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Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

author:Everything Magazine

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Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

(Credit: Honeybee Suite)

Written by | Su Chengyu

Back in February, a California court ruled that bumblebees are a fish. This ruling can be seen on the official website of the California court, the document is very long, it will not be released here, and the interest can be seen in the following references.

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

This ruling has attracted a lot of attention, because no one can make such a judgment under normal thinking.

Needless to say, everyone knows that bumblebee (Bombus) is a kind of bee, an insect, and the relationship with the fish swimming in the water is 108,000 miles, if there is any relationship between the two, it is that they are both animals...

In September, the California Supreme Court upheld the lower court's ruling, confirming that they were fish, and one wondered: On what basis?

Wanting to protect the bumblebee species...

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

Under California's Endangered Species Act, "endangered species" can be birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, or fish. Because insects such as bees do not fall into any of the above categories, insects such as bumblebees are theoretically not protected by law.

But if bumblebees are not protected, the wild bumblebees in the United States may indeed be on the verge of extinction. In 2021, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pollinators Association of Albany Law School submitted a petition saying bumblebees could become extinct if they were not protected.

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

Bumblebee diagram in the petition

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

According to the data, bumblebee populations in the United States have plummeted by nearly 90% in multiple states over the past two decades.

The collapse of bumblebee populations is caused by a variety of reasons, such as habitat loss, pesticides, insect diseases, climate change and competition from (non-native) bees.

You may all know a book "Silent Spring", which is a best-selling popular science book, which talks about the ecological harm caused by the excessive use of pesticides such as DDT.

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

Overuse of pesticides, especially neonicotinoids, is harmful to bumblebee reproduction and the immune system, which weakens bees more likely to cause disease and death.

So, in September 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service responded to the petition, declaring that bumblebee populations in the United States are endangered and may need to be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

Why protect bumblebees?

Not only because of biodiversity conservation, but also because bumblebees have an important place in the biosphere as pollinators, without which wild plants and cultivated crops that depend on bees for pollination may lose their chance to reproduce.

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

In nature, more than 80% of flowering plants rely on pollinators to spread pollen. It can be seen that the decline in bumblebee population will be a big blow to the ecology, so I want to protect them.

But when everyone went to check the relevant legal provisions, they found that things were not so simple, because the law did not protect the species of bumblebees, so there was the above commotion.

California courts want to extend the definition of "fish" in the local endangered species law to insects such as bumblebees.

How does that scale?

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

Here's what California courts think: "fish" is an aquatic organism that "includes molluscs, invertebrates, amphibians, and crustaceans" as defined by the law in California Fish and Hunt Code Section 45.

But it is not said whether the "invertebrates" here are aquatic or terrestrial. Since bumblebees are invertebrates, bumblebees should be legally counted as aquatic organisms and can be protected as a "fish".

Did the U.S. Supreme Court find bumblebee a fish with a broken brain?

This fish looks like a bee called a goby

Although this ruling seems so "stupid" that it does not conform to natural common sense, it is estimated that there is not a single nature protector who does not welcome this ruling.

As an aside, I found that some Chinese popular science articles translate bumble bee as bumblebee, the kind of bee that can kill people, and the kind of bee that pollinates. So reading these articles, it is very strange that why protecting a species that may kill people is really a matter of translation.

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