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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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Thursday, February 09, 2012

JON'S JOURNAL: Hard day on the amphibious planet

Today is a blogpost full of bad news I am afraid. It is not just that there is quite a lot of bad news to tell, but also that although we have been out and about a lot in the past week or so, we have been rushed off our feet with various things, and I have got sorely behind with writing up my journal.

So, I am sitting down today in an attempt to get it all up to date.

As anyone who knows me will attest, I am particularly fond of amphibians, (I even sang in a band called Jon Downes and the Amphibians from Outer Space) and I am sad to say that today's blog is largely full of bad news of the amphibious kind.

Firstly, I am very sad to report that three of our caecilians have died - one the other day, and two last night. That means that we only have one or two left. This is a devastating blow to our animal collection as we were not only very proud of having bred them, but they were the most important of our animal exhibits.

But wild amphibians are not doing too well either...



Last week we had the first really bad cold snap of the winter, and - as you can see - "our" ditch at Huddisford was frozen severely enough to cover most of the area with a thick and crisp covering of ice.



And the frogspawn, so newly laid was frozen into a glunky mass. Other frogspawn both here and at "our other" ditch at Kennerland were equally affected. It will be interesting to see what happens to them once the frost has gone. I am sure that they will all have been killed, but it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the spawn to disintegrate and therefore release nutrients badk into the water.

We have been watching these ditches for frogspawn intermittently every winter since 2005/6 and we have never yet seen any of the January spawn hatch out. It was this that prompted Oll's and my tentative hypothesis.



Even adult frogs are falling foul of the weather. I would hypothesise that this unfortunate individual, lulled into a false sense of security by the mild weather, became sluggish in the cold weather and thus was much easier for a car to run over. Sadly this was in the lane outside our house, so it might even have been our car that did for this unfortunate batrachian.

And the title? Check this out:

1 comment:

Syd said...

Sorry to hear of the demise of your caecilians. Perhaps the survivors will start breeding soon.

Frogs are not the brightest of creatures. Every year since I installed my pond, they have deposited their spawn during late January through mid February and it has been destroyed by the frost. A few times they have tried again around the end of March and early April, but are never too successful as they don't seem to produce anywhere near the same quantity of spawn that they deposit earlier.