Save elephants, stop ivory trade in Taiwan

This 23 August 2016 video is called China destroys seized ivory in illegal trade crackdown.

From the African Wildlife Foundation:

Stop ivory sales: Protect elephants

Africa’s elephants are in crisis, with the number lost to poaching exceeding 30,000 a year. Sadly, these majestic animals are killed to feed the demand for unnecessary ivory trinkets.

This is driving a beloved species toward extinction and undermining the African economy as one of its primary tourism drivers disappears.

The African Wildlife Foundation, our followers and the worldwide conservation community, have already persuaded numerous governments to ban their domestic ivory trade.

Now it’s Taiwan’s turn. A total ban would support the resolution reached by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) COP 17 to prohibit all ivory trade. It would also prevent wildlife traffickers from using Taiwan’s legal ivory trade as cover for transporting other wildlife contraband.

Sign the pledge telling Taiwan to join the worldwide movement to protect elephants and set an example for others in the region to follow.

Africa’s elephants are in serious trouble. Sign the pledge so our children and our children’s children will be able to appreciate healthy populations of wild elephants long in the future.

Add your name to AWF’s petition.

DNA from seized elephant ivory unmasks 3 big trafficking cartels in Africa. Such scientific sleuthing can aid efforts to curb wildlife crime. By Laurel Hamers, 2:00pm, September 19, 2018.

Bloodbath in Taiwan, after 70 years

This video is called Yvonne’s Life Under Taiwan Martial Law and White Terror Project (2016-17).

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Taiwan: After 70 years, let’s talk about White Terror

Wednesday 1st February 2017

Tsai pledges truth on Chiang Kai-shek brutality

TAIWANESE President Tsai Ing-wen has pledged to finally reveal the truth of nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek’s “White Terror” on the 70th anniversary of the murderous crackdown.

Speaking at a gathering of surviving victims in Taipei, Ms Tsai pledged to take a “rigorous and precise attitude” in assigning blame for the campaign of repression in the breakaway Chinese province launched on February 28 1947.

“After 70 years, I believe that Taiwanese society now has the mature democratic mechanisms to discuss this matter,” she told victims, families and supporters in 228 Peace Memorial Park in central Taipei, named after the date of the uprising.

Ms Tsai said during her inauguration last May that she expected to see a full report on the suppression of the protests.

Authorities have closed the landmark Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in the capital. The government is drafting legislation to rename it and to remove the dictator’s statue from the premises.

As many as 28,000 people are believed to have been killed after General Chiang dispatched his Kuomintang (KMT) troops to massacre participants in the largely peaceful protests … .

Many more were imprisoned and killed in the decades of political persecution that followed. 228 Memorial Foundation chief executive officer Yang Chen-long said: “We are pretty dissatisfied and feeling impatient.”

His family received 6 million Taiwanese dollars (£157,000) in compensation for the persecution of his father and two other relatives.

“The compensation for me isn’t that important,” he said.

“Chiang Kai-shek should take responsibility.”

Marches have been held this week from the site where the initial protests broke out to Memorial Park, demanding swifter action on the government’s promises of justice.

China considers the uprising a part of the nationwide struggle that led to the victory of the revolution in 1949.

But Taiwanese nationalists insist it was a backlash against attempts to govern the island from Beijing.

Chiang Kai-shek, considered the founder of the so-called Republic of China in Taiwan, alternately fought and allied with the communists against Japanese invaders from the 1930s to the second world war.

Saving albatrosses in Taiwan

This video says about itself:

Saving Albatrosses – How to Reduce Seabird BycatchBirdLife International

26 August 2015

The BirdLife Marine Programme’s work to reduce seabird bycatch in high seas fisheries will be familiar to followers of our efforts to save several albatross species from extinction. We have succeeded in encouraging all five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs – the bodies that manage high seas fisheries) to put seabird conservation measures in place, requiring vessels to deploy bycatch mitigation on board.

Our next task is to help ensure that these measures are actively implemented on vessels and track their efficacy in reducing seabird bycatch. To that end, and thanks to funding from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, we have developed an instructional film for the skippers and crew of longline vessels, highlighting the issue of seabird bycatch and describing the simple and effective measures that can be taken to minimise fishing impacts on seabird populations. While this is mainly aimed at fishermen, it’s stuffed full of great albatross footage and neatly illustrates how to solve the problem of bycatch in longliners – so we thought we’d share it with you!

From BirdLife:

Speaking your language to save albatrosses

By Berry Mulligan, Wed, 16/12/2015 – 15:58

An estimated 100,000 albatrosses are killed in longline and trawl fisheries around the world each year. Longline fishing is one of the biggest threats to albatross survival worldwide and the BirdLife Marine Programme’s has worked tirelessly for over 10 years to reduce seabird bycatch in high seas fisheries and national waters, with some great successes for example in Namibia and South Africa.

We are building on this positive work. All five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organisations – the bodies in charge of managing high seas tuna fisheries – have now put seabird conservation measures in place, requiring longline vessels to deploy bycatch mitigation on board. The mitigation techniques include use of bird-scaring lines to keep seabirds away from baited hooks, weighting to help hooks sink quickly out of reach of foraging seabirds and setting hooks at night when albatrosses are less active.

The challenge now is to ensure that all longline fleets are aware of and implement these inexpensive and required measures, particularly those countries and fleets with large numbers of tuna longline vessels fishing in the south of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans where many albatross species live.

With this in mind we have developed this instructional video in Taiwanese for outreach with longline vessels and crews. Taiwan has over 300 large-scale and 1000 small-scale tuna longline vessels, making it one of the world leaders in longline fishing.

This is the Taiwanese albatross video.

Educational materials in appropriate languages are crucial to connect with fleets and communicate effectively with skippers to demonstrate the simple methods that are available to reduce unnecessary seabird deaths, as explained by Mayumi Sato, BirdLife Marine Programme Asia Coordinator:

“So far we have had a very positive engagement with the Taiwanese Fisheries Agency and industry groups on seabird bycatch. Videos such as this help us and our partners explain both the threats and solutions directly to fishers and fisheries officials. We hope that we can continue to expand our work with Taiwanese fleets to increase the uptake of seabird mitigation measures and work collaboratively to save albatrosses.”

You can also watch the video in English [top of the blog post] and it is coming soon in additional languages. It is geared towards fishermen, but includes some great footage of albatrosses and the simple solutions that can save them.

A breakthrough in marine conservation within the BirdLife Africa Partnership: the first steps: here.

Taiwan does not want Japanese nuclear Fukushima food

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Flush the TPP (Fukushima Inspired) ♫

14 April 2015


Song called TPP 101. The Trans-Pacific Partnership and it’s US/European equivalent, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are massive attempts to undermine democracies around the world and subjugate them and their citizens to a kind of global corporate rule. They must be stopped. This song needs a music video. Anyone…? (Don’t wait for my approval, just do it!) (Here’s my feeble attempt to do justice to the song)


Free traders and traitors, bankers and thieves
Are at it once again
WTO just didn’t cut it
So now there’s no telling when
They’ll pass this latest treaty
From behind closed doors
And win another battle
In the transnational class wars

They want Fast Track Authority
So they can get the job done right
By which they mean no discussion
Don’t even pretend to put up a fight
As they take from us our government’s
Ability to regulate
What happens within the borders
Of what they used to call the state

In what they used to call democracy
The idea that people have a say
In whether we should be building windmills
Or fracking our lives away
Whether banking regulations
Are a good idea or not
Whether the food on your kitchen table
Comes from a Monsanto plot

Whether the poor should die
Or have affordable medication
Whether human life is less important
Than your corporation
Whether this world is a commons
Or just a free trade bill
That we need about as much
As another oil spill

So let’s do like we do in the WC
And flush the TPP

They say it’ll help the economy
And they’ve said all that before
Like when they implemented NAFTA
In 1994
The US lost a million jobs
Of this there is no doubt
And in Mexico, small farmers
Were almost completely wiped out

And when the refugees started streaming in
They were treated just like tools
In the great game of the oligarchs
The old divide and rule
Just like JP Morgan said
“Why worry,” he laughed
“When I can pay half the working class
To kill the other half


They couldn’t get them passed
So now they’ve snuck them all into TPP
Try running that one up the mast
In the back rooms no one knows
Which corporation speaks
Except when secret documents
Get sent to WikiLeaks

And it’s only from the whistleblowers
We even know it’s there
One for Asia, one for Europe
Free trade everywhere
Free trade, free pollution
Freedom for the billionaires
Enslavement for the rest of us
But hey, they got theirs


Amari: Japan will not compromise alone on TPP

Apr. 14, 2015

Trade negotiators from Japan and the US will resume working-level talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Tokyo on Wednesday.
They are hoping to reach a bilateral agreement before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets President Barack Obama in Washington on April 28th.

