat.”

Hornbill Skulls
Credit: USFWS.

Cross-section of Sperm Whale Tooth

Common Name:  Sperm Whale
Scientific Name: Physeter catodon
Protected Status: U.S. ESA – Endangered; Marine Mammal Act; CITES – App.I
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  Dentine is the major component in any ivory, shown here in a cross section of a sperm whale’s tooth as the material between the dark outer ring and the center spot;  the material between the dark ring and the outer surface is the cementum.

Cross-section of Sperm Whale Tooth
Credit: USFWS.

Junglefowl Feathers

Common Name: Green Junglefowl
Scientific Name: Gallus varius
Protected Status:  Not protected by U.S. laws or international treaty.
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  This wild relative of the chicken has strikingly attractive feathers, but these are rarely seen in the wildlife trade.

Junglefowl Feathers
Credit: USFWS.

Macaw Feather Headdress

Common Name: Various macaw species
Scientific Name:  Psittacidae (macaws and other parrots)
Protected Status: All macaws and other parrots are protected by international treaty (CITES).
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  This is a close-up of a large feather headdress from the Amazon basin.  While it is legal for native tribes to make and use these culturally important objects, their international trade is strictly regulated.

Macaw Feather Headdress
Credit: USFWS.

Stork Feather

Common Name: Marabou Stork
Scientific Name: Leptoptilos crurmeniferus
Protected Status: CITES – App. II
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  The Marabou Stork of Africa has large, fluffy undertail feathers that were formerly used for feather trim on fans and clothing.  This has resulted in the common term “marabou” being used for such feather trim.  Today, however, “marabou” is made from turkey feathers. View our Marabou Identification Guide (PDF 694 KB) for more information.

Stork Feather
Credit: USFWS.

“Marabou” wrap

Common Name: Domestic Turkey Feathers
Scientific Name:  Meleagris gallopavo
Protected Status:  Not protected by U.S. laws or international treaty
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story? Turkey feathers are often used to produce the fluffy fabric called “marabou.” This is legal, but can create confusion with the feathers of the protected Marabou Stork. View our Marabou Identification Guide (PDF 694 KB) for more information.

Marabou Wrap
Credit: USFWS.

Cartridge Case Comparison

Item: Two cartridge cases being examined under the comparison microscope (40X)
Laboratory Section: Criminalistics
What’s the Story? Cartridge case collected by the agent at the crime scene is being compared to a known exemplar from the suspects’ weapon.

Cartridge Case Comparison
Credit: USFWS.

Pheasant Feathers

Common Name: Himalayan Monal pheasant
Scientific Name: Lophophorus impejanus
Protected Status:  CITES – App. I
What’s the Story?  The brilliantly colored, metallic feathers of the male Himalyan Monal pheasant are spectacular.  These rare pheasants are strictly protected by international treaty.

Pheasant Feathers
Credit: USFWS.

Ivory Carving

Common Name:  Narwhal
Scientific Name:  Monodon monoceros
Protected Status:  Marine Mammal Act; CITES — App.II
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story? Small ivory carvings, called netsuke, are popular in Japan and can represent a difficult identification challenge, because of their size and elaborate carving.

Ivory Carving
Credit: USFWS.

Forensic Audio Workstation

Laboratory Section: Digital Evidence
What’s the Story?  Instruments used for capturing audio media for clarification and intelligibility of evidence.

Forensic Audio Workstation
Credit: USFWS.

NOTICES:

  • These photos should not be used for identification purposes.  Detailed information to assist with selected species identification problems can be found at Publications and Identifications Guides.
  • For more information about Protected Status, view our U.S. Wildlife Laws page.
  • You may download these photos for educational purposes with credit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), but cannot use them for commercial purposes or sell them.
  • Copyright © US Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory.

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