Japanese giant salamander

by S. Tojima

Kochi has a lot of natural places.  About 80% of the prefecture is mountainous.  These areas have a lot of mountain streams. and Japanese giant salamanders live there. Their figure and color give them a strange appearance.  The appearances has not changed for nearly  30,000,000 years.
Description & Taxonomy

The Japanese giant salamander’s individual size is 50 to 100cm. The largest size discovered was 150cm, making it the largest in amphibian. The surface of the body is somber and has a lot of small black spots and a lot of small warts. They lie in a hole in day and move at night. The lairs are made at edges of river banks where they prey upon fish, frogs, crustaceans, shellfish and angleworms. They are oviparous and lay 300~600 eggs like a rosary. The eggs are laid in a lair that a male makes or a natural hole. The eggs can hatch if they have passed for 50 days. A male protects his eggs until they hatching

They are classified  Amphibia, Caudata, Cryptobranchoidae, Andriasand,  A.japonicus.

The Chinese giant salamander has a close blood relationship with the Japanese giant salamander. But Chinese giant salamander does not have a lot of small warts. The point differs from the Japanese giant salamander.
Range & Ecology

Japanese giant salamanders like clean water so they live in the upper of river in Japan. Though they are rare, we can sometimes see the Japanese giant salamander along the rivers of Kochi, for example the Niyodo river system. Occasionally in the lower reaches.
Use & Conservation

We can catch and eat Japanese giant salamander, but we should not do it. The reason is that they are appointed a natural monument and are classified in the Red Data Book as rare. The reason why is that they have several problems. One problem is that the environments that they can live are decreasing. The other is that Japanese giant salamanders cross with Chinese giant salamanders. The reason is that the Japanese giant salamander and Chinese giant salamander have many points of similarity in their DNA. Also, someone transplanted  Chinese giant salamanders in Japanese rivers. As a result, we have many problems in protecting Japanese giant salamander.



by K. Gempei

Haya is a generic name for Phoxinus, a fish with elongated medium-sized body among cyprinid freshwater fish from Japan. Main fish are Aburahaya (Amur Minnow) , Ugui (Japanese dace), Oikawa (Pale chub), Kawamutu (Dark chub),  takahaya( Upstream fat minnow), and numamutu (a subspecies of Kawamutu).

Description & Taxonomy

Takahaya grow to a length of about 10 cm and have elongated spindle-shaped form. Their body color is dark brown and dim gold small dots are scattered on their side of the body. Scales are small and their skin has strong slime.

Takahaya belong to a subspecies of Chinese minnow indigenous to Japan. There is a fish very similar to Takahaya. It’s an Aburahaya. The point of distinction with Takahaya and Aburahaya are that takahaya’s tail height is higher and form is stockier than Aburahaya. In addition, Takahaya’s body color is more yellowish than Aburahaya. Furthermore, Takahaya’s scale is bigger and width of head is wider than Aburahaya. However, having large individual and locality differences, these features are not perfect in that distinction.

Range & Ecology

Takahaya live in upstream areas of rivers in west Japan. They gather at a deep pools and stagnant pools gentle stream. They tend to prefer cool water. If it is a small river that has a steep slope and there are no other fish, they will be able to live in an estuary. They live in not only a main course of a river but also a pond or an irrigation canal flowing in clear water.

They are omnivorous and eat insects, plants seed and stuck algae. They live in more downstream area than yamame (Seema) and amago(Red spotted masu trout) and upstream area than kawamutu(Dark chub) as segregation of other freshwater fish. In addition, they live in more upstream than Aburahaya in Honshu.

They spawn from spring to early summer and in this term, male snout change like spatula. When they spawn, a number of them gather at muddy sand or gravel bottom in upstream and spawn stirring up bottom sediment. Fish called haya is eaten by carnivorous fish like catfish or black bass.

Use & Conservation

They don’t sell as an edible fish. Their taste is so-so.

Takahaya have been designated an endangered species by the prefecture. In Tokyo takahaya has been designated the most dangerous state (※vary by region and season). But this is not enough to worry about extinction.

