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I’ve been keeping writing blogs for two years, starting from mostly translating Finnish children book parts into English and then writing about organisms in my own research. I’ve accumulated over 30 blog posts so far, some of which are available in Chinese, too. To make it easier to see my posts, all the links are listed here, categorised with different topics: Diving Beetles, Wetland Life, Learn Nature with Art Series, Travel, Translations, and Others.

Diving Beetles

My main research interest is on diving beetles. I’ve written a short introduction about diving beetles and them in Chinese culture.

To make sure my identification is correct, I studied diving beetles in the Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS) in 2017. In 2018, I studied other water beetles and also Odonata there.

With my great passion for dytiscids, I read about each genus and summerise what I learned. So far, I’ve written about:

Big-sized dytiscids:

Medium-sized:

Small-sized:

 

Wetland Life

Fieldwork makes my research possible. I’ve been collecting data since 2017. The first time collecting beetles on my own is definitely unforgettable. I still remember the moment I got my traps back, checking what was trapped. I experienced how biodiverse urban wetlands could be and also BULLIED by some naughty kids in the field.

As I record nice moments in my research, my friends started to ask relevant questions and I also corrected my own false impression on some animals.

I’m very happy that I’ve found my wonderland, but my wonderlands sometimes suffer from some problems. I’m glad that I did some surveys to give management advice.

 

Learn Nature With Art Series

My interested in Art and Nature started with three Finnish artists — von Wright brothers. I visited their exhibition in Ateneum during late 2017 and early 2018. I highly appreciated their work.

As you may have noticed, I wrote about waterbirds with some pictures painted by von Wright brothers. So far, I’ve written about:

 

Travel

Travelling is a best way to refresh my brain. During trips, I always learn something new and even make new friends.

 

Translations

The earliest posts were my translation work from Finnish to English and Chinese. Most of them are children’s book parts. Yet, I don’t really speak much Finnish because I’m a shy person.

 

Others

I like sharing Chinese culture, nature, and many things that are difficult to classify.

pallosukeltaja (2)
An individual of Hyphydrus ovatus drawn by Wenfei. ©Wenfei Liao
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Hello Again, Arctic

I’d visited the Arctic once when attending a cool course in Kilpisjärvi, but last time I was rather unlucky: When I had my kitchen sieves, there weren’t any water beetles; when I left my kitchen sieves in my room, I ended up with nice places with many diving beetles. This time, I travelled to Abisko in Swedish Lapland with my GB-net and sieves, to collect water beetles with our Balfour-Browne Club.

With pines and spruces disappearing from the landscape, I knew our destination was around the corner. Mountain after mountain, we finally arrived in the Abisko Scientific Reseach Station. A moose was welcoming us in front of the building we lived (Picture 1).

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Picture 1. A moose eating grasses in front of a building at the Abisko Science Station. ©Wenfei Liao

The first day was sunny and beautiful. Folke and I followed our President Anders Nilsson (hahaha), seeking water beetle hotspots for our club excursion. However, we only found places where the club should not go.

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Picture 2. After netting in different ponds and bogs, we found a tiny hotspot with probably a cold spring. Anders on the left and Folke on the right. ©Wenfei Liao

The good weather didn’t last long. When all of our club members arrived in Abisko, it became very rainy. During the first excursion, I dropped myself into the water… After I changed my wet jeans, I was attracted to a ditch between the railway and the main road (Picture 3). I’m really an urban ecologist. 😀

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Picture 3. A ditch between the railway and the Highway E10, full of vegetation. ©Wenfei Liao

It wasn’t bad that we had some indoor programme to convince the science station that we were scientific enough to stay there, especially under this kind of weather. President Anders introduced Abikso and its water beetle collecting history; Joja performed Swedish folk music; some researchers presented their work in Southern Hemisphere (Picture 4, 5 & 6). Anders wrote (part of) a song for our club, starting with

