Ryukyu Long tailed Giant Rat – Ryukyu Islands

The Ryukyu Long-Tailed Giant Rat (Diplothrix legata) is an endangered species found on Amami, Tokuno and Okinawa Island. This rare species is currently listed as endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species.  It’s biggest threats are deforestation, feral cats, dogs and the introduced mongoose. I often see it crossing the road during the night in the Yanbaru forest. Please pay attention to crossing wildlife and drive at a safe speed.

Ryukyu Long-tailed giant rat

Ryukyu Long-tailed giant rat

Natural habitat -Yanbaru

Yanbaru  - balancing on a power line

searching for food

Searching for food – Natural habitat

The Yanbaru forest is designated as a wildlife protection area by the Okinawan prefecture, It extends from Nago to Kunigami village.

Yanbaru forest

Yanbaru forest

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

Sword-tailed newt – Endangered species

The Sword-tailed newt (Cynops ensicauda) is an endangered species found on the main islands of Okinawa an Amami. It is currently listed endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species. This amphibian is decreasing in numbers due to deforestation and road kill.

  • Scientific name: Cynops ensicauda
  • Distribution: Okinawa and Anami Islands
  • Habitat: Forests, wetlands and fresh water streams
  • Diet: Amphibian eggs, tadpoles, snails, worms and insects
  • Average size: 100-180mm
Sword tailed newt with stripes

Sword tailed newt with stripes

They all have bright orange bellies, which serve as a warning sign to predators that they are poisonous. When threatened they produce a transparent skin toxin.

  •  Poisonous animals are toxic if you eat them or ingest their secretions.  Irritations may occur after handling these newts if you have open wounds. Avoid rubbing your eyes or placing your hands in your mouth.

Photographed on a white field studio board for the Meet your neighbours global biodiversity project (MYN).  All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

MYN technique - Sword tailed newt

MYN technique – Sword tailed newt

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Sword-tailed newt- Okinawa, Japan

The newt photographed in its natural habitat.

Sword-tailed newt in natural habitat

Sword-tailed newt in natural habitat

Sword tailed newt

Sword tailed newt -Onna village

Sword tailed newt

Sword tailed newt – Onna village

Sword tailed newt  Sword tailed newt

Sword tailed newt -yanbaru forest


An average looking sword-tailed newt with a blood sucking leech

Sword-tailed newt with leech

Sword-tailed newt with leech

The Sword- tailed newt is often found crossing the road on rainy days in northern Okinawa. The government has designed specialized wildlife steps for animals that get trapped in road side drainage ditches. These steps allow the newts to crawl out safely.

Wildlife steps

Wildlife steps

Pay attention to crossing wildlife

Road kill- Sword tailed newt  Sword tailed newt

Road kill- Sword tailed newt Sword tailed newt

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

 

 

 

 

Protecting Okinawa’s endangered beetles – Yanbaru forest

Poaching has been a big problem in northern Okinawa. The endemic animals of the Yanbaru forest are highly valued in the exotic pet trade market.  The Okinawan Ministry of the Environment and the wildlife protection center are working hard this year to prevent the poaching of these endangered species. The Okinawan’s are spreading the word in the news, local papers, flyers and even monitoring the forest roads at night.

Poaching flyer - Yanbaru

Poaching flyer -Yanbaru

August through September is when people search the forest for the rare Yanbaru long-armed scarab beetle (Cheirotonus jambar). If you see anyone taking this protected species please contact the authorities.  I have yet to photograph a live animal. It is one of the rarest beetles in the world.

Rarest beetle in Japan -Yanbaru long-armed scarab beetle

Rarest beetle in Japan -Yanbaru long armed scarab beetle, wildlife center

The giant Okinawan stag beetle (Dorcus titanus okinawanus) is also a high prized specimen in the pet trade.

Giant okinawan stag beetles

Giant okinawan stag beetles

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Giant okinawan stag beetle 

Beetle collectors use fruit filled net traps to lure in the beetles.

Yanbaru beetle trap

Yanbaru beetle trap    (Dorcus titanus okinawanus)

The beetles hooked shaped arms get caught in the netting.

Giant stag beetle ( Dorcus titanus okinawanus )

Giant stag beetle (Dorcus titanus okinawanus)

Over the years, I have found a few traps with dead beetles attached.

dead beetle

Female okinawan stag beetle

Beetle collecting is popular in Okinawa. Its important to be familiar with the specific beetles that are protected species. Let’s protect the wildlife of the Yanbaru forest for future generations.

 

 

 

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog (Odorrana narina) – Frogs of Okinawa

The Ryukyu tip-nosed frog ( Odorrana narina) is found in Northern Okinawa. This endemic frog is currently listed endangered on the IUCN red list. It’s biggest threat is habitat loss.

  • Scientific name: Odorrana narina
  • Common name: Ryukyu tip-nosed frog
  • Distribution: Yanbaru forest, Northern Okinawa
  • Habitat: Forest streams and mountain slopes
  • Diet: Insects, centipedes and small invertebrates
  • Average size: 50mm – 75mm

 

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog – Stella 2000

The Ryukyu tip-nosed frog is a medium sized frog. It hides in holes and crevices in the daytime.

