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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In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are the last three episodes:


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Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FROM HERPDIGEST: Can we use the tadpoles of Australian frogs to reduce recruitment of invasive cane toads?

Can we use the tadpoles of Australian frogs to reduce recruitment of invasive cane toads?
Elisa Cabrera-Guzmán, Michael Crossland, Richard Shine
Article first published online: 12/23/10, Journal of Applied Ecology
How to Cite
Cabrera-Guzmán, E., Crossland, M. and Shine, R. , Can we use the tadpoles of Australian frogs to reduce recruitment of invasive cane toads?. Journal of Applied Ecology, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01933.x
Author Information
School of Biological Sciences A08, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
*Correspondence: Richard Shine,
*Correspondence: Correspondence author. E-mail: rick.shine@sydney.edu.au

1. Native to the Americas, cane toads Bufo marinus are an invasive species causing substantial ecological impacts in Australia. We need ways to control invasive species such as cane toads without collateral damage to native fauna.

2. We explored the feasibility of suppressing survival and growth of cane toad tadpoles via competition with the tadpoles of native frogs. Compared to the invasive toads, many native frogs breed earlier in the season and their tadpoles grow larger and have longer larval periods. Hence, adding spawn or tadpoles of native frogs to toad-breeding sites might increase tadpole competition, and thereby reduce toad recruitment.

3. Our laboratory trials using tadpoles of eight native frog species gave significant results: the presence of six of these species (Cyclorana australis, C. longipes, Litoria caerulea, L. dahlii, L. rothii and L. splendida) reduced toad tadpole survival and/or size at metamorphosis. Litoria caerulea also increased the duration of the larval period of cane toad tadpoles. Tadpoles of the other two frog species (Litoria rubella and Litoria tornieri) did not affect survival or growth of larval cane toads any more than did an equivalent number of additional toad tadpoles. Native frog species with larger tadpoles exerted greater negative effects on toad tadpoles than did native species with smaller tadpoles.

4.Synthesis and applications. Encouraging the general public to construct and restore waterbodies in peri-urban areas to build up populations of native frogs - especially the much-loved green tree frog Litoria caerulea- could help to reduce recruitment rates of invasive cane toads in Australia.

DALE DRINNON: Tim Dinsdale and the Giant Anaconda Photograph



New Anole Website - Anole Annals (http://anoleannals.wordpress.com/), a new website devoted to all things anole. Created by a group of scientists and anole enthusiasts, the site features postings from many authors on new scientific findings, descriptions of new species, anoles in art, literature and commerce, photographs and general discussion of topics concerning the biological diversity of the 400 species of Anolis. Recent postings include discussions of invasive anole species; anole, the first gay superhero; anole origami and anoles in recent art exhibits; and a report of an anole consumed by a venus fly-trap.


TAXONOMY FAIL: Another from Mr B

ROBERT SCHNECK: Adopt-a-Mummified Animal

When Egypt calms down a bit, consider adopting and helping to maintain a mummified animal.

"These animal mummies have been largely ignored by Egyptologists. Today, the Cairo Museum holds on of the world's largest collections of these unique artefacts. A collection which needs to be carefully recorded, studied and preserved for future generations."


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1975 Charles Hawtrey foiled an attempt by Barry and Paul Elliot, aka The Chuckle Brothers, to steal the crown jewels in order to sell them on to a wealthy Droitwich Spa based consortium for the princely sum of £80 (which was a lot of money in those days). The exact details of the incident are shrouded in secrecy and still covered by a gagging order imposed by the home secretary at the time, all that is really known about the events is that Hawtrey managed to foil the plot using only a pair of boxer shorts and a trout that he happened to be carrying at the time. Sadly, the trout perished in the insident. The Chuckle Brothers apologised personally to the queen after being frogmarched half way across London from the Tower to Buckingham palace by Hawtrey himself and she decided not to press charges as the pair had suffered enough. The Chuckle brothers gave up their life as international jewel thieves as a result. Ever since then it has been said that at midnight on the anniversary of this event the ghost of the trout can be seen flopping about on Tower Green with a somewhat shocked look on it's face.
And now the news:

Owls change colour as climate warms
The Shameful Shell Games Continue (Via Herp Diges...
Oil in Gulf of Mexico (Via Herp Digest)
Stunned Turtles Hit Record of 1,040 (Via Herp Dige...
Race on To Save Sea Turtles (Via Herp Digest)
Fishing Closures announced; turtle patrols begin (...
X-Rays Reveal Hidden Leg of an Ancient Snake (Via ...
Dinosaur named 'thunder-thighs'

If you're about 30 or so this clip might get you feeling moderately nostalgic, a forgotten classic from the late 80's/early 90s: