Japanese Arcade Game Blamed for Rise in Illegal Stag Beetle Imports


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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5 Responses to Japanese Arcade Game Blamed for Rise in Illegal Stag Beetle Imports

  1. Anonymous says:

    “entomological holocaust.” LOL, bugs are cool, go to you tube and type beetle pets in, huge in Japan.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I saw an arcade with this game in Singapore about a year ago and nabbed a picture.


  3. Jenn says:

    As an elementary school English teacher in Japan for the past 2 years, I can tell you that collecting beetles is a huge pasttime for 6-10-year-old kids there, definitely in large part because Mushiking got them interested in bug stats and also for the gross-girls-out factor. Here’s a kuwagatamushi (I’m guessing a kind of stag beetle) that one of my elementary kids carried with him all day:


    One of my kids came running down the hall to me to show off his new Atlas beetle (which was huge!), which he explained cost $10 and was from Indonesia.

    • Joel Johnson says:

      Jenn, that’s great! I wish they would have let us carry around beetles in school when I was a kid. We had pet lizards in one class, though, and I put some acorns I had found in the yard inside with them, because there were tiny grubs that I (and the teacher) thought would eat them. Then the worms grew into beetles and killed the lizards. Traumatic!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello, i have this insects for sale from Turkey, if somebody need this contact with me hayri07@hotmail.com

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