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog- WAM

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog –  Tokina 10-17mm

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog

It feeds during the night on small insects and centipedes.

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog -wide angle macro

Ryukyu tip-nosed frog -wide angle macro, Stella 2000

Photographed on white for the Meet Your Neighbours global biodiversity project. All images are uses for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

Meet Your Neighbours Project -Okinawa

Meet Your Neighbours Project -Okinawa

It is sometimes found on roads searching for food after heavy rains.

Ryukyu Tip-nosed frog -Red list

Ryukyu Tip-nosed frog -Red list

Be careful and pay close attention to crossing wildlife.

Crossing wildlife- wide angle macro

Crossing wildlife- wide angle macro

Road kill- Ryukyu Tip-nosed frog

Road kill- Ryukyu Tip-nosed frog

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

 

 

The King of the Yanbaru forest – Holst’s frog

The Holst’s frog ( Babina holsti ) is a rare species found  in northern Okinawa. It is currently listed endangered on the IUCN red list. It is designated as a natural monument by the Okinawa Prefecture.  This large amphibian is decreasing in numbers due to habitat loss.

  • Scientific name: Babina holsti (Boulenger, 1892)
  • Distribution:  Northern Okinawa-Japan
  • Habitat:  Forest streams 
  • Diet:  Insects, worms, snails and small reptiles
  • Average Size:  100mm -125mm
King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

The Holst’s frog is the largest frog found on Okinawa. It hides in holes, crevices and small caves in the day.

Searching for food

Searching for food

This is a size comparison photograph taken with the Iphone 6s. This is a good size  frog but they do get larger than this.

Comparison - Iphone6s

Comparison – Iphone6s

Photographed on white for the Meet Your Neighbours global biodiversity project. All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

MYN technique -Holst's frog

MYN technique -Holst’s frog

The juvenile’s have a dark brown  patch on the top section of the body. They bland in very well with their habitat.

Juvenile Holst's frog

Juvenile Holst’s frog

Juvenile holst's frog

Juvenile holst’s frog

They are sometimes found searching for food on the back roads of Northern Okinawa.

Juvenile Holst's frog - Yanbaru

Juvenile Holst’s frog – Yanbaru

Be careful and pay close attention to crossing wildlife! 

Crossing wildlife

Crossing wildlife

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

The Ryukyu Robin, Northern Okinawa

The Ryukyu Robin (Larvivora komadori namiyei)  is a subspecies endemic to northern Okinawa.  It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN red list of threatened species.  Its main threats are habitat loss and the introduction of invasive species.

  • Scientific name:  Larvivora komadori namiyei (Stejneger, 1887)
  • Distribution:  Northern Okinawa
  • Habitat:  Dense leaf littered forests 
  • Diet:  Earthworms, spiders, insects and fruit
  • Average Size:  140mm 

The Ryukyu robin in its natural habitat. The male has the distinctive black throat and face.

Male Ryukyu Robin

Male Ryukyu Robin, Yanbaru forest

The female Ryukyu robin perching on a guide rope at Hiji falls, Okinawa.

Female Ryukyu robin

Female Ryukyu robin (Larvivora komadori)

A male Ryukyu robin searching for insects on the ground.

Male Ryukyu robin

Male Ryukyu robin

Ryukyu robin

Ryukyu robin

Ryukyu Robin -Yanbaru forest

Ryukyu Robin -Yanbaru forest

These small birds are often seen early in the morning feeding on insects on the road. Watch your speed and pay particular attention between dusk and dawn.

Watch your speed!

Watch your speed!

A male Ryukyu robin that was killed by a speeding motor vehicle on Route 2 in northern Okinawa.

Roadkill  Larvivora komadori

Roadkill – January 17th 2016

Let’s protect the beautiful wildlife of Okinawa, Japan.

Have a great day!

 

Namie’s frog (limnonectes namiyei) – Amphibians of Okinawa

The Namie’s frog ( Limnonectes namiyei ) is an endangered species found only in northern Okinawa. It is currently listed threatened on the IUCN red list of endangered species. This amphibian is decreasing in numbers due to deforestation and the use of pesticides.

  • Scientific name: Limnonectes namiyei
  • Distribution:  Northern Okinawa-Japan
  • Habitat:  Forest streams 
  • Diet:  Insects 
  • Average Size:  70mm -115mm
Namie's frog  -Yanbaru forest

Namie’s frog -Yanbaru forest

Namies frog- Stella 2000

Namie’s frog- Photographed using the Stella 2000

Photographed on white for the Meet your neighbours global biodiversity project. All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

limnonectes namiyei

Limnonectes namiyei – MYN Project

Massive legs allow them and capture prey with lightning speed.

Namie's frog ( limnonectes namiyei )

Namie’s frog ( limnonectes namiyei )

Webbed feet allow them to quickly escape predators in the water.

