Cesium is a highly reactive alkali metal. It’s high toxicity generally means its use is limited to atomic clocks and as a drilling lubricant (as a liquid alloy). It will react with water at even very low temperatures, which means care has to be taken in its use.
Brown Bears are large omnivorous mammals. They are capable of putting on a huge amount of weight to hibernate through winter months, eating almost anything. Encroachment of human habitation has led to more encounters with the creatures in the search of enough calories to last the winter. They can easily kill a man, if so inclined. Their hunger and danger makes them a good match for cesium.
Barium is a highly reactive element that is in general not found in nature. It’s mostly used for processing esters, x Ray contrast and making endothermic reactions. It’s actually often forms insoluble salts that don’t react with water, which makes pairing it with water creatures a little unusual. I couldn’t though go past the silly pun, so.
Barramundi also known as Asian sea bass and Australian sea bass. It’s a very highly sought after fish for fishing and as food. Though it is flakey and often has low flavor it’s often cooked with various flavors such as lime and garlic, and is a favorite fish for curry. It’s a undergoes sequential gender variation, changing gender often after one or two seasons as a adult male to adult female.
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Iodine is a slightly rare halogen element that is highly reactive and somewhat toxic. Though it is also essential to life, is required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. It is also heavily used in the treatment of endocrine and thyroid cancers and in antiseptic treatments.
The red lionfish is the largest of the lionfish. Its toxin relates it to iodine, as it’s not fatal to humans necessarily. The red lionfish is invasive in the Caribbean and other tropical Atlantic environs. It’s become a major pest in some areas, its capacity to breed quickly and lack of predators makes it particularly hard to control.
One of the most famous Nobel gasses Xenon is actually uncommon in Earths atmosphere. It’s mostly used in lighting, lasers and as a propellant in ion thrusters.
Geese are one of the largest birds species. Most are capable of flight and are migratory, though there are a few exceptions. There used to be giant flightless geese, most are now extinct. It is connected to Xenon by its flight and slightly uncommon nature.
Yellowhead catfish (Tachysurus fulvidraco) also known as the Korean Bullhead can be found throughout most of northern Asia. It’s not to be confused with the American Yellow Bullhead. The former being a scaled bagrid catfish.
Antimony is a silver colored metal that behaves very much like lead and phosphorus though it is less explosive and as a used as a halogen as a fire retardant. It’s also used in the production of batteries, soldiers and bearings. It’s connection to the Yellowhead catfish is to do with the local of its main source, being mostly found in China and Korea.
Latrodectus tredecimguttatus is a spider that is related to the Black Widow and the infamous Red Bellied Spider. Though its main place of home is in the Mediterranean coastal grasslands and forested area in Europe. It’s name literally means of thirteen spots, and has 13 red, white or orange spots on its body.
Tellurium is a silvery metalloid that can be somewhat toxic. Mostly used for copper and steel alloys and the production of solar panels. It’s now in far higher demand than ever and as it is a rare metal its likely to become even rarer. It’s relation Latrodectus tredecimguttatus is through its relative rarity and usefulness, but mild toxicity.
Indium is fairly toxic but very useful element whose main use is in LCD monitors and similar screens such as those used in mobile devices, TVs, and other liquid crystal displays. It’s also used in bearings and vacuums tube chambers. The glowworm is similar to Indium in that it’s glowing effect comes from its food (so electricity and crystal bonds in Indium case) to produce photosynthesis. Though most glowworms are omnivores, a few are carnivores, using their colonies of glowing bacteria in their rear to attract moths and insects to a long thread of silk like a spiders web, then eating it at their leisure.
Tin is a useful binding metal that has been used for centuries. Its widespread use has mostly been applied in making Pewter and in Solder. It’s fairly non toxic and has one of the most numbers of isotopes of any metal. Vipera Latiffi is a viper that lives exclusively in Iran, and it’s associated with Tin as its highly likely the Tin was discovered and first used near its native range.
Silver is an uncommon metal element that is mostly used decoratively and in jewellery. Though it is used in solar panels, water filtration, circuitry, and in radio and radar technologies. It has the lowest contact resistance and highest electrical conductivity of any known metal, and its applications are getting more widespread within the computer electronics and electric generation industries.
