Japanese Arcade Game Blamed for Rise in Illegal Stag Beetle Imports

Lucanus_akbesianus.jpg

Image: Japanese Stag Beetle Page, Mushiking.com

Although insect collecting is a long-favored hobby in Japan, the card-dispensing arcade game Mushiking ("Insect King") is being blamed for an uptick in illegal importation of the Lucanus cervus akbesianus, an endangered stag beetle from Turkey, precipitating what one group is calling an "entomological holocaust."

Collecting insects is an ancient summer pastime in Japan, but has been given new impetus by Mushiking. The arcade machines dispense a card with a picture of a particular insect and specifications of its fighting abilities. When the card is inserted back into the machine, its owner controls the beetle and can fight against the computer or friends with cards of their own.

As the first commenter points out, this sounds like a grand opportunity for a stag beetle breeding business. And while I'm sure that Mushiking may have influenced how desirable the Lucanus cervus akbesianus may be, the fault for the illegal imports is clearly not on the game's makers, but those doing the actual importing and buying.

Video game puts bounty hunters on the trail that could wipe out the stag beetle [TimesOnline.co.uk via Kotaku]

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