Balaenoptera brydei

By R. Fujimoto


image00In the Pacific Ocean which spreads off Kochi, there is the grand Balaenoptera brydei.  In Kochi prefecture famous for whale watching a whale is sightseeing material. While there are several kinds of whales, Balaenoptera brydei is a kind currently liked by many tourists.This Balaenoptera brydei is introduced this time.

Description & Taxonomy

It is distinguished in outside because mustached hair is baleen is short and that apply near a nostril from rostrum edge and the right-and-left both sides of the upper surface of a snout have an upheaval line of one articles each although it is close species of a sei whale, that a trough is long and the tip has reached the navel, wide, and thick.

The length is also slightly smaller than a sei whale, and is only a maximum of 15.5 meters.

Although Balaenoptera brydei was presupposed that only the South Africa coast is inhabited once, it was discovered around the postwar years and Ogasawara Islands, and it became clear that it was also widely distributed over the North Pacific.

We decided that the International Whaling Commission will correct the appended chart of Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in 1970, and it treats this kind and a sei whale as another kind. The small fish which this kind uses as the staple food is the food of large-sized wide-ranging fish, such as a bonito, and a possibility that the group of large-sized wide-ranging fish is in the ocean space in which this kind is present also becomes high.

Moreover, there is a merit which protects itself from swordfish by being attached to a whale in a bonito, and katsuokujira of this kind or a close relationship forms one small ecosystem by one individual.

Use & Conservation
Balaenoptera brydei becomes known as the subject of whale watching, and is loved, and the whale is enjoyed as what is not eaten and is seen now when control of whaling is severe.

In the Fisheries Agency version Red Data Book, it is regarded as the rare animal and has become a candidate for preservation.

Etrumeus teres: ウルメイワシ

By Y. Iwata


image00A round herring is a fish often eaten in Japan. However, few people know very much about a round herring. Therefore, I think that I would like to introduce a round herring.


The round herring belongs to order herring clupeidae herring, and if it grows, it will be set to about 30 cm.Since eyes seem to be greatly wet, it is called the round herring。The back side of the color of the body is indigo, and the belly side is silver.Moreover, the lower jaw has projected before for a while rather than the upper jaw.

Range & Ecology

The round herring inhabits the warm and shallow sea in the world, and, of course, also inhabits the Tosa bay. A round herring goes north from spring in summer, and goes south from autumn in winterTherefore, it appears in the Hokkaido coast in summer.Food is plankton.

Use & Conservation

A round herring is used as a dried food, and is also served as sashimi or grilled with salt.

Lycoris radiata: Higanbana

By T. Nakamoto

image00Bulb plants perennial toxic whole plant.Six pieces of petals arrive radially distributed in the form of inflorescence.The clumps such as roadside, red-flowered in mid-September, but some white rare.The figure is unique, during the late summer and early fall, height 30 – 50cm scape leaf also branches of  also section also does not have projects on the ground, inflorescence wrapped in wrapped in its tip is attached only one.Flowers give a face and broken wraps.There is luster in the dark green leaves. Leaf can be seen during the winter figure, but it withered to become the next spring, nothing is growing in the ground until the fall approaches.
Description & Taxonomy
Amaryllidaceae is recognized classification system many (new Engler system, such as APG plant classification system), and is a taxon name commonly used, but are included in the lily family in Kuronkisuto system.
Range & Ecology
Western edge of the distribution in the Himalayan mountain system eastern Taiwan is continuous, Ryukyu Islands, Kyushu, the southern Korean Peninsula, Shikoku, and Honshu from so-called South China Yangtze River basin of south China’s Yunnan Province, from northern Indochina, eastern end is the Aomori prefecture (Ungerunia Ungernia genus of closely related are distributed to areas coated. green area surrounded by a red line on the left). In addition, the majority of this distribution area overlaps the laurel forest zone.
Use & Conservation
It is more common in cemeteries and ridges of paddy fields, but it is believed to have been planted artificially in order to:. Animal desolation the field rat, mole, and insects in the former case to avoid the hated poison of the bulb to (avoidance) so, in order to prevent burial and after insect repellent, corpse from being ravaged digging by animals in the latter case.
Bulb rich in starch. For lycorine is a toxic component is water soluble, for detoxification is possible if Sarase in water for a long time.Bulb is a crude drug name stone of garlic there is an expectorant and diuretic effect, but the amateur is to use as a folk medicine since it is toxic It is dangerous. Incidentally, galantamine which is one component of the venom has been used as a therapeutic agent for Alzheimer’s disease.
Flowers is beautiful bright red, it will admire involuntarily and is in full glory in one side and in such bank