Divers in a pond
You want to get them
Into your GB net
And then you let them
Die in alcohole
Always wanting something new”
by Anders Nilsson
and waiting for someone else to complete the song.
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Picture 4. Our Club President Anders Nilsson, an entomologist, songwriter and cowboy literature researcher, giving a talk about Abisko and its water beetle collecting history. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 5. Joja playing Swedish folk music.  He’s extraordinary both in music and entomology 😀 ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 6. Dr Helena Shaverdo giving a talk about water beetles in Australiasia. ©Wenfei Liao

The bad weather didn’t frustrate our tough club members. We were collecting no matter it rained or shined. 😀

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Picture 7. Beetlers seeking habitats in the rain. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 8. A good habitat with “temporary habitat destruction” (Raoul suggested such a nice term) 😀 ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 9. Collecting in a snow pond. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 10. I stopped collecting and was just looking at them.  My hands were almost frozen… Anders, Folke, and Johannes in the picture. ©Wenfei Liao

It was nice to chat with people every now and then and catch some information. I had no idea how difficult it is to get a Cybister by netting, because I use activity traps in my own study. From time to time, I got some Cybister specimens in my urban ponds in Helsinki. As it’s so easy to realise who they are, I normally released them back to water. Now I think I was a bit silly :p

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Picture 11. A male individual of Cybister lateralimarginalis, collected in Kangaslampi, Helsinki. NOT in Abisko 😀 ©Wenfei Liao

Also, I didn’t expect much culture difference between Sweden and Finland, but there is! On midsummer, Swedes put up a midsummer’s pole (Picture 12) and dance around it, while in Finland, we have midsummer’s fire (Juhannuskokko, Picture 14) and grill sausages (makkara).

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Picture 12. People putting up the midsummer’s pole in the Abisko Tourist Centre. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 14. Finnish midsummer’s fire in Savonlinna 2017. ©Wenfei Liao

The spring in the Arctic is stunningly beautiful, and the blooming flowers were so attractive to me. White, pink, yellow, purple… I couldn’t help photographing some :p

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Picture 15. Cloudberries (Rubus chamaemorus). ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 16. Trailing Azalea (Loiseleuria procumbens). ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 17. Trichophorum cespitosum ??? ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 18. Menyathes trifoliata. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 19. Alpine Milk-vetch (Astragalus alpinus). ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 20. Arctic Yellow Violet (Viola biflora). ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 21. Bog bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum). ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 22. Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala). ©Wenfei Liao

After I came back to Helsinki, I started to look at my lovely diving beetles 😀

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Picture 23. Some of my dytiscids from Abisko. In the picture are Ilybius and Agabus species. I have poor skills putting my diving beetles to the needle… :p ©Wenfei Liao

Read in Chinese: 《又见北极》

Spring Pasqueflowers

This Easter was my lucky Easter, because I saw Spring Pasqueflowers (Pulsatilla vernalis, Picture 1) flowering!

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Picture 1. Springpasque flowers (Pulsatilla vernalis) in Ritosaari, Savolinna. ©Wenfei Liao

I saw this plant once before during the excursion of Forest Restoration course in 2015 when our teachers were explaining how important forest fire is to biodiversity. Spring Pasqueflowers was one of the examples mentioned, because the seeds of this plant requires forest fire to germinate and forest thinning by fire can provide the plant with better light condition. Unforturnately, we only saw some leaves (Picture 2) with a mini fence, protecting the plant from human disturbance.

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Picture 2. A plant of Spring Pasqueflower in Evo in 2015. ©Wenfei Liao

The Spring Pasqueflower is a vulnerable species in Finland. It has a critically endangered sister species, the Eastern Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla patens). The hybrid of these two species, Pulsatilla patens × vernalis, is restricted in Häme Region, where Spring Pasqueflowers and Eastern Pasqueflowers meet (Picture 3). All of them are protected in Finland.

