June 2006


It had just started raining and I was rushing home when I spotted something pretty big in among the leaves of a bush next to the path. Almost missed it, but stopped and found this beautiful specimen! It’s called a Saw Longhorn Beetle (nokogiri kamikiri) due to its serrated antennae (which look like a Japanese saw). With a body length of around 40mm, this is one of Japan’s bigger longhorns. I brought it home to take a few pictures in the garden (better lighting).

Prionus insularisPrionus insularisPrionus insularisPrionus insularisPrionus insularisPrionus insularis

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Prioninae
Prionus insularis = nokogiri kamikiri

In a wooded area next to an orange grove.

Zosterops japonicus
(Not the best picture in the world.)

Passeriformes: Zosteropidae
Zosterops japonicus = Japanese white-eye (mejiro)

In a wooded area next to an orange grove.

Parus major

Passeriformes: Paridae
Parus major = Great tit (shijuukara)

I often see these moths in the hedgerows when I go walking through the fields. These day-flying moths rest on the tops of leaves and fly slowly only a few meters when disturbed. They should therefore be easy prey for birds, but are distasteful (containing toxins). They are called hotaruga in Japanese – hotaru means firefly so perhaps they are supposed to resemble fireflies (can’t quite see it myself).

Pidorus atratusPidorus atratus

Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae
Pidorus atratus (hotaruga)

Several of these buntings (hoojiro) were perched in various vantage points around an orange grove, singing away. Managed to get fairly close to them – they were too busy with their singing contest to notice me!

Emberiza cioidesEmberiza cioidesEmberiza cioidesEmberiza cioidesEmberiza cioides

Passeriformes: Emberizidae (buntings)
Emberiza cioides = Siberian Meadow Bunting (hoojiro)

If my identification is correct, then this was quite a good find. It’s a species of firefly in Japan’s Red List of rare species (see here).

Coleoptera: Lampyridae
Lychnuris discicollis = oomado-botaru

Location: in the woods near Munakata Common (map)

 A very handsome bug indeed!

Hemiptera: Heteroptera:Pentatomidae
Graphosoma rubrolineatum

akasuji-kamemushi = Red Striped Shield Bug (or stink bug)

Location: in the woods near Munakata Common (map)

Tiger beetles (hanmyou) are very fast-moving predatory beetles with bulging eyes, long slender legs, and large mandibles (jaws). They can run so fast that they could be considered the fastest running animals in the world (for their size). A 20mm-long beetle running at 2km per hour is the equivalent of a 2m-long horse running at 200km per hour!! (And some Tiger Beetles are said to run at 5km per hour!)
The larvae (grubs) of these beetles live in holes in the ground and they lie in wait for their prey to walk by/over the hole, then quickly grab them with their mandibles.

cicindela japanacicindela japana

Coleoptera: Cicindelidae
Cicindela japana (niwahanmyou)

We were very happy to find this beautiful Chestnut Tiger Butterfly (asagi-madara) today. It was even feeding on sweet chestnut flowers so it’s obvious where the name comes from. This species is fascinating and famous because of its migratory behaviour. Mark-and-release research has shown that some individuals fly from Taiwan to Japan, and they have been known to fly more than 1,000km.

Lots more information about this species here.

Parantica sitaParantica sitaParantica sitaParantica sitaParantica sitaParantica sita

Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae
Paranatica sita = asagi-madara (Chestnut Tiger)

Location: Area of woodland (sweet chestnut orchard) near our house in Munakata.
Google map = here.