Brave Wilderness: Documentation of Coyote Peterson Stung by a Japanese Giant Hornet in the Tottori Prefecture, Japan


In a series of videos documenting the sting of the most powerful stinging insects, Cody Peterson released a video on Friday, November 23, 2018 of his stinging experience of the Japanese Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia Japonica).

Coyote Peterson (Nathaniel Peterson) is a wildlife educator and YouTube personality with a background in film. Recently he has presented on his YouTube channel a series of videos, some featuring his actual sting, induced by placing some of the most powerful stinging insects near his skin. The sting-related part of the series is known at his “Sting Zone” adventure series, which is culminating with the Executioner Wasp (Polistes carnifex). Some of the worst have been the bullet ant (Paraponera clavata) in Costa Rica and the Tarantula hawk (Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona).

One of the largest stinging insects in the world, the Japanese Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) is a subspecies of the Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia) with a 6.25 mm (.25 inch) stinger. The Japanese Giant Hornet injects a venom known as mandaratoxin, which in high does can destroy tissue and attack the nervous system of its victim, according to Coyote Peterson. On average, over 30 people die annually in Japan from taking multiple stings by Japanese Giant Hornets. Peterson says most of these deaths are the result of anaphylactic shock.

In 2013 stings from Asian Giant Hornets killed at least 41 people and injured more than 1,600 people in Shaanxi, China. Medical experts learned that people that are stung 10 to 30 times by Asian Giant Hornets are in dire need of help, ranging from medical help to medical treatment in an intensive care unit.

In a study of Japanese victims published in Clinical Toxicology, researchers studied the treatment of 15 patients in Japan that suffered multiple organ failure induced by the hornets. These people also bleeding under the skin surface (cutaneous hemorrhaging) and ulcer-like tissue destruction (necrosis). The mean number of stings that caused death was 59, compared to 28 stings in patients, who suffered multiple organ failure, but survived. The researchers concluded that cutaneous hemorrhaging or necrosis findings after stings, which occurred in 13 of the 15 people studied, may suggest the development of multiple organ injury (a condition connected to kidney failure). In addition, the number of stings are indicative of the chance of survival of patients.

Peterson located and captured a Japanese Giant Hornet in the Tottori Prefecture, which is at a latitude of about 35° on the north coast of southern Japan. Regarding climate, the coolest month in Tottori Prefecture, Japan is January (46°F/33°F). Temperatures from June to September are similar to Chicago’s climate, but slightly warmer, except in June when Chicago’s climate is a little warmer.

The largest hornet with distribution in the United States is the European Hornet (Vespa crabo), which is sometimes mistaken for the Asian Giant Hornet. There are no confirmed sightings or establishments of Asian Giant Hornets or Japanese Giant Hornets in the United States, but some people have sworn they have seen hornets in the United States larger than the documented size for a European Hornet (1 to 1.4 inches). The length of the Asian Giant Hornet is reported to be 1.8 inches with a wingspan of 3.0 inches. Some people have adamantly reported seeing hornets in the United States that are closer to 2 inches than 1.4 inches. The Eastern Cicada Killer wasp (up to 2 inches long) is also commonly mistaken for the Asian Giant Hornet, but its physical characteristics (coloring especially) are quite different than any of the hornets.

Asian Hornets (Vespa velutina), an invasive species in France and England, are also commonly confused with Asian Giant Hornets. Asian Hornets (up to 1.2 inches) are believed to have been introduced into France in boxes of pottery from China in 2014. There is speculation that either Asian Hornets (native to southeast Asia), Asian Giant Hornets (native to temperate and tropical Eastern Asia), or Japanese Giant Hornets (native to Japan) could be introduced into the United State via similar shipping “stowaway” incidents. Consider the number of Boeing 747 freighters that fly in and out of O’Hare International Airport day and night to or from China and Japan.

The reward of producing an excellent YouTube channel, has resulted in the announcement of a promising partnership for Coyote Peterson and his crew. The American cable channel owned by Discovery, Inc., Animal Planet, is teaming up with Coyote Peterson’s YouTube channel concept, for a new globally-produced longform series that will premiere in 2019. The series will feature wild expeditions and rare, up-close animal experiences from around the world. The series is intended to appeal to Peterson’s “Coyote Pack” — as his fans are dubbed — and catapult Coyote Peterson’s experiences into Animal Planet’s global audience. Like the YouTube channel, the series will be produced by Brave Wilderness Director Mark Vins and will include the expertise of wildlife biologist Mario Aldecoa.

SOURCE: Yanagawa Y1, Morita K, Sugiura T, Okada Y. Cutaneous hemorrhage or necrosis findings after Vespa mandarinia (wasp) stings may predict the occurrence of multiple organ injury: a case report and review of literature. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2007 Oct-Nov;45(7):803-7.


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