Foxes are a versatile candid like animal, though some are more closely related to voles than dogs they are my favourite creature bar none. The common phrase “a silver fox” is pretty much all it took to get its association with this element but I’m sure you can find plenty more.
The Golden Eagle is a common bird of prey that lives all round the northern hemisphere. It’s much like Cadmium in its commonality. It preys small rodents, occasionally other birds and carrion.
Cadmium is often a byproduct of the zinc refining process and is used in glass plating and used to be used in batteries. Cadmium is somewhat toxic and has some long-lived isotopes and can be bio reactive causing damage to cells and cancer in fallout post-nuclear bombs or meltdowns.
Rhodium is a rare earth metal that is often used to keep various other more volatile silver colored metals from corrosion. It also plays a part in catalytic converters in cars and other petroleum based engineers. It’s also used to measure Neutron Flux in nuclear power plants.
The Beewolf is a wasp species that specifically feeds or lays it’s eggs specifically in bees. It’s hunting is not very much like the wolf, mostly being a solitary wasp. It’s similarity to rhodium is mostly in this behaviour to be a loner, rhodium doesn’t really react and is very none corrosive.
Palladium is similar in its use in catalytic converters. It’s also a metal with heavy investment stock and interest in capture by recycling. It is the first part of a car to be recycled due to its rarity.
The Horse is another animal that attracts heavy investment an attention. Almost completely domesticated, the horse is now bred to race but it used to be humman’s main beast of burden. Though often bred selectivity for multiple purposes. Like Palladium they are a considerable resource that we may not treat in the most humane way at times.
Technetium is a weird element that only exists in very very small quantities on earth. Mostly in amongst high concentrations of uranium. It’s a very unstable in general and the only elements that has to be produced artificially (its name means artificially made). Dorcatoma Dresdensis is a specific beetle that lives in dead wood, much like Technetium lives in “dead” uranium until it decays further.
Ruthenium is a metal mostly used to harden and stop other metals from tarnishing. It’s also often used in such things as forensic science (fingerprint dust) and electroplating. It only oxidizes under the right conditions due to its unusual electron shell configurations.
The Rufous Whistler is not a Robin, being a slight example of convergent evolution. It can be migratory in Australia but isn’t in New Caledonia. Like Ruthenium it travels only under the right conditions.
Sardines are sometimes a little hard to define. There are 200 or so species of Clupeid that make up what are generically called Sardine. Originally named columbium, Niobium is so named after Niobe the daughter of Tantalus. She eventually turned into stone, weeping for her children whom almost all Artemis and Apollo killed after she boasted how lucky she was to have so many blessings (daughter of a goddess with 14 children and apparently a very well endowed and virile husband, whom also built Thebes). What the hell does this have to do with sardines? Well, Niobe had a cult in Sardinia and in Turkey (where she was turned to stone). There was a temple to her in Sardinia but I can’t find any reference to its continued existence in the modern day. These cultists existed well before the documentation and authorization if the Greek religion let alone the roman one. Both civilizations conquered each other a number of times over the centuries. However, Niobes tie to Sardinia and sardines seems relevant to this day.
The Highland brush mouse is a species of mouse native to Papua New Guinea, it and the other Brush mice of New Guinea are in naming mythology somewhat how the island nation got it’s name. It’s completely untrue as the name actually comes from a Spanish explorer who remarked on the similarity between the native population and those belonging to the Portuguese colonised areas of Guinea. Similar confusion got Molybdenum its name, first thought to be lead, and given the greek word Molybdos for its name until its full separation as a pure element in the 18th Century.
Yttrium is a rather odd element, like many rare earth transition metals its ability to form alloys and hide in large bonds with other more common elements is legendary. Once you finally do get it by itself it’s used in LEDs and cathode ray tubes makes it a very useful to modern technology. Of course now LEDs are more common, cathode ray tubes are now being melted down to source an otherwise elusive element. It’s named after the town Ytterby in Sweden, which is were the Apollo Apollofjäril comes in as a match. This purple loving butterfly is one of a huge number of varieties in its family, but this one lives in Sweden near the town of Ytterby.Zebras are large herbivores related distantly to the Donkey and Horse. Living in savanna and grassland in Africa has made this beast flighty and difficult. Zirconium not to be confused with Zircon or Zirconia (both to do with crystals containing this element) is a ductile when pure, but brittle when dilute and highly flammable metal. It’s used in crystals, an alloy and as a coating but not without consistent care and handling. It’s difficult nature makes it a perfect candidate for the Zebra.
