Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pupafurius hypervesta redux

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pegea pacifica

The Makassar Salp is the largest species of free-floating Tunicate to inhabit tropical waters. Its gelatinous body is typically 5 cm long and prolate, featuring siphons at either end. These can dilate to a degree sufficient to allow other animals to crawl or swim inside the body. Typically such an intruder is ejected during the propulsive process, but on occasion it may become lodged. In these circumstances, the salp’s usual recourse is to expel all water and contract at both ends, suffocating the creature in a vacuum. The salp may itself die in the process, and then harden — resulting in an attractive, semi-opaque object shaped exactly like a bird’s egg.

“Mermaid grenades,” as these floating trinkets are often called, are commonly gleaned by fishermen and sold as souvenirs. Their shape and intrinsic beauty can cause them to be mistaken for handmade items. A color illustration by Ernst Haeckel from 1904 (of a dead specimen encasing a Mammoth tomopteris) is well known to the public due to its frequent appearance on Easter cards.

Despite their appeal, dried Makassar salps are very brittle and should be placed out of the reach of children. The “shell” consisting of the actual salp can cause nausea or vomiting if ingested, whereas the trapped contents may be more lethal. The corpse of an Hörkbisschen’s devil prawn, for example, will induce blindness, paralysis and asphyxia in very short order if tasted. Frequently found nested in dead salps, these crustaceans
have more than once been mistaken for red licorice “prizes” — with tragic consequences.

From: P. P. Klimpsonel, The Shores of Borneo (New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1969), p. 83.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Coturnix coelobonesis

Malayo-Polynesian Azure Quail is a stout, small bird that nests on the ground like others of its family. Gregarious animals, they typically roam in compact flocks known as coveys, probing grassy spots for ants and seed. When attacked, a lone quail’s defense mechanisms will differ from those of an accompanied bird. Most notably, the solitary quail will eject jets of lymphous blood from its femoral regions. Generated by extreme distress, this pungent secretion is (in contrast with the regular fluid) noxious and harmful to predators such as the ORIENTAL JUNGLE FENNEC. But to humans, it is the foundation of practically any recipe involving the bird, and hunters strive to collect as much of it as possible.

When Philippine traders introduced new culinary practices to Sulepawak, the demand for Azure quail immediately rose. It was the art of curing pig’s flesh in brine that made the difference, for it is now accepted that the bird must be wrapped in a sheet of bacon (which in turn is wrapped in a palm leaf, as per tradition) before cooking in order to truly bring out the tangy flavor. Generous slathers of autohemorrhaged blood enhance the bacon’s smoky zest to make this dish (baburunkasapar) the island nation’s most popular delicacy.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide, Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 174.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Mico nudocapite

Hot Slut Of The Day!

Knödel, the week-old bald platina marmoset at the Berlin Zoo! Bald platina marmosets hail from the hottest (and sluttiest) part of the Amazon basin, which explains why their hair is thin enough in places to give the illusion that Kate Gosselin raided the poor bitches for spare possum parts. Their visible fur, on the other hand, comes in luxuriant wisps of spun silver, doubtless bestowed by the same good fairy who once queefed on Silver Fox Anderson Cooper’s precious dome(s).

Anymustmentionmahboowheneverpossible, those animal rights-types who prattled about putting Knut down are suffering extreme pantytorsion over Knödel’s offbeat approach to marmosettery. A spokeswhore is on record complaining that Knödel was born with weak eyesight, which would never fly in the wild for his kind, so his good times are already too “unnatural” for these dumb hos. More fuckery: he won’t get with his species’ nocturnal program and always starts shaking his no-no around at the crack of dawn — and this, we’re told, is also wrong, wrong, wrong.

I don’t see a problem here at all. Knödel just takes care of shit his way! Bitch probably wants to get served some delicious breakfast cereal, preferably with colorful chunks of toon-shaped flavor. Bitch knows that looking at bright, shiny things provides good exercise for those peepers. This also applies to the exploding rainbow that is morning television, and… Hey wait – this is in Europe, so the time difference would make AC360 a morning show, right? Bingo! Knödel’s ass is on schedule.