Yamamomo : Myrica rubra

By M. T.


ƒ„ƒ}ƒ‚ƒ‚Myrica rubra is called yamamomo. It is a subtropical tree grown for its sweet, crimson to dark purple-red, edible fruit. Its fruit is a sweet-sour delicious. The Japanese name suggests the word peach, but Yamamomo and peach are totally different plant. Yamamoto is a Prefectural flower of Kochi.

Description and Taxonomy

Yamamomo can grow to a height of 10~20 meters. The leaf is 10 cm,dark green with cortex. It is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The root system is 5~60 cm deep, with no obvious taproot. The fruit is spherical, 1.5~2 cm in diameter , with a knobby surface. The surface color is typically a deep red, red , it seemed to display small red beads. It matures in July from June. The flesh is sweet and very tart. At the center of the flesh is a big signal seed.

It called Morella rubra Loureiro; Myrica rubra var. acuminata Nakai. It is usually cited as Myrica rubra. Yamamomo is a small family of about 30 types. For a long time it was said that family was separated by three genus, and many kinds were classified in the Myrica genus, and Yamamomo was included.

Range and Ecology

Yamamomo is native to eastern Asia, Japan, China. It grows in the warm place and is strong in heat. In Japan, it grows wild in lowland and the mountainous district from Kanto and to the south in Japan. In the south in southern Honshu, it is an important tree class constituting the forest in unproductive land such as the shore or the dry ridge of the low mountain. . It tolerates poor acidic soils, because it lives together with bacteria called franckia performing nitrogen fixation.Therefore it may be used for tree planting.


The fruit of the Yamamomo is eaten fresh and is processed into jam and wine. There are two main types of Yamamomo, a sour type used for making dried fruit and a sweet type used for juice and fresh eating. So the bark include a lot of tannin, it may be used as medical use. It might be planted a tree in the fields and moutains. Nowadays it is planted in a park and the street as a roadside tree. How to propagate is by grafting and layering.


The main producing center is Tokushima and Kochi in Japan. The seasonal time of Yamamomo is a short period of less than one mouth. So it may be said that Yamamoto is a precious fruit letting you feel the season. If you would like to eat Yamamomo, go to Kochi (or Tokushima!) in the rainy season.

Vinegaroon: Sasorimodoki

by Riku Minei


image01Do you know vinegaroon? They are insects that are like scorpions. They are in Kochi. In night, if you smell vinegar in forest, please look  where you are stepping. Probably you can see them.

Description & taxonomy

Its average size is from 20 to 25mm. It is called `scorpion` because of its appearance. Japanese name is Sasorimodoki. But it is close to spider. It lives in tropical area and subtropical area. Vinegaroon has about 100 species. It has two spiecies in Japan. There are Typopeltis stimpsonii in Kyusyu, Typopeltis crucifer is on Yaeyama island. Kochi`s Vinegaroon is thought to be Typopeltis stimpsonii. It`s a range spreads every year and it live in Kobe and Ogasawara island now. We can recognize it by scissors form. Kochi`s vinegaroon is thought that be brought by people.

Range & ecology

It lives under stones and prefer humidity. It`s staple food is insect, a cricket or a grasshopper. It is cannibalistic. It catches insect by using scissors. In winter, it hibernates. It has poison that smell vinegar. `Vinegaroon` cause this poison. If people touch this poison, causes Dermatitis and maybe loss of eyesight. If you touch vinegaroon, you must wash your skin.

