Feb 13

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

The following article was originally published on Friday, Feb 6, 2015.

 Giant clam = giant impact: study compiles how mega-clams impact seas

Fluted-clam-showing-shell-shape

Fluted clam showing shell shape

Giant clam on reef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young giant clams serve as a food source for many species, but some like the fluted clam also serve as habitats for other organisms. Moreover, dense concentrations of the small giant clam can even create small islands called mapiko.

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Small giant clam

 

The following article was originally published on Saturday, Feb 7, 2015.

Frontline teams ‘unaware’ of wildlife smuggler tactics

Javan rhinoceros in shallows of river

African elephant family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 An important step in fighting wildlife trafficking is educating freight forwarders and handlers of air, ship, and land cargoes. When disguised it is often difficult to identify horns and tusks, that belong to rhinos and elephants, respectively.

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The following article was originally published on Sunday, Feb 8, 2015.

Washington state mulls ban on capture of killers whales for entertainment

Orca pair underwater

 

Currently 57 orcas are in captivity in 14 marine parks in eight countries. Of those captive orcas, 25 are in SeaWorld parks in Texas, California, and Florida.

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The following article was originally published on Monday, Feb 9, 2015.

Pollinator collapse could lead to a rise in malnutrition

Female common carder bumblebee feeding from flower

A pollinator collapse could increase nutrient deficiency across local populations by up to 56% in Zambia, Bangladesh, Uganda and Mozambique. While most of the spotlight falls on bees other pollinators like butterflies and wasps are also of grave importance.

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Common wasp carrying food to nest

Monarch butterfly resting on a flowering plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following article was originally published on Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015.

Recently discovered, critically endangered bird gets its first reserve

Araripe manakin in habitat

Discovered in 1998, the Araripe Manakin has received 140 acres of land for a reserve. There are only 800 extant individuals who live within Brazil’s Chapado do Araripe.

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The following article was originally published on Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015.

Drones may aid bird studies without ruffling feathers

Common greenshank hunting

greater flamingo coming in to land

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Researchers tested how flamingos and common greenshanks reacted to drones. They found that birds became agitated if the drone swooped down toward them as opposed to flying overhead. It might prove useful for birds that inhabit areas inaccessible to humans.

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The following article was originally published on Thursday, Feb 12, 2015.

The gray wolf spotted near the Grand Canyon this fall has already been killed by a hunter

Eurasian wolf side view

Coyote walking through snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year, a gray wolf was spotted near the Grand Canyon, which had not happened in decades. Unfortunately, in late December this same wolf was killed by a hunter who mistook it for a coyote.

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Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 

Jul 19

Bumblebees imported from Europe infected with parasites pose a serious threat to the UK’s wild and honey bee populations, according to a new study.

Honey bee image

Honey bees are vital pollinators

Deadly imports

Each year, more than a million bumblebee colonies are imported by countries across the globe to pollinate a variety of crops, with the UK alone importing between 40,000 and 50,000. Although the colonies are said by the global suppliers to be disease free, a recent study in the Journal of Applied Ecology has found that more than three-quarters of those imported into the UK each year are riddled with parasites.

Bees and disease

Scientists purchased 48 commercially produced bumblebee colonies, each containing up to 100 bees, from three different European suppliers during 2011 and 2012, and screened each one for parasite DNA. The results showed that an alarming 77% of the colonies were infected with parasites, a situation which has serious implications for the health of the UK’s native wild bees and honey bees, many of which are already suffering severe declines.

These parasites will undoubtedly be spilling over into wild and honey bees and very probably having negative effects on them,” said lead researcher Professor William Hughes, from the University of Sussex. “It is no great leap to think that damage is already being done.”

Honey bee worker image

Parasites carried by imported bumblebee colonies may pose a serious risk to the UK’s native bee populations

Parasites

The results of the study revealed that the imported bumblebee colonies carried several different parasites, five of which were found in the bees themselves and three in the pollen provided by the suppliers as food. These parasites included three main bumblebee parasites (Crithidia bombi, Nosema bombi and Apicystis bombi), three honey bee parasites (Nosema apis, Ascosphaera apis and Paenibacillus larvae), and two which infect both bumblebees and honey bees (Nosema ceranae and deformed wing virus).

With the decline of pollinating insects in the UK in recent years, food producers are becoming increasingly reliant upon imported bees.

Over a million colonies are imported globally – it’s a huge trade,” said Professor Hughes. “A surprisingly large number of these are produced in factories, mainly in Eastern Europe. We couldn’t grow tomatoes in this country without these bumblebees. We sought to answer the big question of whether colonies that are being produced now have parasites and, if so, whether those parasites are actually infectious or harmful.”

Buff-tailed bumblebee image

Scientists are calling for stricter regulations regarding the import of bumblebees

Severe consequences

The potential impacts on native wild bee and honey bee species could be extremely severe, from harming the bees’ ability to learn, which is vital for finding food, to killing them outright. In Argentina, native bee species are already being driven to extinction as a result of imported parasites, and the authors of the recent study are recommending that urgent action is required in the UK to improve the effectiveness of disease screening and to close damaging loopholes.

Call for action

Scientists are calling for authorities to strengthen measures to prevent the importation of parasite-infected bumblebee colonies, by introducing proper colony checks upon arrival in the UK. While there are strict regulations in the UK regarding the import of non-native bumblebees, including ensuring that the colonies are disease free and are only kept in hives from which the queens cannot escape, no such regulations apply to imported colonies of native bee subspecies.

Bees and other pollinators are responsible for the production of three-quarters of the world’s food crops, but heavy pesticide use, rising disease, and starvation due to habitat destruction are all contributing to worrying declines in many species.

The introduction of more or new parasite infections will, at a minimum, exacerbate this, and could quite possibly directly drive declines,” said Professor Hughes.

Honey bee image

Honey bee in flight, laden with pollen

Pesticide ban

Earlier this week, the EU voted to successfully suspend the use of fipronil, a common pesticide, due to the serious risk it poses to bees. Currently used in more than 70 countries, this insect nerve agent will be banned from use on corn and sunflowers in Europe from the end of 2013.

Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health, said, “In the aftermath of the restriction on use of neonicotinoids, I pledged to do my utmost to protect Europe’s honey bee population, and today’s agreement with member states not only delivers on that pledge but marks another significant step in realising the commission’s overall strategy to tackling Europe’s bee decline.”

Read more on this story at BBC News – Imported Bumblebees pose ‘parasite threat’ to native bees and The Guardian – Imported bumblebees pose risk to UK’s wild and honeybee population – study.

Find out more about honey bees on ARKive.

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Text Author

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