Ornate narrow mouth frog – Amphibians of Okinawa by Shawn Miller

The Ornate narrow-mouth frog (Microhyla ornata) is found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. It is one of the smallest frogs found on Okinawa. It can be extremely hard to find due to its small size.

  • Scientific name: Microhyla ornata
  • Common name: Ornate narrow mouth frog, ant frog and ornate pygmy frog
  • Distribution: Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat: Forests, mountain slopes, drainage ditches and farm fields.
  • Diet: Ants, termites and small insects
  • Average size: 15mm-25mm
  • Color: brown
Ornate narrow mouth frog -Okinawa

Ornate narrow mouth frog -Okinawa

I have found this beautiful frog in the Yanbaru forest, local parks, drainage ditches and even common walking trails in central Okinawa.

Yanbaru forest  -Northern Okinawa

Yanbaru forest -Tokina magic

This small frog is a master of camouflage. I often find it on rocks, plants and leaves during my night walks.

Ornate rice frog -Ryukyu Islands

Ornate rice frog -Ryukyu Islands



Ornate rice frog -Onna village

Photographed on a white portable studio for the Meet your neighbours project                 - dedicated to connecting people worldwide with the wildlife in their community -


Meet your neighbours project by Shawn Miller

Have a great day!

Ryukyu flying fox – Bats of Okinawa

The Ryukyu flying fox is the largest bat found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. This large bat often startles people on night walks. No need to worry, it is not a threat to humans. This large fruit bat feeds on fruit, seeds and nectar. It is currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN list of Threatened species.

  • Scientific name: Pteropus dasymallus
  • Common name: Ryukyu flying fox and fruit bat
  • Distribution: Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat: Dense forests and neighborhood parks 
  • Diet: Fruit, seeds and nectar
  • Average size: 300-350mm
  • Color: Brown and orange

These large fruit bats are nocturnal and feed during the night.

Ryukyu flying fox

Ryukyu flying fox

They can also be found during the day hiding high up in trees.

Ryukyu flying fox

Ryukyu flying fox

Fruit bat in Ryukyu pine tree

Fruit bat in Ryukyu pine tree

On rare occasions they can be found feeding on the cherry blossoms in daylight.


Ryukyu flying fox


Ryukyu flying fox feeding on cherry blossoms

A mother and young found in a secluded part of the Yanbaru forest.

Ryukyu flying fox with young

Ryukyu flying fox feeding

Have a great day!


The Coconut Crab – Terrestrial hermit crabs of the Ryukyu Islands

Coconut crabs are the largest terrestrial hermit crabs of the Ryukyu Islands. They are scarce on the Island of Okinawa due to over-hunting. They are sold in local fish markets for high prices. The meat of the the coconut crab is sought after and considered a delicacy.  No conservation programs are set in place to protect this native crab. It is currently listed as data deficient on the IUCN list of Threatened species.

  • Scientific name: Birgus latro
  • Common name: Coconut crab, robber crab and palm thief
  • Distribution: Majority of the Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat: Coastal forest
  • Diet: Seeds, fruit and carrion
  • Average size: 20-40 centimeters
  • Color: Purple, blue or orange
Coconut crab- Okinawa

Coconut crab- Okinawa

How to tell the difference between a coconut crab and a hermit crab. They look very similar to the blueberry hermit crab at first, but the coconut crab has protective spines near its eyes. Hermit crabs do not have these spines since they have adapted to retreat into a shell to protect their eyes. The coconut crab does not depend on a seashell as it gets larger. I still have yet to find a juvenile coconut crab adapting with a seashell.

spines that protect the eyes

spines that protect the eyes

Terrestrial hermit crabs live in the coastal forest where the treeline and coastline meet. They are the caretakers of the coastal forest. They mainly feed on plants, flowers, fruits and seeds in the treeline. They also help disperse seeds in the forest, specifically the screw pine tree seeds.

The Climber- robber crab

The Climber- Adult coconut crab

Pandanus trees with spiky sword shaped leaves provide a perfect environment for the Coconut crabs to thrive.

Pandus odifer

Pandus odifer – favorite food

A juvenile climbing on Pandanus tree

Juvenile coconut crab - Okinawa

Juvenile coconut crab – Okinawa

Okinawa’s harsh limestone coastline. The female must make the journey over this rough terrain to lay her eggs in the ocean.

Coconut crab - Onna village

Coconut crab – Onna village

Photographed on on a white portable outdoor studio for the Meet Your neighbours project. ( Connecting people worldwide with the wildlife in their community )

Coconut crab- MYN technique

Coconut crab- MYN technique

Meet Crabzilla! – The most aggressive crab I have encountered on Okinawa.   Coconut crabs are fearless and have bone crushing power. You do not want to get caught by the claw, You play you will Pay!!

Crabzilla -Okinawa

Crabzilla -Okinawa

Coconut crabs spend their day hiding in burrows.  They venture out searching for food late at night.  This juvenile was found crossing the road.

Let's dance- Coconut crab

Let’s dance- Coconut crab

Have a great day!