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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Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I found this flying around in my garden the other day. It seemed to like landing on the stems and leaves of plants, although it was not feeding on the plants as far as I could tell. Hind legs are red and seem fuzzy, much larger than other legs.

Middle legs have a zebra-like pattern.Thorax and wings are black. Abdomen is bright red-orange with three black spots running down the middle.Check out the links to the images. I'm just really curious as to what this thing is, I've never seen anything quite like it before.

Anyone have any ideas/definitive answers?


blueguitar said...

I do have an idea as to what this insect is - although, if I'm right, it is a very unexpected occurrence.

Several morphological features point to this being one of the clearwing moths (Sesiidae), a diurnally active family which are Batesian mimics of various social and solitary wasps. There are 16 currently known British species - and this certainly isn't any of them!

It appears to be a member of the Nearctic genus Melittia, colloquially known as 'Squash Vine Borers'. Undertake an internet image search for 'Melittia calabaza' (a Mexican species) and 'Melittia cucurbitae' (from the US) and see whether you agree.

If you think I may be right, I'd like to help you take this further by putting you in touch with one or two entomological colleagues who may be able to confirm or correct my provisional determination.

This is potentially a very interesting and important record, and needs further attention.

Russ.G.H. said...

Hi, I totally agree about the identity of the moth. Well done blueguitar, it took me a long time to come to the same conclusion. Jon, could you please confirm where the moth was seen, was it in the UK?

Jon Downes said...

The unfortnate answer is that I do not know - it was posted to the bug club list from which I reposted it. I will try to find out..