June 2005


Robber Fly (abu)
We get these robber flies in the garden throughout the summer. Because of their size, I’m always wary of them (for the sake of the kids!) but it seems that they are beneficial as they prey on other insects (see photos below).

“As their common name implies, robber flies have voracious appetites and feed on a vast array of other arthropods, which may help to maintain a healthy balance between insect populations in various habitats (Joern and Rudd 1982, Shurovnekov 1962). Asilidae adults attack wasps, bees, dragonflies, grasshoppers, other flies, and some spiders.” From: http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/beneficial/flies/robber_flies.htm

Order: Diptera; Family: Asilidae; Subfamily: Apocleinae
Species: Promachus yesonicus
length: male 18-28mm, female 22-30mm
Japanese name: shioya-abu

Female robber flyMale robber flyTwo robber flies mating on Shinobu's hand!Even while mating, this robber fly continued to eat the beetle it had caught!Face of a robber fly!

Robber Flies: Page with lots of information about this group of flies (page created by German dipterologist and museum curator).

Asilidae in Japan

Information on flies at Wikipedia

By chance I just found the homepage of a fellow insect lover in Fukuoka: OSAMU FUKUDA
http://www.g-hopper.ne.jp/free/fukuda/bbs/bbs-f.htm

Our deck is one of the favourite basking places for the garden lizards. I hope they eat all the mosquitoes hanging around the garden – that would be a great help!

Takydromus tachydromoidesTakydromus tachydromoides

Reptilia: Squamata (scaled reptiles): Lacertilia (lizards): Lacertidae (wall lizards)
Japanese Grass Lizard: Takydromus tachydromoides (nihon kanahebi)

A very beautiful longhorn beetle (kamikirimushi) flew into the garden this morning. It made a funny squeaking sound when I picked it up. The species wasn’t in my insect book, but I managed to find it after a quick image search on Yahoo. It’s called a spotted scarlet longhorn (hoshibeni-kamikiri). Here’s a useful site for identification of longhorns: Guide to the longhorns of Japan.

Below are some of the pictures I took this morning. There are also two short videos.

COLEOPTERA: CERAMBYCIDAE: LAMIINAE:
Eupromus ruber (Dalman) = hoshibeni-kamikiri

hoshibeni kamikirihoshibeni kamikirihoshibeni kamikirihoshibeni kamikiri

Video 1 (Quicktime 1.3MB): eupromusvid01.mov
Video 2 (Quicktime 2.8MB): eupromusvid02.mov

It’s firefly season and Japanese people love going out to watch the fireflies (hotaru) in the evening. We have a small park near us called Hotaro Sato, which is an excellent place to see fireflies. We went there on Saturday night and managed to find two species: Genji Fireflies (genjibotaru) and Princess Fireflies (himebotaru). I brought one of each species home to take pictures/video (below) and then took them back to the park to release them.

COLEOPTERA : LAMPYRIDAE:

Luciola cruciata = Genji Firefly (genjibotaru)
genji botarugenji botaru
QUICKTIME movie of Genji Firefly: genjibotaru01.mov (1.25MB)

Hotaria parvula = Hime (Princess) Firefly (himebotaru)
hime botaruhime botaru
QUICKTIME movie of Hime Firefly: himebotaru01.mov (1.41MB)

Nice web site about fireflies: http://www.fireflyscience.org/

Rei found a very nice snail (katatsumuri) and decided to keep “him” as a pet. We’re keeping him in a plastic box, with soil, leaves, twigs, and food (cabbage, carrot skins, and egg shells). He seems to be doing pretty well and moves so fast that we’re considering the possibility of entering him into snail races in the future!!
Here are a few pictures of the snail and Rei:

rei snail01rei snail02Rei's snail

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