The Pacific Islander Snouters
Nasobema Lyricum, aka the Great Morgenstern's- Nasobame, uses its four snouts as legs
Snouters, also known as Rhinogrades, were discovered in 1941 by a Swedish naturalist who was fleeing from the Japanese and became shipwrecked on the Hi-yi-yi Islands in the Pacific Ocean. But they received their first and only scientific description in a monograph, Bau und Leben der Rhinogradentia
, published in 1957 by the German naturalist Harald Stümpke.
Snouters, according to Stümpke, were a class of animals that had evolved to use their noses for virtually every imaginable function. For instance, the Sniffling Snouter caught fish with the long, delicate threads that emerged from its nostrils. The perfumed Honeytail Snouter stood rigidly upright on its thick nose and caught insects with its sticky tail. The Suctorial Snout Leaper used its long, flat nose to spring itself backwards great distances.
Unfortunately, soon after Dr. Stümpke described the Snouters, the entire Hi-yi-yi island chain sank into the ocean as a result of an earthquake triggered by the testing of atomic bombs. When the islands sank, they took with them all trace of the Snouters, except for the sketches which Dr. Stümpke had commissioned an artist to make of them. A few of these sketches are shown above and below. Dr. Stümpke, who had returned to the islands to conduct further research, sank with the Snouters.
The tail of the perfumed Honeytail Snouter secretes a sticky substance that attracts insects
Otopteryx volitans, aka the Earwing, uses its large ears to fly backwards
Due to the complete extinction of the Snouters, and the eradication of their only habitat, rumors have arisen to the effect that both Dr. Stümpke and the Snouters never existed. They are alleged to have been the whimsical creation of Gerolf Steiner, a zoology professor at the University of Heidelberg. Whether or not there is any substance to this rumor, interest in the Snouters continues to grow apace. The original German monograph has been translated into both French and English and has received glowing reviews. The English version of the book is titled The Snouters: Form and Life of the Rhinogrades
Dr. Harald Stümpke. The Snouters: Form and Life of the Rhinogrades. Translated by Leigh Chadwick. The Natural History Press (1967).
Text copyright © 2002 Alex Boese