F#42: The Anomaly

It’s hard to tell which of its unusual features is the most arresting- it’s antlers, the gold marking, thick white fur- or it’s third eye.

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Okay, it’s probably the eye.

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As it’s name would suggest, the Anomaly is little studied and remains a mystery to the parazoology community. They have never been captured, disappearing like smoke once contained- one popular theory is an ability to move between dimensions at will.

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While most assume it is fae in origin, other dare ask- perhaps the anomaly is neither from earthside, or the otherworld. Perhaps there are places beyond our knowledge even yet.

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But for now, we can all agree- ‘Anomaly’ is a fitting name indeed.

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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#30: Feral Faeries (Hominus Minimus)

When the faerie and human realms were sealed off from one another by the great Nightwarp storm; what happened to those left behind?

Some, like the Filauny we have covered previously, formed remote and reclusive colonies. Others turned feral: for example Hominus Minimus or the Little Fairy.

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Preserved specimen of  Hominus Folium being handled before framing.

These faeries, once playful and mischievous, suddenly found themselves lost without the guidance of their lost courts; turning scavenger and hunter to survive.

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Hominus Scarabius

These days it’s rare that you’d see faeries like these in the wild- they favour remote places where the skin between worlds is at its thinnest, where they feel closest to their lost people. However, many natural history collections have preserved specimens like the ones you see here, available to study.

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Hominus Mantis

 

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Hominus Folium

(Like what you see here? These framed fairies are now available on our etsy store!)

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#27: Silkwing

Sometimes called ‘cloud mouse’ or ‘false dragon’, the silkwing is delicate creature that is often romantically described as ‘travelling with the winds’.

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As autumn arrives, you’ll see silkwings far more often in the skies along the coast. They’ve flown in from the inland meadows where the spend the summer; riding the strong winds to wheel and gather in flocks of tens to hundreds strong. IMG_5657

Come early October, after a month of socializing and cementing strong flock relationships,  the silkwings migrate to winter in the southern hemisphere.

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Goodbye ’til next summer, cloud mouse.

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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.

F#25: Devilmite

I was eating breakfast when I heard it: a rustling in the pantry. Best case scenario: it was a foraging venomstriker; worst case scenario: I had mice.

Turns out, it wasn’t either of those: when I opened the cuboard; armed with a glass and a roll of newspaper, I found this little guy:

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This is a devilmite, so named for its horned appearance and tendency to steal food. (i.e. Begone, devilmite!)

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It was obviously used to people, and didn’t make a fuss when I took it outside- it even stuck around to suss me out, before scooting over the wall next door (A bakery, where it will probably decimate their stock. Oops.)

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F#24: Domestic Manticore Kitten

‘Beep’ Domesticated Manticore Mardyakhor Mansueti

 There are many reasons why people might rehome a manticore bred by Eliza Knights-Herbert of 23 Rose Street, Revery. Most of these reasons relate back to their finicky personailities, or the ability to dissolve things just by looking at them.

Beep, however, was left with us at the institute because she is blind. Her previous family were displeased with her lack of laser vision, and feared she would no longer be an effective burgalar deterrent- a legitimate concern.

Luckily, Beep has found a new forever home, and will only be staying with us briefly before travelling to Gloucestershire- our resident manticore Percy will miss her.

F#23: Wyrm Hatchlings

Wyrm Hatchlings (Northen European Wyrm) 

Dragon species

When we got the call about an ‘infestation of worms’, we might have reacted a mite too hastily with our stock (polite!) ‘we are a research institute, not Revery Pest Control’ response.




After the miscommunication was cleared up, we arrived at a small garden in the suburbs- only to find these week-old specimens of the European small wyrm causing havoc and destruction in their pursuit of a Sunday dinner.

These dragons are rarely found in built up areas (and almost never in the south of England) and there was no sign of the parent wyrm, who normally feeds young in the nest until they are a month old. It seemed as if the babies had been fending for themselves for a few days- feeding on insects and tearing up the garden in the process.



After a short (but chaotic) pursuit, Evelyn and I caught all three at the same time and took them back to the institute.


They have settled down in the break room in Keeley’s hat, whilst we contact the South West Dragon Centre to see if they have a spare pen…

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