They are famous as Gedo in mountain stream fishing. (Gedo is a fishing term. Gedo is a fish other than the favorite targeted fish. Often used when someone had a fish take the bait. ) So even beginner can catch easily, they are good fish to enjoy fishing.


They living in throughout west Japan, we can see anywhere. If you go to Gifu Freshwater Aquarium World・Aqua Toto Gifu, you can see not only haya but also relation with other fish. Aqua Toto is one of the largest freshwater aquariums in the world. There are also amphibians and reptiles live in near water, so even someone who be not interested in fish enjoy there. In kochi you can see haya at Shimantogawa gakuyuukann.



by T. Tsujizono

Onagadori is one of the Natural monument in Japan. It is same kind of cocks, and the place of origin is Kochi. Onagadori is known as a “Yokohama” all over the world because Onagadori was exported from Yokohama. It is called other Tyobikei and Nagaodori.

Onagadori was discovered in Edo period in Shikoku. It was one of the kind of cocks farmed by Riuemon Takechi who lived in Ohashimura in Tosa. One day, Riuemon found that one of the cocks had very long tail. That is a mutation where the feather doesn’t come off. Regular cock’s feather comes off once a year. That is very conspicuous, so Onagadori was sent to Edo government about that time. It is said that the Tosa clan concealed the Onagadori at first because the Onagadori had a very valuable, long tail.

Onagadori’s tail grows about 1 meter every year but it comes to grow slowly whenever aging. Onagadori’s tail length is about 7 meters. In Meji period, that length was about 3 meters but Tomebako was developed in Taisho period to let the tail grow longer. Tomebako is a device to control movement and stop tail damage. Today, the Guinness book of Records says longest tail is 10.6 meters.

The natural monument was specified on March 7, 1923, and Onagadori was specified by the special natural treasure on March 29, 1952. This is because of being specially recognized in worldwide or the nation assuming that value is especially high.

When coming to Kochi Prefecture, please see Onagadori by all means. A white, long tail has a beautiful, strong sense of existence. We should protect Onagadori.

Fiddler Crab

by T. Takayama


First fiddler crab is Decapoda class sand crab family Uca arcuata. Fiddler crab`s gap length is from 20mm to 40mm there is a difference between variety sort of fiddler crab, gap width is 35mm. Eyestalk have a compound eye. It is long. Orbit of the eye grow too. Typically from the left and right eye is the center. Shell has an inverted trapezoid. The body color is red but sometimes difficult to determine the mud wearing colors easily.

Fiddler crab look over in over a large area while stand eyestalk in the case of fiddler crab live on the surface of the earth.


Second, fiddler crabs lives in tidal flats and mud hardened area. But human activity become a major threat, has reduced the habitat. Fiddler crab live in the seashore around the mouth of a river in the tropical zone and the subtropics. There is a liking for bottom material by each kind. Fiddler crab live in various place such as a beach at ebb tide, mangrove , a sandy beach and boulder.

Next, Ministry of the Environment published Red date list in 2000, had been semi-endangered species were unique and endangered in 2006 due to revision of the increased risk of extinction.

Given name

Next fiddler crab is named “taucchogane and ganetsukegani, magani” in the coast of Ariake sea.fiddler crab are caught with “ariakegani and yamatoosagani”.

Same group

Finally there is a white line fiddler crab. Gap width is 18mm. White line fiddler crab is smaller than fiddler crab. White line fiddler crab lives in a sandy beach and boulder. White line there are far more White line fiddler crab`s habitat than fiddler crab.

Fresh water fish in Kochi : Donko

by M. Takano

Odontobutis obscura is called “donko” in Japan. But it is also known as cozikimara (Shiga Prefecture), doroboume and dokan (Kinki district), ushihustu (Wakayama Prefucture), Donpo (Nagasaki Prefucture) and Gomo Anagomo in various places in Japan. The generic family of Donko is gobioidei . Among the  Gobioidei of Japan, donko are rare fresh water fish.