But the Japanese minister in charge of the free-trade pact says Tokyo will not make one-sided concessions ahead of the summit.
Akira Amari said Japan does not consider the summit a deadline. He said he wants to focus on narrowing the gaps between the 2 sides to smooth the way for higher-level talks.

Amari said US negotiators would be mistaken if they believe that Japan will make compromises during the next 2 weeks.
But the Japanese minister said he is willing to meet with his US counterpart after the working-level talks to make further efforts at ironing out differences.


Ma stresses need to regain trust in food safety

Apr. 14, 2015

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has stressed the need to restore Taiwanese consumers’ confidence in Japanese foods.
Ma made the comment in a news conference with the Japanese media in Taiwan on Tuesday, one day after Taiwan announced that it would tighten regulations on food imports from Japan, beginning as early as May.

The rules will include the provision of place-of-origin labels for Japanese food products. This is to make sure the products are free of radioactive contamination.

Taiwan already has an import ban on place for foods from 5 Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, since the nuclear accident in 2011.

At the news conference, Ma referred to a revelation last month that foods from the 5 prefectures subject to the existing ban are being imported to Taiwan.

Ma said that consumers’ trust regarding the place of origin of Japanese foods must be restored. He said that if the trust is not regained soon, it could influence future business.

The president added that the import regulations will be neither too lax nor too strict, compared with other countries. He indicated that the regulations were determined by studying measures taken by other nations.

USA petition: Urgent! Block Fast Track of Trans Pacific Partnership NOW, Say NO to Radioactive Food from Japan: here.

From Japan Safety blog:

Taiwan tightens controls on Japan food imports, citing mislabeling — The Japan Times

May 15, 2015 by Melanie

And it looks like the U.S. isn’t the only country concerned with contamination of its Japanese food imports.

The Japan Times: ”TAIPEI – Taiwan imposed new restrictions on food imported from Japan on Friday after hundreds of products were recalled over labels that disguised the fact that they came from areas affected by the nuclear crisis at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Taiwan banned Japanese food imports from five prefectures including Fukushima in March 2011, a few weeks after the triple meltdown occurred and radioactive particles were detected in some imports.

Starting Friday, all food imports from Japan will be required to carry certificates proving that they are not from the five banned areas, while some will also need “radiation inspection certificates,” according to the Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare.

In March, Taiwanese authorities recalled hundreds of Japanese food items that had falsified labels hiding the fact that they came from regions affected by radioactive fallout, they said.

“The measures are necessary to . . . protect Taiwanese consumers’ health and welfare. The government and (food) companies should work together to provide safe food products,” the ministry said in a statement.

Japanese food products are popular in Taiwan. The local Apple Daily newspaper reported that stocks of some best-selling chocolates and prepackaged french fries could run out within three months due to delays caused by the new requirements.

Taiwan and Japan maintain close trade ties even though Tokyo switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1972.

Taiwan is the third-largest export market for Japanese foods and agricultural products, after Hong Kong and the United States, with ¥83.7 billion worth of shipments last year.

Taiwan’s government has been stepping up food safety measures after the nation was rocked by a string of food scandals in recent years.”

See also here.

Tepco could improve handling of radioactive waste at wrecked Fukushima plant, IAEA says — The Japan Times: here.

Tepco may need to dump Fukushima water into sea, UN says — Bloomberg Business: here.

Experts say faults under Japan nuclear plant may be active — Kyodo News: here.

No nuclear restart, Japanese judge decides

This video says about itself:

Fukushima Radioactive Food Shipped & Nuclear Restarts Blocked

14 April 2015

Taiwan to Step Up Regulation of Japan Food Imports Because Japan Shipped [to] Taiwan Radioactive Food! This is a PERFECT EXAMPLE WHY the TPP is such a Big Deal!

Taiwanese officials are stepping up their regulation of food imports from Japan. That’s to make sure the products are free of radioactive contamination.

Taiwan has banned shipments of food from 5 Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, since the nuclear plant accident in March 2011.

And now, Taiwanese health authorities are implementing additional measures. They said on Monday they will require proof of origin to accompany food imports.

Officials will also demand radiation checks on specific items, including baby food.

