Seashells of Okinawa

The beautiful seashells of the Ryukyu Islands.

It all started in 1989,  I went to a friend’s house and saw some beautiful seashells displayed on a counter-top.  My first thought was that they were fake or man-made. The intricate design of the Venus comb Murex shell caught my eye.  I was fascinated by the design and wanted to learn more about the animal that produced this beautiful shell.

Murex spicatus -Venus comb murex

Murex spicatus -Venus comb murex

I continued to collect,  photograph and read more about marine mollusks from the Ryukyu Islands. I eventually started contributing my collection samples to worldwide museums, scientists, specialists and images for various scientific publications. I currently do not collect shells anymore but enjoy photographing the marine snails in their natural habitat.

General rules to shell collecting

  • Be respectful to the environment.
  • Only collect dead specimens
  • Avoid over collecting sea-shells
  • If you turn over rocks, place them back in the original position

Below are some of my favorite shells found on Okinawa.

Semipallium dianae - scallop

Semipallium dianae – scallop

Neocancilla takiisaoi

Neocancilla takiisaoi

Cardium victor - Heart shell

Cardium victor – Heart shell

Lambis scorpius - scorpion conch

Lambis scorpius – scorpion conch

Morum ponderosum

Morum ponderosum

Annachlamys reevei

Annachlamys reevei – MYN technique

Chicoreus ryukyuensis

Chicoreus ryukyuensis -Okinawa, Japan

Cypraea (Blasicrura) luchuana (Kuroda,1960) Okinawa

Cypraea (Blasicrura) luchuana  -  Okinawa, Japan

Gloripallium speciosum

Gloripallium speciosum – sunray scallop

Avoid handling the venomous cone shells.  They are often found reef walking during low tide.

Venomous cones shells of Okinawa

Venomous cones shells of Okinawa

Sinezona milleri (Geiger & Sasaki , 2009) – Named for the collector of the type specimens, Shawn Miller of Nagahama, Okinawa, for his continued support in malacological research by providing marine sediment samples of Okinawa.

Sinezona milleri (Geiger & Sasaki , 2009)

Sinezona milleri (Geiger & Sasaki , 2009)

Hemilienardia shawnmilleri.  A new species named after naturalist and underwater photographer Shawn Miller. Described by Shawn Wiedrick.

Hemilienardia shawnmilleri

Hemilienardia shawnmilleri

Have a great day!

Hummingbirds on Okinawa

I’m sorry to disappoint you but we do not have any hummingbirds on Okinawa.  We do have hawk moths that resemble hummingbirds. The hawk moths are also called hummingbird moths. They are extremely fast and challenging to photograph.

I used a slow shutter speed to convey motion in the wings of the Hummingbird hawk moth (Macroglossum corythus)

Hummingbird hawk-moth

Hummingbird hawk-moth

I often find the insects feeding early morning and or late in the evening. They feed using a long proboscis to drink the nectar.

Hummingbird hawk-moth

Hummingbird hawk-moth

They are hard to see since they are small (35 -45mm) and move extremely fast. They can be heard creating a humming sound as they fly by. They hover for a short period of time collecting the nectar and move on to the next flower.

Hummingbird hawk-moth

Hummingbird hawk-moth

Hummingbird hawk-moth

Hummingbird hawk-moth

The Impatiens Hawk moth feeds in the evening. I found this moth resting on a plant.

Impatiens Hawk Moth (Theretra oldenlandiae)

Impatiens Hawk Moth (Theretra oldenlandiae)

 

Impatiens Hawk Moth (Theretra oldenlandiae) larvae photographed on white using the MYN studio technique.

Impatiens Hawk Moth (Theretra oldenlandiae) larvae

Impatiens Hawk Moth (Theretra oldenlandiae) larvae

Green Pergesa Hawk moth larvae ( Pergesa acteaus)

Green Pergesa Hawk moth larvae ( Pergesa acteaus)

Have a great day !

 

 

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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Asian grass frog – Amphibians of the Ryukyu Islands

The Asian grass frog  ( Fejervarya limnocharis ) is found on Mainland Japan and most of the Ryukyu Islands. The warty frog is fairly common on Okinawa. It’s biggest threats are pesticide exposure and habitat loss.

  • Scientific name: Fejervarya limnocharis
  • Common name: Asian grass frog, marsh frog and common pond frog
  • Distribution: Ryukyu Islands and Mainland Japan
  • Habitat: Rice fields, ditches, marshes, parks and farm fields.
  • Diet: Insects
  • Average size: 45mm-75mm
  • Color: light brown with a white belly
Asian grass frog - 60mm macro

Asian grass frog – Canon 70d * 60mm macro

Wide angle macro - Canon 70d *Tokina fisheye

Wide angle macro – Canon 70d *Tokina fisheye

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Asian grass frog- Macro

Asian marsh frog - drainage ditch

Asian marsh frog – drainage ditch

Asian marsh frog

Asian marsh frog

Asian grass frog feeding

Asian grass frog feeding

Asian marsh frog - Okuma resort

Asian marsh frog – Okuma resort

Asian grass frog -MYN

Asian grass frog -MYN

All images were taken with the Canon 70d  EFS 10-18mm, Canon 60mm or Tokina fish-eye lens, Scroll down to subscribe to my blog posts -

Okinawa green tree frog – Ryukyu Islands

The Okinawa green tree frog ( Rhacophorus viridis viridis ) is found on Okinawa, Iheya and Kume Island.

  • Scientific name: Rhacophorus viridis viridis
  • Common name: Okinawa Green tree frog
  • Distribution: Okinawa, Kume, and Iheya.
  • Habitat: Forests, mountain slopes and farm fields near water.
  • Diet: Insects
  • Average size: 45mm-75mm
  • Color: Olive green, Bright green and dark brown
Okinawa Green tree frog

Okinawa Green tree frog

This beautiful frog is a master of camouflage.  I often find it resting on tree branches, blending in with the surrounding green leaves.

Natural habitat

Natural habitat

Green tree frog

Green tree frog

Breading season stretches from February to April on Okinawa.

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Green tree frog mating

On Kume Island the tree frogs transform to a golden brown when mating.

Kume Island tree frog

Kume Island tree frog

They construct a foam nest on a tree branch above a still water source. Eventually the foam liquefies when the eggs are ready to hatch.

Frog foam nest

Frog foam nest

Not all frogs survive to make the nest. The Akamata is the most common snake on the Okinawan Islands.  It feeds on venomous habu snakes, baby sea turtles, lizards and frogs.

Akamata feeding

Akamata feeding

 

Photographed on white for the Meet your Neighbours global biodiversity project.

MYN Technique

MYN Technique

MYN Technique

MYN Technique

Green tree frog

Green tree frog

I often find this frog searching for insects on the road.

Roadside green tree frog

Roadside green tree frog

Let’s protect the wildlife of Okinawa.