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Picutre3. The distribution of the Spring Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vernalis), the Eastern Pasqueflower (P. patens), and their hybrid (P. patens × vernalis) *

Interestingly, Pasqueflowers have another common name: Easter flowers. The word “pasque” is orginated from a Hebrew word “pasakh”, meaning Passover, a biblical Jewish holiday. The Latin and Greek names of Easter, Pascha, is originated from this very Jewish holiday. Easter and Passover have similiar position on the calendar, but Easter is a Christian holiday. The Easter this year was quite late and the air temperature was already over 10°C, so the Spring Pasqueflowers were flowering in Finland.

Read in Chinese 《春白头翁》

References

Laitinen, P., 2008. Metsäpalojen vaikutus kangasvuokon (Pulsatilla vernalis L.Mill.) menestymiseen. Abstract in English.

LuontoPortti: Easter Pasqueflower link

LuontoPortti: Spring Pasqueflower linki

*Distribution Map Source: Pulsatilla vernalis, P. patens, P. patens × vernalis

Learn Nature with Art – 6: Common Goldeneyes

When I wrote about Eurasian wigeons, I used a painting, Järvenlahti (1858), by Magnus von Wright. I explained wigeons and mallards, but there is another duck species with multiple individuals that can be easily identified — common goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula, Picture 1).

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Picture 1. Järvenlahti (1858) by Magnus von Wright. Common goldeneyes were magnified by Wenfei.

As spring has come, birds start to migrate back to Finland, including mallards and common goldeneyes. Unlike mallards, goldeneyes are NOT dabbling ducks. They are diving ducks, i.e. goldeneyes dive beneath the water surface for food. They mainly feed on invertebrates, such as diving beetles (Dytiscidae), while fish eggs are also delicacies to goldeneyes.

 

Who’s male? Who’s female?

Similar to mallards, males and females of common goldeneyes have huge differences in their appearance. Female goldeneyes always have a greyish body with a brown head (Picture 2 left). Males, however, have a white body with a green head for most time of a year; in winter, they have their head brown with a white spot on their face (Picture 2 right), but females never have such a spot. Nevertheless, as adults, they both have golden eyes that this species is named for.

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Picture 2. Common goldeneyes: left female (1829) by Magnus von Wright; its eyes without golden colour indicates that this female hadn’t reached its breeding age yet. Left male (1828-1838) by Wilhelm von Wright. Upper right corner is a common goldeneye male with a brown head in winter, photo from greglasley.com

 

What do they do in Finland?

Breeding, of course. Common goldeneyes distribute in only the Northern Hemisphere (Picture 3), and Finland is one of the countries where they reproduce. Finland indeed harbours 71 % of the European breeding population of goldeneyes. Common goldeneyes also exist in Sichuan, the province where I’m from, but common goldeneyes only overwinter and don’t breed there.

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Picture 3. The distribution of common goldeneyes. The yellowish areas are native breeding sites, and the blueish areas are native non-breeding sites. Map from BirdLife International (2019).

Brood Parasitism

Speaking of goldeneye breeding, there are a lot of stories to tell. Perhaps you’ve heard that cuckoos lay eggs in nests of other bird species? This behaviour is named interspecific brood parasitism. Common goldeneyes are bolder — they may lay eggs in nests of other common goldeneye females, which behaviour is conspecific brood parasitism.

Goldeneye females usually come back to the same nest sites for breeding, which behaviour is called nest site philopatry. They do so especially when the previous breeding was successful, because they think these sites are in safe neighbourhoods. New nestboxes placed near successful nests in previous breeding seasons are occupied more often than nestboxes far away from safe neighbourhoods. This behaviour, however, also provides parasite females with opportunities to lay eggs in other females’ nests to improve their breeding success!

 

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Picture 4. A common goldeneye brood in the Munkinpuisto Park in summer 2017. ©Wenfei Liao

 

Goldeneye females visit nest sites after chicks leave, in order to collect information on nest success. Pöysä (2006) found that they visited nest sites with successful breeding more frequently than sites without a nest. Frequently-visited nest sites in the previous year have higher probabilities to be parasitised in the following breeding season. These safe sites are often parasitised year after year.

