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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, September 15, 2010

ANOTHER OUT OF PLACE INSECT?

The White-marked Tussock Moth is a common native of North America, living throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada. The caterpillars feed on a range of host plants including birch, cherry, apple, oak, and even some coniferous trees like fir and spruce.

White-marked Tussock Moths produce two generations each year. The first generation of caterpillars emerge from their eggs in spring, and feed on foliage for 4 to 6 weeks before pupating. In two weeks the adult moth emerges from the cocoon, ready to mate and lay eggs. The cycle is repeated, with the eggs from the second generation
over-wintering.

Kelly Williams from Northumberland believes that she has discovered vagrant specimens of this exclusively New World species in her garden.


Hi Max/Jon

I've attached the photos of the first caterpillar I found (pics 1,2 & 3); on closer inspection/comparison, it may well be the same caterpillar. The tussocks look longer on the one found yesterday (pics 4 & 5) and darker in colour but this could be because it is maturing. I'm not sure, although it has inspired me to invest in a couple of butterfly and moth books so I can investigate a little more.

The pictures of the new one aren't fantastic but I'll get some more this afternoon. It was again found on the patio salix I have growing in a pot in my back yard.

I live in Lynemouth village in Northumberland, and only moved into the property last October so this is my first spring/summer here. The previous owner had nothing in the way of plant life in the yard that I can ever recall, as it was my friend's, father's property for over 35 years. Thanks for your time.



Kelly Williams.

1 comment:

blueguitar said...

The photographs show the larva of the Vapourer moth (Orgyia antiqua), a common and widespread native British species.

The males fly by day between July & October in two broods. They are on the wing at present and most people have probably seen them - orange-brown moths with a distinctive erratic flight. The females are flightless (indeed virtually wingless) and lay their eggs in large batches on or close to the vacated cocoons. These egg batches can often be found on tree trunks or fences. The caterpillars have an extraordinarily large range of foodplants.

For future reference, the following works can be helpful in determining British Lepidoptera larvae:

Porter, Jim: The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British Isles (Viking, 1997);

Carter, D. J. & Hargreaves, B.: A Field Guide to Caterpillars of Butterflies & Moths of Britain & Europe (Collins, 1986);

and three volumes (two on moth larvae, one on butterfly larvae) in Warne's 'Wayside & Woodland' series from the 1940s.

(I think only the first of these books is still in print.)