Retrieved from on 2009-8-2.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rheum amarissimus

• To regulate their body temperature, BIJOU PARACHUTE GECKOS routinely direct their freefall to the spacious leaves of the water-retaining COELOBONESE RHUBARB in hopes of a cool bath.

• In the absence of recent rainfall, the usually slick cuticle of the plant adopts a tacky, adhesive texture and clings to the lizards, many of which give up their tails while escaping.

• The minuscule tails are eventually flushed into the soil, where once-dormant parasitic worms (ASIAN PLANT FLUKES, or Schistosoma coelobonesis) erupt from the scales and burrow into the tender roots of the AUSTRONESIAN JUNGLE TRILLIUM (usually found in the vicinity).

• Infected trillium blossoms develop “bloodshot” petals with vibrant colors that attract MALAYSIAN WAXWINGS, which eat the flowers.

• The flowers’ astringent properties play havoc with the birds’ organs, culminating in enormous bladder stones.

• In the final stages, a pain-crazed waxwing is likely to hurtle itself, kamikaze-fashion, against the forest floor. Urinary minerals released from the bird’s decaying carcass will imbue the soil with the parasorbic acid needed to prime Coelobonese rhubarb seeds into germination.

Retrieved from The Natural History Museum Online Host-Parasite Database, July 2009.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Credo quia esse titillandum

5 Ways to Tickle a Strident Fawn Quonaggra

It’s that time again – the hot and humid season, when gravid Strident Fawn Quonaggras coast on the summer breeze through our parks and gardens, gliding aimlessly until the threat of collision or capture sends their rudder-like tails into action. Though hard to catch and harder to tickle, the benefits of lightly prodding a Quonaggra — before she unleashes her semi-hatched eggs into the wind — are obvious to all. Untickled Quonaggras release a high level of frantosicaniferine as they jettison their young, causing even the starchiest shirts to wrinkle. “The gargalesthetic response definitely reduces fabric warpage,” explains Dr. Beetarn Parnault, director of ovoviviparity studies at the Montosolini Institute. “But the tickling has to be humane and effective or it won’t help our clothes at all.”

Here are 5 tips for those wishing to attempt this classic summer pastime.

1. Strip down your feather. While a feather can be effective, Dr. Parnault suggests clipping the barbs along the side (leaving only a slender, wispy vane) for maximum efficacy.

2. Aim front and center. The Quonaggra has difficulty peering directly into its pouch area — which, as luck would have it, is highly sensitive and ripe for tickling. Aim above the eggs.

3. Use medium walnut phoscorinck tongs. Traditional images depict pioneer children chasing swollen Quonaggras with bulky hearth implements, which in fact can easily harm the animal. These tongs, specialized for a light touch, are a much better choice (although most experienced ticklers find tongs unnecessary).

4. Replace commercial bait wedges with peach slices. Should you need to attract Quonaggras, this fleshy stone fruit is more effective than any artificial lure, and cheaper.

5. Dribble molasses into your breast pocket and hold your breath. Yes, this traditional method does indeed work, and requires no further explanation.

Retrieved from on 2009-6-24.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Taraxella electri

The titular secretion of the Amber gem spider is not true amber, nor any other sort of resin (a substance derived only from plants). This hard, pellucid material is in fact composed of the spider’s own silk. Being the only arachnid discharge released in such a large quantity all at once, its producer is the one species known to “amberlock” – that is, to set itself inside a rapidly congealing mass when menaced.

When amberlocking, a gem spider is thought to enter a state of dormancy rather than death (at least in optimal circumstances). This is not yet conclusive, although an expedition into Upper Sulepawak, planned by Professor Loömdorf for 1956, may yield a better understanding of the subject.

Natives have already accepted the frozen slumber of the spider as fact, resulting in several strict taboos that complicate possession of the rare nuggets: They can only be found, not given or traded. They may be set like jewels, but not threaded (like beads) or otherwise punctured. The extreme heat (such as that of a volcano) required to liquefy the amber must not be applied intentionally. But should fate cause the gem to melt, the revived animal will scuttle away bearing on its back the Uborlepoluk (the mischievous imp that acts as a spirit courier) desirous of the amber-owner’s soul — prolonging said owner’s life by at least another day, regardless of present circumstances.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide, Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 123.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cynocephalus omnivorus (redux)

Armored colugo broods are fairly large, and a mother with few resources will prioritize feeding her more robust children. Neglected or underfed babies will experience stress-bred metabolic alterations, leading to increased aggressive behavior. If the mother then provides adequate attention to such infants, they will revert to normal — but in cases where she is unable or unwilling to do so, they will attain the full-blown gregarious traits and depart the family unit.

