Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MESSAGE FROM TEX.... thanks buddy


The picture is by Maxy, and the text is taken from the latest issue of the Entomological Livestock Group Newsletter:

Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock:

Thanks to all the ELG members who helped us to our research into parasitoids of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies in 2008. Our research focused particularly on the arrival and spread of a 'new' tachnid fly, Sturmia bella, from the continent since 1998. We would like to ask for your help again in 2009 as our research continues. Some of the data from the 2008 are still being analysed, but a report of the main results can now be
downloaded from our web site at the following address:

To summarise:

* Small Tortoiseshells have declined by approximately 50% in the past decade
* Sturmia bella now has a wide distribution in southern Britain, at least as far north as Merseyside and Doncaster.
* Small Tortoiseshells have declined most dramatically in southern Britain but have been
declining in northern England and Scotland too.
* Sturmia bella is now the major parasitoid for Small Tortoiseshells (but not Peacocks)
* Sturmia bella is mostly recorded from caterpillars collected in late summer.
* Sturmia bella is an additional cause of mortality to the larval batches it parasitizes and may now be compItaliceting with native parasitoids.
*The overwintering strategy of Sturmia bella in the UK is still unknown.
* There is no evidence that local decline rates reflect the presence of Sturmia bella, but sample sizes are small.

Caterpillar samples of Peacock or Small Tortoiseshell collected from the same location as last year would be extremely valuable, but we are also interested in samples from new sites. Samples from northern England and Scotland would be especially welcome. Instructions and recording sheets (slightly updated since last year) are available at the project web site.

Dr Owen Lewis & Dr Sofia
Gripenberg, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
(Email: sturmia.bella@googlemail.com)


I saw this some months ago, and forgot to post it. Grover Krantz was one of the good guys in a field increasingly populated by lunatics, charlatans, and blowhards. When he died in 2002, he was mourned by people across the cryptozoological community, and in the wider realm of anthropology. Now, he has been immortalised. The BBC report reads:

"Dr Grover Krantz was an anthropologist. He's probably best known for his search for Sasquatch - or Big Foot - the ape-like creature rumoured to live in the forests of America's Pacific north west. Dr Krantz never found Big Foot but always remained dedicated to his work.He died of cancer a few years ago but wanted to continue teaching, even after death. He left his body to the University of Tennessee 'Body Farm' so that crime scene investigators could study its decomposition. But once decomposed, what should happen to the skeleton?"

In 2003, his skeleton arrived at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History and was laid in its final resting place in a green cabinet, alongside the bones of his three favourite wolfhounds, as was his last request. In 2009, Krantz's skeleton was painstakingly articulated and, along with the skeleton of one his dogs, included on display in the Smithsonian's "Written in Bone" exhibition.

Golly, I wish I had kept Toby's skeleton....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Another day and it’s time for another round-up of yesterday's news from the CFZ’s cryptozoology daily news blog, followed by a bad pun:

Wildlife crisis worse than economic crisis – IUCN
Birds fly higher with shrinking forest, warmer climate
Zoos Fear Forced Closure, Destruction of Animals
Concern over Ebola virus in pigs
Amphibians mate under a full Moon
'Whistling' deer spark searches
Mystery of cat's 150-mile journey
Water voles are latest victims of the recession
Action to be taken to stop Sussex’s plummeting eel population
Apparently they haven’t been ‘eel’ing very well lately.