What do you get when you mix a pedantic discourse on orchid biology with an enthusiastic discussion on "phart physiology"?
Where can you find annoyingly bad poetry stirred into a potpourri of odd (to say the least) topics, including flying saucers, fiddler crabs, and the origin and evolution of syphylis?
For readers in the town of Eugene (California, USA) in the early 1970s, that meant that another issue of the Stomatopod had hit the streets.
The editors proclaimed it an organic journal, and its eclectic mix of half-joking, pseudo-journalistic and dead serious articles definitely would pique anyone's interest, even in today's more conservative society. Sporadically produced by a group that declared itself the American Stomatopod Society, the journal laid claim to its title by interspersing its content with a somewhat whimsical picture of a rather friendly looking mantis shrimp. In addition, it also carried a recurring cartoon called "Squilla: Tales of the Sea", which had strong environmental themes and sometimes featured a mantis shrimp named (appropriately enough) "Squilla".
The journal had a definite "academic" quality to it, and the stories and articles seemed decidedly liberal in their leanings. Most of the articles were handwritten (and just to make it more fun, the handwriting styles ranged from classically beautiful scripts to barely legible scratchings), and subscribers were strongly urged to submit their own articles to the magazine. The diagrams and pictures were likewise of an assorted variety, although they tended to be a bit more "traditional" in style (and especially those pics associated with serious scientific articles).
In the next few weeks (and months), I would like to explore with you some of the more interesting bits and articles from this long-gone "relic" from the 1970s. I am assuming that no one will mind my placing scans of pics and articles in this site, although I will of course include all author names when possible. Finally, thank you to Dr. Rasmussen for his help in obtaining samples of the Stomatopod and for his past preview.
- Airlan (July 15 1999)