Carp is both an important food fish as well as an invasive pest; it can live for months in very muddy, low oxygen or iced water using a different metabolic channel, often able to outlive and outlast the native fish. It can grow to reasonably large sizes and is usually a predator of native fish and other smaller aquatic creatures as well as eat other available food. Rubidium is a room temperature, liquid state alkali metal that also boasts the longest living isotope of 87 Rb that has a half-life that is longer than the life of the known universe (49 billion years!). They are a match as both are useful in their way but also potentially dangerous and destructive.
The Wale Shark is a filter feeder shark that has grown to massive sizes. Like other large animals it’s size requires it to be close to constantly eating food.
Strontium is often absorbed in animals and plants like Calcium and it can be substitute it in some cases. When radioactive material has been released isotopes of Strontium is often one of the biggest issues for cleanup and containment. In the past it and isotopes of Iodine are the hardest to get rid of and the most concerning as they are readily absorbed by the body from eating contaminated foods. Here they do untold damage, causing cancer and deformities.
A Wale Shark then matches with Strontium as a filter feeder, it eats a little bit of radioactive material, if this increases we are likely to no longer see them.
Bromine is a trace element that is very closely related to its sister element Iodine, the one can often be mistaken for the other. It often was used a part of pesticides but as it causes ox one depletion is was banned. It is now used in anti-convulsion and anti-seizure drugs. As it is found in small amounts in ocean water, but also in high concentration in salt lakes, Krill is a good match. Krill isn’t really one species, but a series of different very small crustaceans of the order Euphausiacea. They do however seem almost diluted within the oceans they are so small.
Krypton might seem like its the weakness of superman (that was Kryptonite) it is in reality a inert gas, mostly free of radiation and unable to react with other elements unless under very specific circumstance. Like all of the noble gasses thus far Krypton is depicted as a bird. The kestrel is bird of prey that feeds often on small rodents and lizards and sometimes larger prey. I matched it with Krypton because they both start with the letter K.
Arsenic is a odd little element that is usually known for its toxic effect on most carbon based life. It is however often used in semiconductors along with Gallium. There is an extremophile bacterium that loves arsenic-rich environments (generally volcanic fissures, tailing pools from mining) it is called unimaginatively Arsenobacteria.
Selene is a goddess of the moon, selenium was thus called so because of her, and Tellurium which had just been discovered and named for the Earth. Clearly having similar properties meant it should be called with a similar naming convention, and since Tellurium is heavier and us in the set of elements below Selenium, the name became obvious. So, what the hell does this have to do with Tuna? Selenium is a powerful antioxidant in Tuna especially, though clearly too much is toxic just like too much of anything is!
The Dodo is famous for being the bird that became extinct. Gallium does not occur as a free element (only as an alloy, usually with zinc or aluminium in bauxite) and is a reasonably soft pliable metal. It’s used in most consumer electronics in semiconductors. Why do they belong together? Gallium is also used to keep the crystal structure of plutonium stable. Plutonium has limited uses, expect in nuclear medicine and thermonuclear bombs. Without gallium, we wouldn’t be able to keep thermonuclear weapons stable. Also, we would likely be less close to mutually assured destruction.
Germanium is a hungry element much like oxygen or carbon; it forms binds to a high number of other elements. Thus a boar is a good match for this element.
Orb spiders are one of my favourite spiders. Often make large majestic webs, usually a new one every day to catch insects and other invertebrates. The spider from Charlotte’sweb is an orb spider. They have adapted well to urbanisation. Copper is often a very versatile and useful element, though usually as an alloy in brass and types of steel, it colour us very much like that of many species of orb spider.
Tigers are a rather big carnivore that lives on most of the Asian continent. Bengal Tigers clearly being the most famous, followed by the Siberian Tiger. Zinc is a fairly common post transition metal and its use is frequent in everything from aerospace products to sunscreen. Zinc was discovered first in India at some point before recorded history (before 1000 BCE) and this of course is the reason for my choice of Tiger as the representation of this element.
