The Centre for Fortean Zoology was founded in the UK in 1992 - nearly 20 years ago. Over the past two decades it has expanded to become a truly global organisation. We opened our American office in 2001, or Australian office in 2009, and now - in our 19th year - we are proud to welcome CFZ New Zealand to the CFZ global family.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Finding What You’re Not Looking For.

It’s surprising how you stumble across things that you would not initially looking for. For the most part, cryptozoology is highly reliant upon research to find as much information, at times however unelaborated, on the creature you are looking for. Sometimes, serendipity steps in and you find information on something altogether unrelated and yet could be useful. I found this just the other day when I was browsing through a book "Rare Wildlife of New Zealand", by Rod Morris and Alyson Ballance, a book I would highly recommend by the way if you're interested in New Zealand Fauna. I came across firstly what is referred to as Tadpole Shimp-Lepiduris viridus. They Are Listed As Sparse but Must Have Been Well Known to the Maori Who Named Them Kouraura Wai. The Beginning of the name Kouraura indicates that they were potentially a food source but most significantly they had been resident in this country for a long time. Where is this going? Well, they are prehistoric Horse Crab like animals are sold overseas as pets called Triops.
Apparently a kindergarten a couple of years ago got hold of some of these creatures from overseas, and were raided by Biocontrol and the animals destroyed. I myself wrote to Biocontrol to try and obtain permission to import some of these creatures and have never heard from them since, embarrassment perhaps? Now, while on my voyage of discovery through this marvellous book I found out, and I don't think this is known to even many New Zealanders that there are actually two species of Tuatara in New Zealand. Usual species we are used to Sphenodon punctatus, were once thought of as a single species, it is now found there are two species and one of these species has two subspecies. The Cook Strait subspecies is only found on about 30 islands in the Cook Strait area, with almost half the population being resident on Stephens Island. The second major species is Gunthers Tuatara - Sphenodon guntheri. It is found only on one tiny island of about 5 ha on the tiny Northern Brother Island in the Cook Strait vicinity. It is genetically distinct from its other close relatives. It may have once been widespread throughout New Zealand as it has been proven that young Tuatara were an important part of the diet of the now extinct Laughing Owl, with nests containing large amounts of Tuatara bones. These creatures may also have solved another mystery, for a long time scientists had problems ascertaining the function of the very large bill of the now extinct bird known as the Adze Bill. It is now speculated that its massive bill may have been used to dig out tuatara from their burrows. So my warning to other researchers is be careful what you read as you may pick up other things you didn't know.


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