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!

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

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

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa!

 

 

Namie’s frog (limnonectes namiyei) – 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
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!

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

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

  http://www.e-junkie.com/shop/product/482943.php

 

 

 

 

 

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
WILDLIFE AS CANON SEES IT -Published National Geographic May 2015

Shawn Miller featured – WILDLIFE AS CANON SEES IT -Published National Geographic 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!

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle, Yanbaru forest

The Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica) is an endangered species found in Northern Okinawa. This turtle is decreasing in numbers due to poaching, deforestation and road kill. The turtle is high valued in the pet trade market and needs to protected. It has been designated as a National Natural Monument of Japan and is currently on the IUCN red species list as endangered.

  • Scientific name:  Geoemyda japonica (Fan, 1931)
  • Distribution:  Okinawajima
  • Habitat:  Leaf littered wetland forests 
  • Diet:  Worms, snails, insects, crustaceans and fruit
  • Average Size:  140mm- 160mm

The Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle in its natural habitat.

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Black breasted leaf turtle - up close

Black breasted leaf turtle – up close

You can see why they named it the Black-breasted leaf turtle. We helped this turtle get off of the road and placed it safely back into the forest.

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

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

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle – MYN Project

I usually find the Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle crossing the road at night or early in the morning.

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica)

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 turtles and other animals to crawl out safely using the steps.

Wildlife steps

Wildlife steps

Watch your speed and pay close attention to crossing wildlife.

Wildlife crossing warning signs

Wildlife crossing warning signs

watch out for crossing turtles -Kunigami village

watch out for crossing turtles -Kunigami village

IMG_3538

The truth is I have seen more of these turtles dead than alive. Watch your speed!

Road kill

Road kill

Lets protect the wildlife of Okinawa.

Have a great day!

 

Slow Down! – Let’s Protect The Okinawa Rail

The Okinawa rail is a flightless bird only found in the northern part of Okinawa. It is a protected species and declared a living natural monument. It is currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an endangered species.  In 2012 populations of this endemic bird were estimated at 1500 by the Environment Ministry.

okinawa rail

The Okinawan rail -

The rail is often found feeding on the side of the road. It feeds on worms, snails and insects.

Okinawa rail posing ( Hypotaenidia okinawae)

Okinawa rail posing ( Hypotaenidia okinawae)

When defending its territory, the rail will become aggressive and flare its wings.

Angry Bird- Okinawa rail

Angry Bird- Okinawa rail

 

Okinawa rail awareness signs are posted along the main roads in northern Okinawa for their protection.

Okinawa rail awareness signs are posted

Okinawa rail awareness signs

The speed limit is only 40km/h so watch your speed for the protection of the wildlife. The rails are often seen feeding on the side of the road.

40km/h speed sign

Posted speed limit is 40km/h

I have observed these birds crossing the road on many occasions. They have no problems crossing when people are driving the speed limit. Speeding decreases your reaction time so slow down and pay attention to all crossing wildlife.

Okinawa rail crossing the road

Okinawa rail crossing the road

 

An Okinawa rail that was killed by a speeding motor vehicle on Route 2 in northern Okinawa.

okinawa rail - road kill

okinawa rail – road kill

Let’s protect the wildlife of Okinawa, Japan.

Have a great day!

Light & Motion – The ultimate flashlight for wildlife photographers.

I have been using the Light & Motion Sola underwater lights for over two years now. I take them on all my adventures to include scuba diving, river trekking, caving and nature photography trips. These lights provide constant beautiful lighting and are extremely reliable, which is why they are the perfect light for me.

Below is a photograph of me using Light & Motion lights in the field. I am the Japan contributor for the Meet Your Neighbours field studio project. Photographing the animal on white isolates the subject without any distractions. The animals are handled with care and then released back into the environment without harm. The images are used for conversation awareness and educational purposes.
A photograph of me documenting the endangered species of the ryukyu islands

Photograph courtesy of  Gary Hughes          assistant – Shannon Fox

The Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica) is an endangered species found in Northern Okinawa. This turtle is decreasing in numbers due to poaching, deforestation and road kill. The turtle is high valued in the pet trade market and needs to be protected.

Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle, Ryukyu Leaf Turtle ( Geoemyda japonica Fan, 1931 )

Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle           MYN field studio

I recently purchased the Light & Motion Sola compact tray with the extension kit and one GoBe 700 wide light. I have been using this setup with the Canon 70D to document the wildlife in Okinawa. The flexible Loc-line arms are an awesome advantage. They are easy to move while having full control over the constant lighting.   

Using the Light & Motion field setup

Light & Motion field setup                         Photograph courtesy of Ross Gallardy

A photograph of a Ryukyu kajika frog in northern Okinawa using the Light & Motion field setup

okinawa frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog ( Buergeria japonica )

The Light & Motion Sola 600 has a built in feature most people do not take advantage of. The light has a red light function which allows the user to get close to land and marine subjects without disturbing them. This red light is very effective and I highly recommend using it.

Underwater setup with sola 600

My underwater rig with the Light & Motion Sola 600  - Ikelite housing and strobes

The Light & Motion Nightsea Sola light can also be used on land. I am always searching for animals that fluoresce in the Yanbaru forest in northern Okinawa. You never know what you will find!

Light & Motion Sola Nightsea Blue light - Riukiaria falcifera

Light & Motion Sola Nightsea Blue light    Millipede – Riukiaria falcifera

If you would like to know more about the Light & Motion Sola series visit.  http://www.lightandmotion.com/choose-your-light/sola

Have a great day!