Visitors to Sulepawak are advised to avoid gregarious armored colugos at all costs. Though quite rare, they are easy to identify: Their fur is silver to snow white, their scutes burnt orange, their gums and tongues dark purple. They are no longer purely nocturnal, but sleep erratically. They spend little time on high branches, and usually climb only for the purpose of gliding downward and rolling along the ground: their preferred method of travel. They stay together in groups and behave with extreme hostility to anything alive that is not one of them. Their bites are usually very painful and for hygienic purposes alone should receive immediate medical treatment.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide, Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 206.

Cynocephalus omnivorus

The varied diet and namesake plate-mail of the
Armored colugo set it apart from all others of its order. As expected for a tree-gliding mammal, its frame is light and efficient, without an ounce of excess ballast — thus the thin scales of horn covering its spine from nape to tail are flimsier than the Ceylonese pangolin’s scutes that they most resemble. In fact, this scant protection serves not to deflect a predator’s blows, but simply to absorb the impact of the colugo’s landing — for when this species takes to the air, it is as likely to desert its lofty branch for the hard earth as for another tree.

Using its keen eyes to scan the forest floor, the armored colugo can detect a CARBUNCLE SCARAB (its favorite meal) from more than thirty feet away, and as that ground-dwelling insect never tarries when scuttling from one sanctuary to another, the mammal cannot afford to waste time breaking its fall. Moments before it touches the earth, the colugo assumes a near-globular shape (curling inward like an enormous wood louse) and hits the ground rolling with undiminished speed. Instead of crushing its prey as one might expect, the colugo usually manages to swerve in front of the beetle and snatch it while unraveling. This operation can take less than a second.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide, Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 205.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poromya hermilaqueus

A stationary bivalve mollusc, the carnivorous Kepat ketubinar thrives not on the coast, but on the dampest portion of the Coelobonese forest floor: the miniature swamp created by a patch of rainwater-hoarding GAMUBUK BOG MOSS. Affixing itself to a subterranean root or stone, a Kepat ketubinar will typically develop into a slender but dense vertical column of less than seventeen inches in height, surmounted by a large, tilted ovoid: this amounts to the outer double shell (dark blue to black) which appears as a single piece, the join and hinge being well concealed. A generous opening in the shaft invites the invasion of snakes, bugs and small mammals in search of meat — which they are unlikely to retrieve, as the entire apparatus is a highly efficient trap. A single muscular contraction will tighten the interior like a snare while the host’s vitals remain inaccessible behind a partition. Once caught, the intruder is digested at leisure by fleshy lobes equipped with mucilage-secreting glands.

Should the victim be an immature BOTIKTIKI (a diminutive ungulate once called the “Bald Malay muskrat” but now understood to be a close relative of the rhinoceros — see separate entry), a gruesome yet picturesque phenomenon will usually follow: The head of a young Botiktiki is just small enough to penetrate the upper cavity, yet just large enough that its snout will crack the shell once inside. This desperate maneuver will do it no good, nor will it harm the mollusc. A round panel will simply break cleanly away along the shell’s natural grooves — exposing the victim’s muzzle in a calcareous frame, as though it had donned a helmet. After the body is consumed, the decaying head can stay on as potent carrion bait.

On the rare but inevitable occasion that a pair of Kepat ketubinar grow together, columns intertwined, and ensnare two young Botiktiki in such a manner, the result becomes an object of the utmost veneration among devout natives. Removing the double-headed curio from its natural home, they preserve it in a resinous mixture and set it at the end of a scepter-like rod, called a tongamalap gandamukar, which is passed into the hands of a literate monk. Used wisely, the artifact is thought to protect whole communities from wicked spirits, foreign diseases, and the “bamboo-sliver-missiles” of popular superstition.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide, Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 123.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oreosoma pacificum

Connecting to server…

You’re now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!

