Chestnut Tiger Butterfly

I met some entomologists looking for Chestnut Tiger Butterflies (asagi-madara) in our local insect park (hotaru-no-sato), but it was a windy day and pretty cool so they said that they didn’t expect to find any. The reason they were looking is that it’s part of an annual “catch and release” programme to determine the migration paths of this species. It’s amazing how far they fly — coming all the way down to Kyushu from Nagano. Munakata seems to be a popular stopping off point for them.
Anyway, by chance (and because I was looking!), I found four of these butterflies during my walk along a disused mountain road, shielded from the wind. I saw four but only managed to get photos of two of them.








Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae
Paranatica sita
Chestnut Tiger Butterfly
Japanese name = asagi-madara

Japanese Giant Silkworm Moth

This beautiful (newly emerged perhaps) Japanese Giant Silkworm Moth (Saturnia japonica, or Caligula japonica) was on a wall in Yamada Village, Munakata. It’s a native of East Asia and has a wingspan of 10-13cm.


Lepidoptera: Saturniidae
Saturnia japonica
Japanese Giant Silkworm Moth
Japanese name = kususan

Japanese Ratsnake

Shinobu and I went to Oshima in Munakata today. Lots of nature, but the best find of the day was this 1.5m Japanese Ratsnake (aodaisho). A beautiful creature. I caught it so that we could take a closer look. It went crazy after I grabbed it and wrapped itself around my arm, which took a bit of time to untangle as it was quite strong. Of course it was unharmed by the experience and slithered off into the bushes after I released it.

Elaphe climacophora 001

Elaphe climacophora 002

Elaphe climacophora 003

Elaphe climacophora 004

Elaphe climacophora 005

Elaphe climacophora 006

Japanese Ratsnake = Elaphe climacophora
In Japanese = aodaisho

Orange Hairstreak

I spotted this orange hairstreak butterfly sitting on a leaf on the side of Mt Joyama in Munakata. You can see that it appears to have another “head” (with antennae) at the back, at the lower edge of the wings. Several kinds of butterflies have these. The theory is that this has evolved to fool predators into attacking the wrong part of the body… In other words, if a bird tries to grab this butterfly by it’s head, it might be the fake head, and the butterfly can escape. Very cunning.

editDSC05263 japonica lutea

editDSC05264 japonica lutea

Orange Hairstreak (Japonica lutea) = aka-shijimi in Japanese

Giant worm

I found a bigger worm than this a few years ago, but this was still a very impressive specimen. Around 35cm long. I’m no expert on worms, so I cannot identify it with certainty but it seems to be Siebold’s Worm = Metaphire sieboldi (also known as Pheretima sieboldi) = shiiboruto-mimizu.




Ghost Plant

I found lots of these weird plants on the side of Kane-yama (Mt Kane) in Munakata today. I couldn’t find them in my plant book so I searched on Internet using the phrase: weird white ghost like plants in the forest. Amazingly, this search brought up the correct thing immediately and it’s actually called a Ghost Plant, or Indian Pipe in North America.
This plant has no chlorophyll, hence the white colour, which also means that it cannot make its own food. Instead, it is a parasite (or symbiote) of underground fungi that, in turn, are symbiotes living on the roots of trees, from which they gain food. It’s a pretty complicated relationship!
Ghost plant = Monotropa uniflora = gin-ryousou-modoki (Japanese)

Cormorants in a tree

There are so many cormorants (kawa-u) in Ohori Park — some on posts and lots all over a tree on a small island in the lake. It was interesting to see that they share the tree with several kites (tobi or tombi).

Common cormorant = kawa-u
(in Ohori Park, Fukuoka)