I was the first, not by much I admit, to get his latest one correct and because, as he then realised, it was pretty damn easy (it being a common garden spider, Araneus diadematus), the miserable sod awarded me and the other fine blogger who got it right, Murphyfish (who quite correctly described the roughy toughy Suburban Bushwacker as 'A big girl's blouse) a measly two stars each. Tight bastard.
Still, it got me thinking about the beasties we encounter in my garden every now and then so I trawled through the photo album to find any my son may have photographed and having given it a full five minutes of effort, have come up with three.
This spider made its home amongst the rebar of the new pool. They are very common and have a good six inch span. Only two Hippo points for this one.
A couple of points for this one too. We all know it is a viper, but which kind?
The dog savaged it so I finished it off with a rock.
I can't sympathise with all you yoghurt knitting tree huggers out there. It was in my yard which, in common with the neighbourhood, is usually full of kids. I would sooner stamp on a thousand poisonous snakes than see one child suffer a limb amputation or death because of one of these beasties. It is reported that sharks are an endangered species now. Only endangered? I shall have to go out and gaff a few more. Sharks do have their uses, though. Like crocodile skulls, their jaws make impressive ornaments. And in case the fluffy bunny lovers reading this don't hate me enough already, yes, I used to shoot foxes on my ex Father-in-law's farm... with a model 586 Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum pistol or my 30-06 Remington 700BDL rifle. Overkill I know, but after all, we can't have the poor little verminous swine suffering now, can we?
And now, a full five stars for identifying this one, an insect with dragon's wings. When threatened, it made a noise like a badly maintained chainsaw flinging out these black apppendages. Unlike the woosie SBW, I have given you an idea of scale. Assuming, that is, you all appreciate the average size of a human head...
I have no idea what this is so we will need some references to support any identification...
I have just been contacted by the world’s leading authority on Phasmids (clue) regarding the last of the beasties in the above post.
He has informed me that the beastie in question is a good match for one recorded in 1889 described from a single female collected from Golungo Alto in 1856. Apart from brief details of that record, nothing has been published since and the archive containing these records in Lisbon was destroyed by fire.
It is a pity that the only photograph the world now has of one of these incredibly rare and undocumented specimens has my ugly face as a backdrop.
Dominic will be thrilled to learn he has discovered something so rare and every penny I spent on bringing in his microscope and other paraphernalia to encourage his naturalist instincts was well worth it.
I shall now task us with the self imposed duty of acquiring more specimens and get them back to the good Professor of Beasties back in UK. Not that easy, I suspect as I have been here sixteen years and this is the only one I have seen. Still, instead of walking aimlessly around the countryside together in the pursuit of fresh air, now at least Dominic and I will have a motive for our perambulations.
Given its astonishing rarity, I think I need to award at least ten gold stars and a genuine Angolan carving of the ‘Pensador’, sent to the address of choice to anyone who can positively ID this one.
The professor was kind enough to be discreet and not spoil our fun but he has earned his five gold stars which he may cash in for a free stay at Floridita and an entomological field trip of Quissama National park. That place is crawling with beasties and I am terribly keen to find out how many are undocumented.
In UK, a recent lengthy experiment established that preventing children from raising their hands in class and rewarding good performance with days out at a funfair encouraged children to learn twice as fast. Imagine the concentration on the task in hand of a young lad aware that he might have a hitherto unknown beastie named after him?
Hopefully in the future he may be able to retort to an enquiry from a University entrance board as to his poorish A level results by saying, 'Granted, but at least I did spend weeks in the bush, discovered and together with the Professor, described and categorised 'Beastialis Dominicus Australis'.