Stranger: hey
You: yep

Stranger: asl
You: I'm ready to defend the Fulci 'n' Watteau Connection
You: in and out of the ring

Stranger: lolwut

Stranger: pics
You: I only have polaroids. Not scanned yet
You: I'm in a phone booth

Stranger: what size
You: probably average

Stranger: ooooo
You: Are you touching your false teeth right now?

Stranger: dont have any
You: Sorry. When did you lose them?

Stranger: ^^^
Stranger: stoned/hard now
You: Just add mustard

Stranger: ha

Stranger: wut
You: There's something very exciting we should chat about
Stranger: not another bot
You: No no u got me wrong
You: This is hot f'shizzle
Stranger: dude wtf
You: OK. I really really wanna talk about a certain something right now
You: You'll never guess what it is
You: but I just gotta fuckin talk about it
You: You'll never guess tho
You: It's what really excites me
Stranger: what its it
You: But you'll never guess
Stranger: fuck u
Stranger: what is it
You: It's....
Stranger: ...................
Stranger: wutwutwutwutwut
You: ...the Ox-eyed false jelly (Oreosoma pacificum)
Stranger: uhh
You: it's a fish
You: completely translucent
You: almost impossible to see when in the water
You: but it's covered with hard, sharp conical protuberances
Stranger: this is on xbox right
You: A pelagic fish, often forming barely-perceptible schools
You: While technically omnivorous, the Ox-eyed false jelly's core diet consists of larger fishes who unluckily (and often unwittingly) swallow it whole.
Stranger: wtf
You: The Ox-eyed false jelly's jagged casing is guaranteed to tear up even the toughest insides -- including a shark's.
Stranger: swallow.. yeah
Stranger: more
You: With its merciless exterior doing most of the work, the Ox-eyed false jelly feeds on its devourer with a relatively unexceptional set of jaws and teeth.
You: It is only easily visible for a short time after feeding.
Stranger: um
You: yeah buddy
You: That was hot
Stranger: ok who r u
You: I'm four years old
You: I have nose hairs

You: I don't exist

Your conversational partner has disconnected.

Retrieved from on 2009-4-17.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Glossina jujuformis

When you make Ogbono magic fly money soup, you must catch and kill by yourself an insect living in the neighborhood from where you want to draw the money. And this insect must be a Northern bagorie tsetse. Keep in mind that the Northern bagorie tsetse in its adult form never strays from a small area and that it is always biting human to take blood. From this you can be certain that a plump mature specimen (size of adult thumb) will contain the blood of many people that live near it. Of course this blood is in a very small amount, but that is your intent with Ogbono magic fly money soup: to extract small portions of money from a very large group of people, with the ideal hope that your spell is not even recognized.

To prepare: use the traditional ogbono soup recipe closest to you, preferably the one taught by your mother. But be careful to observe these elements:

• Use only goat meat, not beef.
• Cut the tomatoes in five pieces each but do not peel.
• Use leaves of green plants picked from the target area.
• Purify the cooking oil by means of the dance described on page 3.

Before cooking, you must determine who is the most beloved woman of your target area, and you must collect a good amount of her hair. Use this to bind the corpse of the tsetse fly, as though to prevent its legs from moving. Use only one fly per bowl, and eat at least three of these.

When you have finished, spend your nights perfectly still and on your back. Do not expect the rain of bills to arrive before the third night. Be thankful even of small amounts, and consider that you have derived succor through magic without killing anyone. Shedding of blood by your own hand is the road to Kirikiri.

From: Stella Onutosokwu, Three Bug Magic Spells. Pamphlet, retrieved from downtown Lagos, Summer 2008.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fraxinus sutura

‘Loop-trees’ prompt vandalism alerts

A row of oddly-shaped ashes bordering a popular lookout point have led to several erroneous reports to police that the trees have been mutilated.

Authorities near Epping Forest, Essex received another rash of calls from ramblers concerned about the row of Maltese looping ashes on Sunday.

Planted less than two years ago, the trees belong to a fast-growing Mediterranean species unknown to the area before the recent development of a cultivar conducive to UK climate.

On attaining a height of roughly 30 metres, the trunk begins to bend back toward the ground, continuing until the tip reaches the soil and takes root near the original base, forming the namesake “loop.”