Taiwanese officials proposed the new regulatory steps last year. But they put them on hold because of opposition from Japan.

The officials apparently changed their minds after revelations last month that some processed foods from the 5 Japanese prefectures are being sold in Taiwan.

The officials say they will release details of the new regulation soon, and put the measures into effect as early as May.

Japanese food exporters are worried about possible boycotts and higher costs. Taiwan is one of the largest importers of Japanese food products, following Hong Kong and the United States.

Fukui Court Blocks Reactor Restart of Tokahama NPP

Apr. 14, 2015

A court in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, has issued a provisional injunction blocking the restart of 2 reactors at the Takahama nuclear plant.

A group of 9 citizens had filed for the injunction to keep the plant’s No.3 and 4 reactors offline, citing safety problems.

Officials of the plant’s operator, Kansai Electric Power Company, said they had taken thorough anti-quake measures based on lessons learned from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011.

At the Fukui District Court on Tuesday, presiding judge Hideaki Higuchi said Kansai Electric is too optimistic in assuming that no major earthquake would hit Takahama, as 5 unexpectedly large quakes have hit nuclear plants across Japan in less than a decade.

The judge also said the Nuclear Regulation Authority‘s new requirements should be as tough as possible to eliminate any risk of disaster, but are too lax to ensure the safety of nuclear reactors.

Tuesday’s injunction takes effect immediately, so Kansai Electric will not be able to restart the reactors unless the court decision is overturned.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Japan: Court rebuffs energy firm’s bid to restart nuclear plants

Wednesday 15th April 2015

KANSAI Electric Power was banned from reopening two nuclear reactors in western Japan yesterday on safety grounds.

Fukui District Court judge Hideaki Higuchi ordered the firm to keep its No 3 and No 4 reactors offline at Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture, home to some 12 reactors.

The court criticised Nuclear Regulation Authority safety standards for being too lax, even with stricter requirements imposed after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, which saw a major earthquake partly destroy reactors … .

The court ruling said that meeting the new standards does not guarantee the safety of Takahama’s reactors.

It noted that four of Japan’s 17 nuclear power plant complexes had suffered through earthquakes exceeding their anticipated seismic motions in the past decade and suggested Takahama could be next.

“Excluding the Takahama plant from the risk of such earthquakes is merely groundless optimism,” it ruled. “An accident at the plant could cause irrevocable damage.”

The judge cited spent fuel storage pools without proper containment and a moratorium on a compulsory radiation-free emergency command centre as examples of regulators’ “lack of rationality.”

A group of residents requested the injunction in December, saying that a massive earthquake exceeding the facility’s resistance standards could cause damage similar to the Fukushima crisis.

Kansai Electric said that it plans to appeal against the ruling, calling it “extremely regrettable and unacceptable.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-business government has been pushing for a restart, saying that prolonged stoppages are bad for the economy.

Radiation measured at deadly 9.7 sieverts in Fukushima reactor — The Japan Times: here.

An investigation carried out by The Independent newspaper reveals that there is a risk that food manufactured around the Fukushima nuclear disaster site may be entering the United Kingdom, raising the prospect of mildly carcinogenic ingredients entering the food system: here.

Expected surge in workers hitting radiation limit leaves No. 1 plant’s decommissioning in jeopardy — The Japan Times: here.

Fukushima food exported to Taiwan with false labels


By Stephanie Chao, The China Post in Taiwan:

283 mislabeled Japanese food products originated near Fukushima: gov’t

March 25, 2015, 12:05 am TWN

TAIPEI, Taiwan — More than 283 Japanese food products imported from the radiation-stricken areas near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster were found to be relabeled as having come from other areas of Japan and sold to local customers, authorities said yesterday.

Officials from New Taipei City‘s Department of Health, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and other law-enforcement authorities, seized the mislabeled products, although a substantial portion had already been sold to consumers.

Authorities inspected warehouses in New Taipei City belonging to food companies such as Sheng Yu (盛裕), Li Tuo (勵拓), Sun Friend (上煬) and Tai Crown (太冠).

Health Department officials said Sheng Yu imported soy sauce labeled “Tokyo-made” last month. In reality, they were manufactured in areas that have import restrictions, such as Chiba (千葉), Gumma (群馬), Fukushima (福島), Ibaraki (茨城) and Tochigi (櫪木) prefectures.

Nineteen products originated from areas exposed to radiation and five other products have expired, the department said.