Use & conservation

image00 It is specified Endangered species in Kochi. In Kumamoto prefecture, it is specified Natural treasure. It is thought that its numbers are decreasing because it is carniverous and the number of cockroach or cricket which it feeds on is also decreasing.

[Note: images from Wikipedia]


Cissites cephalotas: Hirazugensei

by K. Seo


image00In 1935, an insect like small beans of about 3cm was discovered by Mr. Sasaki, a teacher of Ali junior high school. It is called Cissites cephalotas. The common Japanese name is Hirazugensei. It means Gensei of flat head. But this insect was discovered in Kochi at first, so often it is called Tosahirazugensei and is the Prefectural Representative Insect of Kochi.

Length is about 3 cm. Color of the body is vivid red, six legs and big jaw is black. Male jaw is large and powerful looking, but female jaw is small.

As mentioned above, at 1935 it was first observed in Kochi. Later Dr.Kawano who was professor in Hokkaido university, named the male Sasakihirazugensei, named the female Tosahirazugensei. In other words, he thought that the different sexes were two different species. But at present these two species are one species, this fact is established. Also later there are records in Inoguchi, Kawakita, Ibiki etc. in Aki city.

This is included of family Meloidae. In this family there are more 10 species for example Kirogensei etc・・・. It is certain thing which the rare insect is collected in Aki city. So this insect is a souvenir insect as Kochi.


Hirazugensei live in Honsyu,Shikoku,Kyusyu district of japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia, and it is found in forest mountain (low~middle level) etc. Especially, this insect lives around nests (beats) on the plains.

It is known that Hrazugensei has a relationship with a certain beetle (Kumabachi). Larva of Hirazugensei grows in nest of Kumabachi. Adult comes out from nets of Kumabachia from June to July. But it is unknown how the larva invades the nests, or what food the larva eat to grow. Therefore the appearance in nests is not known. There are unknown points about Hiratagensei. The cause of this is that Hiratagensei is rare insect. (Appointed associate endangered species in Kochi) But a lover of insects in Kochi wish that they understand myself about ecology of Hiratagensei which is recorded at first in Kochi.

Hirazugensei live around the nests of animals in the plains. So searcher should search nest of Kumabachi (it could be found in temples, old house, a house made of wood) at first, next look nests below.

Many Japanese children enjoy collecting insects. However, as they get older, people often lose interest in insects. This interesting discovery can make people interested again at any age. If you are lucky, you can find HIrazugensei.Lets come back to curiosity.                                            

Red-billed leiothrix:ソウシチョウ

by E. Fukugawa

image00Red-billed leiothrixes is kind of sparrows. They are animals of foreign origin. Originally, they live in India, China, Vietnam, and Myanmar. Now they live in Kanto, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu in Japan. They look so pretty, but they are feared to break the ecosystem. They expel bush warblers.They are “Worst 100 of Japanese aggressive introduced species”.

Description and Taxonomy
Their total length is 14~15cm. The feather of back is green. The neck is yellow. There have red spot in the wing. The bill is red. They twitter in large voice. They eat insects, fruits, and seeds. Their breeding season is April~October. It is comparatively long. It is less than a month to leave the nest from birth, so it is thought that they can breed several times a year.

Range and Ecology
They live in mountain of 1000 meters or less. Especially, they live in growth of trees and bamboo. Originally, they live in India, China, Vietnam, and Myanmar, but, now, they live also in Japan. They make crowd of 20 birds. In autumn, they make crowd with great tits.

Use and Conservation
In Edo era, they were imported for pet. But, they were imported frequently in 1980s from China. They were much imported because it is easy to take care of them, and it is cheap. Since invasive alien species act was enforced, pet shops had many stock of them. Pet shops did not have much money to feed them, so many of them were set free. It is prohibited to raise them from 2005.