From some angles, a mature specimen may appear to the uninformed as though it is being forcibly bent, tied down, or that its top has been sheared.

“When the ash starts its bending, it’s a very rapid process,” explained Dunnelda Kennings-Highbeech, spokeswoman for the City of London Corporation. “This clearing is a picturesque vantage spot for looking out on the heath, and the sudden change was alarming to a number of return visitors. But the trees are in fact fine.”

Kennings-Highbeech hastened to assure any concerned parties that the Epping Forest Keepers administer only the most essential pruning practices and do not engage in lopping, topping or flush cutting of any kind.

From: BBC News (27 March 2009). Retrieved on 2009-3-28.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chlamydosaurus exultata

By consulting Mercurialis, Bayerus, Caricterius, Galen, Paraquozilli, and the less penetrable marginalia of Vesalius, I have determined that a melancholia such as yours arises from an excess flow of black blood in one your principal veins. (Snatches up an enormous syringe.) As you are bum-heavy, I estimate the vein in question to be accessible right there, between the cheeks — or in your case, between the hemrods. I shall now demonstrate the presence of angry dark humours by evacuating some in fluid form. (Pokes HARLEQUIN’S buttocks.) But you must keep still — keep still! (HARLEQUIN wriggles, deflecting the prop.) By Hippocrates, a hangman noosing an eel must have it easier! (HARLEQUIN somersaults away from the table.) Return at once or you’ll never be cured.

You’re attacking the wrong spot, for I promise you that dark substances pass out of there daily, without chirurgical aid. Ah! But there was something to your jabs. They ministered a fresh agony, very unlike my spleen. Therein lies the remedy. If only the pain were sharper, less medicinal, and delivered with more rage. Someone procure me a cutthroat! Where is that Brighella?

He’s off in the provinces, attending to wealthy suicides. They pay generously at the outset, and once the deed is finished, they never seem to complain that he takes away more than his fee. You can’t afford him, but I’ll ape him for nothing. (Swipes a knife from the DOCTOR’S table.) I’m no good at this, but that could make it hurt more. (Thrusts the knife at HARLEQUIN, who contorts wildly at each strike.)

Eheu! That won’t do in the slightest — Enough, enough! (Bats GIFILCCHIO about the head until he retreats.) I won’t put up with your feeble tickles. My carcass deserves a special outrage. (Muses.) A sailor told me that in far-away Coelobon live some rather puny dragons — monkey-sized things that can stand up like men. They spend all their days leaping skyward — not only to snap at the flies, but often for no reason at all, as though they hope the giant frills on their throats will catch the breeze like sails and keep them aloft. This never comes to pass, but after they die, the Orientals skin their heads to make kites — and those always fly without a hitch. It makes me wonder if a good peeling wouldn’t elevate my spirit.

Shall we make a kite from you, then? And if we do, what of the meat left over?

Now that’s a problem. If you bury it, then I’m as good as dead. An airborne fleece this gaudy might create a spectacle, but no one who sees my headstone would bother to pay me for the show. However, if it’s true that all of this melancholy resides not in my hide, but in the moist anatomist’s manikin that hides inside of it — why then, I say it’s best if, once I’m flayed, you just let that part of me be. Give it a stool to sit on and pour it a glass of vinegar now and then, and I reckon it will stay in a corner, sulking, and bother no one.

From: Rylanch Tealtherne, Esq. Harlequin Vexed (from the French Bergamask Burlesque known as Arlequin sans peau by M. Pierre-Baptiste de Meltouffle, derived from that Gentleman’s study of Italian buffoons, altered, alliterated and otherwise adapted for the English stage.) Quarto edition, London, 1673.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vermihippus ferus

One of the very few species of limbless mammal, the
Pipesteed is an equine but not a true horse, although its native moniker — Kudasankutar, meaning “wild worm-stallion of the north” — emphasizes its very horse-like appearance. Some biologists trace it (with reservation) directly back to the Hipparion genus. Knowledge remains scant, as no Pipesteed has ever been captured live.

