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Michael Merchant ( sends us:

I have sent you photos in the past which your webmaster posted on your site, thank you very much :). I hope these new photos will grab your attention. I am a second year biology student here in Maine and the study of rods has completely captivated my time this summer. The exposure granted by the last posting on your site generated some healthy contacts with other persons who were interested and one individual who had a rod smash into his windshield. This was most useful in collecting new data on these creatures. I have contacted WoodsHole institute in Mass, asking them to compare some of these photos with marine worms species to see if they think it possible they could be a form of worms. The morphology is very similar and I do not believe they could be insects because of the lack of a exoskeleton, three body parts and 6 legs. The rods display no visible legs and apparently do not have a discernable exoskeleton. They do however have protuberances visible on the anterior end of some of the rods, this could be a type of antenna or perhaps a device that functions as do ears.

Jose on one of his videos has a remarkable sequence showing a cave swallow chasing a rod, an interesting side note is that cave swallows are one of the only birds known to use echolocation. In the video the swallow is seen chasing the rod and the rod easily evades the swallow by outdistancing it rather quickly. This would indicate that the rod sensed the presents of the swallow, this may also indicate that the swallow did not become aware of the rod with eye sight but instead may have located the rod with sound waves.

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I have discovered that most video cameras are sensitive to the infrared range of light. As an experiment take a video camera and while looking into the view finder have someone point a infrared remote control at you and press a button. You will be able to see the light in the view finder but not with the naked eye. So even though we may assume the swallow "saw" the rod as we did, we should not make that assumption.

I have noted rods while standing back and watching the view finder and while these rods passed within 10 feet of me I was unable to hear them pass ( as would a bee) and was also unable to view them with my peripheral vision or straight on. As you may know our peripheral vision is very astute at picking up movement being more heavily blessed with rods attuned to black and white as opposed to cones tuned more to color vision. Based on this one would assume you would see a Rainbow rod more quickly out of the corner of your eye then straight on.

I have seen what I thought were rods but always high up in the air, I have also read where others have see these creatures, so I am perplexed, although not yet proven it could be rods have the ability to change color, or that a isolated group may have mutated with colors, or that a separate species of cave dwelling rods display color and are not complete invisible as are most rods. More research is needed and certain researchers seem to guard this information and their intentions are known only to themselves, instead this information should be freely distributed to all persons interested so that by pooling this information we could make greater gains with more speed, for the good of all involved.

I have been unable to film any birds in this area chasing rods, but then again there are no cave swallows in this area.:) My only interest is to research this as completely as possible and to bring this enigma to the attention of the general public as well as scientists and to simply know the truth, if only for my own satisfaction.

Here are some of the latest stills captured here in the Northeast. I have included some shots of neonate/baby rods. To my knowledge this is the first time young rod specimens have been confirmed by photographic evidence. You may also notice that the "adult" rods are now displaying upwards of 5 undulations as shown in the "Sawtooth" photo. This is either a indication of growth in these animals or else two or more individuals have united into one unit or colony that appear to function as one creature. In April with extensive filming, the largest species captured in camera traps had 2 undulations, then in late June Rainbow rods with 3 undulations were recorded. We also recorded what may have been a swarm of neonate rods in late May, and now we are seeing rods in the 1 1/2 to 3 inch range. This is very exciting because the data seems to indicate a cyclic pattern of breeding, raising young, territory displays and possibility a migration of sorts, although we will have to wait until fall to find out. We have also recorded a number of other animals only visible in the infrared spectrum that are outwardly much different in form then the more common rods, there is some evidence that these "other" animals are chasing or preying on rods.

I know that Trevor James Constable did research in the area of infrared photography in the late 50's and that Wilhelm Reich also did similar research into organisms he called Bions as well as rain engineering that may be connected somehow to these creatures. I hope I haven't taken up too much of your time with this, hope you found the photos interesting. If you are interested in any of the data we have collected this summer, please let me know, I would be more then happy to send our reports to you.


Black Back Rod

Huge Rod

Very Nice Scale

Rod Evening Scale

Rod in Front of Tree

Rod in Front of Tree

Evening Scale

Raven 1

Raven 2

Raven 3

Raven 4