Sunday, August 03, 2008

Beetle Sumo - Go Heracross!

Here's a video about The Beetle Battle Event in Japan. It looks like they use a variety of rhinoceros and hercules beetles. Note the perfect form in the video of a beetle doing a suplex. There is a pokemon-like thing going on. The kid talking about his beetle fighting so hard for him could just as well be talking about Pikachu or should I say Heracross. In fact there is a pokemon-like game involving various beetles called Mushiking which is very popular in Japan. Pet insects are also extremely popular in Japan. There are magazines devoted to them and some are even sold in vending machines.

Some people in Japan are particularly nutty about spending giant amounts of money on rare beetles, especially really large Stag Beetles (Lucanidae). Mushiking, has apparently accelerated this with hundreds of thousands of Stag Beetles and Rhinoceros Beetles being imported yearly. Many enthusiasts rear the beetles, but most are caught in the wild. Apparently a subspecies of a large eurasian Stag Beetle species is being overcollected in Turkey to fuel the Japanese market. The high price commanded by the beetles has even spawned a black market, with would-be beetle dealers smuggling live beetles out of places like national parks in Nepal.