Its exclusive habitat is the impervious northern half of Sulepawak, where it twists between or through dense bushes and roots, forging paths when none are present and grazing on the fly. It apparently restricts its movements to aboveground, as its tough, leathery underside and robust frame (reaching 12 feet in length) seem optimized for negotiating rough surfaces and vegetation. Study of its skeleton reveals gaps between sections of grouped ribs (effectively a sequence of four ribcages), where oversized, hinge-like vertebrae allow it to assume the postures necessary for its style of serpentine locomotion (known as “the sinuous gait”).

Despite miniscule ears, a mere wisp of a mane and no distinct withers, the head of a Pipesteed is clear proof of its genus. The area from the forelock to the snout is best described as a common horse’s muzzle in caricature — stretched to one and a half times its original length and pinched somewhat at the end. Also reminiscent of its hoofed cousin is the Pipesteed’s ferocious whinny, which explains why kudasankutar is also the Coelobonese word for locomotive.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide, Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 212.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Corydalus maximiliana

…of his window. Glöcknürner describes the iridescent waxy finish of the Emperor Maximilian dobsonfly’s epicuticle as metallic in appearance: "wie Metallplatten… gebildet um den Körper." [See Appendix 3.] Pontolomucci (apparently working from a translation) takes Glöcknürner’s descriptive flourishes literally, rendering the insect as clad in then-contemporary armour in place of exoskeletal segments. The head’s encasement, for example, appears as a double-visored war helmet, with hinges, horizontal slits and decorative fluting. The tibiae also sport moulded greaves; the prothorax is a breastplate, and so on.

The resulting woodcut appears at first glance an exercise in anthropomorphic whimsy, perhaps meant as satire. But Pontolomucci (by all accounts) was completely earnest in his attempt to construct a precise visual correlation with the text. What impresses us today is his undeniable success at detailing the proportions of the bug and all its parts with near-perfect naturalism.

The Emperor Maximilian dobsonfly was strictly an inhabitant of the New World until 1573. Its main…

From: Jeldra Prambello, Insects in Art. Sydney: Digenitori Press, 1978: p. 224.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Anodorhynchus maximus

Moments after we let loose the bloodhounds into the woods, one of them yelped and dove beneath a dense thicket, then emerged with the very fresh carcass of a half-eaten wild cat. As the predator was likely nearby, we heeded the old huntsman when he distinguished the carnage as the work not of paws and fangs, but of talons and a very sharp beak. We wondered aloud to each other what sort of bird had done this. As it happened, we were not puzzled long.

A sharp and unfamiliar cry of “Over here! Over here!” sounded from a place not far ahead. The repeated phrase was not in English, but Tlajamut, the local Indian tongue — an interesting fact, as our Redskin companions (the reader will recall) were both Cherokee.

At the ensuing sound of dead branches snapping and what might have been very heavy footfalls, the old man blanched. “’Tis a death-dealin’ parrot! Ready yer arms!” he croaked, fumbling with his rifle’s breech.

We had little time to prepare. A clump of foliage rustled vigorously, then flew apart, rent by a violent force that scattered leaves and green twigs like buckshot. Then out it pounced: a Davenedict’s apex macaw, announcing its rage with a piercing squawk — which resembled a scream, and removed any doubt as to the source of the previous cries. The bird seized one of the dogs, crushing its midsection. Harper fired and claimed later to have nicked the brute, but to no end. Clutching the dying hound, it bounded into an impenetrable mess of bush and was gone.

Our failure that day was typical among encounters with this most ferocious of macaws. A forest-dwelling raptor, taller than most men and wholly incapable of flight, the Davenedict’s apex macaw is equipped with the most powerful legs and claws of any known bird. It uses them not to sprint (like the equally huge ostrich of Africa), but to tear apart any manner of creature that opposes it. The bird’s talent for mimicking the voice and words of men makes it an insidious threat, and explains why Redskins who frequent these forests are loathe to separate when hunting in groups.

My later success in capturing one of these feathered monsters alive is the subject of the next chapter.