Wild Red-billed leiothrixes may break ecosystem. Specially, it is said that bush warblers are expelled by them. Wild Red-billed leiothrixes and bush warblers live in same place. The number of Wild Red-billed leiothrixes increase, so bush warblers are expelled. So we have to decrease the number of Wild Red-billed leiothrixes. I think we have to catch some of them and decrease their breeding. But it is cruel that they become extinct, so I want to make environment that both Wild Red-billed leiothrixes and bush warblers can live.

 They are feared to break ecosystem. But many people like looking them, because they are so cute. They are in thicket in many cases, so we can look them near the ground. They make crowd, so we may be able to look many of them.

Hammerhead shark

by S.Y.


image00A common Hammerhead shark is living the coast of the warm seas of the world. And they are living the sea of Kochi. I touched Hammerhead shark with a neighboring fishmonger for the first time in the days of a high school. I was fascinated what attractive. Hammerhead shark is called “Shumokuzame” from the form of the head such as wooden bell hammer ringing Japanese musical instruments in Japan, and in English, the form of the head is likened with a hammer and it is called “Hammerhead shark”.

Description & Taxonomy

Hammerhead shark is a generic name of a shark belonging to order Carcharhiniformes family Sphyrnidae. Nine kinds are known all over the world. Full length is 5 meters, and the big thing becomes 6 meters. Since the head spread horizontally like a hammer and it is sticking out, Hammerhead shark can be recognized immediately. The body back is gray and brown, yellowish-brown, and the ventral is white, there are not the fleck outstanding in particular.

Range & Ecology

Hammerhead shark lives the sea to 100 meters of depth of the water and sometimes sink to 300 meters of depth of the water. They live the offing mainly, but live the coast, a reef, and the estuary. They chase food and may come near a shore. Since eyes stick the both ends of the head, they have a view larger than other sharks, and food can be looked for easily. Hammerhead shark is a strong predator, and they feed not only fish and a cuttlefish and an octopus and Crustacea but also other sharks and prey on one another. Their favorite food is Dasyatis akajei, and they eat to the sting of a caudal fin. They move to high latitude sea area in summer, and come back to the tropical zone when it is winter. Although the life is unknown, probably about 30 years are presumed. Hammerhead shark forms a group uniquely as a shark, and acts. Occasionally the number may amount to hundreds of them.

Use & Conservation

Hammerhead shark is processed into the dried fish called “Maira” and “Tetsuboshi” in Kochi. It matches rice well. The things which is the most terrible for Hammerhead shark is fishery and indiscriminate hunting. It is said that the shark killed by human being becomes from 50 million to 100 million of them a year. In this situation the sharks become extinct. The important thing is Hammerhead shark is only one animal alike other animals, and everyone understands that they are by no means atrocious killer. Hammerhead shark is kept in many aquariums, and their mysterious shape attracts the eyes of many people. And it’s may appeal for the need of the conservation of the shark.


If you want to meet Hammerhead shark in Kochi, let’s go to Niyodogawa after the heavy rain. They come to the mouth of a river of Niyodogawa after the heavy rain. Hammerhead shark is one of a few sharks attacking the human being, but is not ferocious as a rumor because they becomes rarely aggressive. If you come across Hammerhead shark in the sea, please read the action exactly calmly. The probability attacked by a shark is hard to happen than being struck by lightning than being stung by the hornet.

BUNA: Japanese Beech

by S.saiki


Buna is a kind of wood. Buna grows high area of mountain. Shirakami mountain range is famous for Buna. So Buna is one of the important plants. But they were cut down by people after war. Their range is diminished.

Description & Taxonomy

Buna’s scientific name is Fagus crenata Blume. Buna is contained in the group, Fagaceae. In this group, same plants are chestnut, oak and so on. Buna lives in from Hokkaido to Kagoshima. Buna’s color is black or ash gray. Buna’s high is 30 meter.

Range & ecology

Buna lives in japan, Europa, northern America and so on. Mainly, Buna is grown cool environment or high area of mountain. Since Buna is strong to coldness.

Use & Conversation

Buna is perishable and flexible, so it was not used as lumbers. But it was used as firewood. Now, Buna is used as material, for example, furniture, ski plate, plywood, toy and so on. Buna’s nut is eaten by food. Eating animals are many mammals.


