Odonata


(Male)

Paracercion calamorum calamorumParacercion calamorum calamorum

Odonata: Coenagrionida
Paracercion calamorum calamorum
Damselfly = kuro-ito-tombo

Location: Near Genkai town office (Google map)

Pseudothemis zonataPseudothemis zonata

Odonata: Libellulidae
Pseudothemis zonata
= koshiaki-tombo

Location: In orchards and bamboo/pine forest above Yokoyama Village (Google map)

This is a female. The male of this species is blue.

Lyriothemis pachygastraLyriothemis pachygastra

Odonata: Libellulidae
Lyriothemis pachygastra (female)
= hara-biro-tombo

Location: forest area near Ikeda Village in Munakata (aerial photo)
Map: Google map link

This is a female. The male of this species is blue.

Orthetrum triangulare melaniaOrthetrum triangulare melania

Odonata: Libellulidae
Orthetrum triangulare melania (female)
= ooshio-kara-tombo

Location: forest area near Ikeda Village in Munakata (aerial photo)
Map: Google map link

Just after I watched a fantailed skimmer (taiwan-uchiwa-yanma) take a butterfly skimmer (chou-tombo), I came across a big spider (nagakogane-gumo) that had managed to catch itself a fantail. It’s a tough world!

spider catches dragonflyspider catches dragonflyspider catches dragonflyspider catches dragonfly

Odonata: Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus pertinax = taiwan-uchiwa-yanma (Taiwan fantailed skimmer)

Araneidae:
Argiope bruennichii = nagakogane-gumo

Location: oo-ike (big pond)
Map (image)
Link to Google Map

Well, I was wrong! In yesterday’s blog entry, I wrote that these fantailed skimmers (taiwan-uchiwa-yanma) and butterfly skimmers (chou-tombo) seemed to co-exist peacefully, but… Today I watched a fantail swoop down and grab a butterfly skimmer from its perch, then carry it way up into a tree to eat. It was an amazing thing to see.

Ictinogomphus pertinaxIctinogomphus pertinax

Odonata: Libellulidae
Rhyothemis fuliginosa = chou-tombo (butterfly skimmer)

Odonata: Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus pertinax = taiwan-uchiwa-yanma (Taiwan fantailed skimmer)

Location: oo-ike (big pond)
Map (image)
Link to Google Map

Back at the same pond as yesterday. I found out that it’s called oo-ike (big pond) – here’s a map. It was a really hot day (35 degrees C) so it felt good to be wading almost waist deep in the water. Kept trying to get photos of the beautiful gin-yanma and eventually succeeded in getting a semi-decent shot of one on the wing.

gin yanmagin yanma

Odonata: Aeshnidae
Anax parthenope julius = gin-yanma

Location: oo-ike (big pond)
Map (image)
Link to Google Map

On my way home from work yesterday, I noticed what looked like quite a large pond half hidden by the overgrown roadside verge. It looked like a promising place for dragonflies, so I decided to investigate it this morning. As expected, it was very rich in wildlife, with lots of frogs/tadpoles and hundreds of dragonflies darting around: gin-yanma, uchiwa-yanma, chou-tombo, and many small damselflies.

Butterfly skimmers (chou-tombo) are among my favorite dragonflies. Their metallic blue wing coloration is so beautiful and they have a wonderful way of fluttering around like butterflies. They also perch nicely and are not too shy to have their photographs taken!

Rhyothemis fuliginosaRhyothemis fuliginosa

I’ve only seen fantailed skimmers (taiwan-uchiwa-yanma) once before – just last week – so it was great to see two or three individuals at this pond. They were extremely fast fliers, but luckily for me they also stopped for long periods of time, perched on dead stalks sticking up out of the water. I waded around the edge of the pond (up to my thighs in the water), and managed to sneak right up to them before they flew away. Exciting to be able to get so close!

Ictinogomphus pertinaxIctinogomphus pertinaxIctinogomphus pertinaxIctinogomphus pertinax

Although the fantailed skimmers were aggressive with each other and the blue darters (ooshiokara-tombo), they seemed to have no problems perching near the butterfly skimmers. The two species just ignored each other.

two dragonfliestwo dragonflies

Odonata: Libellulidae
Rhyothemis fuliginosa = chou-tombo (butterfly skimmer)

Odonata: Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus pertinax = taiwan-uchiwa-yanma (Taiwan fantailed skimmer)

Location: oo-ike (big pond)
Map (image)
Link to Google Map

On top of Mt Yukawa. This big dragonfly zoomed in and grabbed a butterfly right in front of my eyes. Very impressive!

I took a few photos but the dragonfly flew off, still carrying the butterfly. About half an hour later, by chance, I came across the half-eaten butterfly further down the hill.

Anax nigrofasciatusGraphium sarpedon nipponum

Dragonfly:
Anax nigrofasciatus = kurosuji gin yanma

Butterfly:
Graphium sarpedon nipponum = aosuji ageha

Dragonflies (tombo) are so numerous in Japan that the country used to be known as “Dragonfly Islands” (akitsushima). There are more than 200 species (compared to around 40 in the UK). It is wonderful to see swarms of them flying above the rice fields in the summer, their legs held like tiny baskets under their bodies as they hunt for prey on the wing. Dragonflies are regarded as a sign of summer and, together with cicadas (semi), rhinocerous beetles (kabutomushi), and stag beetles (kuwagatamushi), these insects are favorites with Japanese children.

Pantala flavescens swarms

I went out yesterday specifically trying to get photos of as many species as I could find. I managed to get a few, but was feeling frustrated because I couldn’t get a photo of the huge “ogre drangonflies” (oniyanma) because they wouldn’t keep still long enough. Then, lo and behold, one arrived in the garden this afternoon! This is a superb insect, with a 10cm-long body and a wingspan of about 12cm. It’s the biggest species of dragonfly in Japan.

Here are the species I photographed this weekend. I hope that my identification is correct. Please let me know if anything is wrong.

Odonata: Anisoptera (true dragonflies)

Anotogaster sieboldiiAnotogaster sieboldii
Anotogaster sieboldii = oni yanma = “ogre dragonfly”

Pantala flavescensPantala flavescens
Pantala flavescens = usubaki tombo

Pseudothemis zonataPseudothemis zonata
Pseudothemis zonata = koshiaki tombo

Orthetrum triangulare melaniaOrthetrum triangulare melania
Orthetrum triangulare melania = ooshiokara tombo

Crocothemis serviliaCrocothemis servilia
Crocothemis servilia = shoujou tombo

I haven't identifiedI haven't identifiedI haven't identified
(I haven’t identified these ones yet)

a big meal for a small spider!
A big meal for a small spider!

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