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, May 04, 2010


Folks, today I am concluding my look at the underground cave ecosystem near Dobrogea, Romania with a look at its fauna:

This is a continuation of the article by S. M. Sarbu and T. C. Kane, of the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Ohio. – “These peculiar physicochemical conditions produce a unique ecosystem. Forty-six species of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates have been discovered in the cave so far, of which 31 are previously undescribed. Twenty-two new species of terrestrial invertebrates …collected only in the lower level of the cave in the vicinity of the H2S-rich waters are included in this group. They are all endemic to the subterranean ecosystem associated with the thermal waters at Mangalia. The vast majority are arthropods belonging to four classes: Arachnida, Crustacea, Myriapoda, and Insecta. These species are obligate cave dwellers (i.e. troglobites), well adapted to the peculiar environment in which they live. They lack eyes and pigment, and their appendages (legs and antennae) are elongated, traits that are important in an environment in which light is absent and tactile and chemical sensory systems are important in perceiving the environment. …We are interested in understanding the trophic structure of the community. A detailed examination of the region appears to preclude the possibility of significant input of organic matter from the surface (there are no lakes,rivers,or swamps in the region to provide organic matter that could infiltrate the system). …What is the source of the food base for this system? The answer appears to lie in the microbiota inhabiting the lower level of Movile Cave…Some of the species discovered in Movile Cave also inhabit some of the old wells dug by peasants in the town of Mangalia and in villages nearby. Thus, this fauna is not limited to Movile Cave,but is distributed throughout an extensive network of fissures and cave passages located in Mangalia region…

…Some of the species of spiders and beetles have their closest relatives in tropical climates as shown by M. Georgescu (1989) (1) and by R. Poggi (1994) (2). The spider Agraecina cristiani is related to spiders living in the Canary Islands and in northern Africa (Weiss and Sarbu, 1994) (3). Nearly 75% of the terrestrial species discovered in Movile Cave are endemic to the subterranean environment associated with the thermal H2S-rich waters at Mangalia...The aquatic species living at the surface could have continuously invaded the aquifer through its points of discharge at springs located along the shore of the Black Sea and on the bottom of the H2S-rich lakes present in the region. Besides the very old species that inhabit Movile Cave such as the amphipod Pontoniphargus racovitzai there are also species that invaded the aquifer very recently, during the Würm glaciation and even later. The aquatic isopod Asellus aquaticus has a very recent presence in Europe in general…Several of the ciliate protistans are probably also more recent colonists along with the nematodes,the leech,and copepods…Studies performed by R. Popa (unpublished) show that some of the species living in Movile Cave are highly resistant to poisoning by hydrogen sulphide. The body of the waterscorpion Nepa anophthalma, for example, is covered by a thick layer of filamentous sulphur-bacteria that may be an important means of protection against the poisonous gas. (4)

1. M.Georgescu 1989 Sur trios taxa nouveaux d`Araneides troglobies de Dobrogea (Roumanie).Miscellanea speologica Romanica 1:85-102
2. R.Poggi 1994 Descrizione di un nuovo pselafide rumeno,primo rappresentante cavernicolo della tribu Tyrini. Boll.Soc.ent.ital 125:221-228
3. Weiss I and S.M.Sarbu 1994 Die Höhlenspinne Agraecina cristiani (Georgescu 1989) n.comb. (Arachnida,Araneae,Liocranidae) Verh.naturwiss Ver.Hamburg.35: 421-428
3. S.M.Sarbu and T.C.Kane 1995 A Subterranean Chemoautotrophically Based Ecosystem The NSS Bulletin December 1995 91-98

Sorry, no time for song lyrics, but I need a translator from English into Japanese and vice-versa for a cryptozoology project.

Please can anyone help?


Please join me in taking action today to stop destructive expansion of the Okinawa military base onto endangered sea turtle and dugong coral reef habitat in Japan. Use the link below to learn more and take action today,


Also, I wanted to let you know about the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, http://www.seaturtles.org/

They're an organisation leading international efforts to protect sea turtle populations worldwide. Sea turtles are a window into how we treat our oceans and our environment. The same factors that are causing declines of sea turtles - unsustainable fishing, coastal habitat destruction, pollution, and overconsumption of natural resources - are the same ones contributing to the decline of our oceans.

Take a moment to get involved and help protect imperiled sea turtles! Go to the Action Center and be a voice for sea turtle protection.

Thank you!



Yesterday morning I was sat in my study happily doing the blog when the post arrived. During these difficult times the advent of the postman is not always a pleasant occasion but yesterday the only post was a letter from `Doc`, a catalogue for Corinna and the latest edition of the Amateur Entomological Society bulletin for me.

I always enjoy the AES Bulletin and put it aside for later perusal when the leaflet reproduced above fell out. Golly, said I. A National Moth Night; I want a bit of that, and I pledged that somehow the CFZ would get involved....


SUNDAY 25th APRIL 2010

Report by David Marshall

Presentation photographs by John Hetherington (Workington A.S.)

Events of the day photographs by David Marshall

On Sunday 25th April seasoned and novice Aquarists alike travelled from many corners of the U.K. in order to join the members of the Ryedale Aquarist Society for their annual aquarium fish Open Show, which was held at the new venue of Old Malton Memorial Hall.

The Open Show consisted of 40 classes covering the full range of tropical freshwater and coldwater fish. Over 40 families brought along a total of 298 fish, many of these of which were of an extremely high standard, and these were judged to Y.A.A.S. rules and standards.

The main results were as follows: -
Best in Show - Mr. & Mrs. Nelson (Ashby Fishkeepers) with a Metraclima lombardoi (86.6 points).
Best Exhibit - Mr. B. Kerrigan (STAMPS)
Best Goldfish - The Flinn Family (Birtley A.S.)
Junior Award - Miss A. Charters (STAMPS)

23 vendors submitted auction ‘lots’ giving Mr Steve Jones and his auctioneering team a very busy but enjoyable afternoon.

The Ryedale members send their thanks to the small army of helpers from both the Y.A.A.S. and T.T.A.A.F.B.A.S. for their wonderful help, to our judges of the day, to all the exhibitors who brought along their best fish, Steve and his auction crew, to the people who brought their auction ‘lots’, aquatic industry and tourist attractions for their generous support, to all our friends who made the journey to be with us and interested visitors from the Ryedale area who came along to view the fish exhibits.

The photographs show Judge Kevin Webb surrounded by exhibits, a busy auction hall and David Marshall presenting Mrs Nelson with the Best in Show trophy.


In this month's issue of Messrs Mera and Sadler's online magazine there are a lot of things of interest to readers of this bloggo. These include an article about mystery cats by Lisa Dowley and our very own Richard Freeman. For details, email sadler_dave@yahoo.co.uk

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1943 Michael Palin was born. He is, of course, best known for being part of Monty Python’s Flying Circus but in his post-python career became a travel writer and managed to equal the fictional feet of Phileas Fogg by travelling around the world in under 80 days, without cheating and using aeroplanes (although Palin did have to use cars in some small sections of the journey, due to security concerns).
And now, the news:

Scientists use 'Jurassic Park' experiment to try to bring woolly mammoth back from the dead
New Species of Ancient Flying Reptile Discovered
Six amazing hybrid animals
Deer charge into bar as fans watch Bucks game
With a broken leg over a Bank Holiday weekend, you'd be feeling a bit spiky too
Left-handed pets give paws for thought
“Antifreeze Blood” Gave Woolly Mammoths a Survival Edge

‘Wool-I’ never.