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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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...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

CARL MARSHALL: Deaths head hawkmoth larvae at Stratford Butterfly Farm.

The Deaths head hawkmoth Acherontia atropos is the largest moth to be regularly found in Britain. Although not truly a native, it is a common migrant from southern Europe. When conditions lead to a large migration, the striking yellow caterpillars can sometimes be encountered in late summer feeding in potato fields.

The adult moths are unusual in several ways: they have the ability to emit a loud squeak when irritated by expelling air from the pharynx. They also have the habit of raiding beehives for honey - a behaviour enabled by their ability to produce a scent mimicking that of the queen bee. Perhaps most strikingly unusual is the skull-like markings on the thorax. This feature has earned this species a negative reputation, and in popular culture it has often been used in connection with evil and the supernatural, most notably in the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs.  

Although in Britain the larvae are most commonly found on potato Solanum tuberosum, in captivity they will readily accept Privet Ligustrum vulgare. The bright yellow larvae are striking in colouration and also size, with individuals growing as large as 12cm.

Larval food plants:




The Gonzo Daily - Saturday
This is a particularly hectic time at the CFZ. Graham is away with his mother and sister, and Richard is here all week. I was recording all yesterday afternoon and evening with Mike David, and he (together with a young lady from Fremington who apparently has a Joss Stonesqe bluesy soul voice) will be back later, and also tomorrow. Expect some new material imminently.
This, however, is where I should probably warn you about the events of next weekend. Corinna and I will be away on Thursday and not returning until Saturday. The blogs will continue uninterrupted, and the next week's issue of Gonzo Weekly will be out either before we go or when we come back. BUT, and this is the big BUT, because neither Graham or me will be here, and because Richard has the computer skills of a three toed sloth with some peculiar learning disorder, there are unlikely to be any e-mail notifications for a couple of days.
Why? Corinna and I are going to Manchester to see Peter Gabriel, and then down to Oakham to collect Mother and bring her down here for the winter. Normal service will, I sincerely hope, be resumed by next weekend...
Another visit to our old friend Thom the World Poet.
‘One of the best shows Yes ever did’: The threat of gun fire in Argentina didn’t slow Jon Anderson
*  The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at  jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...

*  The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link:
* We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!

*  Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 54 who - together with his orange cat (who is currently on sick leave in Staffordshire) and two very small kittens (one of whom is also orange) puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish, and sometimes a small Indian frog. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the orange cat?

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...

From Nick Redfern's World of Whatever:
From CFZ Australia:


In an article for the first edition of Cryptozoology Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that cryptozoology is the study of 'unexpected animals' and following on from that perfectly reasonable assertion, it seems to us that whereas the study of out-of-place birds may not have the glamour of the hunt for bigfoot or lake monsters, it is still a perfectly valid area for the Fortean zoologist to be interested in. So after about six months of regular postings on the main bloggo Corinna took the plunge and started a 'Watcher of the Skies' blog of her own as part of the CFZ Bloggo Network.


The hunt for British Big Cats attracts far more newspaper-column inches than any other cryptozoological subject. There are so many of them now that we feel that they should be archived by us in some way, so we are publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in. In September 2012 Emma Osborne decided that the Mystery Cat Study Group really deserved a blog of its own within the CFZ Blog Network.

  • UK SIGHTINGS: Mystery big cat like animal on a Nor...
  • UK SIGHTINGS: Mystery after 'big cat' spotted near...
  • UK SIGHTINGS: Big cat sighting in Bricket Wood?
  • AUSTRALIA SIGHTINGS: The Radium Hill Tiger
  • UK SIGHTINGS: On the prowl for Dorset's Big Cats
  • TODAY: Australia's big black cat
  • AUSTRALIA SIGHTINGS: Lithgow Panther
  • UK SIGHTINGS: Mystery cat sighting near Lockerbie

  • UK SIGHTINGS: Weeklies' big cat search intensifies...
  • DALE DRINNON: Laocoon serpents, Sykes' bear, Frontiers of Anthropology, Benny's Blogs, and a visit to the singular world of Cedar and Willow

    New at Frontiers of Zoology:
    New at Frontiers of Anthropology:
    New at Cedar and Willow:
    New at Benny's Blog for Thelma Todd:
    Best Wishes, Dale D.