July 2010


I decided to go to one of my favourite insect-hunting spots today. It’s a hot 3km walk from my house but it’s worth the effort because the place is always teeming with life. The path leaves the road next to a stream and climbs up through overgrown sweet chestnut groves to some mikan orchards on the side of the hill. I never seem to make it to the top in summer because there’s so much to see (and photograph!) on the way up. What takes me 30 minutes to walk in the winter takes 4 or 5 hours in the summer!

I found three stick insects of two different species at the entrance to the path today. There were two male red-striped stick insects (eda-nanafushi) and one Japanese spiny stick insect (toge-nanafushi).

Phraortes illepidusPhraortes illepidusPhraortes illepidus

Phasmatodea: Phasmatidae
Phraortes illepidus
stick insect = eda-nanafushi

Neohirasea japonicaNeohirasea japonica

Phasmatodea: Phasmatidae
Neohirasea japonica
stick insect = toge-nanafushi

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

This species of damselfly is very common and I almost always see them when I’m walking in the local forests in summer. They gather in large numbers along the forest paths and it’s wonderful to see them flitting around with their dark wings and metallic green bodies. I think that’s one of my favourite sights in the summer. (I just wish I could stand still and watch them for longer BUT the damn mosquitoes prevent that!)

Calopteryx atrataCalopteryx atrata
Left = male; Right = female
Calopteryx atrata
The 3rd photo shows 7 or 8 of these damselflies sitting on leaves.

Odonata: Calopterygidae
Calopteryx atrata
Damselfly = haguro-tombo

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

Merus flavosignatusMerus flavosignatus

Coleoptera: Curculionidae:
Merus flavosignatus
Also: Mecysolobus flavosignatus
Weevil = kisuji-ashinaga-zoumushi

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

These are big longhorns (around 30mm) and they were all over the place in the orchards I visited today. I found about 10 and, by the looks of things, they were finding one another pretty easily too !

Anoplophora malasiacaAnoplophora malasiacaAnoplophora malasiaca

Coleoptera: Cerambycidae
Anoplophora malasiaca
Longhorn Beetle = gomadara-kamikiri

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

This tiny jewel beetle was a little devil — running around like crazy and refusing to smile for his photo! Hence the not-quite-in-focus photos. Only about 3mm long but what a beauty.

Nalanda rutilicollisNalanda rutilicollisNalanda rutilicollis

Coleoptera: Buprestidae:
Nalanda rutilicollis
Jewel beetle = mune-aka-chibi-naka-boso-tamushi

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

I thought this was some kind of dragonfly nymph at first. However, it was on the underside of a big mushroom — a pretty weird place to find one. Taking a closer look, I could see it was a type of rove beetle (hanekakushi), but unlike any I’d seen before. Apparently, they feed on mushrooms and carrion.

Ontholestes gracilisOntholestes gracilisOntholestes gracilis

Coleoptera: Staphylinidae
Ontholestes gracilis
Rove beetle = sabi-hanekakushi

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

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