| Dec 24, 2008

Common catfish

by Rowan Hooper

* Japanese name: Namazu * Scientific name: Silurus asotus * Description: The most common catfish in Japan, not to be mistaken for the mythical giant catfish god of the same name (Namazu) who is reputed to live in mud deep under Tokyo. The namazu ...

| Dec 10, 2008

Japanese crested ibis

by Rowan Hooper

* Japanese name: Toki * Scientific name: Rhacophorus schlegelii * Description: It doesn’t get much more Japanese than this. The large, white-feathered crested ibis — a wader with a downward-curving bill, a face bare of feathers and bright-red skin and legs — is a ...

| Nov 26, 2008

Pacific reef egret

by Rowan Hooper

* Japanese name: Kurosagi * Scientific name: Egretta sacra * Description: As egrets in Japan go, reef egrets are medium-size, growing to around 65 cm in length, with a wingspan of up to 110 cm. They weigh about 400 grams. As for their color, ...

| Nov 12, 2008

Thread-sail filefish

by Rowan Hooper

* Japanese name: Kawahagi * Scientific name: Stephanolepis cirrhifer * Description: From the side, filefish appear almost circular, with a large eye located high on the head, pouting lips and an elongated tail. From the front, however, they almost disappear, so thin is the ...

Golden apple snail

| Oct 22, 2008

Golden apple snail

by Rowan Hooper

Japanese name: Sukumiringogai Scientific name: Pomacea canaliculata Description: A fairly large snail with a shell 40 to 60 mm wide and 45 to 75 mm high, and coloration varying from yellow and green to dark brown; some have spiral bands. The tentacle-like antennae are ...

Falling-letter weevil

| Oct 8, 2008

Falling-letter weevil

by Rowan Hooper

Japanese name: Otoshibumi Scientific name: Apoderus jekeli Description: These are odd-looking, but I think quite charismatic little beetles, with elongated heads and powerful limbs, especially the forelimbs. They have straight antennae, which place them among the primitive weevils; they grow to about 6 mm ...

Miyako toad

| Sep 24, 2008

Miyako toad

by Rowan Hooper

Japanese name:Miyako hikigaeru Scientific name: Bufo gargarizans miyakonis Description: A real “witch’s toad,” this is a large (up to 18-cm long) warty amphibian, with bulging black eyes and powerful limbs. The skin is yellow-beige. Where to find them: As the name suggests, these toads ...

Coin turtle

| Sep 10, 2008

Coin turtle

by Rowan Hooper

Japanese name: Kusagame Scientific name: Chinemys reevesii Description: Also known as Reeve’s turtle, this is a small reptile, growing to about 20-25 cm long (though larger individuals have been reported in Japan), whose shape is more rectangular than oval. It has three ridges (keels) ...

Japanese Minnow

| Aug 27, 2008

Japanese Minnow

by Rowan Hooper

Japanese name: Mugitsuku Scientific name: Pungtungia herzi Description: Also known as the “striped shiner,” this is a small, sparkling fish, growing up to 55mm long. There is a broad black stripe running down the length of the body, and a brown stripe on the ...

Collared Scops Owl

| Aug 13, 2008

Collared Scops Owl

by Rowan Hooper

Japanese name: Ookonohazuku Scientific name: Otus bakkamoena lempiji Description: For an owl, this is a small bird, but for a Scops Owl, it’s on the large side if it gets to 20-24 cm long and 100-170 grams’ weight. These owls have large tufted “eyebrows,” ...

| Jul 9, 2008

Ice goby

by Rowan Hooper

Japanese name: Shiro-uo Scientific name: Leucopsarion petersii Description: A small fish that’s long and thin (up to 13 cm long), it is pale-fleshed, even transparent. Sometimes eggs can be seen through the body wall. The fish has an eel-like appearance, and some features, such ...

Magpie

| Jun 25, 2008

Magpie

by Rowan Hooper

Japanese name:Kasasagi Scientific name: Pica pica Description: Members of the crow family, magpies have an unmistakable black-and-white plumage, though if you see one close up you’ll notice that the black actually has an iridescent blue sheen to it, and the long tail is slightly ...