The department also investigated Li Tuo, Sun Friend and Tai Crown’s warehouses in Taishan, Xinzhuang and Xindian districts. They discovered several products from areas with import restrictions: seven from Li Tuo, 25 from Sun Friend and 19 from Tai Crown.

Further investigation revealed downstream companies that stock the imported products include well-known Japanese department stores, food chains and boutiques, including Wellcome (頂好), JPMed (日藥本舖), Matsusei (松青), Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (新光三越), B&Q (特力屋) and HOLA.

Officials have discovered a total of 2,391 kilograms of problematic products and will continue to investigate.

Food and Drug Administration chief Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) pointed out there has been a rise in reports of products from the five areas that were affected by the Fukushima crisis. The administration and police investigated areas including Hsinchu County, Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City from March 19 to 21.

Investigators found around 3,000 products with mislabeled origins at the Port of Keelung. More than 300 products were reported to have been imported from the five prefectures exposed to radiation.

The investigations have proven to be difficult because Japanese and Taiwanese companies have different management practices, Chiang said. The administration has resolved to crack down on the 10 companies involved with the mislabeled products.

The Health Department has also said the companies will take responsibility and full refunds will be provided for consumers with products and receipts for purchases made on or after March 11, 2011.

Products found in violation of the law have been pulled from the shelves. The import companies have also been ordered to inform downstream sellers to cease the sale of all the said products within a week.

I wonder: did Japanese corporations export these ‘radiant’ Fukushima food products fraudulently to other countries besides Taiwan? And how about selling this radioactive food in Japan itself?

Setback at Fukushima No. 1 plant threatens reactor 3 rod removal — The Japan Times: here.

Tepco compensation to cost taxpayers more than previously estimated — The Japan Times: here.

US restricts food import from Japan over radionuclide contamination concern — People’s Daily Online: here.

Clouded leopards going back to Taiwan?

This video is called Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa).

From Wildlife Extra:

Clouded leopards could be reintroduced to Taiwan

The Formosan clouded leopard was hunted to extinction in Taiwan in the 1980s, but it might get a new start on the island in the future, according to Scientific American.

Two years ago, after a 13 year search, scientists concluded that the leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) had gone extinct in Taiwan.

But a new paper by the same scientists states the island’s ecology has improved so much since the leopards disappeared that they might once again thrive there.

Clouded leopards disappeared from Taiwan decades ago, probably in the 1980s after intense overhunting for their furs followed by destruction of their forest habitat and declining populations of the cats’ prey species.

However, Taiwan has been so successful in slowing deforestation and protecting its other wildlife over the past few decades that the island could once again support populations of leopards.

As Po-Jen Chiang of the Institute of Wildlife Conservation in Taiwan and his fellow authors point out, Taiwan banned commercial hunting in 1973 and stopped logging its natural forests in 1991.

Although poaching and habitat loss continue, populations of some mammalian species, such as the Formosan macaque and Reeves’s muntjac have grown – so much so that they are now considered pests on farmlands.

The authors suggest that lack of predation by the now-missing clouded leopards could have something to do with this overpopulation of some mammalian species.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s natural forests have had time to regenerate. The researchers concluded that the island now has enough broadleaf, conifer and cypress forests, along with natural vegetation to support the prey mammals.

All told, the researchers calculated that 24 per cent of Taiwan – more than 8,500 square kilometres – contains suitable habitat for between 500 and 600 clouded leopards.

The cats of mainland Asia would make strong candidates for reintroduction.

Genetic studies published in 2006 and 2011 indicate that the cats on Taiwan probably weren’t a unique subspecies after all, so mainland clouded leopards would not be out of place on the island.

The main clouded leopard species (N. nebulosa) is currently considered vulnerable to extinction, with a total population of fewer than 10,000 individuals and no populations larger than 1,000 animals.

Their habitats are “undergoing the world’s fastest regional deforestation rates” according to the IUCN Red List and trade in their skins and bones continues to devastate their populations. So, Taiwan could become a much-needed refuge for clouded leopards in the future.

Indian monkey saves electrocuted friend’s life

This video from India says about itself:

20 December 2014

Kanpur Central Railway Station. Monkey saves friend’s life without any human help.

From the Deccan Herald in India:

Monkey saves ‘dying’ friend at Kanpur Railway station (Video)

New Delhi, Dec 21, 2014, Agencies:

A friend in need is a friend indeed: A hair-raising video that has surfaced on YouTube illustrates this proverb very well. In the video, a monkey could be seen trying to save another monkey lying unconscious on a railway track.