Namie's frog - Top view

Namie’s frog – Top view

Wide angle perspective – showing the environment it lives in.

Namie's frog - Wide angle macro

Namie’s frog – Wide angle macro

Be careful and pay close attention to crossing wildlife.

Road dweller- Namie's frog- Stella 2000

Road dweller- Namie’s frog with leeches

Lets Protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

Endangered – The Black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) Okinawa, Japan

The Black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) is a common winter visitor in southern Okinawa. The spoonbill is currently endangered and has an estimated population of less than 3000. It’s biggest treats are habitat loss, pollution and pesticides. The Black-faced spoonbill is currently listed critically endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

  • Scientific name (Platalea minor)
  • Distribution: Okinawa, Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan
  • Habitat: Mud flats, mangroves and wetlands
  • Diet:  Fish
  • Average Size:  73.5 cm
The Black-faced spoonbill in flight

The Black-faced spoonbill in flight

The Black-faced spoonbill is a magnificent animal.

The beautiful Black-faced spoonbill

The beautiful Black-faced spoonbill

The Black-faced spoonbills work as a team when hunting for fish.

The Black-faced spoonbill-community hunting

The Black-faced spoonbill-community hunting

Out of all the birds at the mudflats, the spoonbills are the most consistent hunters. They rest most of the day, but when its time to fish they always catch one fairly quickly.

The Black-faced spoonbill-hunting

The Black-faced spoonbill-hunting

The Spoonbills in flight

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Black-faced Spoonbill in flight

Black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor)

Black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor)

The Spoonbill landing – The art of conveying Motion !

Th Black-faced spoonbill -landing

Th Black-faced spoonbill -landing

Let’s Protect the beauty of Okinawa!

Pryer’s woodpecker (Dendrocopos noguchii) -Endangered species

Pryer’s woodpecker (Dendrocopos noguchii) is the prefecture bird of Okinawa and designated as a natural treasure of Japan. They are a rare species only found in the northern part of Okinawa and are currently listed critically endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

  • Scientific name (Dendrocopos noguchii)
  • Distribution:  Northern Okinawa
  • Habitat: Yanbaru Forest
  • Diet:  Beetle larvae, moths, spiders, centipedes and fruit
  • Average Size:  30cm – 35mm

Shawn Miller featured – WILDLIFE AS CANON SEES IT -Published National Geographic May 2015. Bringing awareness to the endangered species of the Ryukyu Islands one image at a time. 

Woodpecker featured Nat Geo May 2015

Woodpecker featured Nat Geo May 2015 -

The woodpecker can rotate its head 180 degrees to capture the difficult insects. This is the first and only time I have observed this occurring.

Pryer's woodpecker  180 head twist

Pryer’s woodpecker 180 head twist

This woodpecker is unique. It feeds its young only one insect at a time.

Pryer's woodpecker in flight

Pryer’s woodpecker in flight

Both parents stay busy feeding the chicks. The nests can have up to three chicks.

Pryer's woodpecker feeding chick

Pryer’s woodpecker feeding chick

The woodpeckers biggest threats are deforestation and natural predators.

The woodpeckers natural threat

The woodpeckers natural threat – Jungle Crow

My favorite image of The Pryer’s woodpecker.

Pryer's woodpecker (Sapheopipo Noguchii) Yanbaru forest

Pryer’s woodpecker (Sapheopipo Noguchii) Yanbaru forest

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa.

Have a great day!

Anderson’s Crocodile Newt- Endangered species

Anderson’s crocodile newt is an endangered species found throughout the Ryukyu islands. It is designated as a living natural monument in Okinawa and is currently listed endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species. This amphibian is decreasing in numbers due to poaching and deforestation. The newt is high valued in the illegal pet trade market and needs to protected. This is my favorite amphibian to photograph on my night adventures in Okinawa.

  • Scientific name: Echinotriton andersoni
  • Distribution:  Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat:  Forests and wetlands
  • Diet:  Worms and snails
  • Average Size:  120mm -160mm

Photographed on white for the Meet your neighbours global biodiversity project. All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

Anderson's crocodile newt

Anderson’s crocodile newt -MYN

Anderson’s crocodile newt in its natural habitat feeding on a earthworm.

Feeding ,Yanbaru forest

Feeding ,Yanbaru forest

Late in the evening the newts meet up and search for a mate.

Finding a mate

Finding a mate, Onna Village

The aquatic stage of the newt has external gills. It slowly prepares itself for the transition into the terrestrial juvenile stage. They can be found in mud puddles in the months of May and June.

Aquatic stage

Aquatic stage -external gills

Watch your speed and pay close attention to crossing wildlife.

Watch out for crossing newts

Watch out for crossing newts

All the roads in northern Okinawa have specialized wildlife steps for the the animals that get trapped in the drainage ditch. These steps allow the newts and other animals to crawl out safely.

Wildlife steps

Wildlife steps

Let’s protect the animals of Okinawa!

Have a great day!