Animals as Elements: 35-36 Bromine Krill and Krypton Kestrel


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.


Animals as Elements: 33-34 Arsenic Arsnobacteria, Selenium Tuna

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!

Animals as Elements: 31-32, Gallium Dodo, Germanium Boar

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.

Animals as Elements: 27-28 Cobalt Hyacinth Macaw, Nickel Proboscis Monkey

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.

Animals as Elements: 25-26 Manganese Rhinoceros and Iron Mouse

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. 

Animals as Elements: 23-24 Vanadium Mayfly, Chromium Mantis Shrimp

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. 

Animals as Elements: 21-22 Scandium Polar Bear, Titanium Wombat

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. 

Animals as Elements: 19-20 Potassium Termite, Calcium Dougong 

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.

Animals as Elements: 17-18 Chlorine Alge and Argon Finch 

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.

Animals as Elements: 15-16 Phosphorus Firefly & Sulfer Crested Cockatoo

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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.

Animals as Elements: 13-14 Aluminium (European) Cockroach, Silicone Dragonfly


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.

Animals as Elements: 11-12, Sodium Townsend Big Eared Bat & Magnesium Viper

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).

Animals as Elements: 9&10 Fluorine Cane Toad and Neon Budgerigar

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.

Animals as Elements: 7&8 Nitrogen Axolotl and Oxygen Raven

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.

Animals as Elements: 5&6 Boron Acidobacteria, Carbon Scarab Beetle

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!

Animals as Elements: 3&4, Lithium Earthworm & Beryllium Salamander 

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.

Animals as Elements: Elements 1&2. Hydrogen wedge tailed eagle; Helium Kiwi

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.

Virtual Exhibition: Animals as elements. 

As some of you who follow this blog for a long time I intersect my poetry often with my artwork. This has led me to decide to start my first Virtual exhibition of my physical artwork. Although I also dabble in my virtual artwork a lot of that is concentrated on getting art done for my comic. Which also helps me in bringing my narrative skills to bear.

So to help bring the two together in a new way I will be creating a virtual exhibition of my Animals As Elements series of physical art. Each will come with a artists statement of how the art came into being, why that particular animal was chosen and sometimes a poem. This will of course take some time so I plan to realese them about weekly. Thankfully the art is well ahead of the other parts of this process. 

Hope you enjoy.

Yours in creativity,



I am going to be posting a poem every second day in August. I hope. I’m doing this for two reasons, one to practice my poetry skills and try and up the differences between them. The other is to gain more attention to my blog. Yeah I’m a little vain, but I love it when people like my poems. 

All these poems are free! For your eyes to see. If I’m feeling really generous I might even record me reading one or two.

I will be also be making poetry and art for sale section of the site in due course. Possibly before this post goes up. 

Hope all is well,