Carpenter ants nuptial flight

These are pretty big ants (around 10mm long). The hole was in sandy soil and opened directly (i.e. without a mound). The nuptial flight was just about to start when I came across the hole, and it was interesting to watch how the workers seemed to be in charge of pushing/pulling out the winged ants (reproductive castes) then shoving them back into the hole again when danger threatened (i.e. the camera flashed).

Camponotus japonicusCamponotus japonicusCamponotus japonicusCamponotus japonicus

Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae
Carpenter ant = Camponotus japonicus = Kuro-oo-ari

Digger Wasp

Adult digger wasps (jigabachi) feed on pollen. They also hunt caterpillars, but they use these as food for their young. The adult female digs a burrow in the sand, catches a caterpillar, which she paralyzes using a special poison, and then she drags it into the burrow and lays a single egg on it. When the egg hatches, the larval wasp feeds on the caterpillar and emerges from its burrow the next year.

Ammophila sabulosa

Insecta: Hymenoptera: Sphecidae
Sand Digger Wasp (jigabachi) = Ammophila sabulosa (22-28mm)

Black swallowtail butterflies

Found two species of black swallowtail butterflies within a few meters of each other (on the edge of a neighbors garden).

Papilio bianor dehaaniiPapilio bianor dehaanii

“Crow” swallowtail = karasu ageha = Papilio bianor dehaanii

Papilio protenor demetriusPapilio protenor demetrius

Black swallowtail = kuro ageha = Papilio protenor demetrius

Lots of Lizards

I was surprised at the number of lizards in the garden this year, and then the kids gave me the explanation. The kids next door had collected about 20 from their garden and other places, but their mother didn’t want them in her garden (for some strange reason), so they released the whole lot into our garden! I’m quite happy with all the extra lizards of course!

Takydromus tachydromoidesTakydromus tachydromoides

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

Gecko in the house

This common Japanese gecko (nihon yamori) jumped into the living room when I opened the window. We lost it for a few days but it eventually showed up in the bedroom, so I let it go in the garden.

Gekko japonicusGekko japonicusGekko japonicusGekko japonicus

Japanese gecko (nihon yamori)
Gekko japonicus