Description & Taxonomy & Range

Donko can be as big as 25 centimeters in diameter. They are larger than other Gobioidei fresh water fish in Japan. The head is bigger other Gobioidei. The mouth is big and the lip is thick. There are fine teeth on an upper and lower jaw. Pectoral fin has evolved. The pelvic fin has divided into two sections and Coloring is Brown. They are classified into the Odonto butidae family Perciformes. This specie is set as type species of the Odontobutis Bleeker ,1876 from East Asia. In old times,the population distributed around Japan to be a kind. But there are five groups in Japan: “Yamakage, Biwa, Ise, Hitomi, Higashisheto , Nishiseto, Nishikyuusyuu, Hitomi group became “Odontobutis”


They live in rivers, lakes, ponds, rice paddies and irrigation canals. Donko like places where water flows gently , and spends all its life in a fresh water environment. They live alone and are territorial. They are Nocturnal, and in daytime, Donko live under the rock or water plant. They  are predacious  to small fish, aquatic insects and crustacean, but don’t react to the one that doesn’t move. The breeding time is July flow April. The female lays in the nest, and the male looks after the eggs. There is a brood parasitism situation too. The fly that hatched is already big . Of  the fresh water Gobiodei, there are three varieties in Japanese: “Donko’’ “Ishidonko’’and “Kawayoshinobori.’’

Use & Conservation

Donko are sometimes, though rarely, used for food. The cooking method the fry without coating and the salt scorch. And, meat is white meat and so very delicious. But as a rule, they are not eaten raw. They are likely to be kept as a pet. since they are comparatively easy to care for. The habitat of Donko is decreasing now due to the pollution of water.


If you would like to swim in rivers, try the Niyodo or Shimanto rivers in Kochi. The Donko live in the bottom in the river welcome you at that time. And if a Donko fish nibbles your foot, it means good luck!

Fiddler Crab

by T. Oda

Class fiddler crab has 10 Japanese types. Fiddler crab and hakusen fiddler crab are distributed in Kyusyu and Western. Nansei island and ogasawara island have many types.

Description, Taxonomy, Range, Ecology & Whatnot

F1ddler crab fiddle Gap length is 20mm,gap width is 35mm.Typically,from the left and right eye is the center. Shell in an inverted trapezoid. The body color is red but sometimes difficult to determine in the mud what the colors are easily.

They live in tidal flats and mud hardened area. However,human activity became a major threat, and has reduced the habitat.Invertebrate Red List published by the Ministry in 2000,had been semi-endangered species,and were unique and endangered in 2006 due to revision of the increased risk of extinction.The breeding season is mid-August from mid-June.During this time,females lay eggs twice.Fiddler’s food is plankton and tiny creatures in the sand.

Hakusen fiddler crab fiddlers fiddling Gap width is 18mm. It inhabits sandy beach near the mouth of mud mixed.Ministry of the environment is Red List has been revised to class Ⅱ as near threatened and endangered fiddler crab,at the beginning of the 21st century,more than the fiddler crab habitat.The food is similar to hakusen crab.


Factors threatening its survival,the development of the rivers,wetlands development,coastal development,water pollution,and limit origin.


Japanese dormouse

by Y. Minami


There are many animals that are in danger of extinction in Kochi. The Japanese dormouse is one of such animals.

This animal has a relation with people from long time ago for example it was thought by old people “guardian deity of forest” because there is a case that Japanese dormouses are hibernating in tree’s hole. Moreover, they do hibernation at place where people live: futon, chest of drawers and so on.

Description & taxonomy

Scientific name of Japanese dormouse is “Glirulus japonicus” It belongs to Glirulus. It includes only Japanese dormouse. Glirulus is part of Gliridae that have 6 other Glirulus: Dryomys, Eliomys, Glis, Graphiurus, Muscardinus, Myomimus, and Selevinia. Japanese dormouse lives by making nest in wasp’s old nest or rock’s crevice and on the broadleaf tree or on the rock of forest only in Japan. In Kochi, they live at the source of Shimanto river. In addition, they are seen in Kochi city, Tosa district and Takaoka district and so on, each place in Kochi. When the temperature drops to 12~14℃ they start hibernation under the ground, fallen leaves, tree’s hole, and futon in the people’s cabin. They eat many kinds of things for example insects, bird’s eggs, fruits, leaf buds, seeds and so on. Japanese dormouse’s usually weights 14~23g, but Japanese dormouse which is before hibernation is about 40g weight because it eats so much to save energy.

