Indian Fritillary

There were lots of butterflies out and about this morning as it was such beautiful warm weather. This female Indian Fritillary (shimaguro-hyoumon) appeared to be in mint condition! Only recently emerged from a pupa I guess.

Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae
Argyreus hyperbius
Indian Fritillary = shimaguro-hyoumon

Location: Yokoyama Village (google map)

Burying Beetle

This burying beetle flew past me so I grabbed it and held on while I fiddled around changing my camera lens (I always have the wrong one on!). When I was ready, I opened my hand to take a photo but the damn thing flew off almost immediately – only time to snap one shot… A bit blurry of course.

Burying beetles are so called because they dig holes under dead birds and animals (small ones!) and so bury them. They lay their eggs in the carcass and the larvae feed on the rotting meat. Not very pleasant but it’s a very important role!

Coleoptera: Silphidae
Nicrophorus quadripunctatus
Burying beetle = yotsuboshi-mon-shidemushi

Location: Edge of mikan orange orchard near Munakata Common (map).

Ants on a camelia flower

These ants were completely engrossed in feeding (?) on a camelia petal. They were tiny – around 2 or 3mm. I’ve not tried to identify them yet.

Hymenoptera: Formicidae

Location: Edge of mikan orange orchard near Munakata Common (map).

Long-Horned Bee

These long-horned bees are very common – I’ve seen lots of them every time I’ve gone for a walk in the last week or so.

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Hymenoptera: Apidae
Eucera nipponensis
(Syn. Tetralonia nipponensis)
Long-horned bee = nippon-higenaga-hanabachi

Location: Edge of field in Yokoyama Village (Google map)

Japanese Marten

I was very lucky today! I was standing stock still leaning against a tree, trying to take a photo of a woodpecker, when I heard a rustling in the ferns nearby… It was a Japanese marten (ten) and it hadn’t noticed me. The sound of the camera shutter made it a bit nervous and it looked in my direction, eventually sneaking off into the brush. I’m happy to have been able to watch it for a few minutes, but I wish my camera was a bit quieter! To be honest, at the time I thought I was watching a weasel (see my post here), but I realized later that it was far too big. After a bit of research on the internet, I found some pictures that suggested it was in fact a marten (see here).

There’s lots of interesting information about the Japanese marten on the Animal Diversity Web run by the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.

(Added 14th April): Thanks to Dr. Masatoshi Yasuda for checking my identification. He works in the Forest Zoology Laboratory, Kyushu Research Center, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute.

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Family: Mustelidae (badgers, otters, weasels, and relatives)
Subfamily: Mustelinae (martens, weasels, wolverines, and relatives)

Japanese marten = ten
Martes melampus

Location: Near Hyoutan Pond (map)

Common Stonechat

This stonechat (nobitaki) was sitting on a signboard at the side of the river this morning. As I approached, it flew to another perch, and then disappeared. I was in too much of a hurry to catch my train, so I couldn’t wait for it to return. I’m sure that it will be there another day, so I hope that I can catch it again and get some better photos (it was too dark today).

Passeriformes: Muscicapidae

Common stonechat (nobitaki)
Saxicola torquata

Location: Near Akama, Munakata (google map here)

Japanese Bush Warbler

These really are terrible photos of a Japanese bush warbler (uguisu), but it was way up at the top of a tree and under dark rain clouds… I just wanted to put something on my blog because we’ve been hearing the beautiful singing of these birds for a few weeks now, and this is the first one I’ve managed to photograph. This species is nothing much to look at, but the call is truly wonderful, probably one of the most memorable there is, and it is regarded as a sign of spring in Japan: hohhh-kekkyoh (sound file here on Wikipedia).

Passeriformes: Sylviidae (warblers)

Japanese bush warbler (uguisu)
Cettia diphone

Location: Yamada Village, Munakata (google map here)