June 2007


When I first saw this tiny clearwing moth (sukashiba), I thought it was indeed a little wasp, but then I noticed it had a thick hairy body, so I realized what it was. Their defence mechanism is, of course, that looking like a wasp helps to protect them from predators.

There are about 40 species of clearwing moth in Japan, so I am not certain of my identification. However, it looks most similar to the pictures of Trichocerota constricta (munabuto-hime-sukashiba) on JPmoth. I was confused at first because it didn’t seem to have the distinctive forelegs of this species, but looking at the side view (picture 6), it is possible to see that the forelegs are tucked under the wings, and the middle legs are in the forward position.

Thank you to Professor Yutaka Arita (Meijo University, Faculty of Agriculture) for confirming my identification. He sent me an email saying that this is a female.

Trichocerota constrictaTrichocerota constrictaTrichocerota constrictaTrichocerota constrictaTrichocerota constrictaTrichocerota constricta

Lepidoptera: Sesiidae
Trichocerota constricta = munabuto-hime-sukashiba

Location: On vegetation next to a pond (near Konominato, Fukuoka)

The family Oedemeridae includes pollen-feeding beetles that are commonly called false blister beetles in English. The Japanese name kamikiri-modoki means false longhorn (kamikiri). I found this specimen on a vending machine at night (near Inunaki Dam in Fukuoka).

Xanthochroa katoiXanthochroa katoi

Coleoptera: Oedemeridae
Xanthochroa katoi = katou-kamikiri-modoki

I found this beautiful Saturniid moth (oomizuao) hanging onto the front of a vending machine at the side of a mountain road (near Inunaki Dam). Apparently the adults lack functioning mouthparts, so they only live for a couple of weeks. What a pity that they spend their two weeks of life bumping into the lights of roadside vending machines!

This species (Actias artemis) looks very similar to the Luna Moth (Actias luna) that is found in North America. You can see a picture here.

Actias artemisActias artemisActias artemisActias artemisActias artemisActias artemis

Lepidoptera: Saturniidae
Actias artemis = oomizuao

Most “darkling beetles” (tenebrionids) are black, as the name suggests, but this species (kiiro-kuchi-mushi) is bright yellow. I found this specimen among some dead leaves next to a vending machine at night (near Inunaki Dam).

Cteniopinus hypocritaCteniopinus hypocritaCteniopinus hypocrita

Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae (darkling beetles)
Cteniopinus hypocrita = kiiro-kuchi-mushi

At around 25mm, this is one of the biggest species of click beetle in Japan. I found this one under a lighted signboard on a mountain road (near Inunaki Dam in Fukuoka). This specimen is a female. The male has very large feathery antennae. [Note: You can see part of one wing poking out from under the elytra.]

Pectocera fortuneiPectocera fortunei

Coleoptera: Elateridae (click beetles)
Pectocera fortunei = hige-kometsuki

This pair of clearwing moths (oomomobuto-sukashiba) were very difficult to access – on some vegetation in the middle of a stream and it was also getting dark – hence the terrible focus. Better JPmoth pictures here. Looking quite similar to bumblebees, they are probably less prone to predation by birds.

Melittia sangaica nipponicaMelittia sangaica nipponicaMelittia sangaica nipponica

Lepidoptera: Sesiidae
Melittia sangaica nipponica = oomomobuto-sukashiba
Large clearwing moth

This quite large longhorn beetle flew into the tree above me while I was looking at a harvest mouse. It was about a meter above my head so I stretched up to take a photo, which disturbed it so it fell off the leaf and… landed on my trousers. Very convenient!

Acalolepta luxuriosa luxuriosaAcalolepta luxuriosa luxuriosaAcalolepta luxuriosa luxuriosaAcalolepta luxuriosa luxuriosa

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Acalolepta luxuriosa luxuriosa = sen-no-kamikiri

This juvenile harvest mouse (kaya-nezumi) was sitting on a fern right next to the path. It posed for a couple of photos and then scrambled off into the undergrowth.

Micromys minutusMicromys minutus

Class: Mammalia; Order: Rodentia; Family: Muridae
Micromys minutus = Harvest mouseĀ (kaya-nezumi)

Lots of these small blue longhorns (ramii-kamikiri) on plants at the side of a path next to rice fields.

Paraglenea fortunei

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Paraglenea fortunei = ramii-kamikiri

I went for a walk today in an area I don’t usually visit, near a huge waste disposal site of all places. Around the back of the site I found a valley with several small mikan (tangerine) orchards. Alongside the path was a pile of old branches (left over from growing mushrooms I think) and there were three species of longhorn beetles! Here’s one of them: kiiro-tora-kamikiri (literally = “Yellow Tiger Longhorn”).

logpilelogpileGrammographus notabilisGrammographus notabilisGrammographus notabilis

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Grammographus notabilis = kiiro-tora-kamikiri (“Yellow Tiger Longhorn”)

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