Cobalt (as a oxide) is a metal that is often used in tinting glass jewellery and other products to make a brilliant blue color. Often mistaken as the result of bismuth by early chemists and alchemists. I chose the to depict it as a Macaw as its bright blue is so much like that produced by cobalt oxide.
Nickel is a metal often used as an alloy or a plating for more corrosive metals. Usually, as destructive oxidation is less likely to affect it. It’s also often referred to as “old nick” in German miner slang to its resistance when coupled with copper, and thus a “devil” to refine and spot. Nickel is also one of the most widely used elements for implants, though often in an alloy with Aluminium, Titanium and Osmium and until recently Lead (which stopped due to leads high toxicity). Its use in dental fillings is extraordinarily widespread, as a mixture is enlarged, especially so. An enlargement of something is often called a proboscis in biology although many invertebrates and vertebrates have such feature the renowned “naughty” nature of the Proboscis monkey led me to depict them as Nickel.
Manganese is a strong element that helps with muscle growth. It is a trace element in many vegetables and plants often consumed by herbivores in their food, and Carnivora from the herbivores they eat. Rhinoceros is a animal renouned for its strength and it’s rather brustish way of keeping itself safe using its brute strength and it’s hard horn. Much like the behavior of manganese if it’s misused.
Iron is one of the most important and used elements in the world. Used in most large construction projects, transport projects and in many household items. It wide use and strength led me to draw it as mouse. Mice are a very widely spread animal, on every continent (except Antarctica). They have the ability too breed very quickly and eat everything in sight in the right conditions. Their strength in numbers makes up for their small size and are very worthy of being the representative of iron.
Vanadium and chromium are a set of a pair in a way. They both produce colourful salts. But vanadium tends to be a bit more uniform, and thus I chose to use the mayfly as it’s animal. They come in all sorts of colours and sizes and often live short lives. Chromium has even more different salts and is commonly used in paint, stains, tanning, plating and many other uses. The mantis shrimp is one of the most curious creatures in the ocean. It has eyes that pick up colours well beyond the red, green, yellow and blue we can perceive. They can also produce an almost bullet-like snap with their claws that they use to stun their prey.
Scandium is a rare earth element mostly used in alloys of aluminum. It’s depiction as polar bear is pretty much a pun with a little bit of the fact that polar bears are getting rarer.
Wombats are the Titanium of the marsupials. They are tough heavy and very strong. Wombats are somewhat rodent like eating roots, grasses and have similar teeth to rodants. In Australia they are can be involved in road accidents, often causeing significant damage to vehicles involved. They are a covergant evolutionary species. Titanium is very like them in being a adaptable, strong and hard metal.
Potassium is another one of those reactive elements. It’s often used to create some pretty spectacular explosions. Termites are usually harmful to trees and also to wooden houses. So much, so that homes in termite-prone areas are made of aluminum or steel to stop them from destroying them.
Dugongs are one of my favorite animals. They are closely related to dolphins. They are herbivores and mostly eat seagrasses in tropical and semi-tropical waters. They are often quite slow but can make quick escaped from predators if need be. They are an indicator species, and their mas death usually indicates problems with the environment.
Calcium is a unique little element, often associated with bones as it makes up a considerable amount of bones and shells. It is also an indicator of problems with the environment of their is to much or too little for the soil type. It’s also something to watch out for in a nuclear fallout as radioactive calcium is often present in the weeks after a human-made atomic explosion. Its presence in the environment will mean it attaches to our bones and potentially causes cancer.
Chlorine is often used to kill bacteria in our pools, homes, hospitals, etc. It has nothing to do with Chlorophyl which is a set of organic chemicals that help plants and bacterias photosynthesis process. Other than of course the horrible pun.
Finches are of course Birds and have a vast variety of subspecies. It was Finches of the Galapagos that helped Darwin formulate the Origins of Species. Argon is the second Nobel gas we have got to with this series. As with most of the novel gasses, it’s inert and doesn’t react with anything unless under certain conditions. We have a not insignificant amount of it in the air we breathe every day. It was by the discovery of Lord Rayleigh that we found out that Argon existed. Lord Rayleigh studied birds, finches, seabirds, etc. in his studies of how the atmosphere moves. Thus we have the connection to the humble Finch.
