Posted in Adventures in The Primortus Zone, Nature Facts

World’s Largest Creepy Crawler




Cook Strait Giant Weta

Why are we talking about Weta bugs?  Because in Book One of The Primortus Chronicles we encounter one of these amazing insects.  So let’s find out a “little” more about a “big” bug.    

The following is from AsianScientist:Source Animal Planet (Dec. 7, 2011) – An American researcher at the Smithsonian Institution says he has found the world’s biggest bug on New Zealand’s Little Barrier Island.

The insect has a wing span of around 18 centimeters (7 inches) and weighs three times as much as a mouse. It was thought to be extinct after European settlers brought rats to New Zealand.

The giant weta bug was found by 53-year-old entomologist and photojournalist Mark Moffett, who has been called the Indiana Jones of Entomology by the National Geographic Society.

“Three of us walked the trails of this small island for two nights scanning the vegetation for a giant weta. We spent many hours with no luck finding any at all, before we saw her up in a tree,” he said.

However, Moffett did what a responsible explorer would do – he returned the bug right where he found it.

Did you know that Weta Digital (visual effects studio for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit films) is named after these creatures? 

2008-11-09, Wellington The Weta Shop sells boo...
2008-11-09, Wellington The Weta Shop sells books and collectable items just next to the Weta Digital studio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Warning this part is totally disgusting!!!

Don’t worry there are about 70 species of bug that go by the name weta.  And I’m told Bear didn’t eat one of the endangered types. Well, let’s hope so!!

The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elemetum: 

            Chrism let out a loud gasp, pointed at Will and yelled, “BUG!”

            Everyone froze.  There, sitting on his shoulder, was the largest bug Skylee had seen in her entire life. The brown creature resembled a giant cricket with long hairy looking legs.  It was so big in fact, that if Skylee could have mustered up the courage to pick it up it would have barely fit on her palm.  Usually Skylee wasn’t afraid of insects but she found herself taking a small step back as chill bumps rushed over her arms.

            Will slowly craned his neck around and was eye to eye with the enormous insect.  He closed his eyes for a split second and when he reopened them, they were as wide as saucers.  He looked straight ahead and didn’t dare move an inch.

            “KILL IT!  KILL IT!” screeched Chrism.

            “NO, don’t!  Don’t hurt it,” ordered Nika, holding her hands up.

            “Maybe it will jump off,” Skylee quickly said as she considered how she might use the power of the Elementum to control the huge creature.  

            “What should I do?” whispered Will trying not to disturb it.

            “Hold still mate,” said Airon with a bewildered look on his face. “Crikey, what is the bloody thing?”

            “It’s a weta bug.  I haven’t seen one in years,” said Hera in a hushed voice.  “They—they almost went extinct after The Day.  So, we should try not to harm it.”

            “Weta-bug?  Well, do they bite?” asked Airon curiously.

            “I don’t think so, unless they’re feeling threatened,” said Heather.  “Stay still.  Let’s think, what can we do to keep from harming it?”

            “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?  SOMEBODY, JUST SMACK THAT UGLY THING!” screamed Chrism frantically shaking her hands in front of her.

            “Hey, I’ve read about these,” said Skylee, leaning in for a better look. “There are lots of different species.  They’re flightless so, I don’t think it will jump off.  It must have crawled on your shoulder when we were under the trees.  Oh, do you think it is a tree weta?”

“Possible, yes,” answered Heather.

“They’re nocturnal, normally.  Will, you must have woke him up,” Skylee said smiling at the bug. 

“Hopefully, he’s a good sport about it,” he replied as he glanced at her.

“He seems okay, he hasn’t raised his back legs in defense, so you should be okay.”

She placed her hand over her necklace, hoping she could use her power without having to pull it out for everyone to see.  She might be able to control the weta.  Skylee searched her mind for the right thoughts to concentrate on.

            Almost at the same time, Zane bounded up to Will.  He smiled broadly and bent forward looking closely at the bug.  Then to everyone’s amazement, he calmly picked the gigantic insect up and looked admiringly at it.

            “Well, take a gawk at that!” he exclaimed.  “I thought I’d never see a weta bug again.  Little fella, you better find somewhere else to sit.  I’m afraid you’re not welcome here.” He walked over to a tree and carefully placed the bug on a branch.

            “Little,” gasped Chrism.  “You call that terrible monstrosity little?”

            Zane started to speak but Will reached out and placed his hand on his shoulder.  “Thanks, mate. I wasn’t scarred of it or anything but I just, well I didn‘t…”  

            “Of course,” he said as he patted Will on the back then turned his attention to Chrism.  “Let me clue you in on a secret, little lady.  What you call a terrible monstrosity is a survivor and we should all consider ourselves lucky to have seen it.”

            “That’s right,” said Hera nodding her head.  “It’s a sign…a cause for hope.”

            Chrism’s eyes got big.  “I don’t get it!  You’re saying that awful looking thing is some sort of special sign?”

            “Don’t you see?” said Skylee.  “The weta bug means the natural world is continuing to recover—the planet is healing.”

            Her stepsister rolled her eyes and said, “Okay, okay you don’t have to go all environmentalist wacko on me. I get it, that gross, horrid bug is mankind’s link to utopia, yeah, whatever.

            “No, it’s not like that,” said Skylee, frowning.  “You don’t understand.”

            “Yeah, I do, ” Chrism shot back.  “But what I’m trying to comprehend is why Weta Studios is named after something that hideous.  Go figure.” 

            Before Skylee could respond, Hera and Nika chimed in and tried to get through to her, explaining the significance of protecting the fragile environment.  Skylee’s heart sank for she could see from Chrism’s bored expression that their words fell on deaf ears. 



Posted in Nature Facts

Snow Leopards…Ghosts of the Mountains


English: A snow leopard (uncia uncia).



