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.

Edible frog and flies, video


This video is about an edible frog and lots of flies in the Netherlands.

Jos van Zijl made the video..

New Dutch insects discoveries


This video is about birds in Lauwersmeer national park in the Netherlands.

In a report about wildlife in Lauwersmeer national park, warden Jaap Kloosterhuis writes about two insect species discovered there on 21 June 2014.

They were the fly species Delia echinata and Homalocephala biumbrata.

Both species are new for the Netherlands.

New beetle species discovery in Russian cave


A drawing of the freshly discovered Duvalius abyssimus speciesSinc - José Antonio Peñas

From Science, Space & Robots:

New Beetle Species Discovered in World’s Deepest Cave

A new species of beetle has been discovered in the Krubera cave in Russia’s Western Caucasus. The Krubera cave is the world’s deepest cave at 2,140 meters deep. It is the only cave in the world known to have a depth of over 2,000 meters. The beetle was discovered by researchers from two Spanish universities.

The hypogean ground beetle has been given the name Duvalius abyssimus. The beetles do have eyes unlike many insects specialized for cave-only life. Both a male and a female specimen were collected.

Vicente M. Ortuno, from the University of Alcala, says in the announcement, “The new species of cave beetle is called Duvalius abyssimus. We only have two specimens, a male and a female. Although they were captured in the world’s deepest cave, they were not found at the deepest point.”

A research paper on the cave beetle was published here in Zootaxa.

July 2, 2014

See also here.

Newly discovered wasp species, with dead ants in walls of its nest


A typical nest of the bone-house wasp D. ossarium containing four brood cells with a pupae each. Photo credit: Merten Ehmig

From LiveScience:

Newfound Wasp Literally Has Skeletons in Its Closet

By Megan Gannon, News Editor | July 02, 2014 02:58pm ET

A newly discovered wasp has been keeping a gruesome secret: It stuffs ant corpses into the walls of its home.

As far as scientists know, the behavior is unique in the animal kingdom. The new creature has been named Deuteragenia ossarium, or the “bone-house wasp,” after the historical ossuaries piled high with human skeletons found in monasteries or graveyards.

“It was a totally unexpected discovery,” said Michael Staab, a researcher at the University of Freiburg in Germany. [Zombie Animals: 5 Real-Life Cases of Body-Snatching]

Skeletons in the closet

Staab had been studying the homemaking habits of cavity-nesting wasps in eastern China, and he and his colleagues had set up trap nests in the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve, a subtropical evergreen forest in the Yangtze River Basin that’s home to steep cliffs and animals like clouded leopards and Asian black bears.

Cavity-nesting wasps may live in self-made holes or pre-existing tunnels in plants or pieces of wood. These cavities typically contain several brood cells — the wasp equivalent of a single hexagon in a beeswax comb — which are separated by thin walls made of bits of plant, resin or soil. Scientists have even found bits of insects in the mix.

But when Staab’s team collected the trap nests, they found something unusual: In 73 of the nests, the researchers discovered an outer cell packed with the whole bodies of dead ants. The species behind the corpse houses was a spider-hunting wasp previously unknown to science. The findings were detailed today (July 2) in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

A smelly shield

Staab said he was puzzled by the discovery until he considered the location of the carcass-filled cells. The dead ants were always found in an outer vestibular cell, a chamber built by a female wasp to close the nest after she lays eggs.

Wasp architects may favor dead ants as a building material because of the way their carcasses smell, Staab and his team suspect. Scents on the ants’ bodies, even in death, might offer camouflage or protection from predators — a red flag to stay away — as many ants are fierce defenders of their nests, the researchers wrote. The ant most commonly found in walls of wasp homes was Pachycondyla astuta, an aggressive ant species with a mean sting that’s abundant in the region.

Because the brood cells are where the wasps’ larvae live, this strategy may help ensure the survival of their young.

Staab said he and his colleagues never directly observed the wasps building one of their bone houses, nor did they see the wasps kill ants to turn them into “bricks.”

“However, due to the very good condition of all ant specimens in the ant chambers, we assume that the wasp must actively hunt the ants and not collect dead ants from the refuse piles of ant colonies,” Staab told Live Science in an email.

Other wasps — especially parasitic ones — resort to similarly grisly measures to protect their offspring. The parasitic wasp Dinocampus coccinellae, for example, hijacks ladybug bodies, turning its victims into zombie slaves that keep predators away from its larvae. And elsewhere in the animal world, other creatures — even snakes — have taken advantage of the bad reputation of ants to survive. A 2009 study in the journal Insectes Sociaux described how banded cat-eyed snakes lay their eggs in the fungus-filled chambers of aggressive leaf-cutter ants to keep their reptilian babies safe before they hatch.

Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescienceFacebookGoogle+. Original article on Live Science.

Editor’s Recommendations

Bees follow queen, video


This video is about a queen bee which has landed on a building; her ‘subjects’ follow.

If a young queen is born in a bee hive, then about half of the honeybees will follow the old queen in searching a new place to live.

Niklas Haverkate from the Netherlands made the video.

Neonicotinoids kill bees, new research


This video from Britain says about itself:

Pesticides (neonicotinoids) and Bee Behaviour

3 August 2013

A science experiment showing the effect of pesticides (neonicotinoids) on bee behaviour. From the BBC Horizon documentary titled What’s Killing Our Bees?

From Wildlife Extra:

Neonicotinoids do cause significant damage to ecosystem

For the first time scientists say they are able to provide conclusive evidence that the systemic pesticides neonicotinoids and fipronil (neonics) have caused significant damage to a wide range of invertebrates, including bees.

The IUCN Task Force Systemic Pesticides (a group of global, independent scientists) analysed 800 peer-reviewed reports.

They found that there is clear evidence of a serious risk to honeybees and other pollinators such as butterflies and to a wide range of other invertebrates such as earthworms and vertebrates including birds.

“The evidence is very clear. We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT,” said lead author Dr Jean-Marc Bonmatin of The National Centre for Scientific Research in France.

The most affected groups appeared to be terrestrial invertebrates such as earthworms which are exposed at high levels in soil and plants.

The next most affected group is insect pollinators such as bees and butterflies which are exposed to high contamination through air and plants and medium exposure levels through water.

Bird populations are also at risk from eating crop seeds treated with systemic insecticides, and reptile numbers have declined due to depletion of their insect prey.

“The findings of the WIA are gravely worrying,” said Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond, Chair of the Task Force.

“We can now clearly see that neonics and fipronil pose a risk to ecosystem functioning and services which go far beyond concerns around one species and which really must warrant government and regulatory attention.”

Motmot, orioles and squirrel cuckoo in Costa Rica


Buff-throated saltator, 29 March 2014

Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica 29 March 2014; after our arrival there on 28 March. Many birds in the botanical garden; like this buff-throated saltator.

6:05 in the morning: a blue-grey tanager. They are building a nest here.

Clay-coloured thrush, Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

A clay-coloured thrush.

A rufous-collared sparrow. I fondly remember this species from Quito in Ecuador; and from earlier this March in Costa Rica.

A great kiskadee in a tree.

This is a great kiskadee video.

Vaux’ swifts fly overhead.

Baltimore oriole male, 29 March 2014

A male Baltimore oriole in a tree.

A rufous-naped wren.

A grey saltator.

A Hoffmann’s woodpecker.

A white-tailed kite flying.

A rufous-capped warbler; and a Tennessee warbler.

A rufous-tailed hummingbird.

A variegated squirrel jumps from one tree to another tree.

Blue-crowned motmot, 29 March 2014

A blue-crowned motmot in a tree.

This is a video about a blue-crowned motmot; recorded in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Blue-crowned motmots, 29 March 2014

Soon, two blue-crowned motmots in the tree.

Then, only one again.

An Inca dove on a roof.

Squirrel cuckoo, 29 March 2014

A squirrel cuckoo.

Squirrel cuckoo on tree, 29 March 2014

Summer tanager female, 29 March 2014

A female summer tanager.

A tropical kingbird.

Orchard orioles, male and female, 29 March 2014

A male and a female orchard oriole.

Orchard oriole, male, 29 March 2014

The male sings.

A rufous-crowned sparrow sings from the top of a bronze stork sculpture.

A white-winged dove.

8:52. It is a bit warmer now, which means better conditions for soaring birds. A black vulture circles overhead.

9:40. An orchid bee flying.

9:58. A zebra longwing butterfly.

Blue-crowned motmot in bush, 29 March 2014

11:02. A blue-crowned motmot again. It lands on a lawn, then flies back into a bush.

16:10. Dozens of Finsch’s parakeets, flying and calling.

A great-tailed grackle.

White-eared ground sparrows. This is a rare and skulking species. In Costa Rica, it is endemic to the Central Valley.

17:30, half an hour before sunset: red-billed pigeons in a tree.