Endangered beetles put on block

Kyodo

Specimens of an endangered species of insect captured in Tottori Prefecture were put up for sale on an Internet auction site, prefectural officials said Thursday.

The entries for two diving beetles were removed from the website as soon as officials warned the seller that “such conduct may be considered a violation of the ordinance” that bans capturing endangered species.

According to the prefecture’s conservation division, the insects are known as the three-punctured diving beetle, or Cybister tripunctatus orientalis. They are distinguished by their black or blackish-red bellies, and grow to about 2.6 cm long.

The beetle is on both the Environment Ministry’s and prefecture’s endangered species lists.

The prefecture has an ordinance on its books banning the capture of the species except for academic research.

Prefectural officials learned about the two beetle entries in early September. They identified the seller and requested they be removed from the website.

The seller, who admitted catching the insects in Tottori, claimed to be unaware of the ordinance.

“We want to stop people who are catching the insect only because the species is rare,” a prefectural official said. “We will go strong against those who commit such acts.”