F#40: Fernling

 

This weeks creature can be found in our shop!

A walk to the woods in the mud and rain might not be your idea of a perfect trip- but it’s necessary if you want to find one of these little specimens!

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The fernling: a creature that loves damp weather, and only likes to stretch its roots with a walk when there’s plenty of moisture about.

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This particular specimen wasn’t thrilled to be put in a jar- but due to their reclusiveness and expertise in hiding themselves away; the fernling is one of our least studied native woodland species.

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So, like it or not, he’ll be spending a couple of weeks in the SFI greenhouse, before I release him back to this spot.

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(This week’s creature report was written by Keeley Claremont, SFI botanist)

F#37: Hamadryad

The Hamadryad is a subspecies of dryad, itself a type of nymph.

Thoroughly documented by the ancient Greeks, hamadryads dwell within trees.

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Though they have a physical form, they are born bonded to their one particular tree, and may never leave it.

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Should the tree die, the hamadryad dies with it- and vice versa.

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Like many nymphs, hamadryads enjoy music and dancing, though they are more reclusive and shy than other species.

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This particular specimen is the hamadryad of a cherry tree. Like its host’s winter branches it now looks bare and stick-like. Come spring, tiny blossoms will begin to sprout along its limbs.

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F#36: Phoot

Bird feeders watch out! The Phoot is about- and it’s stocking up for the winter!

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During October and November, the phoot consumes nearly three times its body weight DAILY, in preparation for its hibernation from December to march.

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It’s during this time of feasting that you can best hear the distinctive call that gives it its name: ffff-oot! ffff-oot!

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So consider putting extra on your bird table this year- to give the birds a chance.

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F#31: The Eyes

We took a walk along the coast not far out of Revery to investgate a report of a beached kraken, only to find an empty beach- and something watching us.

Nobody can agree on what the eyes actually are. No one has ever caught one, or touched one- those who have tried have gone mad.

Several religions have claimed them as angels, spirits, prophets and omens. If you get close enough to one, you will hear it whisper- but no one can agree on what the eyes tell them, either. People have heard prophecies, dark secrets, horrifying truths and beautiful lies, the meaning of existence.

What we do know, is that the eyes like to hang out in liminal spaces: empty car parks, petrol stations, abandoned buildings, waiting rooms…

And they watch, and they whisper, and we don’t know why.

F#29: Mosswatcher

If you ever get that neck-prickling feeling of being watched, look down. Odds are, you’ll see a pair of golden eyes peering at you from the grass or verge.File_003

Mosswatchers are a little studied phenomenon; a small, curious beast that seems to have only one hobby- care to guess?

They watch.

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In fact, they have been known to watch for days at a time, and possibly even longer. Some theorise that they acquire their mossy coats from sitting still for weeks, or even month.

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F#28: Hexury

This six legged rodent is an effective harvester, active in hedgerows, farmland, woods and even urban environments from spring to autumn.

Commonly characterized in folklore and stories as greedy and selfish, the hexury is merely an accomplished survivor; weathering even the harshest winters with ease in their secure, cosy ‘pantries’.

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They make their winter home in a variety of places, including rocky crevices, rotten logs and holes in tree roots.

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Once their collection is deemed sufficient, they seal themselves inside with a wall of gathered fur, dry grass, mud and saliva. Once secured, a typical hoard can last up to six months, though rarely is that required.

F#26: Freshwater Undine

Freshwater Undine

Paracelcies Phoxinus

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The freshwater undine prefers lakes and slow moving rivers, but can still be found in deep streams and waterways across the country.

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Whilst the undine is often assumed to be a smaller, feral relation to the mermaid; this is not the case. Undine are closer to fish than men, and have all the intelligence of your average minnow.

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They are solitary creatures and highly territorial, tearing at their prey with needle sharp teeth- and will have a go at an unfortunate fisherman, should they mistakenly catch one.

Wading barefoot in known undine territory is not advised.

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