Ichneumon wasp larvae leave caterpillar, video


This video says about itself (translated):

September 30 2014

An ichneumon wasp has deposited its eggs in this caterpillar. The larvae then eat their hosts from the inside. These larvae have just crawled out of the caterpillar of a garden white butterfly. Now they are spinning cocoons to transform into wasps. Filmed by Toon Gevers.

Flotsam crabs’ marital fidelity, new study


This video is called Loggerhead Turtle burying eggs and returning to the ocean.

From Oceana.org:

Meet a Tiny Crab Species That’s Not into Long-Term Relationships

Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 by Brianna Elliott

A tiny crab species, commonly known as flotsam crabs, have quite the luxurious lifestyle. They spend most of their lives hitching free rides on loggerhead sea turtles, catching views of the open ocean as they travel safely nestled between their carapaces and tails. Here, they’re offered safety from predators, and typically ride along with a mate to reproduce and have a friend.

Previously assumed to be faithful for life to both their turtle host and mate, a study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology shows that these crabs may not actually be that monogamous. The study found that some male flotsam crabs don’t stick with one crustaceous lover for life, leaving their mate and host when they have the chance.

Scientists are calling this “risky behavior,” since switching hosts leaves these poor swimmers exposed and vulnerable in the ocean. And once they find a new turtle host (the scientists think they may do this when loggerheads converge each year to mate and feed), they’re not even guaranteed asylum: These tiny crabs sometimes have to fight off current male residents to earn the new spot alongside females.

Previous research shows that tiny, monogamous organisms should have similar body sizes to their mates. So, when the study authors found that flotsam crab body size data didn’t match data of a committed lifestyle, they discovered that these crabs may not be so faithful after all. Scientists studied crabs on loggerhead sea turtles in Japan, Mexico, Peru, and Brazil to reach this conclusion, says Smithsonian Science.

While these risk-takers may not engage in the long-term relationships as previously assumed, this behavior clues scientists into the relationship between ecology and mating patterns in crustaceans, says the study.

Dutch rare sea slug news


This video is about sea slugs in Catalonia in Spain.

Translated from the Dutch Stichting ANEMOON marine biologists:

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The Aeolidiella alderi sea slug was found on the Dutch coast for the first time in the late autumn of 2012. Since then, it was a rare slug. Only a small number of individuals in the westernmost Oosterschelde estuary were recorded. Very recently, more than one slug was found in the central Oosterschelde near Zierikzee with egg capsules and a single individual near Goes. So, the area where these beautiful sea slug has settled has extended considerably, and it seems the species is reproducing successfully in the Zeeland Delta.

Aeolidiella alderi is a not common slug species on the western European coast. It is known from a limited number of places around the British Isles and at the French coast to the Mediterranean.

Special caterpillar, video


This video is about a special caterpillar on a mat.

It is a caterpillar of a pale tussock moth.

The Dutch name for this species is meriansborstel, Merian’s brush; named after famous seventeenth century naturalist and painter of insects Maria Sibylla Merian.

Jos van Zijl in the Netherlands made the video.

Hoverfly on flower, video


This is a video about a hoverfly on a flower.

Marjo Steffen made this video in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands.

Rare moth discovered in the Netherlands


Spotted clover moth

Translated from the Dutch Butterfly Foundation:

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Last week, a spotted clover moth was seen in Groningen. This very rare migratory moth had been found only seven times in our country, especially in the fifties of the last century.

The spotted clover is a migratory moth from southern Europe. After thirty years of absence (it was reported in 1958, 1955, 1954, 1953 and 1945) it was observed in Twello (Gelderland) in 1995 and now it has been seen again in Groningen. This is also the most northern discovery of this moth which is not able to survive the Dutch winter.

Butterflies dying in Fukushima


This video from China is about a pale grass blue butterfly.

From BioMed Central:

Are butterflies still fluttering in Fukushima?

September 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

In this guest blog, Joji M. Otaki discusses the impact feasting on radioactively contaminated leaves has on the surrounding blue butterfly population.

The collapse of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011 is the second largest nuclear accident, next to Chernobyl, in the history of mankind. Many theoreticians and politicians have claimed, without any field-based or experimental evidence, that there are no harmful biological effects caused by the released artificial radionuclides.

Even worse, some biologists have claimed that there are no biological impacts in the polluted area, based solely on fragmentary data from a short survey or a non-informative experiment (or based on irrelevant data) that have no power to resolve the issue. These claims were often relatively well advertised.

However, this situation has changed in recent years. For example, it has already been reported that some animals, especially butterflies, decreased in number in the polluted areas in Fukushima, based on field surveys conducted by Prof. Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues. We have been working on the pale grass blue butterfly, Zizeeria maha, to evaluate the biological impacts of the accident … . We are sure that this species of butterfly was considerably affected by the accident, based on several field surveys, rearing experiments in our laboratory, external exposure experiments, and internal exposure experiments, some of which have already been published. The internal exposure experiments were performed in the previously published papers by feeding Okinawa larvae (least affected in Japan) leaves contaminated at high levels.

Now in the paper just published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, we tested if leaves contaminated at relatively low (or very low) levels from places where many people live could be harmful to this butterfly from Okinawa. As expected, leaves contaminated at very low levels (e.g., Okinawa, 0.2 Bq/kg; Atami, 2.5 Bq/kg) did not show any significant effect. However, to our surprise, leaves contaminated at relatively low levels, approximately 100 Bq/kg (e.g., Koriyama, 117 Bq/kg), resulted in a mortality rate of more than 50%. This result differs from the previous one which was based on leaves contaminated at relatively high levels (e.g., Fukushima, 7,860 Bq/kg; Iitate-flatland, 10,170 Bq/kg) see). Because the breeding lines used in these two experiments were different, the difference indicates sensitivity variation within this single species.

Indeed, in our experiments, a mortality rate never reached 100%, even in feeding leaves contaminated at extremely high levels. In other words, some are completely fine at least morphologically, but others are heavily ill or dead. Sensitivity to radiation varies very much among individuals.

The ingestional impacts appear to be transgenerational, as the body size (more precisely, the forewing size) of this butterfly decreased in the offspring generation. Moreover, the sensitivity of the offspring generation increased, resulting in very high mortality rates. Interestingly, feeding the offspring larvae non-contaminated leaves resulted in low mortality rates.

Of course, we do not know how much of our experimental results from the pale grass blue butterfly are applicable to humans. However, it is widely believed among modern biologists that insights obtained from one biological system are largely applicable to other systems. This is why biologists study model organisms such as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Studies on this insect have greatly contributed to our understanding of humans.

To my knowledge, there have been no cases of human health effects of the Fukushima accident reported in scientific literature thus far, although anecdotal evidence has been around. To be sure, human-based studies are slow, descriptive, less conclusive, and more often a target of political pressure, compared with insect studies, but of course human studies are necessary. I believe that at least some studies on human health will appear sooner or later in scientific literature.

‘Remember Fukushima': Thousands rally against nuclear restart in Japan — Common Dreams: here.

Tepco struggling to win approval of fishermen over water-discharge plan — The Asahi Shimbun; The Japan Times: here.