Perhaps you also think it’s terrible for a goldeneye mom to be parasitised by another female? Life can be even worse — a nest may be parasitised by multiple females, who are called co-parasites. Co-parasites often have high relatedness. Pöysä et al. (2014) explained that highly related co-parasites were likely sisters or nestmates. They stay together and visit nest sites together before their breeding. When they are mature, they parasite the same nests independently.

For non-parasite goldeneye females, changing breeding sites seems to be a good strategy to get rid of parasites. Dow and Fredga (1983) discovered that females who bred in the same sites were more likely to suffer from parasitism more than females who changed their breeding sites. Next life, if I were a non-parasite goldeneye female, I know how to avoid uninvited guests. 😀

Read in Chinese: 《跟着艺术学自然6: 金眼睛》

 

References

BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Bucephala clangula. Link

Dow, H. and Fredga, S., 1983. Breeding and natal dispersal of the goldeneye, Bucephala clangula. The Journal of Animal Ecology, pp.681-695. Available

Paasivaara, A., Rutila, J., Pöysä, H. and Runko, P., 2010. Do parasitic common goldeneye Bucephala clangula females choose nests on the basis of host traits or nest site traits? Journal of avian biology41(6), pp.662-671. Available

Pöysä, H., Rask, M. and Nummi, P., 1994, January. Acidification and ecological interactions at higher trophic levels in small forest lakes: the perch and the common goldeneye. In Annales Zoologici Fennici, pp. 397-404. Available

Pöysä, H., 2003. Parasitic common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) females lay preferentially in safe neighbourhoods. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology54(1), pp.30-35. Available

Pöysä, H., 2006. Public information and conspecific nest parasitism in goldeneyes: targeting safe nests by parasites. Behavioral Ecology17(3), pp.459-465. Available

Pöysä, H., Paasivaara, A., Lindblom, K., Rutila, J. and Sorjonen, J., 2014. Co-parasites preferentially lay with kin and in safe neighbourhoods: experimental evidence from goldeneye ducks. Animal behaviour91, pp.111-118. Available

Väänänen and Malinen (2009). VESILINNUSTUS, Otava, p.16.

 

A Bigger Version of Rhantus?

My False Impression on Graphoderus

When in the field, I am capable of identifying some diving beetle species. The yellow band on the pronotum of a dytiscid, however, may confuse me at first glance: I can’t distinguish the genera Rhantus and Graphoderus when they are still diving in my traps. In my first impression, Graphoderus species (Figure 1) looked like a bigger version of Rhantus species. This, however, is totally a false impression!

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Figure 1. An individual of Graphoderus zonatus trapped in my activity traps. ©Wenfei Liao

Indeed, Graphoderus species are on average larger than Rhantus species. In Finland, the body length of Graphoderus species is 11.2mm -15.8mm, while the body length of Rhantus species is 8.7mm – 12.2mm. Graphoderus, however, is definitely not a bigger version of Rhantus, as they belong to different subfamilies: Rhantus is under the subfamily Colymbetinae, while Graphoderus is under the same subfamily Dytiscinae as the genera Acilius and Dytiscus that I have written about before. Besides the body length, Graphoderus also look rounder than Rhantus.

 

Collecting Beetles during the Battle of Waterloo

If someone really wants to find some similarities between the two genera, I would tell the person that both genera were described by Pierre François Marie Auguste Dejean in 1833. Dejean was a French entomologist who served in the French army and rose to aide de campe to Napoleon. He owned the largest beetle collection at his time, with 22,399 species. Dejean was so enthusiastic that he even collected beetles during the Battle of Waterloo! Except that the two genera were described by the same entomologist, I haven’t found any other similarities between them yet.

Actually, if you are a beginner in dytiscid identification, there is a quick and scientific way to distinguish Graphoderus from Rhantus: Catch the beetle and look at the eyes. The answer is right there: The eyes of the subfamily Dytiscinae are anteriorly rounded (Figure 2.a&b), while the eyes of the subfamily Colymbetinae are anterolaterally emarginate (Figure 2.c).

