Thursday, April 1, 2010

 Editors note:
These stories come from the Buck Keagy Collection.  We are not responsible for the stories, the "facts" and especially for Buck.  His scientific "studies" are apparently all conducted in an alternative universe.

With apologies to all.


A research team from Wichita State University was on a 5-week study of Banded Sand Crickets in the Southeastern corner of the Flint Hill region of Kansas – when one of the leaders, a Prof. Kcub, accidentally discovered that on moonlit nights in early spring, the male Three-toed Box Turtles utter a very low-pitched series of “growls”!

Further research arrived at the conclusion that this nocturnal vocalization achieved two distinct results. It established a territorial boundary of approx. 27 meters in all directions from the stallion turtle! (Most always from a slightly elevated location, and away from dense vegetation).

The call was also instrumental in attracting female turtles… which typically come into estrus in early spring.

Three toed Box Turtles do not mate for life, but in any giver year, a pair bond is established, and both parents share in the nest building and brooding of the eggs. Shortly after hatching, the stallion turtle leaves the mother turtle and hatchlings, and thereafter leads a solitary life the remainder of the year!

The very low-pitched call (between 29 and 42 cycles), is well below the human hearing frequency, and thus was never before discovered. The way that the turtle vocalization was discovered; the research team was recording the very low frequencies of the Sand Crickets, then super-imposing a 105 cycle beat frequency beneath the low frequencies to allow them to be audio recorded within the human hearing range. (The actual low frequencies are easily observed on an oscilloscope display however).

Since Sand Crickets only vocalize at dusk – the turtle sounds were never before discovered, but quite by accident, a microphone was left “on” one full moon night and the tape recorder fortunately captured this amazing new discovery!  Further turtle research is in the planning stage for next spring.

     A previously unknown species of shore bird has recently been discovered in the Tundra regions on northern Minnesota! A research team, while doing a new study of beaver scat in an isolated region of the iron range, for the National Geographic Society – discovered a never-before seen species of a nocturnal shore bird, believed to feed primarily on tadpoles and cattail beetles. 
      The most unusual attribute of the snype is the fact that the left leg is always longer than the right leg, and has a webbed foot! The right leg is much shorter than the left, and has five long, rather narrow toes. This adaptation is because the Circle Snype always feeds in a counterclockwise direction around the water line of the lakeshore – left foot in the water, the right foot on dry land!
     Further research has revealed that, due to the unusual leg configuration – the snype are not able to breed in the normal manner. Seems that the cock Circle Snype passes a sperm packet to the hen, and she, with her long slim beak, fertilizes herself. The parents do not brood the eggs, as they float due to a small air pocket inside the shell. Due to the heat absorbed by the sooty-black eggs – it appears that the chicks emerge when the inside temperature reaches the approximate range of 87.3 to 87.9 degrees F.
     Another rather unusual characteristic of the Circle Snype, they do not migrate south as most other Minnesota species – they fly to the Hawaiian Islands to spend the cold winter months! While living on the islands, they always feed in a clockwise direction around the island coastlines. (So the longer left leg is on the waterside).
      A further research effort is scheduled in the near future to determine if this new species would be a candidate for “Threatened/Endangered Species” protection by the federal government.
To read more about the Circle Snype – look somewhere else!

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