April 2006


It was really warm and sunny today (around 25 degrees Centigrade) which brought out the reptiles. The kids caught ten lizards in the garden! And, while walking along a stream not far from the house, I spotted my first snake of the year: an 80cm-long shimahebi (Elaphe quadrivirgata). Unfortunately, it gave me the slip so I didn’t manage to get any decent pictures (just the one below of its body)…

Elaphe quadrivirgata

This leaf beetle is quite small (about 5mm) but its coloration really makes it stand out. When I went for a walk this morning, I found lots of them on the plants growing alongside the stream that runs through the fields near my home. There were plenty of other leaf beetles too, but I haven’t identified them yet.

Cryptocephalus signaticepsCryptocephalus signaticepsCryptocephalus signaticepsCryptocephalus signaticeps

Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae (hamushi-ka): Cryptocephalus signaticeps (kuroboshi tsutsuhamushi)

Went for a walk through the fields and found literally hundreds of these dark metallic blue leaf beetles (hamushi) on the plants growing beside the stream. It’s obviously a common species.

streamchrysomelidaechrysomelidaechrysomelidae
chrysomelidaechrysomelidae

Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles): Fleutiauxia armata (kuwa-hamushi)
[identification to be confirmed]

We found a few of these tiny jewel beetles (tamamushi) on some leaves. They have white undulating lines across the elytra (hence the latin name “quadriundulatus”).

Coraebus quadriundulatusCoraebus quadriundulatusCoraebus quadriundulatus

Coleoptera: Buprestidae (jewel beetles)
Coraebus quadriundulatus = shiroobi-nakaboso-tamamushi

Location: Near Munakata Common
Google map: here

There were so many of these cantharid beetles on the hedge parsley in the clearing (of the woods right near my home). It’s obviously an extremely common species around here!

Podabrus heydeniPodabrus heydeniPodabrus heydeniPodabrus heydeni

Coleoptera: Cantharidae: Podabrus heydeni (kubiboso joukai)

This female oil beetle (blister beetle) was a surprise find – just sitting there in the open (and unable to fly or run)! Obviously very confident that the caustic “oil” that exudes from her limbs would be adequate protection from predators!! I found a male specimen last year and wrote quite a lot of information about oil beetles (here ).

Meloe coarctatusMeloe coarctatusMeloe coarctatusMeloe coarctatus

Coleoptera: Meloidae: Meloe coarctatus (hime tsuchihanmyou)
(I hope this identification is correct)
This is a female (look here for male)

I went out specifically to find longhorn beetles today, so I was very pleased to find this nice specimen on oilseed rape (nanohana). It’s a red bamboo longhorn beetle (benikamikiri). I’d wanted to take it home to show the kids, but unfortunately it flew off just after I took the 4th photo – you can see that its wingcases (elytra) are beginning to open.

Purpuricenus temminckiiPurpuricenus temminckiiPurpuricenus temminckiiPurpuricenus temminckii

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Purpuricenus temminckii (benikamikiri)

There were hundreds of these small flower beetles on the hedge parsley. The name in Japanese (hirata hanamuguri) means flat flower beetle, because this species has a relatively flat body.

Nipponovalgus angusticollisNipponovalgus angusticollisNipponovalgus angusticollis

Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Nipponovalgus angusticollis (hirata hanamuguri)

Lots of these small (6-8mm) strange-looking hunchbacked flies hanging around the hedge parsley in a clearing in the woods. Not easily disturbed.

Philopota nigroaenea

Diptera: Acroceridae: Philopota nigroaenea (sedakakogashira abu)

Found a group of approximately 50 yellow and black tussock moth caterpillars on ivy wrapped around a chestnut tree. Tussock moths are so-named because the caterpillars have four distinctive dorsal tufts of hair. The species I found is called dokuga – meaning poison moth – presumably because the caterpillars have poisonous hairs.

Artaxa subflavaArtaxa subflava

Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae: Artaxa subflava (dokuga)

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