Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Missouri Mountain Lions

The Missourian reports on four separate mountain lion sightings in and around Franklin County. The most recent:

"Amanda Gildehaus, 22, New Haven, said she thinks she saw a mountain lion Sept. 19 on Highway YY near Clover Bottom.
"Gildehaus said she was driving home around 2 a.m. when she saw a large cat coming out of the woods.
"'It was light in color and was being cautious as it was coming out of the woods, with its ears pointing up,' she said."


Friday, October 26, 2007


What may be a sika deer is wandering Newark, OH. (News source.)

A feline that looks like a maned lion has been reported in West Virginia. (News source.)

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Six Asian elephants (in a herd of 40) got drunk on rice wine fermenting in a farmers' hut, went berserk, and uprooted utility poles, electrocuting themselves. (News source.)

Five Asiatic lions in western India were killed by electric fences surrounding crops near a wildlife sanctuary. (News source.)

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wolf Trouble

Three wolves in southeastern Finland are on a dog-killing spree. 18 dogs have been killed since August, and about as many are missing. (News source.)

"One incident that testifies to the beasts' boldness was when a wolf tried to attack three dogs sitting on a glazed veranda, attempting to break in through a sliding glass door. Fortunately the glass door held."

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Halloween Season Brings Out Monster Tales

Once again, we're in for more creature stories for the Halloween season. Here's an article from Tennessee.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Light Trap

A new underwater trapping technique led to the discovery of a new species of Atlantic goby. (News source.)

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Corals' "Eyes"

Primitive photoreceptors appear responsible for corals' responsiveness to moonlight in their annual synchronous spawning. (News source.)


Endangered Species Profile: the Crab Louse?

A Dutch natural history museum is looking for a specimen of the crab louse for its collection, but hasn't been able to locate any. Even if it is a declining species, that just leads to a whole new batch of conservation issues... (News source.)


Wolf in Massachusetts?

An 85-lb. canine was shot in western Massachusetts after attacking and killing sheep. Due to its wolflike appearance, it is undergoing genetic testing. (News source.)

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Celebes Sea Expedition

Notes on a recent 2007 expedition to the Celebes Sea, with plenty of photos.

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Strange Felines around the World

Miami's Metrozoo held a birthday party for their resident king cheetah, one of only 5 in the U. S. (News source.) [via Kevin Stewart]

A North Yorkshire farmer found 5-inch long prints of what he thinks may be the Beast of Ryedale. (News source.)

Nye County, Nevada, Sheriff's Office received a report of a tiger seen by children waiting at a bus stop. Volunteers went searching, but no tiger was found. (News source.)

Some hunters in Wisconsin think they saw a cougar. (News source.)

Some people online have questioned the authenticity of the South China tiger pics, which is upsetting the photographer and the local officials. (News source.)


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Taniwha Stories (BioFortean Review)

A historical extract from The Maori.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More on South China Tiger

OK, not a lot more, but it looks like the Chinese have banned hunting in mountain area where the tiger was seen. Setting up a nature preserve is under consideration. (News source.)

As a point of interest to cryptozoology buffs, this is the subspecies of tiger which produced the Blue Tiger morph in China.

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Electrofishing Rediscovery

Researchers investigating the rivers in the Northern Territories, Australia, using a new method, electric currents to stun fish, have rediscovered a fish not seen for 14 years. The Lorentz's Grunter (Pingalla lorentzi) was found in two rivers. They hope to find new species as they continue. (News source.)

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Hummingbird Waif

A tropical hummingbird, the green-breasted mango, has turned up in Wisconsin. (News source.)

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Big Salmon Near Loch Ness

What might be the largest salmon ever hooked in the UK was caught (and released) on the River Ness. Initial measurements were 50 inches in length, with a 40 inch girth. Images are being analyzed at a fisheries lab. (News source.)

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

NC "Feline" Elusive

Nothing new on the supposed "big cat" from Bolivia, NC, though more canine-like tracks have been found, so officials are suggesting it might be "a large wolf or bobcat." The rumor mill is pointing to a closed-down private zoo, empty for a year, as a possible source. (News source.)

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Artist on the P-G Film

An interesting, though brief, opinion piece on the Patterson-Gimlin film's credibility from an artist who has worked in special (creature-related) effects, here.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ebay: Historical Bigfoot 20-Lot

For those interested, I've put up a wholesale lot (twenty copies) of The Historical Bigfoot up on Ebay.