From: Peter-Klaus Swannet, Dangerous Game-Trackers of North America. Edinburgh: Gluorputtney Ltd., 1875: p. 153.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alstonia toreumatis

The fan-like leaves of the Coelobonese devil pine (known locally as the Pokot kudupanatar) are ubiquitous in the carved relief panels of Sulepawak’s cave temples. They are always depicted in the same dimensions as life, and are tinted green even when surrounding motifs are uncolored. Both attributes derive from the use of the actual leaves in the carving process: The sculptor presses a fresh pine leaf against its stone counterpart, fixing it with an alcoholic solution. Once dry, the leaf will have induced a reaction in the volcanic rock, staining it green as deep as an inch.

To the Coelobonese, the passage of the leaf’s essence into its chiseled image is a manifest link between the visible everyday world (the pine tree) and the veiled regions (exemplified by the terminal creature-heads often pictured vomiting streams of ornament, including the leaves). Though the pine’s bark is exploited medicinally, the sacred status of the leaf renders it taboo for any other application. One cannot help but notice, however, that a pile of them gives off a pleasant aroma when burnt.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide. Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 126.

Monday, February 9, 2009

V. zerda celebesus

The Oriental jungle fennec shares with its Saharan cousin a proportionally enormous pair of ears (each the size of its face) and a relish for fruit that places it with the omnivores. It is as likely to pluck a ripe MONK RAMBUTAN as it is to filch the eggs from a COPPER FIEND DRONGO’S nest. Both treats are common in the thickets that reach into Sulepawak’s untraversable northern region, where drongo nests are regularly sighted in rambutan trees. It happens that this bird’s egg closely matches the fruit in form and density, although the rambutan (the only known spineless variety) is a glossy dark violet, while the drongo’s eggshell is matte beige. By touch alone, however, they are nearly twins.

Cracking open a newly laid egg is a difficult proposition for this slightest-built of vulpines, who anyway favors the flesh of a formed chick over yolk. Thus a stolen egg stands a good chance of coming to term while in the fox’s possession, and it is not unusual for a den to harbor a pile of unmolested eggs mixed together with their analogous fruits. Should a burgled Copper fiend drongo hen know where her eggs have been taken, she may resort to a tactic that suggests, if not proves, great intelligence on her part: At mid-day, when fennecs are most torpid, the drongo will squawk loudly outside of their den and drop a small cargo of rambutan fruits onto the ground. Collecting these familiarly shaped gifts will engross the mammals, leaving the bird a chance to retrieve her property. This escapade occurs often enough to have been a subject of Coelobonese folktales before it was ever caught on film.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide. Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 203.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lampetra immanis

Star lamprey to remain in local zoo

TUCSON — Bing the mammoth brook lamprey isn’t moving, and funnyman Beau Runtfoyle is not amused.

On Tuesday, the Public Works Committee approved the completion of a $44 million semi-aquatic enclosure that will retain the iconic marine parasite as a fixture at the city zoo, despite opposition by the semi-retired comedian (and longtime Tucson resident) and other high-profile locals.

The approval was announced after a crowded public hearing, where Mr. Runtfoyle reiterated his earlier pledge of $1.4 million to relocate Bing to a sanctuary along the Colorado River.

By far the largest of the Petromyzontidae family, the mammoth brook lamprey spends only its larval years in brooks or streams, moving to wide rivers when mature.

Its large mass drives it to seek out wading mammals over fish, especially young horses and deer. It often applies its rasping mouth to a bodily orifice and works its way inside the host, making quicker work of it than a smaller lamprey could manage.

As the zoo’s unofficial mascot and the subject of picture books and stuffed toys, Bing’s listless behavior over the past year received steady media scrutiny.

He became reluctant to feed, even when a pair of whitetail fawns were introduced to his enclosure.

His minders found a solution whereby a live fawn’s legs were severed at the joints and it was lowered vertically by crane into the habitat. The flow of blood in the water finally roused Bing to feast.

Mr. Runtfoyle’s camp has pointed to this incident as evidence that Bing is essentially unhappy here are and requires more open space to swim in.

“It’s mean to the lamprey to keep him away from a big river where he wants to be,” said Mr. Runtfoyle’s 6 year-old son Zack in a prepared statement.

He stated that fans of the jawless, cartilaginous, one-nostriled celebrity would rather see him happy and healthy in a remote reserve upstate than sad and cooped up downtown for convenience’s sake.

He said that the kids of Tucson want what’s best for Bing because they love him. “He has googly eyes,” remarked the child by way of closing.

