and other mimics

Since 2021 we at the Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group have received numerous reports from the field regarding what appear to be small tabs of recycled cardboard in the shape of occlupanids. Several contributors have dutifully submitted samples of these paper-pulp impostors to the HORG office for study. After months of testing, our researchers have come to one definite conclusion: These are not occlupanids.

Despite their uncanny similarity to occlupanids in form and function, exhaustive experiments have demonstrated that these cardboard tags are composed entirely of biodegradable wood fiber, unlike the nearly indelible petrochemicals that characterize phylum Plasticae.

While the relationship of these mimics to kingdom Microsynthera can be debated, their plastic-less nature would inexorably place them in an (as yet) undetermined phylum, well outside that of Plasticae generally, and the Occlupanida in particular. Our HORG Board of Taxonomy, ever ready to put their cladistical stamp on the situation, have tentatively labeled these entities as “Cartonalia”.

The arrival of these fiber-filled fakeouts have caused great concern among synthetic taxonomists, as they are recognized as a direct competitor for the same resources and biomes that occlupanids have long held: bags of sliced bread in grocery stores. The majority of these paper-pulp impostors have been sighted in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and in each instance field researchers report that they are supplanting occlupanids in growing numbers, a true invasion of sustainably-generated entities! Not since the arrival of aluminum-laced symbiotic twist-ties have occlupanids faced such a dire threat to their existence. Will the incredible diversity of synthetic desiderata be replaced by compostable carbon-based carbon copies?

As occlupanologists, we know this sobering situation must be dealt with head-on. It is imperative that we collect, catalog and record every occlupanid we can find, to preserve a snapshot of our infinitesimally dwindling abiotic diversity. In this way we hope to give to our descendants a record of the plastic-filled past, as they struggle to survive in a healthier world.

While the science of such cartonalia may be beyond the scope and budget of HORG to thoroughly document, we are nonetheless dedicated to providing documentation of collected specimens from our collection, in order to aid this rapidly developing phenomena. We entreat any researchers who find new forms of cartonalia to sent samples to HORG for further study.