The body is 6.8~8.4cm long, and the tail is 4.4~5.4cm long whose hair is fall out when it is caught. Its whole body is covered with brown hair and back has black stripe, but abdomen’s area is covered with white brown hair. A around eyes area is covered with black hair.

They live about 3 years in the wild, while in breeding live 8 years.


Japanese dormouse may face extinction because its number is decreasing by loss of habitat. So since 1975, Japanese dormouse had been registered with a precious natural treasure. Besides, it has been registered with Red Data Book (RDB). But each rank of RDB are deferent: IUCN’s rank is “Least Concern(LC)” whereas Japan ministry environment use different RDB criterion from IUCN’s one and Japanese dormouse’s rank at Japan ministry environment’s RDB is “Near Threatened(NT)” And Kochi’s rank is “Vulnerable(VU)” that is more danger than NT.

Common Jay (Graphium doson)

by M. Yabumoto

Mikadoageha or the Common Jay (Graphium doson) is a special protected butterfly in Japan. Mikadoageha’s subspecies live in the world.

Description & Taxonomy

Mikadoageha is a same genus as Aosuziageha among the butterfly in Japan. Mikadoageha became the Japanese name because L.H.Leech, an entomologist in Britain, offered the name to the Meijitennou.

There are very few differences of color, a spot and so on.The caterpillar eats leaves such as Ogatamanoki.It occurs from the first time to the third time. The imago often visits flowers.

Mikadoageha sucks nectar in the top of the trees and the innerpart of branches. The eggs are produced in the back of young leaves.They pass the winter in the pupal stage.The imago are seen from early summer to early autumn.

Range & Ecology

Mikadoageha live in a variety of places, for example, Okinawa, Yamaguchi, Mie, Kyusyu, and low land of Shikoku.The distribution is limited, and there are a lot of variations of species.

Use & Conservation

Mikadoageha has something to do with human beings. It lives in Ushioetenmangu, Yoho temple and Ushioe junior high school the city of Kochi.

Only a small number of the individuals are special protected animals of Japan, so we cannot collect it. The protected animal of insects which is designated specially is Genzibotaru.


If you want to see Mikadoageha, don’t destroy Mikadoageha’s habitat. If you are careful, we will keep see Mikadoageha forever.

The Rare Red-Eye

By Y. Horisawa

Do you know the biggest salty river fish in Japan?That fish is Japanese lates(Lates japonicus) and his full length is more than 1m. Lates’s eyes  are bright red, so Lates is called Akame in Japan. Moreover his color is silver but color of his fry is black. Like this, Lates is odd fish.

Description & Taxonomy

Lates’s length is more than 1m. Biggest ever caught was 138cm and 30kg. His body is silver and is high. But when fry, black color, because it’s protective coloration. His Japanese name is “Akame”, because his eyes bright red.

Lates.japonicus belong to Latidae. This family have three genuses: Hypopterus, psammoperca and lates. Hypopteras has 1 species and inhabits westAustraria. Psammoperca has 1 species and inhabits eastan indian Ocean. Lates have 10 species, and have some endangered species. In fact, Lates is endangered species too.

Nile perch (L. niloticus) is closely related species to Lates. But Nile Perch is not an endangered species, rather they make fish presence felt that is species indigenous to Lake Victoria.

Range & Ecology

Lateses live in Japan only. They live in the western Japan facing Kuroshio. Mainly his range is Miyazaki and Kochi. Lateses lives in coast. But when they are fly, they live in river.

Lates’s frys gather at the estuary. And live there with Koamamo. They eat small fish and shellfish, and protect them from foreign enemy. Adult fish some times are estuary. This is for doing sake that taking off parasite in salty river by low osmotic pressure.

Spawning is not well understood but it is thought spawn in the sea on summer. They act on the night. And their wariness is high, so they intrude estuary at night or rainy time. They are prey, so they eating small fish. They are good target for fishing.

Use & conservation

They grow very big. They are good target for lure fishing. Moreover, we can eat Lates. Their white flesh is very delicious for broild fish with salt and Sashimi.