Dytiscinae vs Colymbetinae
Figure 2. Diving beetle heads, anterior aspects. Subfamily Dytiscinae: a. Dytiscus verticalis, b. Acilius abrreviatus; the eyes are anteriorly rounded. Subfamily Colymbetinae: c. Colymbetes exaratus; their eyes are anterolaterally emarginate. The figure is originally from Miller & Bersgten (2016), Chapter 3, page 40, Fig. 3.8.

Graphoderus in Finland

In Finland, there are only four Graphoderus species: G. austriacus, G. bilineatus, G. cinereus, and G. zonatus. Graphoderus austriacus was not recorded in Finland before 1960, while the conservation status of the other three species is all Least Concern in Finland. Interestingly, G. bilineatus (Figure 3) is an endangered species in the Global Red List due to its limited distribution and population. One needs to apply for special permission from ELY-keskus to collect this species. They all prefer habitats with dense vegetation, which gives you a clue where to find them. 🙂

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Figure 3.  I never got a G. bilineatus in any of my study ponds, but I was lucky to see it in a sample that Dr Jarmo Saarikivi collected for a mining company in East Finland. I’m rather a bad photographer. ©Wenfei Liao

Dispersal Capability and Species Conservation

Graphoderus species have limited dispersal capability very likely due to the oogenesis-flight syndrome. The oogenesis-flight syndrome refers to the phenomenon that dytiscids, also other insects, are capable of flight in the early stage of adult life and autolyse flight musculature after dispersal to utilise the energy for reproduction. Iversen et al. (2013, 2017) found that Graphoderus only disperse in summer but not the rest of a year and that the connectivity between suitable habitats and the stability of habitats are important to them to establish large range sizes. Iversen et al. (2013) urge that conservation action of G. bilineatus and species with similar biology should be taken at a landscape level.

Read in Finnish: Rantusukeltajien Isompi Versio?

Read in Chinese: 《大一号的姬龙虱?》

References

Bilton, D.T., 2014. Dispersal in Dytiscidae. In Ecology, Systematics, and the Natural History of Predaceous Diving Beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae), pp. 387-407. Springer, Dordrecht.

IUCN Red List: Graphoderus bilineatus link

Iversen, L.L., Rannap, R., Thomsen, P.F., Kielgast, J. and Sand‐Jensen, K., 2013. How do low dispersal species establish large range sizes? The case of the water beetle Graphoderus bilineatus. Ecography36(7), pp.770-777. Available

Iversen, L.L., Rannap, R., Briggs, L. and Sand‐Jensen, K., 2017. Time‐restricted flight ability influences dispersal and colonization rates in a group of freshwater beetles. Ecology and evolution7(3), pp.824-830. Available

Miller, K.B. and Bergsten, J. (2016) Diving beetles of the world: Systematics and Biology of the Dytiscidae. JHU Press.

Rassi, P., Hyvärinen, E., Juslén, A. and Mannerkoski, I. (2010) The 2010 red list of Finnish species. Ympäristöministeriö & Suomen ympäristökeskus, Helsinki, p. 121. Available

Rassi, P., Karjalainen, S., Clayhills, T., Helve, E., Hyvärinen, E., Laurinharju, E., Malmberg, S., Mannerkoski, I., Martikainen, P., Mattila, J. and Muona, J. (2015) Kovakuoriaisten maakuntaluettelo 2015 [Provincial List of Finnish Coleoptera 2015]. Sahlbergia21(Suppl 1), p.13. Available

Rhantus in Finland

Rhantus is one of the most common diving beetle genera that occur in my study ponds in Helsinki (Picture 1). Currently, 107 species under this genus have been recognized worldwide. Under Rhantus are two subgenera, Nartus and Rhantus.

