If your beat requires you to provide details about almost any kind of animal, plant, or other life form, you may want to know about the 4-year-old Encyclopedia of Life. It has vastly expanded its content since its inception and now provides extensive nitty-gritty on about half of all described species, as laid out in more than 950,000 pages and more than 760,000 images.
It is searchable by both common and scientific terms. Each entry has far more information than you'll likely need, but tucked into the text, images, and maps you may turn up just the right basic facts, little-known nuances, or critical data that can flesh out your coverage or make it zing. Some of the pages are in Spanish.