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THE first murder hornet has been captured prompting a rush to find the ferocious insects' colony before the mating season.

Washington State says over 1000 traps have been laid to capture the “shockingly large” and violent insects before their numbers explode.

5The insects are around two inches long 5Murder hornets are renowned for their aggressive group attacksCredit: Boredpanda

The two-inch hornets get their name because they kill and are fond of decapitating native honeybees after killing them with toxic venom.

A single sting to human is sore but multiple attacks are fatal and murder hornets are thought to kill at least 50 people a year.

After making their first appearance in North America in in British Columbia, in August 2019 in Canada, by December that year they were reported south of the border in Washington.

Reports began filtering of sightings earlier this year in the state prompting the Washington State Department of Agriculture to set traps.

The WSDA now confirmed a murder hornet was found in a one of its traps set near Birch Bay in Whatcom County on July 14.

WSDA says its next move is to find and destroy the nest by mid-September before the colony would begin creating new reproducing queens and drones.

Until that time, the colony will only contain the queen and worker Asian giant hornets.

“This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work,” Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist for the department said.

“But it also means we have work to do.”

Destroying the nest before new queens emerge and mate will prevent their spread.

The WDSA says it will bring up infrared cameras and place additional traps in a bid to locate the nest.

5Murder hornets decapitate honeybeersCredit: Reuters 5The use their sharp, spiked mandibles to tear their victims' heads offCredit: AP:Associated Press 5Around 50 people a year are killed in Japan by themCredit: Reuters

Staff will capture hornets but keep them alive, attempt to tag them and track them in the hope they will lead them to the colony.

About 1300 traps have been set in a bid to trap the beasts with citizen scientists among others helping to set them as well.

Murder hornets are roughly the size of a matchbox, have large yellow-orange heads, prominent black eyes, and a black and yellow striped abdomen.

They have sharp, spiked mandibles and after decapitating honeybees, use the bodies to feed their young.

The hornets can destroy a honeybee hive in a matter of hours.

Washington State University scientist and invasive species specialist Todd Murray described them as "shockingly large".

Other bees are their primary targets but they have been known to attack humans when threatened, the BBC reports.

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In Japan where they are most common, murder hornets kill around 50 people each year, the New York Times reports.

Jun-ichi Takahashi, a researcher at Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan, said the species had earned the “murder hornet” nickname there because their aggressive group attacks.

These expose victims to doses of toxic venom equivalent to that of a venomous snake and a series of stings can be fatal.

News Source: the-sun.com

Tags: asian murder hornets murder hornets

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A rare giant shark now sits in an ice block at the Smithsonian, allowing researchers to hopefully unravel clues about its evolution

(CNN)Researchers are hoping to unravel the mystery around one of the rarest sharks in the sea -- the megamouth.

As it's nickname suggests the magamouth, Megachasma pelagios, is known for having a large mouth on a rounded head and they are thought to grow as long as 17 feet, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. There has only been around 70 confirmed sightings of the elusive shark in the world, according to the museum.
    JUST WATCHEDTake a look at the rare megamouth shark
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Take a look at the rare megamouth shark 00:45Now, a megamouth that was captured by fishers off the coast of Taiwan in 2018 is sitting on a gigantic block of ice at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Support Center. The Smithsonian released the news on Tuesday through an article in their magazine.
    "When it comes to sharks, they're probably one of the most unique and weird-looking species," Paul Clerkin, a graduate researcher at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, said in the article. "Their mouth just keeps opening and their upper jaw closes like a convertible hood."Read MoreThe shark can reach weights of 2,600 pounds and is considered the smallest of the three species of filter-feeding sharks, behind the whale shark and the basking shark, according to conservation group Oceana. The first known megamouth was accidentally discovered by the US Navy in 1976 in the waters of Hawai'i. US Navy crew discovers the first known megamouth.The crew used two parachute-like sea anchors that reach the depths of 500 feet, according to the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources. When the anchors were hauled up, they discovered a 1,500 pound megamouth was entangled in the lines. It did not survive.Since then, confirmed sightings of the shark have occurred all over the world in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian oceans, according to Florida Museum of Natural History.Discovering clues about the shark's evolutionClerkin, who collected Smithsonian's new specimen in Taiwan, will collaborate with other researchers to unravel clues behind this mysterious animal's life. But they will be working against the clock since the specimen will begin to decay. "Understanding the life history of sharks is important, especially because we don't know their full role in marine ecosystems or how sensitive they are to human-made pressures," Clerking said. "They're a big influence on the world."

    Not much is known about the megamouth, which was first observed by scientists in 1976. A new specimen has traveled to the @NMNH, where researchers will study it to learn more about its behavior and life cycle. https://t.co/dzRja21x6U

    — Smithsonian Magazine (@SmithsonianMag) August 11, 2020
      After research is complete, the shark will be preserved with formaldehyde and then ethyl alcohol for long term storage, according to the Smithsonian. It will join the over six million other specimens in the museum's Division of Fishes' collections."Even if we never ever collect one again, we'll still know that megamouth sharks existed on Earth at this time," Dr. Lynne Parenti, the Curator of Indo-Pacific Freshwater and Coastal Fishes at the museum, said in the article. "We're preserving this for everyone for what it shows about basic biodiversity. It could also answer questions that haven't been asked yet."

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