Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Friday, October 30, 2009
Minnesota River Monster Tale
I guess the moral to this story is that corncob wine and river monsters don't mix.
In any case, it doesn't sound like anything reptilian. Actually, except for the size, it sounds like one of the lampreys, though the native species in the Red River barely reach a foot in length, if that. But then, the corncob wine might have incited a little exaggeration...
Sperm Whale Pics
Loch Ness Film Online
Florida Panther Census
Just in Time for Halloween
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Giant Canadian Snakes: A Published Article
There is an excellent paper recently published on the examination of a large snake skin found in Manitoba. ("A shed skin from a large individual (>2m; Fig. 1) was collected ca. 100 meters from the shoreline of northern Lake Martin in southern Manitoba. The shed was found in a crotch of a tree near the ground.") Investigator John Warms provided the specimen for testing, and it was confirmed as a Boa constrictor shed. While the particular findings were not unexpected, the authors note "Molecular phylogenetics allows definitive tests on purported cryptozoological specimens. While such analyses cannot dispute the existence of legendary beasts, it can shed light on individual claims." This paper shows how a proper objective scientific methodology can be very beneficial to cryptozoological investigations of alleged specimens.
Giant Canadian Snakes and Forensic Phylogenetics
Brian I. Crother, Mary E. White, David Gardner, and John Warms
Contemporary Herpetology 2009(2): 1-4
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Kansas Cougar Photographed
Golden Eagles Hunt Reindeer
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The Great Pumpkin Starfish
An echinoderm biologist discusses Astrosarkus, a giant pumpkin-colored starfish that he described in 2003, on his blog, The Echinoblog. Includes a link to the first video taken of the species live. What is particularly fascinating is that he discovered specimens of the new genus/species in a couple of museums where they were unrecognized as distinctive.
The Politics of Jaguar Conservation
Friday, October 16, 2009
Last Hunt for Maryland Darter?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Rapid Sightings: Keys to Visual Recognition
Herbivorous Jumping Spider
There's a whole slew of low-budget Bigfoot-related (mostly horror) flicks coming out. One, Nightbeasts, stars Zach Galligan of Gremlins fame. Trailer can be seen at this site. Plot looks like it might be a bit light and the brief glimpses of costume apes aren't particularly noteworthy, but the cinematography (as the site notes) looks far better than seen in most sasquatch flicks.
I really do think it's possible to put together a Bigfoot film with good suspense, an interesting plot, and depth of characters, (not to mention the chance to include some gorgeous backwoods scenery), but for some reason, most of these pics are in it for the cheap thrills.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Lord Howe Island Stick Insect Recovery
A paper on this rediscovered insect:
The recovery programme for the Lord Howe Island Phasmid (Dryococelus australis) following its rediscovery
Nicholas Carlile, David Priddel and Patrick Honan (2009)
Ecological Management and Restoration 10(s1): s124-s128
"Until its rediscovery on Balls Pyramid in February 2001, the Lord Howe Island Phasmid or Stick Insect (Dryococelus australis) was thought to be extinct. It disappeared from Lord Howe Island soon after the accidental introduction of the Ship Rat (Rattus rattus) in 1918. In this paper, we report on the recovery actions undertaken for this critically endangered species since its rediscovery. Monitoring of the small surviving population on Balls Pyramid has shown it to fluctuate between about 9 and 35 adult individuals. As a safeguard against extinction, two adult pairs were removed from Balls Pyramid in February 2003 to establish captive populations in Melbourne and Sydney. Although all four founders bred readily in captivity, one pair died only a month after capture. The second female would have also died soon after capture had it not been for veterinary intervention using novel untested techniques. The single surviving pair bred successfully but the hatch rate of eggs was poor. For the next generation, both fecundity and hatch rates were low. The lack of knowledge regarding the specific husbandry requirements of this particular species undoubtedly contributed to these problems. Careful management, together with a cautious scientific approach, eventually led to all problems being resolved. Presently, there are more than 700 individuals and 14 000 eggs in captivity. Approximately 80% of incubated eggs are expected to hatch. To establish additional captive colonies, adults and eggs have been sent to other institutions, both within Australia and overseas. Now that the species is reasonably secure in captivity, the opportunity exists to reintroduce this iconic insect back onto Lord Howe Island, but this can occur only after the introduced rodents have been removed. A programme to eradicate both the Ship Rat and the House Mouse (Mus musculus) from Lord Howe Island is currently being developed."