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Picture 1. Rhantus exoletus found in the Muumilampi pond, Viikki Nature Reserve, Helsinki. ©Wenfei Liao

In Finland, there are eight Rhantus species belonging to the two subgenera. Rhantus (Nartus) grapii is the only species under Nartus in Finland, and there are only two Nartus species in the whole world. I’m glad we have at least this N. grapii in Finland. 😀 Its body is black, and the margins of pronotum and elytra are rufous (Picture 2). The seven species under Rhantus have yellow colour on their pronotum, some also have yellow on their elytra.

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Picture 2. Rhantus (Nartus) grapii. Male. The photos are from https://www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera/eng/dyt_908.htm

The Finnish rhantus (Rhantus fennicus, Picture 3), is a species that Finns should definitely be proud of. Rhantus fennicus is medium-sized, with length 10.0 – 11.4mm.  It was Larry Huldén who found this species in Elimysjärvi, east Finland, in 1980. Huldén (1982) was the first person to describe the species, but he’s not the first one who collected Finnish rhantus specimens. In fact, there is another and earlier Finnish record of Rhantus fennicus in Inari (YKJ coordinates 764:349) by Eero Helve in 1972.

Although Finnish rhantus sounds very Finnish, it’s not an endemic species. Rhantus fennicus has been also found in Sweden and Russia. Yet, it’s very rare and classified as a vulnerable species in Finland.

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Picture 3. Rhantus fennicus (left) and the pronotum of other species in Nordic countries. (507) R. fennicus; (508) R. exoletus, dark variety; (509) R. exoletus, light variety; (510) R. frontalis; (511) R. notaticollis; (512) R. suturalis; (513) R. suturellus; (514) R. grapii; (515) R. bistriatus; (516) R. latitans.

Many Rhantus species prefer ephemeral pools or temporary ponds. Similar to other diving beetle species, they are predaceous. Rhantus exsoletus was found to injure and eat frog eggs, as well as tadpoles. Rhantus frontalis is a potential predator of leeches, such as Nephelopsis obscura. Most of the species appear to overwinter out of the water, but R. suturalis seems to overwinter in water.

Next time, when you play in a pond and see a medium-sized water beetle with yellow colour, you may have encountered a Rhantus. 🙂

Read in Finnish: Rhantus Suomessa

Read in Chinese: 《芬兰的姬龙虱》

References

Cywinska, A., & Davies, R. W. (1989). Predation on the erpobdellid leech Nephelopsis obscura in the laboratory. Canadian Journal of Zoology67(11), 2689-2693. Available

Henrikson, B. I. (1990). Predation on amphibian eggs and tadpoles by common predators in acidified lakes. Ecography13(3), 201-206. Available

Huldén, L. (1982). Rhantus fennicus sp. n.(Coleoptera, Dytiscidae) from Finland. Notulae Entomologicae.

Miller, K. B., & Bergsten, J. (2016). Diving beetles of the world: Systematics and Biology of the Dytiscidae, p76. JHU Press.

Nilsson, A. N., & Holmen, M. (1995). The Aquatic Adephaga (Coleoptera) of the Fennoscandia and Denmark. Ii. Dytiscidae: II-Dytiscidea, p 132 – 141Brill.

A Cool Course in Kilpisjärvi

This week, we had our final seminar about our fieldwork in Kilpisjärvi. Our fieldwork took place in the Finnish Lapland on the first week of September. As a girl from a mountainous area, I got very excited when arriving at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station: the closer to the station the bus drove, the more mountainous the landscape became. I felt at home! 😀

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Picture 1. A view of Kilpisjärvi from the Biological Station. ©Wenfei Liao

On the first teaching day, we three different groups planned what to do in our fieldwork. I was in the Palsa mire group. We planned to measure methane fluxes and collect environmental factors, such as the active layer of Palsa. We prepared two different types of chambers for gas sampling.

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Picture 2. OviMikko was thinking about life with a cucumber chamber on his head.  The chamber is wrapped with aluminium foil to reflect sunshine and prevent the chamber from heat. ©Wenfei Liao

In the evening, our teachers, Dr Sari Juutinen and Dr Tarmo Virtanen, were so kind and took us to hike in the Mountain Saana. On the mountain, we saw gorgeous views.