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Minnesota BF

A Minnesota Bigfoot hunter is profiled here, along with a review of some sightings.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Greenland's Mythical Animals

Just posted to BioFortean Review.


Vermont Canine Tested

A 92-lb canine shot near Troy, VT, in 2006 by a coyote hunter turns out to be "mainly" wolf. Test results from different labs varied, one stating it had some gray wolf, eastern wolf, and coyote in it, another that it was from two different wolf populations that aren't known to interbreed in the wild. VT Fish & Wildlife is going to continue their investigation. (Press release).


NC Varmint

Bolivia, North Carolina, has reports of a large feline stalking the area, possibly killing two local dogs. A large paw-print taken near attack, however, features claws, which points to a canine, not a feline. (News source.)

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Chinese Tiger Rediscovered?

News reports say that a wild South China tiger, a subspecies that is supposed to be extinct in the wild, has been spotted.

"The tiger was snapped by a local farmer on October 3 near a cliff in Zhenping County, Shaanxi Province, and experts have confirmed that it was a young wild South China tiger, said the Shaanxi Forestry Department.
"Zhou Zhenglong, 52, a farmer of Wencai village who was once a hunter, took pictures of the tiger with a digital camera and on film on the afternoon of October 3, a department spokesman said.
"Experts confirmed the 40 digital pictures and 31 film photographs were genuine. One photograph showed the tiger lying in the grass looking straight ahead.
"Lu Xirong, head of a South China tiger research team in Shaanxi, said the photos proved that wild south China tigers still exist in China."

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

MN Mountain Lion

A Floodwood, MN, man has a trail camera pic of a mountain lion, easily identifiable, from about 20 miles north of that town. (News source.)


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Moose Behavior

Pregnant moose have learned to move closer to human development when they are ready to give birth, giving themselves protection from human-shy predators. (Eurekalert.)

"When it’s time for moose to give birth in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, they head to where it is safest from predators – namely closer to people, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Published in the Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters, the study says that moose avoid predation of their calves by grizzly bears by moving closer to roads and other infrastructure prior to giving birth. Wildlife Conservation Society researchers tracked both moose and bears, finding that pregnant moose in Greater Yellowstone have shifted their movements each year for the past decade about 125 meters closer to roads during calving season, specifically to avoid road-shy brown bears, which can prey heavily on moose calves."


Earthworm Denied

USFWS has denied the addition of the giant Palouse earthworm to the endangered/threatened species list, because there isn't enough scientific information to determine whether threats listed in the petition are actually cause for concern. The petitioners plan to continue their fight. (News source.)

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Brazilian Antwren

BirdLife has announed a possible new species of antwren from Bahia, Brazil. The species, the Sincorá Antwren (Formicivora grantsaui), was described in:

L. P. Gonzaga, A. M. P. Carvalhaes, & D. R. C. Buzzetti. 2007. A new species of Formicivora antwren from the Chapada Diamantina, eastern Brazil (Aves: Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae). Zootaxa 1473: 25–44

The bird "is found only in the campo rupestre vegetation of the Serra do Sincorá between 850 m and 1,100 m in the Chapada Diamantina region. This is an important area that holds other restricted range species such as Grey-backed Tachuri Polystictus superciliaris and Pale-throated Pampa-finch Embernagra longicauda. First observed in 1997, it is closely related to Rusty-backed Antwren Formicivora rufa, with which it sometimes occurs sympatrically. It differs slightly in some plumage characters but more importantly it has quite distinctive vocalisations and each species utilises different habitats. Formicivora grantsaui occurs on rocky outcrops in the campo rupestre and F. rufa in the adjacent savannas."

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Weird Ant

The Crazy Raspberry Ant is turning up in Texas, and scientists are trying to determine where it came from. The genus appears to be Paratrechina, but the species is not certain and may be undescribed. (News source.)


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bigfoot Exhibit

A year-long Bigfoot exhibit has opened up at Washington state's Capital Museum. (News source.)

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Two Heads

Two young boys caught a baby two-headed snake in Iowa. Their mother plans to release it after a few days. (A better plan would be to donate it to a museum, as two-headed snakes are unlikely to survive long in the wild.) (News source.)


