Ryukyu Kajika frog – Amphibians of the Ryukyu Islands

The Ryukyu Kajika frog (  Buergeria japonica ) is found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. It is the most common frog found on Okinawa.

  • Scientific name: Buergeria japonica
  • Common name: Ryukyu Kajika frog
  • Distribution: Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat: Forests, mountain slopes, drainage ditches and farm fields.
  • Diet: Small Insects
  • Average size: 25mm-40mm
  • Color: Olive green, brown and golden yellow

This small frog is a master of camouflage. I often find it on rocks, plants, trees, drainage ditches and even our trash.

Ryukyu Kajika frog on tatami mat

Ryukyu Kajika frog on tatami mat

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog -macro

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog – blending in

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog- man hole cover

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Ryukyu Kajika frog- skin discoloration

Kajika frog -Iriomote Island

Kajika frog -Iriomote Island

Photographed on white for the Meet Your Neighbours Project

Ryukyu Kajika frog - MYN

Ryukyu Kajika frog – MYN

The males turn a golden yellow during mating season. The season stretches from April to September on Okinawa.

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Ryukyu Kajika frog – mating

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog – drainage ditch

The eggs are laid in slow moving and still water sources. The eggs will develop into tadpoles and eventually transform into baby frogs.  I often find tadpoles thriving in farming water buckets.

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog -tadpoles

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tadpole transformation- metamorphosis

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Juvenile Kajika frog

The summer months provide a great opportunity for natural predators.The frogs come together in a large numbers.

Crab feeding on frogs

Crab feeding on frogs

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Pryer’s keelback feeding

If you see frogs, there is a possibility that snakes are near by. The snakes patiently wait for frogs in drainage ditches and still water sources. The Kajika frog is the Hime habu’s favorite meal.

Hime habu - GoPro

Hime habu – GoPro

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Meet Your Neighbours project – Okinawa, Japan

Founded in 2009, Meet Your Neighbours is a worldwide photographic initiative created by Niall Benvie and Clay Bolt. The project is dedicated to reconnecting people with the wildlife on their own doorsteps and enriching their lives in the process. These creatures and plants are vital to people: they represent the first, and for some, the only contact with wild nature we have. Yet too often they are overlooked, undervalued.

There are seventy-five worldwide contributors to this powerful project. I am currently  the Japan contributor to this project. All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.  Below are some of my favorite images.

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Okinawan green tree frog

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Percnon planissimum – crab

Cherry blossom  -Mt Yaedake

Cherry blossom -Mt Yaedake

Crabs with beach trash homes

Crabs with beach trash homes

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko -MYN

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko -MYN

Porcelain crab ( Petrolisthes hastatus ) -Okinawa

Porcelain crab ( Petrolisthes hastatus ) -Okinawa

Ryukyu odd-tooth snake ( Dinodon semicarinatum )

Ryukyu odd-tooth snake ( Dinodon semicarinatum )

Scopimera ryukyuensis - Ryukyu Islands

Scopimera ryukyuensis – Ryukyu Islands

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Fern – Ryukyu Islands

 

Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Gray faced buzzard eagle

Gray faced buzzard eagle

Princess habu -MYN technique

Princess habu -MYN technique

Charybdis japonica -Yagaji Island

Charybdis japonica -Yagaji Island

American bullfrog - Izena Island

American bullfrog – Izena Island

Chinese cowrie

Chinese cowrie

Okinawan Habu- MYN field studio technique

Okinawan Habu- MYN field studio technique

Okinawan mud lobster

Okinawan mud lobster

Sesarmops intermedius

Sesarmops intermedius

Air breathing marine slug

Air breathing marine slug

Unidentified earthworm -  MYN and under Blue light Kume Island

Unidentified earthworm – MYN and under Blue light Kume Island

Geograpsus grayi

Geograpsus grayi

Anderson's crocodile newt

Anderson’s crocodile newt

Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Have a great day !

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


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

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

 

 

 

 

The Art of Wide-Angle Macro Photography by Shawn Miller

Wide-angle macro photography is popular with wildlife photographers. The technique allows the photographer to document the animal in its natural habitat and show the full scene it lives in. The photographs have great impact and deliver a bug eye perspective using a wide angle lens.

I generally use off camera flash with a custom soft box to make these photographs. Lately I have been testing a variety of on camera flashes to achieve a different perspective. One of the biggest challenges is lighting the subject evenly with soft diffused lighting.

The most popular lenses used for wide angle macro photography ( WAM )  

  • Tokina fisheye 10-17mm f3.5-4.5
  • Nikon fisheye 10.5mm f2.8
  • Sigma fisheye 15mm f2.8 E
  • Venus Laowa 15mm f4 –    (Manual focus only)

Here are some of my favorite wide-angle macro images photographed in Okinawa-Japan.

Fighting pose - Preying mantis, IPhone 6s

Fighting pose – Preying mantis, IPhone 6s

Hermit crabs of Okinawa

Hermit crabs of Okinawa

Geograpsus grayi with eggs

Geograpsus grayi with eggs

Ishikawa's Frog

Ishikawa’s Frog – The most beautiful frog in Japan

Horn-eyed ghost crab at sunset

Horn-eyed ghost crab at sunset -Nikon 10.5mm

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Herping in the yanbaru forest

Crabs with trash homes - Sesoko

Crabs with trash homes – Sesoko

I own this fence -Golden habu

I own this fence – Golden habu

Ghost crab - Nagahama beach

Ghost crab – Nagahama beach

Pryer's keelback feeding on a white jawed frog

Pryer’s keelback feeding on a white jawed frog

Baby loggerhead leaving the nest

Baby loggerhead leaving the nest

coconut rhinoceros beetle

Invasive – Coconut rhinoceros beetle

Blue rock-thrush with wings spread

Blue rock-thrush with wings spread

Princess habu -Yanbaru

Princess habu -Yanbaru

Kuroiwa's ground gecko crossing the road

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko crossing the road

Okinawan green tree frog

Okinawan green tree frog

Giant stag Beetle (Dorcus titanus)

Giant stag Beetle (Dorcus titanus) -Ie Island

Okinawa tip-nosed frog ( Rana narina )

Okinawa tip-nosed frog ( Rana narina )

Hermit crab at sunset

Hermit crab at sunset

Land crab crossing the road  at night

Land crab crossing the road at night

Hermit crabs with beach trash homes

Hermit crabs with beach trash homes

on the move- Black-breasted leaf turtle

On the move- Black-breasted leaf turtle

Asian long horned beetle

Asian long horned beetle

Crabs with trash homes-Yomitan

Crabs with trash homes-Yomitan

Road dweller- Namie's frog- Stella 2000

Road dweller- Namie’s frog- Stella 2000

Praying mantis

Praying mantis -with kenko 1.4 T

If you would like to learn more about this technique I recommend                                          Wide-Angle Macro: The Essential Guide by Clay Bolt and Paul Harcourt Davies

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