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.

Monarch butterfly migration, new research


This video from the USA says about itself:

Pacific monarchs migrate 2,500 miles between California and Mexico. This 10 minute segment captures some of the thousands of butterflies along the journey.

From Wildlife Extra:

Inbuilt compasses help monarch butterflies migrate

How new generations of monarch butterflies, despite never have travelled the distance before, find their way from their breeding sites in eastern United States to their overwintering habitat in central Mexico has long puzzled scientists.

Previous studies have revealed that the butterflies use a time-compensated sun compass in their antenna to help them make their 2,000 mile migratory journey to overwintering sites.

However how they found their way under dense cloud cover remained a mystery.

US scientists, using flight simulators equipped with artificial magnetic fields, found that if they changed the fields the monarchs oriented in the opposite direction, to the north instead of the south.

“Our study shows that monarchs use a sophisticated magnetic inclination compass system for navigation similar to that used by much larger-brained migratory vertebrates such as birds and sea turtles, ” said co-author Robert Gegear, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

“For migratory monarchs, the inclination compass may serve as an important back up system when daylight cues are unavailable.

“It may also augment hand-in-hand with the time-compensated sun compass to provide orientation and directionality throughout the migration process.”

To work, the compass is light dependant, relying on a certain wavelength of ultra-violet ray that can penetrate dense cloud.

However this study also opens up the possibility that the monarch survival could be vulnerable to potential disruption of the magnetic field.

“Greater knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the autumn migration may well aid in its preservation, currently threatened by climate change and by the continuing loss of milkweed and overwintering habitats,” said senior study author Steven Reppert of UMass Medical School.

“A new vulnerability to now consider is the potential disruption of the magnetic compass in the monarchs by human-induced electromagnetic noise, which can also affect geomagnetic orientation in migratory birds.”

Dragonflies and pine marten on Rottumerplaat island


This video is called Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilio).

On Rottumerplaat, the Dutch desert island, there are not only birds.

Wardens Martijn Bunskoek and Tim van Nus report about dragonflies and damselflies on the island as well.

They saw a scarce blue-tailed damselfly. The first time ever for this species on Rottumerplaat. The wardens suspect that the water of the lakelet where they found this insect is too brackish for reproduction.

Also, this year there was a variable damselfly; for the first time since 1995 on the island.

Other damselfly and dragonfly species on Rottumerplaat: four-spotted chaser; red-veined darter; emperor dragonfly; and southern emerald damselfly.

On 26 May 2014, wardens found a pine marten carcass on the beach of Rottumerplaat. Probably, the marten was from Lauwersoog where this species lives, and sea currents brought it to the island. Probably, the same happened to three dead hares and a dead lamb, found on Rottumerplaat.

Rare butterflies in the Netherlands


This video shows a white admiral butterfly.

Translated from Natuurmonumenten conservation organisation in the Netherlands:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Natuurmonumenten foresters had a special observation at Boerskotten nature reserve in Overijssel: the white admiral. The Twente region is one of few places in the Netherlands where this rare butterfly still lives.

News about another rare butterfly species; translated from the Dutch Vlinderstichting entomologists:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Earlier than usually [because of mild weather this spring], as well as many other butterflies, the rare white-letter hairstreak has been seen regularly. The species, of which the only known place so far was in Heerlen, apparently lives in more places. There are populations in Winterswijk and Maastricht. This year new flying sites may be discovered.

This is a white-letter hairstreak video from England.