Cycad Reproduction

Turns out cycads aren't so primitive in their reproductive process. They utilize a "push-pull pollination cycle" that first forces pollen-laden thrips out of their male cones with toxic levels of chemicals, creating noxious odors, which the female cones then attempt to lure in with their own fragrant smells. (News source.)


More From Loch Ness

A television personality (the paper says "cult tv presenter," but I don't know how accurate that is) is taking advantage of the recent Nessie publicity. From the news:

"A cult American TV presenter arrived at Loch Ness this week pledging to woo a whole new generation of Nessie hunters.
"For glamorous former model Sonia Uribe is making a documentary on the mystery which will target younger audiences around the world." ...

"And US TV personality Sonia Uribe believes she can also introduce thousands of youngsters to the legend of Nessie in an hour-long programme and ensure the enduring mystery of the loch continues." ...
"'I firmly believe Nessie exists and I don't want the mystery to die out. So this is why my documentary, whilst appealing to every generation, will particularly appeal to the young.'
"To achieve that Sonia is going scuba diving in the loch, camping out over night on its shores, and flying over the loch in a bid to capture further evidence of the existence of the monster of the loch."

Doesn't want the mystery to die out? Same old, same old...

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Elephant Shrew Pups

The Denver Zoo has a new pair of black-and-rufous giant elephant shrew pups on display, hand-reared due to the mother's lack of interest. From the news:

"Weasley weighs more than 150 grams and Potter weighs more than 200 grams. When they are fully grown each will weigh a little more than a pound and be a bit more than eight inches long with an eight tail.

"These shrews are the largest of the 15 different species of giant elephant shrews. They are considered vulnerable because loss of their habitat in southeaster Kenya and eastern Tanzania."


Thursday, October 04, 2007

UK: Flying Squirrel or Sugar Glider?

Some sort of small gliding mammal has been spotted in Wimbledon Common. From the news:

"So far educated guesses on website Wild About Britain have included the Australasian sugar glider, the North American flying squirrel or another species of possum." ...
"Wandsworth's Kolin Barnz, who spotted the beast while on the commen, said: 'It was squirrel-like but its face looked more mouse-like, with long whiskers, black eyes and small ears.
"'As it jumped between trees, flaps of skin stretched between its front and back legs and it gilded to the next tree. I couldn't believe my eyes.' How the animal got to its new home is anyone's guess, but it is possible it could be someone's escaped pet."


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sabre-Tooth Bite

A new study suggests that the sabre-tooth cat was not so great in the bite department as imagined. From the Eurekalert:

"Scientists from the University of New South Wales and University of Newcastle have used a computer-based technique called Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to test the bite force and feeding mechanics of the fearsome predator.
"FEA, normally used in the analysis of trains, planes and cars, allowed the team to "reverse engineer" designs to find out what sort of forces a structure like a sabrecat skull was able to handle." ...
"Using the skull of a modern-day lion for comparison, the team determined that Smilodon had a relatively weak bite - about one third as powerful as a lion of similar size." ...
"In a range of 'digital crash-tests', the team found that under most conditions, the sabre-tooth skull performed very poorly compared to that of the lion. This would have seriously limited the big toothed fossil cat cat to a very specific range of killing behaviours.
"Although its bite was weak, this is not to imply Smilodon was not was a formidable predator. 'Anything but,' says Dr Wroe. 'Smilodon was an awesome beast -- and what it lacked in bite force it more than made up for elsewhere.'
"'The sabrecat had an immensely powerful body; perfect for wrestling large prey to the ground, and our models show that it needed to do this before trying a bite,' explains Mr McHenry. 'Killing was more likely applied to the prey's throat, because it is easier to restrain the prey this way. Once the bite was done the prey would have died almost instantly.'"

More details here.

Blood Mushroom

Someone on the StrangeArk email list passed along the URL to a listener's photo on the C2C site, of a "blood mushroom," a fungus that looks like it is bleeding.

This is actually one of the Hydnellum fungi, probably Hydnellum peckii, sometimes called bleeding Hydnellum, or depending on region and species, "strawberries and cream." No aliens here, just normal (strange) fungi.

Another odd tidbit: historically, the secretions from these fungi have been used to dye wool.