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

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 !

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.

 

 

 

The Light & Motion Stella 2000 rocks part 1 – Okinawa, Japan

The Stella 2000 offers lightweight professional lighting for photographers and videographers. It delivers 2000 lumens of beautiful wide light on high power. It is waterproof to a depth of 100 meters and extremely durable.

Stella 2000 waterproof lighting

Stella 2000 waterproof lighting

My favorite features of the Stella 2000

  • Waterproof to 100 meters
  • Can be mounted on the camera hot-shoe, light stand,  loc-line arms or ball mounts.
  • Quick adjustable power output control
  • Fast charging and the ability to use the light when it’s charging

I tested the Stella 2000 in the humid jungle and on the shorelines of northern Okinawa. I used it as a spotting light, hiking light, camera modeling light and video light. I tested the light with the 120-beam angle with no modifiers, with custom made soft-boxes attached, studio umbrellas and with the combination of on-off camera flash.

I concentrated on the reptiles, amphibians and land crabs of northern Okinawa. Below are some of my favorite photographs.

Shawn Miller - Crabs with beach trash homes. photographed by David Orr

Shawn Miller – Crabs with beach trash homes. photographed by David Orr

Okinawa green tree frog -Stella 2000 diffused on hotshoe

Okinawa green tree frog -Stella 2000 diffused on the hot-shoe’

Holst's frog (endangered)  Stella 2000 bare with back lighting from headlights

Holst’s frog (endangered) Stella 2000 bare with back lighting from headlights

Namie's frog, threatened species

Namie’s frog, threatened species – Stella 2000 diffused through an umbrella

Ryukyu Tip nosed frog ( Endangered ) Stella 2000 diffused through an umbrella

Ryukyu Tip nosed frog ( Endangered ) Stella 2000 diffused through an umbrella

Ishikawa's frog (endangered) Stella 2000 diffused with fill flash

Ishikawa’s frog (endangered) Stella 2000 diffused with fill flash

Princess habu - Diffused through an umbrella

Princess habu – Stella 2000 diffused through an umbrella

Namie' frog -Backlighting with Gobe 700

Namie’s  frog – Stella 2000 modeling light – back-lighting with the Gobe 700 wide

Kuroiwa's ground gecko (Endangered) Stella 2000 with fill flash

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko (Endangered) Stella 2000 with fill flash

IHallowell's tree frog -Stella 2000 with fill flash

IHallowell’s tree frog -Stella 2000 with fill flash

 

Pryer's keelback feeding on a white jawed frog

Pryer’s keelback feeding on a white jawed frog – Stella 2000 diffused with fill flash

No need to worry about dropping the light in the salt water or placing it on the sand. The Stella 2000 is extremely durable.

Ghost crab - Fill flash and back-lighting Stella 200

Ghost crab – Fill flash and back-lighting Stella 2000

Crabs with trash homes -Stella 2000 and fill flash

Crabs with trash homes -Stella 2000 and fill flash

Making the journey (Geograpsus grayi) Stella 2000 with fill flash

Making the journey (Geograpsus grayi) Stella 2000 with fill flash

Hermit crab and plastic- Stella 2000 with fill flash

Hermit crab and plastic- Stella 2000 with fill flash

Ghost crab feeding- Stella 2000 with fill flash

Ghost crab feeding- Stella 2000 with fill flash

Crabs with trash homes -Stella 2000 and fill flash

Crabs with trash homes -Stella 2000 and fill flash

yukyu kajika frog Stella 2000 and fill flash

Geograpsus grayi feeding on the Ryukyu kajika frog – Stella 2000 and fill flash

Solid as a rock- Stella 2000

Solid as a rock- Stella 2000

 

I have been using Light & Motion lights for over four years now and they keep getting better! Stayed tuned for testing the Stella 2000 underwater !