Phosphorus is an element that is very reactive. When it was first discovered, with the purification of urine, the green, yellow glow given in a low light gave it the name it now holds. Phosphorescence now also hold this name too, even though the light produced by phosphorus belongs to the broader chemiluminescence. Though truly fireflies produce their light using a luciferin chemical which contains no phosphorus at all. Some luciferin chemicals do though. Fireflies were, however, the ones to give fame to Bioluminescence and Phosphorescence and the study of producing light without flame or electricity.
Sulfer Crested Cockatoos are another Australian animal. It is also the first animal in the series to have an elemental name in its common name. The yellow crest though just looks like crystallized Sulfer, though this was how the common name for the cockatoo came about. It pretty much reacts with most elements, and though the cockatoos are not as harsh, they have been the bane of farmers, eating grain sowed in soil or from crops. They make what is regarded as the worst calls in the bird kingdom. Thus the element is a good name for them. Despite this, they are a fairly intelligent and like budgerigars have made it into homes as a pet.
Aluminium is a fairly common but reactive element. The cockroach is one of the most abundant species of beetle. Though in this case, we are talking about the European cockroach as I accidentally realized that cockroach was also a perfect match for Lead. Why? Well, we will get to Lead at another stage in the future (32 posts away). So Aluminium is an unforgiving element… Kindof. It is very malleable, changeable and if you treat it right, it will do the same for you. Treat it wrong, and it rots to the core. Much like what will happen if you leave European cockroaches alone!
Silicone is a rather interesting metalloid being one of the most abundant metals in our crust, its use in computing, glass, and many clays and ceramics is now well known; its separation as a single element, however, is relatively late in 1823.
Dragonflies often have four transparent wings, which often reflect the light iridescently giving them an almost seemingly magical glow. It is because of this glow that Dragonflies hold a significant place in some mythology and culture. Wetland loss, however, means they are now less common. Silicone and dragonflies both have this iridescence in the natural form, and thus they belong together.
Sodium’s elemental is Na. The science memes that have been all around the Internet will tell you that “Na Na Na NA NA” will or should be immediately followed by “Batman!”. This is pretty much the only connection I have. A bad pun will always win with me.
Magnesium is a relatively volatile easily oxidized element that is relatively abundant as alkaline metals go. As vipers make up one of the most abundant species of snake, it seemed to be a good match. Some Vipers spit venom; some inject it with their bite. Quite a few give birth to live young, a rarity in reptiles. Though none exist in Australia despite our reputation for venomous reptiles, most of our venomous snakes are Elapidae but not true vipers. Some even belong to a “viper like” family that is possibly a sign of some convergent evolution (though a biologist might tell me I am wrong here).
Fluoride as a Cane Toad is pretty much the best comparison I can make as an Australian. Fluoride is highly toxic halogen, and almost everything reacts with it. Cane Toads (also known as Marine Toad or the giant neotropical toad have become a highly invasive species in Australia. Mostly introduced to get rid of another introduced pest (Irony if the highest order) the Cane Toads made a quick beeline to eat as much as they could wherever they went. Being coated in a highly toxic mucus, the predators quickly learned to stick clear, though some have learned to flip the bodies over and attack their belly. Fluorides toxic nature and its ability to become attached to
Neon is the first “noble gas” if you don’t count Helium (which some don’t). Budgerigars are another Australian connection through this time a native. Budgerigars are recently domesticated birds, and usually, live in flocks in outback Australia. Though they are threatened by foxes and cats, who were introduced by the settlers early on in settlement.
Budgerigars usually have a bright array of feathers on the male. A lot of dimorphism in nature sees the male of the species be the “prettier” more colorful one. The dimorphism is often to show the health of the male. The heavier, the more bright and nice looking his coat. Neon is often used in colorful lights by humans, along with other noble gases and colored glass or additives to make them shine a particular color and brightness. This is how for me Budgerigahs fit in with Neon.