But, Lateses are an endangered specise. They are banned to fishing in Miyazaki since 2006. This is same deal Nihonkamoshika. Moreover they are regsterd CR in Kochi. Why Lates decrease? Fry’s bed: the place where Koamamo grows is destroyed. For example,by river is maintained or water is pollute. So flys cannot grow, and die. We showld protect Koamamo place.


There is stuffed specimen at Usa Kaiyo Zisshu Shisetsu. It is very big. If you get a chance to go there, do look a stuffed specimen.

Range in Kochi

Lates’s range is the whole of the coast of Tosa gulf.


Japanese lates

by Y. Nishioka


Japanese lates is rare fish. First, they are very few to be fished by fisherman. Next,
they are endemic in Japan and distribution is narrow. They live in Kochi and Miyazaki.
Then, they decrease by public business like reclamation. Finally, they are appointed en-
dangered species.


The biology of Japanese lates is interesting. First, they are nocturnal and very alert.
And they are a bottom dweller in shallow water in freshwater, estuaries and the ocean. Next, their fry are known to have been observed in ecology. It seems to mimic in the dead leaves on their head state on eelgrass bed. And, they eat animal like fish, crustacean, and polychaete. Finally, spawing season is speculated June to July.


Barramundi is similar to Japanese lates, but different species. To begin, both of them
are length of 1 meter, body is metallic gray in overall color, darker upperparts and ligh-
ter underparts. Next, Japanese lates has eyes which gleams red in the darkness, but Barramundi has eyes which gleams gold in the darkness. To finish, their anal fin are
different. Second spines is the longest of three spines of anal fin, is Japanese lates and Third spines is longest of three spines of anal fin, is Barramundi.

Nile perch is similar to Japanese lates too. First, Nile perch is bigger than Japanese late. They reach maximum length of about 2 meters, weight is 200kg. Next, they eat fish, crustacean and insects. their fry eat zooplankton. And, their body is silver, their eye is dark black. Finally, they feed impact at planted lake. In Lake Victoria, endemic species decreased and small groups are extinct by arrival of Nile perch.


Finally, Japanese lates lives in Shimanto river and Urado bay. They are appointed endangered species. If you go to Shimanto river or Urado bay, you must not fish them. They are very rare fish.

Chub mackerel

by T. Nishida

Scomber japonicus, or the Chub mackerelhas been eaten long by Japanese. Scomber japonicus is one of Scomber. Japanese eat many S.japonicus every year. S.japonicus in Miyagi is became brand and called “KINKA SABA”. Its name is different from each area. For example it is called Hirasaba in Kochi and Shizuoka, Hirasu in Nagasaki, Takkuri in Kagoshima, Honsaba in some area.


Family is Scombriae, genus is Scomber and species is S.japonicus. There are is four varieties of the genus Scomber: Scomber colias, Scomber scombrus, Scomber australasicus and Scomber japonicus. S.colias range from western the Atlantic Ocean and resemble S.japonicus in form. S.scombrus ranging from northern the Atlantic Ocean. S.australasicus have many black spots on belly. S.japonicus resemble S.australasicus in form but it don’t have a black spot on belly.


S.japonicus is fifty centimeters long. Their body is slender and ellipse. Their scale is small. Lateral line’s scale is 210 to 220. Back is greenish-blue and black curved lines. Belly is silver and white.


S.japonicus live facing warm current of semitropic and temperate water. They like water temperature of 14 to 17 degrees.


S.japonicus make cloud and swim surface coast. It travel to north on spring and south on fall. It travel 10km per a day. There are shoal which stay around area of rock too. It eats small fish, zooplankton and cephalopod. The laying eggs season is February to August. They lay eggs which is 1mm across and a number of eggs are from 100000 to 1400000. Many fry are eaten by other fishes because they are not protected by parents. Its life span is 6 to 7 years.


S.japonicus is eaten by human all over the world and it become supplement because they contain a lot of DHA and EPA. Its season is fall and winter, but it is bad on summer. When we eat it, we mind Anisakis. Anisakis is worm and finally parasite on mammals. We especially mustn’t eat raw fish.

S.japonicus is eaten by people of Kochi, but S.australasicus is more famous than S.japonicus in Koch. It is because in southwest Kochi catch S. australasicus which is called “Shimizusaba” by Tosa. Its season is fall to winter but we can eat all the them year around. It is delicious so it is famous in Japan.