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Picture 3. We started going hiking to the Mountain Saana. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 4. Group photo on the mountaintop of Saana. ©Tarmo Virtanen
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Picture 5. Kilpisjärvi in the sunset, a view from the Mountain Saana. ©Wenfei Liao

On the second day, the fieldwork started. That was my first time to see what a palsa mire looks like (Picture 6). Of course, on the bus to the biological station, I saw these mires but did not realise they are palsas.

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Picture 6. Palsa in Iitto with vegetation turning colourful from green. Palsa is originally from Sami and Finnish word, referring to a small hill with a frozen core rising above the mire surface. ©Wenfei Liao

The gas fluxes measurement was not as difficult as I imagined. First, we closed the chambers and used syringes to take 30 ml gases every 5 mins over a 20-min interval. Then we transferred the gas samples into 15 ml glass vials, i.e. the glass vials were overpressured, and kept the vials in cold before gas chromatography analysis.

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Picture 7. Isoveli and Pikkuveli were taking gas samples on the peat moss (Sphagnum spp.) occupied areas. Me too, but the photographer wasn’t in the picture. Haha! ©Wenfei Liao

We also participated in other groups’ fieldwork, helping the lake group collect sediment samples for diatom identification (Picture 9) and surveying vegetation along an altitude gradient (Picture 10). We all went to Norway to see glaciers on Saturday (Picture 11, 20, 21 & the featured image).

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Picture 8. Kaisa and Veli-Sieni were going to the deepest part of the lake Vallijärvi to collect sediment samples. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 9. Lakers and peatlanders were collecting sediment samples. From left to right, Magnus, Kaisa, Annina, OviMikko, Viivi H., and Iikka. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 10. Niklas and Viivi H. were surveying vegetation. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 11. People resting on the glaciers. ©Wenfei Liao

The field course was not only about fieldwork. We had a lot of fun. We collected mushrooms, such as penny buns (Boletus edulis) and orange birch bolete (Leccinum versipelle), with my mushroom brother Iikka’s guidance. We cooked together, i.e. Iikka cooked and we ate. 😀

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Picture 12. I was cleaning a bolete (Boletus sp.).  ©Niklas Mattila

In the mornings before breakfast, I followed Tarmo to check his traps. I saw something I never pay attention to: moths. Moths in Tarmo’s traps were grey and brown, not as colourful as butterflies. Still, they are beautiful creatures (to Tarmo at least).  Some of them looked like a piece of deadwood (Picture 14), which perhaps helps them avoid predators.

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Picture 14. A deadwood-like moth, the red sword-grass (Xylena vetusta). ©Wenfei Liao

The lake where we peatlanders helped sample sediments was a fishless pond! The water was so clean that we could see the bottom! Some water boatmen (family Corixidae) were swimming happily in the water. When we got back to the shore, I saw some diving beetles!!! I didn’t hesitate to put my camera into the water and took a few photos (Picture 16). On the way back, Sari collected some algae, in which hid a diving beetle! I took it back to the station and checked. It turned out to be Agabus arcticus.

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Picture 15. Pikkuveli rowed the boat, measured water quality, and sampled the sediments. My role was keeping the boat balanced, sampling sediments once, and holding the samples. Haha!!! ©Iikka Oinonen
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Picture 16. A diving beetle, very likely Agabus bipustulatus. The genus Agabus is named after Agabus, an early follower of Christianity. ©Wenfei Liao

The views along our field trips were beautiful and interesting. It was very hard to come back to Helsinki. Haha!

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Picture 17. Reindeers. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 18. A blooming pink flower. Blue heath (Phyllodoce caerulea).  ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 19. A view on our way to the glaciers. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 20. A crack on the glaciers. Beautiful blue ice. ©Wenfei Liao
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Picture 21. Group photo in the Steindalen glaciers. ©Sari Juutinen

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