+
Science

Is it a bee or is it a fish? It's a bee fish according to California judges.

The issue presented here is whether the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, falls within the definition of fish."

bees, fish, bumble fish

Bees classified as fish in California.

Save the bees! Even if you have to call them fish to do so. Will they be rainbow trout, red snapper or puffer fish? Maybe they’ll get their own name and be known forever as bumble fish. It’s likely none of those things, but where’s the fun in knowing that a bee will still be called a bee even when it’s classified as a fish?

People have been concerned about bees and their declining numbers for a while. While it’s customary to run screaming in the opposite direction while waving your arms about any time you encounter one in real life, we kind of need those little buggers. Bees and their fuzzy little limbs and torsos help pollinate plants and crops. Bee pollination is extremely important to commercial farmers and keeps our planet looking the way we’re used to seeing it: full of diverse plants and trees. They're actually pretty cute, too.


As much good as bees do for the environment, sadly they have become endangered. The American bumble bee population declined by nearly 90% due to climate change, habitat loss, pesticides and disease. Rapid decline of the bee population is why three judges in California decided to do what they could to protect the bees from extinction by classifying them as fish. In their ruling, the judges wrote, "The issue presented here is whether the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, falls within the definition of fish."

In 2018, California classified four species of bees as endangered, but the problem is that the law didn’t explicitly protect land invertebrates under the California Endangered Species Act. The law specifies that it protects endangered "native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant." Because bees are obviously devoid of gills, fins and the ability to survive their entire lives submerged in water, the argument to classify bees as fish was ruled against in 2020. The argument being that the other animals who bear the fish label but aren’t actually fish are invertebrates like sea urchins and anemones.

bees, honeyPhoto by Shelby Cohron on Unsplash

These three judges decided that the lower courts were wrong about excluding bees from the classification. Taking a liberal interpretation of the Endangered Species Act is what has allowed the judges to give bees the new classification, as the law isn’t specific about which invertebrates it's referring to. The judges wrote in their ruling that "although the term fish is colloquially and commonly understood to refer to aquatic species," the legal jargon could be used to justify the inclusion of bees … and frogs. While the judges were at it they decided to throw in frogs as they are protected under the amphibian category.

So there you have it folks. From here on out we shall refer to the bees in California as "bumble fish" and the people who have been fighting for this kind of heightened protection for bees can rejoice. This is a big win for bees and the environment! Now go outside and welcome them with the required greeting as you plant new flowers for them to pollinate.

Marlon Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather.

Nearly 50 years after Sacheen Littlefeather endured boos and abusive jokes at the Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is issuing a formal apology. In 1973, Littlefeather refused Marlon Brando's Best Actor Oscar on his behalf for his iconic role in “The Godfather” at the ceremony to protest the film industry’s treatment of Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

Littlefeather is a Native American civil rights activist who was born to a Native American (Apache and Yaqui) father and a European American mother.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Watch as this 8-year-old bassist performs with New Found Glory live

This little girl is going to have an incredible story to tell when she goes back to school.

Photo by Dmitry Osipov on Unsplash

8-year-old bassist performs with New Found Glory.

Sometimes dreams come true when we're just doing the things we love. That's exactly what happened to a little girl named Joanna who found herself on stage at a live concert for the band New Found Glory. Joanna is 8 years old and plays the bass guitar. One day after recording her playing Vicious Love by New Found Glory, Joanna's dad decided to send it to the band's bass player, Ian Grushka.

Keep ReadingShow less

Bobby McFerrin demonstrated the power of the pentatonic scale without saying a word.

Bobby McFerrin is best known for his hit song “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” which showcased his one-man vocal and body percussion skills (and got stuck in our heads for years). But his musicality extends far beyond the catchy pop tune that made him a household name. The things he can do with his voice are unmatched and his range of musical styles and genres is impressive.

The Kennedy Center describes him: “With a four-octave range and a vast array of vocal techniques, Bobby McFerrin is no mere singer; he is music's last true Renaissance man, a vocal explorer who has combined jazz, folk and a multitude of world music influences - choral, a cappella, and classical music - with his own ingredients.”

McFerrin is also a music educator, and one of his most memorable lessons is a simple, three-minute interactive demonstration in which he doesn’t say a single word.

Keep ReadingShow less