The villagers of the Himalayans have given the snow leopard this name because they rarely see the big cats.  Why are we talking about snow leopards?  Well, for one thing, they’re amazingly beautiful and for another, they’re on the list of endangered animals.  And that’s not all.  In our book “Eleventh Elementum” our young shapeshifter changes into one of these mysterious beauties.








Blue eyes



Snow Leopard Facts


They are  carnivorous.


Mammal- 77-120 lbs (35-55 kg)


Females are about 30% smaller than males.


They are nocturnal.


They have the longest tail of any cat.


Only 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards are left in the wild, with 600 to 700 in zoos worldwide. Exact numbers in the wild are undetermined due to their shy nature.


Their number appears to be in dramatic decline due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.

Snow Leopard Profile


The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elementum.

The leopard dashed through the woods, leaping over snow-filled ditches and downed trees.  She let out a loud wail that filled the forest.  Chrism had nearly shifted back when Skylee held the Elementum in front of her.  It had taken almost all her strength to resist.  She growled angrily as her destiny played out in her mind.  Will I always be under her control?

Racing onward, she tried to get lost in the rush.  All of a sudden, a sharp pain jabbed at her, causing her to stumble.  Her huge paws gripped the icy ground, and she continued to run.  Stay focused, she told herself.  But there was no way to stop it.  She didn’t want to go back to human form, not after knowing what it was like to run free across the snow.  Except the pain was too great, which caused her to unwillingly drop down and crawl on her belly.

Her body shook violently.  She curled up, wrapping her tail around her face, waiting for it to finish.  Now, half human and half leopard, her ears twitched as footsteps approached.  A hand reached out to her.  She was weak and frightened and lashed out with her sharp claws to warn the intruder.

“Easy, Duchess,” said a startled voice.

Realizing it was Airon, she raised her head and glanced in his direction.  Blood trickled down his arm, staining the white snow.

“No,” she softly whimpered as she finally returned to human form. “Did I…?”  She struggled to sit up, tried to reach out to him, but stopped when she saw him hold up a hand to halt her.


Posted in Nature Facts

The Butterfly Effect


“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”


Author unknown


English: Eastern Tailed-blue (Cupido comyntas)...
English: Eastern Tailed-blue (Cupido comyntas), Mer Bleue Conservation Area, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Butterfly Video Blog




The following is an excerpt from Chapter four of Eleventh Elementum


Book One of The Primortus Chronicles


Skylee rushed out of the memorial hall toward the wedding arch with the card from her mother clutched tightly in her hand.  A huge cluster of butterflies flew along right behind her.


“I must bloody well be seeing things,” said Will, rubbing his eyes as he headed toward her.


Meanwhile Skylee’s eyes were so intently focused on the envelope, that she didn’t notice the colorful insects or Will.  She scampered down the sidewalk toward him.


He gently reached out, clutched her arm and said, “Sky, what’s wrong?”


“Oh, Will, there you are!” she said in a distressed voice.


“What’s going on, eh?” he asked, staring up at the butterflies.


Skylee smiled when she heard his voice. His normally slight Australian accent was much stronger after being in Sydney.  Actually, since Airon had come to live with them, Will had picked up more and more of his cousin’s Aussie ways.  And Skylee noticed something else was different about Will.  He had returned from his trip with blonde highlights in his wavy brown hair.  She wouldn’t be surprised if the new surfer-boy look had turned many an Aussie girl’s head.


For some reason she didn’t like dwelling on that thought, so she turned her attention to giving Will a detailed answer about the stranger, the book, the necklace, and the words that had appeared and disappeared.  During her little speech the butterflies, still hovering around her, continued to distract him.




“Uh-huh,” he grunted.


“Will?”  Skylee called a little louder.


“Eh?”  Will replied, with his eyes still glued to the butterflies.


“What are you looking at?”  Skylee questioned grabbing his jacket.


Will finally turned his attention to Skylee and motioned with his eyes toward the fluttering creatures.  He gently placed his hands on her shoulders and turned her around.


“That,” he said in a matter of fact tone.


Skylee cocked her head to the side in bewilderment.  A mixture of shock and awe possessed her as she gazed at dozens of colorful butterflies flying above her head.  She raised an eyebrow and said, “Eastern Tailed Blues, well…their real name is Cupido Comyntas—what are they doing here so early in the spring?  Okay, that’s a little weird.”


“Cripes, Sky!  It’s more than a little weird, by the look of it, they’re following you.” Will pointed out.


“All right, it’s really weird,” said Skylee, waving her hands in the air to shoo the butterflies away.


As she watched the purplish-blue butterflies floating into the sky she wondered if her mind was scattering with them.  I must be going crazy.  Why are all these bizarre things happening today?  She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.


“Will, did you hear what I told you?”


He nodded but continued watching the butterflies, now tiny specks, as they faded away.  Then she softly tapped him on the shoulder, which caused him to jump and look over at her.


“Sorry, I’m a bit distracted,” he said with a crooked grin.


She smiled forgivingly at him.  Over the last few months, there had been a change in their friendship.  It was subtle, but she could sense awkwardness between them.  So what…he’s still your best friend, she told herself.  In fact they had been BFFs for as long as she could remember.  Her mind drifted back to when she was about seven or eight.  Those were the days when she spent much of her time with Will and Gracie.  They had called themselves the three musketeers, one for all and all for one.  That had been their motto.  Those were blissful times even though the skies were gray and even after Gracie’s illness prevented them from going outside to play.  They still had fun building forts out of blankets and dressing up like their favorite characters out of the books Gracie read to them.  Then it all changed.  Skylee wished things didn’t always have to change.

Butterfly flying free from cupped hands
Butterfly flying free from cupped hands (Photo credit: Beverly & Pack)