George Harrison Beatle tree killed by beetles


This video from the USA says about itself:

L.A. Gently Weeps As George Harrison Tree Is Felled By Beetles

22 July 2014

A local official said on Tuesday that a tree planted in memorial to late Beatles guitarist George Harrison following his death in Los Angeles in 2001 has been killed by bark beetles amid California’s epic drought. The pine tree, which was dedicated with a plaque to Harrison at the head of a hiking trail in the city’s Griffith Park, was among a number of trees that have succumbed to the beetles this year. City Councilman, Tom LaBonge said he expects to see a new tree planted in remembrance of Harrison in the fall.

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

George Harrison Memorial Tree killed … by beetles; replanting due

By Randy Lewis

July 21, 2014

In the truth is stranger than fiction department, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes Griffith Park, told Pop & Hiss over the weekend that the pine tree planted in 2004 near Griffith Observatory in memory of George Harrison will be replanted shortly because the original tree died as the result of an insect infestation.

Yes, the George Harrison Tree was killed by beetles.

Except for the loss of tree life, Harrison likely would have been amused at the irony. He once said his biggest break in life was getting into the Beatles; his second biggest was getting out.

The sapling went in, unobtrusively, near the observatory with a small plaque at the base to commemorate the former Beatle, who died in 2001, because he spent his final days in Los Angeles and because he was an avid gardener for much of his adult life.

Beetle and fly quarrel on flower, video


This is a video about a spotted longhorn beetle and a common flesh fly quarreling on a goldenrod flower.

Henk Lammers in Hupsel village in the Netherlands made the video.

Rare butterfly invasion in the Netherlands


This 15 July 2014 Dutch entomology video is about the recent invasion in the Netherlands of scarce tortoiseshell butterflies; a species, new for the Netherlands.

See also here.

Butterflies and dragonflies of Rottumerplaat island


This video from Britain is called Grayling Butterflies, Hipparchia semele.

Jasper Zoeter, Martijn Bunskoek and Tim van Nus, wardens of desert island Rottumerplaat in the Netherlands, report about butterflies and dragonflies.

This summer, graylings are the most common butterflies: hundreds were seen.

Other Rottumerplaat butterflies this year: meadow brown; small copper; small heath; comma; Essex skipper; common blue.

About dragonflies, they write:

Not only for birds the water tank below the tower is useful. For dragonflies it is interesting, because between 1 and 11 July here almost daily ruddy darters metamorphosed from larva to adult. Based on the number of counted and collected larva skins at least 48 individuals emerged from the shallow water. Special, they all came from such a small pond! Reproduction of dragonflies on Rottumerplaat is known from only a few species. On 5 and 6 July, a strong southerly winds brought large numbers of dragonflies to the island. This were mainly various types of darters, including the nationally rare yellow-winged darter, of which one female was observed. We have also seen an emperor dragonfly a few times.

New butterfly species discovery in the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

Scarce Tortoiseshell Feeds on Oak Sap ヒオドシチョウがミズナラ樹液を吸汁

9 February 2014

A Scarce Tortoiseshell (aka Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell; Nymphalis xanthomelas japonica, family Nymphalidae) feeding on the fermenting sap of an oak tree (Quercus crispula, family Fagaceae). October 2013 in Japan.

Translated from the Dutch Vlinderstichting entomologists:

July 14, 2014

Invasion of a new butterfly species in the Netherlands: scarce tortoiseshell seen

This week a butterfly species entered our country which had never been seen before in the Netherlands: the scarce tortoiseshell. This involves dozens of individuals. This species was initially unnoticed because it is very similar to another one: the large tortoiseshell. An expert from the Butterfly Foundation discovered that many sightings of large tortoiseshells reported since late last week were incorrect. It was in all cases the scarce tortoiseshell.

Usually, this species, new for the Netherlands, lives much further to the east.

Wasps on Amsterdam balcony, video


This video from the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vincent Bouman on his balcony in Amsterdam-South has four birch bird houses. One of them is now the home of a wasp family.

Bayer’s neonicotinoids kill birds, new research


This video says about itself:

Bees Dying Off, Colony Collapse

29 aug. 2010

Imagine a world without bees..

Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world and Bayer´s best-selling pesticide (2009 sales: €606 million). The substance is often used as seed-dressing, especially for maize, sunflower and rapeseed. The beginning of the marketing of imidacloprid coincided with the occurrence of large bee deaths, first in France, later on also in many other European countries, Canada, the US and Brazil.

After huge bee mortality in Germany in 2008 which was shown to be caused by neonicotinoid pesticides the Coalition against Bayer Dangers accused the Bayer management of downplaying the risks of imidacloprid, submitting deficient studies to authorities and thereby accepting huge losses of honey bees in many parts of the world. At the same time, German authorities imposed a ban on the use of imidacloprid and its successor product, clothianidin, on maize. Italy and Slovenia imposed a similar ban.