Buna’s forest is very beautiful. In the forest, there are many things of plants and creature. So, we can enjoy searching and watching and viewing. Forest’s ground is soft since ground absorbs water. So, it is difficult for us to walk ground. It is interesting to w

The division Ginkgophyta and the species Ginkgo biloba

by Do Ngoc Anh

Ginkgo biloba is a very special and old species of seeding plants. They grow fast and are incredibly strong trees. Four Ginkgo biloba trees in Hiroshima were reported to survive after being bombed. The four trees are still now living and growing well in Hiroshima.


The origin of the group’s name came from a mistake of the first western study who saw it for the first time in Japan, even though the origin of the plants was found in China later. The western study read the Chinese character 銀杏 – the plants’ name as “gin-kyo”. That is a possible way to red it, but it was in fact read “i-choh” in Japanese. The pronunciation “i-choh” in turn is not the way how the character 銀杏 is originally read in Chinese. “i-choh” came from “鸭脚” (Pinyin: yajiao) which means “duck’s feet” and it describes the leaves’ shape and it is not even ever the name of the trees in China.

Description and Taxonomy
Ginkgophyta is a division of plants, which are believed to be derived from “seed ferns” (ferns that bear seeds, literally), diversified on our earth a long time ago (during Jurassic, 190 million years ago) and most of the species went extinct prehistorically. Only Ginkgo biloba from the group stay extant in a small area in China and for this reason, it is called “living fossil”.

Ginkgo have many obviously distinct features so the plants can be easily identified. The plants are large and richly branched. They can grow very high, typically 20m ~ 30m and possibly 50m. With large seeds, the young shoots can survive well from competitions with other plant species during young growth stage. It is said that young shoots will grow straight upward to 10m before they elongate side branches.

There are two different kinds of shoots that can be found on a Ginkgo biloba tree. The elongating “long shoots”, during their first year of growth, produce a series of leaves from widely separated nodes. From the next year, grow on the long shoots the “spur shoots” (or short shoots) which can only grow in length 1 or 2 cm per year. Each spur shoot produces a cluster (up to 16 leaves) of leaves every year.

image01The leaves, as how its Japanese name tells, have the distinct shape of “duck’s feet”. It is also described as fan-shape. The leaves’ veins devide into two, which is what “biloba” means. The lobes of leaves which come from seedlings or long shoots are more deeply bilobed than those which come from spur shoots. The plants are deciduous, that means leaves survive only one growing season. They are initiated after severe winters, perform photosynthesis until they turn into beautiful yellow in autumn before falling out of the trees’ bodies.

The plants are dioecious, which means each tree has either sexuallity of male or female. The seeds grow only on the female tree. Because of the fact that the seeds release stinky smell, male trees can be more favorable to be planted as ornamentals near big streets.

Ginkgo do not have true flowers. Flower-like organs grows on both male and female trees in spring along with leaves from spur shoots. After pollination in March or April (right after initiation of leaves), it takes about 5 months until fertilization, which is around August. Sperms grow from pollen within the female gametophytes. Ginkgo is said to be one of those plants that have largest sperms among plant kingdom. Fertilization is perform around August when the female gametophytes are mature.

Range and Ecology
Ginkgo biloba grows in well-watered temperate area. As it is cultivated all over the world, it can be found even in the Southern hemisphere in Australia now.

Use and Conservation
From a small area in China, it has been cultivated in many parts of the world for it beautiful leaves in autumns. In Eastern Asia, Ginkgo biloba trees are considered sacred trees in Buddhism. It is cultivated in temples’ garden widely among Korea and Japan.

Seeds of Ginkgo biloba are edible. But they can become poisonous due to overeating. Ginkgo biloba produces many kinds of chemical compounds that it played an important role in China herbal medicine. Also, only recently it is seriously studied by western studies.

View suggestion
Ginkgo biloba can be seen widely in Japan, from along sides of big main streets in big cities to the countryside, in temples, school grounds or in private gardens.