The monkey in the video is surely impressive for its presence of mind and efforts to help its injured friend. One of the monkeys in the video fell unconscious after experiencing electric shock while walking on the high-tension wires in Kanpur’s railway station. The other monkey comes to the rescue.

The conscious monkey licks, bites, hits and puts the unconscious monkey into the stagnant water at the railway track. After 20 minutes of tireless effort, the ‘hero’ monkey brings its friend back to consciousness.

See also here.

These monkeys were rhesus macaques.

This video says about itself:

25 November 2014

Hello! We are from Taiwan. My daughter and I were very lucky to see an upside-down tortoise, but it’s luckier to see his friend trying to help him turn back in Taipei Zoo.

Today (25, November) is the field trip day of my daughter’s school and I also went to Taipei Zoo with her. We were all very lucky to see such kind of scene – one tortoise saves the other one’s life! Also, it’s a great opportunity to give my daughter a lesson – Helping others is the origin of happiness.

‘Nazi spaghetti’ name changed in Taiwanese restaurant

This video from the USA says about itself:

15 September 2014

There’s a restaurant in Taiwan that had a Nazi-themed pasta dish on its menu until recently.

From Alliance News:

Taiwan Restaurant Changes Name Of Its “Nazi” Spaghetti

18 August, 2014 | 2:37PM

Taipei – A Taiwanese restaurant on Monday is to change the name of its “Long Live Nazi Spaghetti” after facing criticism for the controversial naming of its pasta dish featuring German sausages.

Tsao Ya-sin, the 24-year-old owner of the Rock Mill restaurant in New Taipei City, had been using the name since she opened the establishment last year.

“It has caused no problem until yesterday when a TV news team arrived,” she said, referring to local broadcaster TVBS that reported on the restaurant’s taboo-breaking creativity on Sunday.

“We feel so sorry. We will change the name to World Champion as soon as possible,” she stated, saying she will tape over the old name until she gets new menus.

The new name World Champion Spaghetti was chosen in honour of Germany’s performance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Tsao said.

Both the Israeli and German representative offices in Taiwan complained, stating that the unfortunately named dish revealed considerable gaps in some Taiwanese’s knowledge of European history.

“I admit that I know little about World War II,” Tsao said. “Never had I thought such a name would cause such harsh criticism.”

Walgreens is pulling swastika wrapping paper from its shelves because it’s swastika wrapping paper.

Diving beetle mating, new research

This video says about itself:

Spotted Diving Beetles, Victoria Bug Zoo, March 2013

Spotted diving beetles, also known as sunburst diving beetles, sometimes carry their own oxygen supply in air bubbles when they dive. Their bright yellow spots also supposedly warn other animals that they taste bad. Their natural habitat is in fresh water pools around Mexico and the southwestern US.

From the BBC:

11 June 2014 Last updated at 02:05 GMT

Diving beetle‘s sticky underwater mating secret

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

Scientists in Taiwan have revealed how a diving beetle hangs on to its mate underwater.

The micro-scale study revealed how bristles on male beetles’ legs attach to females.

Tiny suckers on these bristles stick to the females’ bodies.

As well as shedding light on evolution at the very tiny scale, understanding this could inspire the design of devices for underwater attachment in engineering.

The results are published in the Royal Society journal Interface.

The team, led by Dr Kai-Jung Chi from National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, directly measured the gripping force of the “attachment devices” on the leg bristles of two diving beetle species.

Microscopic images reveal that one of the species they studied – a more primitive insect – has a spatula-like attachment.

The other has evolved circular suckers on the end of each leg bristle, which look like a microscopic plungers.

While these tiny plungers created a stronger attachment, the more primitive bristles had some sticky, aquatic secrets.

Tiny channels between the hairs in the more primitive beetle appear to produce a sort of glue.

And, as grisly as it may sound, the fact that these bristles form a weaker attachment and can move around on the female’s body more freely means that the male beetle is able to “resist the female’s erratic swimming movements”, which she may employ to dislodge an unwanted suitor.

The researchers conclude that their mechanical experiments show that the “later-evolved suction-cup-shaped circular” bristles give male diving beetles a mating advantage.

And all of this detailed insight into aquatic copulation may inspire a future “underwater Velcro“.