Nitrogen and Oxygen are two of essential elements for life. Though Carbons role can’t not be ignored, it is simply a building block upon which these other elements become a part of in straightforward and complex life. Axolotl is very similar to Salamanders which we probably remember from Beryllium. Axelottles choice here as the animal that represents Nitrogen is of particular importance though. Nitrogen in a biological system is essential for a cycle of growth, though occasionally things need rapid change and Nitrogen can do this. Much like Axolotl who can reproduce without undergoing metamorphosis. Nitrogen is also an excellent indicator of the health of a system. Axolotl is also used as an indicator species. Being amphibious they take up toxins, get sick and are easily bred for scientific research into aquatic systems, hearts, neural tube defects and many other embryonic development problems. They much like nitrogen also can comply regenerate without scaring. The Nitrogen cycles are very similar in that the same nitrogen that goes into a system also comes out of it. The last connection is an awful bioscience pun. Which I will save you from unless you wish to guess in the comments.
Ravens are incredibly intelligent birds. I try my best to match the elements that are gases at room temperature with birds, but as you can tell for nitrogen Axolotl made a far better match than any bird I could think of, though the connections get a little less complicated and semi scientific over time. Some only have the connection by their country of discovery or are simply animals that felt right at the time! Raven does like to form groups of two (two ravens are relatively common) though often these are solitary birds who have barely any real connection to the element Oxygen. It just felt right somehow. Maybe you have a theory or a connection I missed? Let me know in the comments.
Again older art. Done with my old signatures.
I may do the art again at some stage.
Boron is rare and can become Boric Acid in which some Acidobacteria have learned to live. This artwork contains probably one of the few animals that are almost directly related to the element I’ve artistically assigned it as. Most Acidobacteria is either harmless to humans, but considering it often lives in very acidic areas it’s likely you would have other concerns.
Carbon is essential for life. It’s pretty much the element that helps create all life on our planet. It’s maybe possible that Silicon based life might exist, but this has never been adequately proven or disproven. Carbon makes better stronger long chains and creatures create chemicals readily from using its ability to be transformed. Scarab Beetles are one of the most important agricultural animals in the world. Transformating scats, into good soil often quickly and readily; using the scat as a place to lay their young as a good food source. They are one of the chief transformation agents of the insect world and we would be up to our necks is cow shit, and other shit without them!
Lithium and Beryllium are the next two elements on the periodic table. They are both very volatile and odd but also necessary. Hence both having strange creatures as their representatives in this series. The piece you see here is a very early work. I’m mostly displaying it as I often feel I should show how much I have grown as an artist over time. These sort of growths photos help me as an artist, and I am sure they will help others.
Earthworms are deceivingly simple creatures. They are quite complicated life for their size, and the same goes for Lithium. It is a far more difficult element than it seems at first. Even tricking some of the worlds best minds in nuclear fusion when they built the whole stuff up that was a Castle Bravo nuclear test.
Salamander are fascinating little creatures. Some are toxic, others not so. They should not be confused with axolotls and newts. The salamander lives in aquatic like environments mostly in the northern hemisphere. They are the only true vertebrates who can fully regenerate cut off limbs. Although some lizards can perform partial regeneration, it’s not nearly to the extent and ability that Salamanders can. Often they are associated with the alchemical element of fire. I’m not sure why. I blame Agrippa (Alchemy joke for all you Alchemy fans).
Beryllium almost always only occurs with other elements. As part of a crystal or simply just with the other elements. It is slightly toxic and requires specific handling. It’s also oddly invisible to X-rays and thus is often used in plastic and glass on X-ray equipment. It also is very flexible for a metalloid. It’s also sometimes used to date in radiocarbon dating due to its isotope B10s half life.
We start this series with the two most common elements in the universe. Although they are common, they are both gases. This has led me to decide to portray them as birds.
The Hydrogen is Wedge Tailed Eagle. The Eagles who spent many years of my youth amazing me with their supreme mastery of the thermals rising near my home in south Canberra. Helium is a light lifting element, so that led me to use this wonderful bird. Unlike most of the Animals as Elements series, their is no watercolor; the pencil is dry.
The Helium is Kiwi. Why? Well, Kiwis as very shy, very solitary animals. Their eggs are almost as big as they are. This is kind of like Helium. It likes to be by itself. The first Nobel gas. It sticks around by itself and in the cores of stars fuses to make new Helium and hydrogen or bigger elements and a lot of energy. It’s calm, solitary and very Kiwi like.