According to Bernard Heuvelmans cryptozoology is all about unexpected animals - large and small. Is doesn't have to be big scary monsters every time, so with that in mind, I thought I would report on yeat another couple of additions to the Danish fauna, and this time within one of my favourite subjects - microcryptozoology.
The littlest ant-lover
October 25th. just one months ago, Danish entomologist Poul Ulrik was talking a walk at a place called Dybbølsbro, close to Copenhagen Central trainstation. Noticing a loose paving-slab, he turned it over and saw first of all, a large number of ants, but also in among the ants, a tiny 3 mm long cricket. On closer inspection this turned out to be of a specied called Myrmecophilus acervorum. Myrmecophilus means ant-lover, so the tiny animal was not just a piece of prey for the ants, but a voluntary inhabitant in their nest. M. acervorum has been found in the nests of at least 20 different ant species. It is fairly common and widespread in Europe, but has never been found in Denmark before. Until now, that is...
150 years in the dark
And then we have this gorgeous thing. This is a tortoise beetle called Pilemostoma fastuosa, and in my humble opinion it could easily have come from a tropical forest somewhere. This individual was actually found on a beach in Southeastern Denmark on November 23rd. in the various plantmatter and other debris that had washed ashore following a stormy couple of days with water levels more than 1 meter above normal. This is not just a rare animal, this is a VERY rare animal. In actual fact this is the first time it has been seen in Denmark for more than 150 years. Just goes to show hos careful you have to be, when you deem an animal (especially a small one) extinct. It was found by naturalist Klaus Bek Nielsen, and it is far from the first time he has found super-rarities like this, but then again he spends most of his time sifting through as much leaf-litter, plant-debris, mouldy pine-needles and abandoned ants-nest as he can lay his hands on.