Opponents have noted that several eel-like predators have perished prematurely at the zoo since 1974, but zoo officials insist they will be significantly better equipped following the new changes.

The new, cutaway-view "Visible Riverbed" will be seven times larger than the current exhibit.

The Associated Press
(Retrieved: 01.29.2009)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

R. candelabrum

A close relative of the Corpse flower, the jungle-dwelling Anajamut tinkar consists (like others of its family) of a stemless, parasitic bloom, lacking roots of its own but subsistent on those of a lignified vine (the host in this case being the TAJAMUNUGU GRAPE, source of most Coelobonese wine). Its name in Sulepawak means “dead dog’s ears,” as its fleshy petals (each up to half a yard long) taper into points. (See COELOBONESE TOY BOXER.) While it gives off the same carrion odor as its relatives, this is often abated by another benign parasite: the Uburutan or Land jelly (P. terrestris), a coelenterate that, true to its name, is typically found out of water — albeit in very damp conditions. Its ideal resting place is the central cup of an Anajamut tinkar blossom, around which its wispy, barely visible tentacles can droop, ready to trap and devour INDOMALAYAN BUZZARD MIDGES (harmful to the flower) by stinging them with chemicals that, on contact with the plant’s flesh, will reduce its noxious odor. While the quelled stench might dissuade humans from destroying the flower, it remains perceptible to needed pollinators such as CARBUNCLE SCARABS and their larvae — which the Uburutan spares.

On account of this union, an Anajamut tinkar can last longer than others of its kind, living up to a fortnight. Once every five days, however, the flower is compelled to close, which can smother and possibly kill a tenant jelly.

The Uburutan’s float bladder, though small and vestigial, is like its cousin the BOLERTANKULAK’s in that its gasses ignite upon death, sputtering flames for a minute or more. On occasion, a blossom will open to reveal a dead Uburutan in mid-blaze. Natives interpret this sight as the birth of an Uborlepoluk (a folkloric creature; see index) and auspicious for those who witness it, despite the newborn’s wicked nature.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide. Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 115.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Physalia daducus

All along the southern (and presumably northern) coastline of Sulepawak thrives the Bolertankulak medusa, known informally to anglophones as the “shore nettle” for its contact sting. Among coelenterates, it alone can boast a gas-filled bladder or “float” that is literally lighter than air — which largely explains its vertical form. The top three quarters of its main body extend above the bell margin and generally protrude from the water. The float crowns this mass like an onion dome, and overall it resembles a translucent chess piece when adrift.

Bolertankulak are less plentiful in the open water of the Celebes Sea than around the rocky banks of Sulepawak’s shores. Clusters are typically found lounging against tide-battered lava pillows, where their long, barely visible tentacles snare unsuspecting prey. It is usually under these circumstances that natives of the island kingdom will poison large groups of the creatures (accomplished by clouding the water with powder made from MALAYAN LAVENDER SHRIMP collected at red tide), an action that gives rise to the highlight of the annual water festivities known as the Betaralat paruvan.

For in death the Bolertankulak outdoes anything it accomplished alive, providing a spectacle unique to the greater jellyfish family: as corruption sets in, the gasses in the float ignite, and the bladder detaches from the corpse and rises into the air, incandescent. (See the Land jelly or UBURUTAN for a comparison.) It becomes no less than a sky lantern — like those made for similar events in other parts of Asia — but completely natural in origin. And while this lantern may not last as long as its paper cousins (never burning for longer than four minutes), its blaze dazzles with a rapid variety of shapes and colored flames.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide. Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 47.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Anthonomus juglandinsidias minor

…but according to the Tholomartholomadic calendar, 2009 is the year of the Lesser walnut saboteur weevil. This farmer’s nuisance is distinguished from the Greater walnut saboteur weevil by its iridescent trochanters and smaller maxillary palps. Its secure place in the all-arthropod Tholomartholomadic zodiac stems from its abundance in northern Tholomartholomasia, its distinctive chirp, and the famous “Fable of the Lesser Walnut Saboteur Weevil and the Crippled Squab” — still a popular subject of Tholomartholomadic picto-strudels.

From Constanelle’s Global Almanac, 2009 edition, p. xiv.