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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Sunday, December 23, 2012

CARL MARSHALL: Chinese gliding frogs

The Chinese gliding frog Polypedates dennysii gets its common name from leaping between branches, using the webbing between its feet to act like wings, allowing it to steer through the air. Adhesive pads on its feet help it stick when landing. 
These frogs belong to the taxonomic family Rhacophoridae, can grow to four inches and feed on almost any invertebrates that come close enough to catch.

Eggs are laid in foam nests created by the females by beating a liquid secretion into a foam with her hind legs. 

These colourful frogs have distinctive webbed feet with each digit ending in broad, flat discs, permitting them to climb up smooth surfaces with relative ease.    

According to Dr Karl Shuker's authoritative tome, Extraordinary Animals Revisited (CFZ Press) P. dennysii are said to be capable of gliding up to three times as far as Alfred Russell Wallace's already aerodynamically impressive flying frog Rhacophorus nigropalmatus and reverently worshiped as a god by some of its human neighbours, who carry it in a regal procession upon its own ceremonial chair on certain holy days. These amphibians gliding capabilities were disbelieved by scientists for quite some time, but as Dr Shuker rightly points out scientists will, almost as a matter of course, ignore evidence if provided by uneducated native people. Like many other examples of this type of academic arrogance this theory was of course eventually proven correct. 

Photographs by Philippe Lurin.

Shuker K.P.N. Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007) CFZ Press: Bideford.

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