Ropen

Flying Reptile of Australasia.

Etymology: An Austronesian word said to mean "demon flyer."

Variant name: Duah.

PP'hysical description: Bony crest on the head. Long jaws. Sharp teeth. Long neck. Leathery wings. Wingspan, 3-20 feet. Glowing under-parts. Long tail with diamond-shaped fringe.

Behavior: Nocturnal. Attracted to decaying flesh. Said to attack funeral gatherings and fishing vessels in search of fishes.

Habitat: Caverns.

Distribution: Rambutyo Island, Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea; Goodenough and Umboi Islands, Papua New Guinea; the Solomon Islands; the Papua New Guinea mainland.

Significant sightings: About 1989, a man was fishing with a companion at night on the eastern side of Rambutyo Island when one of these creatures swooped down from the sky and attacked their boat. They jumped into the water to avoid it, and the animal hit the boat, splashed around in the water for a while, then flew away.

villagers of Gumalong, Umboi Island, saw a Duah fly from Mount Bel and out to sea in 1995.

A missionary on the Papuan mainland saw a Ropen as it flew by a lake in 1995.

Sources: Karl Shuker, "Roping in the Ropen," Fortean Times, no. 133 (April 2000): 20; Karl Shuker, "Roping in Another Ropen," Fortean Times, no. 142 (February 2001): 21; Pterodactyl Society: More News, Letter from Brian Irwin, September 20, 2001, http:// www.pterodactyl.tv/society/morenews.html; Karl Shuker, "Flying Graverobbers," Fortean Times, no. 154 (February 2002): 48-49.

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