Title: Radioactive fallout from Fukushima nuclear meltdowns caused abnormalities in Japan’s butterflies
Source: Japan Times (Jiji)
Date: Aug 12, 2012
Radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture created abnormalities among the nation’s butterflies, according to a team of researchers.
“We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima (No. 1) nuclear power plant caused physiological and genetic damage” to pale grass blue butterflies, a common species in Japan, a recent article in Scientific Reports, one of on-line journals of the Nature Publishing Group, said.
Radiation exposure harmed butterflies’ genes [...]
- Abnormalities such as unusually small wings were found in 12 percent of the total.
- Rate rose to 18 percent in a second generation [...] some even died before reaching adulthood
- When second generation butterflies with abnormal traits mated with healthy ones, the rate of abnormalities rose to 34 percent in the third generation
- It nearly doubled to 52 percent among a second generation born to the original butterflies
- The team collected another 238 butterflies last September and determined that the abnormality rate stood at 28 percent
- After the larvae [collected from Okinawa, one of the prefectures least affected by fallout,] were exposed to radiation and fed with leaves contaminated with radioactive materials, similar rates of abnormalities and premature deaths were observed
- 121 adult pale grass blue butterflies
- In and outside Fukushima Prefecture
- Sampling conducted May 2011
Published: August 12th, 2012 at 10:53 am ET