August 2007


I finally managed to catch a jewel beetle (tamamushi)!! I saw one once before in Nogata but failed to catch it. Today, however, as soon as I heard it flying by (they’re noisy fliers!), I dropped my camera and everything and chased the thing, jumping up and knocking it out of the air with my hat!! I’m sure it must have looked funny. Then while I was hunting for it in the grass/weeds I heard it fly again, so I pounced and caught it! I’m sorry that all the photos are ruined by the presence of my hand, but as you can imagine, I was holding tight because I didn’t want it to fly off again.

Jewel beetles are also called metallic wood-boring beetles, which is a rather boring name (pun intended!). Jewels don’t get more spectacular than this and, as you can see, this big species (Chrysochroa fulgidissima) really lives up to its name. I think it’s about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. (Tears welling up in eyes…)

Ikeda forestChrysochroa fulgidissimaChrysochroa fulgidissimaChrysochroa fulgidissimaChrysochroa fulgidissimaChrysochroa fulgidissima

Coleoptera: Buprestidae
Chrysochroa fulgidissima = tamamushi (jewel beetle)

Location: forest area near Ikeda Village in Munakata (aerial photo)
Map: Google map link

┬áThese tiger longhorn beetles were a bit too busy to notice the photographer…

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Chlorophorus quinquefasciatus: yotsusuji torakamikiri

Location: forest area near Ikeda Village in Munakata (aerial photo)
Map: Google map link

Coleoptera: Buprestidae
Trachys auricollis
kuzu-no-chibi-tamamushi (lit. kudzu tiny jewel beetle)

Host plant:
Pueraria lobata
kuzu = Kudzu, or Japanese arrowroot
(Page on this plant in Japanese)

Location: Orchard area below Mt. Yukawa (google map)

Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cryptocephalinae
Physosmaragdina nigrifrons
kuro-obi-tsutsu-hamushi

Location: forest area near Ikeda Village in Munakata (aerial photo)
Map: Google map link

Saw this today… Any guesses?
Click on the picture for more info.

what is it?

I found another excellent spot for entomology expeditions, and it’s only about 2km from my house. It’s an area of forest and mikan (orange) orchards, near Ikeda Village and just below Mt. Yukawa in Munakata (see aerial photo). There are lots of tracks and paths running through the area, so it’s a fun place to explore. I was there for about 5 hours in all. It was an extremely hot day today (33 degrees C), so it was nice to be able to walk around in the shade for much of the time.

One of the most exciting finds today was an Oak Clearwing Moth (kashiko-sukashiba). I found two specimens in different places, about two hours apart, so I guess there must be a lot of them in the area. This species lays its eggs on the trunks of various kinds of oak tree (hence the species name quercus) – the larvae burrow under the bark to feed. Sweet chestnut trees are another of its hostplants.

Synanthedon quercusSynanthedon quercusSynanthedon quercusSynanthedon quercusSynanthedon quercusSynanthedon quercus

Lepidoptera: Sesiidae
Synanthedon quercus = kashiko-sukashiba (Oak Clearwing Moth)

Location: forest area near Ikeda Village in Munakata (aerial photo)
Map: Google map link

I was pottering around in the small orange grove near the house when this beautiful longhorn beetle flew in over my head and landed on the branch right in front of my eyes… Just perfect!!

Psacothea hilaris hilarisPsacothea hilaris hilarisPsacothea hilaris hilarisPsacothea hilaris hilaris

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Psacothea hilaris hilaris
yellow-spotted longhorn beetle= kiboshi-kamikiri

Just after I watched a fantailed skimmer (taiwan-uchiwa-yanma) take a butterfly skimmer (chou-tombo), I came across a big spider (nagakogane-gumo) that had managed to catch itself a fantail. It’s a tough world!

spider catches dragonflyspider catches dragonflyspider catches dragonflyspider catches dragonfly

Odonata: Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus pertinax = taiwan-uchiwa-yanma (Taiwan fantailed skimmer)

Araneidae:
Argiope bruennichii = nagakogane-gumo

Location: oo-ike (big pond)
Map (image)
Link to Google Map

Well, I was wrong! In yesterday’s blog entry, I wrote that these fantailed skimmers (taiwan-uchiwa-yanma) and butterfly skimmers (chou-tombo) seemed to co-exist peacefully, but… Today I watched a fantail swoop down and grab a butterfly skimmer from its perch, then carry it way up into a tree to eat. It was an amazing thing to see.

Ictinogomphus pertinaxIctinogomphus pertinax

Odonata: Libellulidae
Rhyothemis fuliginosa = chou-tombo (butterfly skimmer)

Odonata: Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus pertinax = taiwan-uchiwa-yanma (Taiwan fantailed skimmer)

Location: oo-ike (big pond)
Map (image)
Link to Google Map

Back at the same pond as yesterday. I found out that it’s called oo-ike (big pond) – here’s a map. It was a really hot day (35 degrees C) so it felt good to be wading almost waist deep in the water. Kept trying to get photos of the beautiful gin-yanma and eventually succeeded in getting a semi-decent shot of one on the wing.

gin yanmagin yanma

Odonata: Aeshnidae
Anax parthenope julius = gin-yanma

Location: oo-ike (big pond)
Map (image)
Link to Google Map

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