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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 01, 2010

MIKE HALLOWELL: A Verdant interloper

This year I suggested to Jackie that we camped at the Weird Weekend instead of staying at a B&B or a hotel. This shocked Mrs H as she knows that I am not the world's greatest outdoors person and that I am as keen on camping as I am on athlete's foot, which is not very much.

We booked up with the Dyke Green Camp Site in Clovelly, which is managed by a thoroughly nice chap called Mr Johns. We had a terrific time, except for the wasps. Jackie doesn't mind wasps but I can't stand the little buggers. Bees are different for like the German Stukas of WWII, they have a siren that warns you of their imminent approach. Wasps are different. They are silent but deadly, and serve no useful purpose other than to piss off this blogger.

On a regular basis they would fly into our tent via a small aperture at ground level and buzz around my head. Mrs H asked me why I didn't simply, "psychically tell them to go". I said I'd much rather physically twat them with a rolled-up newspaper.

But we also had another little visitor. On Monday morning, just before we set off for home, Jackie noticed what she at first thought was a grasshopper in our tent. On closer examination, however, we realised that it was nothing of the sort. It was, in fact, a ladybird-like beetle the likes of which we'd never seen in Geordieland. It was grass-green in colour and quite happy to walk about on your hand.

Our verdant interloper was quite cute, actually, but we haven't a clue what it is. I've attached two photographs, and I'd be interested to hear from readers regarding what it might have been….

2 comments:

Lars Thomas said...

Me thinks it is a green shield bug (Palomena prasina) but the photo is not the best, so certain I am not. It is a shield bug - but it might be another species.

Lars Thomas

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

I agree; this is a bug, not a beetle (order Hemiptera, not order Coleoptera). As for wasps, the best way I have found to get rid of them is to locate their nest and thoroughly dose the entrance with the pesticide Derris Dust. This is an extract of the Quassia tree roots, the active ingredient being rotenone.

Now, the poison is fairly eco-friendly being a natural toxin and only having a fairly short half-life in the environment. This means that it can be used quite freely and will degrade to harmlessness in a few days, hence the usefulness for killing wasps (it is also highly toxic to wasps and will kill a nest overnight). The one thing to remember is that rotenone is very, VERY poisonous to fish so should never be used near ponds or watercourses of any sort. Oh, and if you don't have a problem with a wasp nest, leave it alone; they're useful predators of caterpillars and the like.