Greater Love…

…hath no man, that he give his name to a flatworm.

Arthurdendylus somehow made its way from New Zealand the UK, where it was first seen in Northern Ireland about sixty years ago. Harmless in Aotearoa, the creature has no natural enemies here.

The New Zealand flatworm is formidably hardy: it can reproduce without mating and live for a year or more without feeding. The problem, though, is its appetite for earthworms. It hunts them by gliding nightmarishly through their burrows. Lacking teeth or jaws, the flatworm slithers alongside its prey in a clammy embrace and pumps out a lethal, earthworm-dissolving enzyme. Once the earthworm’s innards have been sufficiently liquidised, the flatworm simply wallows in the worm soup and soaks it up through its skin. Under certain conditions, whole populations have been wiped out in this way. Then the knock-on effects begin. Without earthworms to turn over and aerate the soil, it becomes sour and ill-drained…A recent survey discovered that, while the flatworm was detected in only 4 percent of grass fields [in Ireland] in 1991, the proportion had risen to 70 per cent by the end of the decade. The loss of earthworms has meant a corresponding diminution in the numbers of wild birds and mammals, notably moles and hedgehogs.

Bugs Britannica, Peter Marren & Richard Mabey

More about the little monster here.

The eponymous zoologist can be found on the Shared Tree and there is a photographic portrait of the man on his Wikipedia page.

(Bugs Britannica is my breakfast reading now, and for the next couple of months probably.)

Bird 105 · Reed Bunting♂

Emberiza schoeniclus, Carr Naze

A Passage to India?

Alan, great-grandson of George Toyn COLLEY and generous supplier of family information and photographs to LaFREDUX, has a second great-grandaunt on his mother’s side called Mary Ann HEMINGTON. She is a mixed-up lady, through no fault of her own. She married Frederick George O’BRIEN in Lambeth on 23 March 1863, almost three years after she supposedly gave birth to a daughter in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. That child, Mary Ann Conway McCarthy, married John Henry SUBRITZKY, bore him eleven children and died in New Zealand in 1932.


Mary on the Shared Tree doesn’t have a family name, though you would reasonably expect her to be a Hemington. Perhaps she was born a CONWAY? She has seven duplicate IDs. One HENNESSEY, one WELTON, three RYANs, one RAGAN and one QUESTIONMARK.

In the first quarter of 1859, Mary Ryan married a Daniel McCarthy in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Just Mary has three sources attached to her record on FamilySearch. One is the 1861 England & Wales Census, placing her in London, aged 22 and single, with her parents and six siblings. It doesn’t make sense to have shipped her out to India.

Sources neatly fit marriage to Frederick George in Lambeth, the birth of a daughter, Sophia Mary Ann in 1865, and death aged 45 towards the end of 1883.

A very different life to the one currently portrayed on the Shared Tree.