Science
2:26 am
Wed March 18, 2009

Researcher attaches radio transmitters to rare beetles at Saint Louis Zoo

St. Louis, MO –

A National Science Foundation researcher successfully glued radio transmitters to two rare burying beetles for the first time Wednesday. That happened at the Saint Louis Zoo, which breeds the endangered beetles for release in Ohio, one of 35 states the beetles once populated.

Bob Merz directs the zoo's burying beetle conservation center. He says attaching the radio transmitters, which weigh less than one gram, is the first step to tracking the beetles electronically after their release.

"Five years ago you wouldn't have even have thought about doing something like this. So, this is a major advance in invertebrate conservation, which everything has to be so tiny and so small."

Burying beetles are only found in Rhode Island and in small patches in the Midwest.