Black-veined white butterfly deposits eggs, video


On this video, a female black-veined white butterfly deposits eggs on the underside of a leaf of a butterfly hothouse in Harskamp, the Netherlands.

This species is almost extinct in the wild in the Netherlands, but occurs still in Belgium.

Eric Wander made this video.

Sint Eustatius island wildlife, new research


This video from the Caribbean is called Welcome to St Eustatius.

From Naturalis in the Netherlands today (translated):

In recent weeks, a team of researchers from Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Anemoon Foundation have mapped the biodiversity of St. Eustatius island. Both above water and underwater. During the research numerous rare species and even some new species were discovered. Sneak preview: one of the special species is a wonderful Fingerprint Cyphoma. That’s a sea snail.

The blog posts (in English) of the people doing the research are here.

One of the blog posts mentions the discovery of

several [fish species] that have not yet been reported in the Lesser Antilles, such as Chaenopsis resh (the resh pikeblenny).

This video is about, especially underwater, wildlife on and around Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius islands.

New ladybug atlas for the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

14 November 2011

This is a video I created about the life cycle of a ladybug, specifically the seven-spotted ladybug.

Translated from Dutch entomologists Jan Cuppen, Vincent Kalkman and Gerrian Tacoma:

2 July 2015

In 2015 and 2016 we are going to map the distribution of the Dutch ladybugs, with the goal of publication of an atlas in 2017.

In the Netherlands there are more than sixty ladybug species.

Besides forty fairly large, colourful and easily recognizable ladybug species, in the Netherlands there are also more than twenty species of the Scymninae subfamily. These are often small, hairy and difficult to name.

Below is information about all Dutch ladybugs.

Cambrian fossil spiky worm discovery


Illustration showing the many legs and spikes covering the early Cambrian creature, Collinsium ciliosum. Credit: Javier Ortega-Hernández

From LiveScience:

Armored Spiky Worm Had 30 Legs, Will Haunt Your Nightmares

by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer

June 29, 2015 03:00pm ET

A spiky, wormlike creature with 30 legs — 18 clawed rear legs and 12 featherlike front legs that likely helped it filter food from the water — once lived in the ancient oceans of the early Cambrian period, about 518 million years ago, a new study finds.

The critter is one of the first known animals on Earth to develop protective armor and to sport specialized limbs that likely helped it catch food, the researchers said. This newfound species lived during the Cambrian explosion, a time of rapid evolutionary development, they said.

“It’s a bit of a large animal for this time period,” said one of the study’s lead researchers, Javier Ortega-Hernández, a research fellow in paleobiology at the University of Cambridge. “The largest specimen is just under 10 centimeters [4 inches], which, for a wormy thing, is quite mighty.” [See Images of the Spiky Worm & Other Cambrian Creatures]

The creature likely used its rear clawed legs to anchor to sponges or other penetrable surfaces, and waved its feathery front limbs to and fro in the current to catch nutrients in the water, Ortega-Hernández said. This technique is still used by modern animals, such as bamboo shrimp, that capture passing meals with their fanlike forearms.

But, because the Cambrian critters were “soft and squishy,” it’s likely they waved their limbs in a gentle motion, Ortega-Hernández told Live Science. “I don’t imagine they would have quick muscle control.”

A squishy creature that didn’t move quickly needed a steadfast defense strategy, and that’s likely why it had so many spikes, he said. Other Cambrian wormlike creatures, such as the bizarre Hallucigenia, also sported spines.

Hallucigenia has two sets of spines per leg,” Ortega-Hernández said. “This one has up to five, which means it was a much more heavily armored creature.”

Collins’ monster

Researchers have dubbed the new creature Collinsium ciliosum, or Hairy Collins’ Monster, named after Desmond Collins, a paleontologist who discovered a fossil of a similar Cambrian wormlike creature in Canada in the 1980s. Since then, researchers have found five species of Collins’ Monster (in the family Luolishania), including one from Australia.

But, unlike earlier fossils, the newfound specimens offer researchers a spectacular view of the prehistoric creature. One fossil displays much of Collinsium ciliosum’s body, including its digestive tract and even the delicate, featherlike structures on its front limbs. Based on the fossils, when it was alive, the worm likely didn’t have any eyes or teeth, Ortega-Hernández said.

Over the past three years, scientists at Yunnan University in China and the University of Cambridge have uncovered and studied 29 C. ciliosum fossils from the early Cambrian Xiaoshiba biota, a deposit in southern China that contains a rich collection of fossilized Cambrian creatures, he said.

An analysis of C. ciliosum‘s anatomy indicates it’s a distant ancestor of modern-day velvet worms, also known as onychophorans — a small group (just 180 species) of squishy worms that live in tropical forests, shoot slime at their prey and resemble legged worms.

Interestingly, the Collins’ Monsters were likely a more diverse group that “came in a surprising variety of bizarre shapes and sizes” than today’s onychophorans, Ortega-Hernández said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time that an ancestral group has displayed more diversity than its modern-day relatives. Sea lilies (crinoids) and lamp shells (brachiopods) also follow this trend. But Collins’ Monsters are the first example of this evolutionary pattern playing out in a mostly soft-bodied group, the researchers said. [See Images of Another Bizarre Cambrian Creature]

The study is “a superb description based on absolutely exquisite fossils,” said Greg Edgecombe, a researcher of arthropod evolution at the Natural History Museum in London, who was not involved in the new study.

The new finding drives home that Cambrian wormlike animals such as Hallucigenia and the new Collinsium are the ancestors of Onychophora, Edgecombe said.

“That means they are more closely related to Onychophora than to any other living groups (such as arthropods or tardigrades),” Edgecombe told Live Science in an email. “Rather than floating around on the tree of life without an exact home,” these creatures can be pinpointed to a living group, Edgecombe said.

The findings were published online today (June 29) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

See also here.

Bee-eater giving butterfly, video


This video is about a bee-eater giving a butterfly to another bee-eater in Hungary.

N. Hoogesteger made the video.

Ants transporting dead beetle, video


This video is about ants transporting a dead beetle on a sidewalk in the Netherlands, while meeting obstacles.

Everdien van der Bijl made this video.

Gall midges, new Dutch and Belgian discoveries


This video says about itself:

25 August 2014

Gall midge (Cecidomyiidae sp.) oviposits on a fallen beech in a forest near Marburg, Hesse, Germany.

Translated from the Dutch entomologists of EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten:

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Soon a revision of the gall midges of the Benelux, with 11 new species for the Netherlands and 87 ones for Belgium, will appear. Gall midges are among the main producers of galls on leaves of plants. The midge Obolodiplosis robiniae which appeared first in the Netherlands as recently as 2008 proves surprisingly to be the most common species in our country.

Gall midges together with gall wasps, gall mites and gall producing fungi are the major producers of galls. The mosquitoe-like insects lay eggs in plants and the plants respond by making galls. These are fascinating structures of plant tissue, which provide food and shelter for the larvae of the midges.