In France imidacloprid has been banned as a seed dressing for sunflowers (since 1999) and maize (since 2004). In 2003 the Comité Scientifique et Technique, convened by the French government, declared that the treatment of seeds with imidacloprid leads to “significant risks for bees”. The consumption of contaminated pollen can cause an increased mortality of care-taking-bees. When individual bees were exposed to sublethal doses their foraging activity decreased and they became disorientated, which researchers concluded “can in the course of time damage the entire colony”. Clothianidin was never approved in France.

Music: ‘Through Time and Space’ by Elixirion.

From Nature:

Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations

Caspar A. Hallmann, Ruud P. B. Foppen, Chris A. M. van Turnhout, Hans de Kroon & Eelke Jongejans

09 July 2014

Recent studies have shown that neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects on non-target invertebrate species1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Invertebrates constitute a substantial part of the diet of many bird species during the breeding season and are indispensable for raising offspring7.

We investigated the hypothesis that the most widely used neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid,

a Bayer corporation product

has a negative impact on insectivorous bird populations. Here we show that, in the Netherlands, local population trends were significantly more negative in areas with higher surface-water concentrations of imidacloprid. At imidacloprid concentrations of more than 20 nanograms per litre, bird populations tended to decline by 3.5 per cent on average annually.

Additional analyses revealed that this spatial pattern of decline appeared only after the introduction of imidacloprid to the Netherlands, in the mid-1990s. We further show that the recent negative relationship remains after correcting for spatial differences in land-use changes that are known to affect bird populations in farmland. Our results suggest that the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of persistent insecticides in the past. Future legislation should take into account the potential cascading effects of neonicotinoids on ecosystems.

Four-spotted chaser dragonfly video


This video is about a four-spotted chaser dragonfly.

Jan Gorel in the Netherlands made the video.

Jurassic fly larva, parasite on salamanders, discovered


This video says about itself:

The fossil of two froghopper insects in the act of mating has been uncovered by archaeologists in northeastern China after being buried for around 165 million years.

From World Science:

Bizarre parasite from Jurassic found

June 25, 2014

Courtesy of the University of Bonn and World Science staff

Re­search­ers from the Uni­vers­ity of Bonn and from Chi­na have dis­cov­ered a fos­sil fly lar­va with such a spec­tac­u­lar suck­ing ap­pa­rat­us, they have named it by the Chin­ese word for “bizarre.”

Around 165 mil­lion years ago, a spec­tac­u­lar par­a­site was at home in the fresh­wa­ter lakes of pre­s­ent-day In­ner Mon­go­lia in Chi­na, re­search­ers say. It was a ju­ve­nile fly with a thor­ax, or “ch­est,” formed en­tirely like a suck­ing plate.

With it, the an­i­mal could stick to sala­man­ders and suck their blood with its mouth­parts formed like a sting, ac­cord­ing to sci­en­tists. To date no in­sect is known with a si­m­i­lar de­sign. The in­terna­t­ional sci­en­tif­ic team is now pre­sent­ing its find­ings in the jour­nal eLIFE.

The par­a­site, a long fly lar­va around two cen­time­ters (a bit un­der an inch) long, had un­der­gone ex­treme changes over the course of ev­o­lu­tion, the re­search­ers said. The head is ti­ny in com­par­i­son to the body, tube-shaped with piercer-like mouth­parts at the front. The mid-body, or thor­ax, has been com­pletely trans­formed un­derneath in­to a gi­gantic suck­ing plate; the hind-body, or ab­do­men, has caterpillar-like legs.

The re­search team be­lieves that this un­usu­al an­i­mal lived in a land­scape with vol­ca­noes and lakes what is now north­east­ern Chi­na around 165 mil­lion years ago. In this fresh wa­ter hab­i­tat, they say, the par­a­site crawled on­to pass­ing sala­man­ders, at­tached it­self with its suck­ing plate, and pen­e­trated the thin skin of the am­phib­ians in or­der to suck blood from them.

“The par­a­site lived the life of Reil­ly,” said paleon­tologist Jes Rust from the Uni­vers­ity of Bonn. This is be­cause there were many sala­man­ders in the lakes, as fos­sil finds at the same loca­t­ion near Ningcheng in In­ner Mon­go­lia (Chi­na) have shown. “There sci­en­tists had al­so found around 300,000 di­verse and ex­cep­tion­ally pre­served fos­sil in­sects,” said the Chin­ese sci­ent­ist Bo Wang, a post­doc­tor­al re­searcher in paleon­tology at the Uni­vers­ity of Bonn.

The lar­va, which has re­ceived the sci­en­tif­ic name of Qiyia juras­si­ca, how­ev­er, was a quite un­ex­pected find. “Qiyia” in Chin­ese means “bizarre”; “jur­as­si­ca” refers to the Ju­ras­sic pe­ri­od to which the fos­sils be­long. A fine-grained mud­stone en­sured the good state of pre­serva­t­ion of the fos­sil.