S.japonicus are not protected because they are plentiful.

Web Resources

Northern Goshawk

by M. Okuda

The Northern Goshawk , Accipiter gentilis is a medium-sized species belonging to Falconiformes Accipitridae. Is common species of Hawk in Japan. It is called then, Taka, generally to Greta.

Morphology & Ecology

The male is approx. 50 cm length, female is full length is 60 cm, length of wingspan 100-130 cm. Variants in Japan characteristic macular white eyebrow and black eyepatch. It inhabited plains up to the mountains. High flying ability, while hunting small birds and small mammals to Satoyama aerial or ground catch bird of prey. And due to its location at the top of the food chain , it a requiresa healthy habitat cannot . Speed flying in horizontal flight is 80 km/h during the descent speed 130 km/h. once hunting stuk it is at relentless and hence hunting time is longer.

Relations with people

After having passed the rugged training, it was used for the hawk hunting by an excellent hunter it. The hawk hunting had already been done in benevolence emperor’s age, and done actively in the middle of Edo period. Because the capture of a domestic goshawk is prohibited, examples of traditional craftsmanship are succeeded now by the goshawk imported from foreign countries.

Danger of extermination

It is a near threatened species (NT) in the Ministry of the Environment red list. It is specified for the national endangered species of wild fauna and flora in 1993.

Kochi and goshawk

Extermination misgivings of large hawk in Kochi as birds of red list. It is registered as kind (CR).

Japanese Tree Frog

by M. Terada

When it rains, this frog always cries. This phenomenon happens all over Japan. So Japanese tree frogs are very famous Japanese people love them. Japanese tree frog has many ordinary names. For example, “gyaku-gyaku-donku” in Kyusyu.


Japanese tree frog’s scientific name is Hyla japonica. This frog size is about 3~4cm. (Incidentally, the female is bigger than the male.) The color is usually a greenish-yellow (famous variant color is sky blue.) Occasionally, ther put on grayish brown of protective color. This color change phenomenon’s structure is pigment cell’s expansion and contraction (expansion and contraction’s reason is circumference environment, temperature, humidity and brightness.) The skin is covered with mucosa, but it has poison. This poison protects the frog from enemies. So we must wash hands after touching Japanese tree frog.

Range & Ecology

Most frogs live at water’s edge. But Japanese tree frog does not always live at water’s edge. They can live on the tree. So they often live in forest. They are active in spring, summer and fall, are go into hibernation in winter. They can live in city because they are resistant to dryness and good at stereo lively motion. But Japanese tree frog is less adaptive than Toad, they does not choose food size.

Japanese tree frog’s feeding habits are flesh-eating. They eat small insects and spiders. They do not eat dead body and motionless substance, because they react to movement. When they hunt, they hold prey and next moment they put the prey into gullet’s interior. They come to human habitation’s window and the front of vending machine’s light in night (because they can good of prey upon to crowd insect.)

Japanese tree frog’s natural enemy are birds (Ardeidae, Halcyon and the like.), snakes (Rhabdophis, Amphiesma and the like) and mammalian (weasel, tanuki and the like).

Rhacophorus schlegelii and Rhacophorus arboreus look like Japanese tree frog, but body size and color are a little different.

Japanese tree frog’s cry expression “gge gge gge gge ”. All crying frogs are male. Frog’s breeding season is mainly spring. Normal frogs cry in only breeding season’s night, but Japanese tree frog’s cry before rain. So they often cry in daytime.

Life cycle

Imagoes crowd in swarms in paddies and ponds in spring. At the time, male’s throat color change. Male mate with female. They spawn in surface of the water. Fertilized eggs twine around plant’s stem. Fertilized eggs hatch after 2~3 days. Larva’s color is brown. Larva has external gill, but it is not long before external into body. Japanese tree frog tadpole’s body color is brown. (Toad tadpole’s color is black.) Tadpole eat dead body of a living thing and algae. Japanese tree frog tadpole metamorphose after about one month.


Japanese tree frogs live all over Japan. If you would like to watch them, spring is the best time. But you must wash hands after touch Japanese tree frog. Don’t forget that they have poison.