Japanese Squirrel: Sciurus lis

by M. Fujimoto


The number of Sciurus lis is becoming fewer every year. As a kind with fear of extinction, it is indicated to the Red Date Book. And this is fundamentally called the Sciurus lis. But it is also called “Kinezumi” and “Hondolis” in Honshu.

Description & Taxonomy

Sciurus lis of length from head to trunk is about 18-22cm. And the length of tail is about 15-17cm. A tail is the length of the same about as the body. It is very long. Sciurus lis resembles “Sciurus vulgaris orientis” in appearance but not in hair. The hair of Sciurus lis changes with seasons as follows.
The hair of hand and foot is reddisbrown in summer. And ear’s soft hair is lost in winter.
Sciurus lis belongs Rodentia, Sciuridae, Sciurinae and Sciurus.

Range & Ecology

Sciurus lis inhabits Honshu except Setouchi and San-in, Shikoku and Awaji-shima. It is said that Sciurus lis was exterminated in Kyushu and Chugoku district.

Since a Sciurus lis lives on trees, it can live only the place that trees stands in a row. In other words, it can’t live in the place that trees have grown independently like the park.

Sciurus lis hasn’t make a group and activity time is only several hours from early morning. So,it is difficult for us to look at it. Sciurus lis makes a nest on Pinus densiflora or Larix kaempfen and it doesn’t make on broadleaf trees. It uses the bark of Japanese cedar when it makes a nest. But these are wonderful phenomena , we can’t be solving the detailed reason yet.

Use & Conservation

We are apprehensive that Sciurus vulgania which imported as a pet escaped, it hybridizes with Sciurus lis and will be born the cross lately. And it is also poached in the national park and the number is decreasing. Sciurus lis eats the seed of trees, fruits and mushrooms. Since it is visible like a fried shrimp after Sciurus lis gnaws a cone and eats an inner fruit, it is called the “fried shrimp”. Then eaten nuts are buried at many places by them. So it is said that they contribute to expansion of a forest.


If you want to see Sciurus lis in Kochi, what is necessary is just to walk along the forest of the Shimanto River origin region. However, if you would like to see them certainly, going to Noichi Doubutsukouen in Kochi will be the best method.

Maaji : Trachurus japonicas

by T. Furukawa


The aji is one of the most popular fish. It is the maaji which is often seen especially in Kochi. It is at the fresh fish corner of a supermarket mostly. It is the fish that anyone has eaten at once.

The signal which thought that I would investigate about the maaji is lure fishing of the maaji which went together with my friends. Although I was interested in the fish from before, the fish which can be easily fished using bait called the aji did not have interest in particular. However, when I began fishing using lure, unlike bait, I was not able to fish the aji easily. Therefore, I wanted to understand the aji more and investigated about the ecology, the habit, etc. of the aji this time.

Taxonomy & Description

The scientific name of the maaji is “Trachurus japonicas”. The maaji is lone of the kinds included in “Perciforbes-Carangidae-Trachurus”.

The fish of Carangidae generally have two dorsal fins and they have 1~2 strong thorns before the anal fin. Those forms resemble the flat leaf of the broadleaf tree, and the sections are a long and slender spindle shape. Moreover, there are scales popularly called “zengo” on the lateral line on the body side. They are large and strong compared with the scales of the portion of other body. The back color is dark and the abdominal color is bright. (It changes with kinds.)

Range & Ecology

Many maajis ranging the south Japan except Okinawa and the East China Sea. They crowd together and inhabit the reef region with the depth of 1~150 meter. The maaji ride on a warm current around January, and go north. And they go south around autumn. “Kiaji” and “Kuroaji” of two kinds are mainly in the maaji. The kiaji establish on the coast and live. They establish to the reef the coral reef and the sandy mud bottom which are on the coast. The kuroaji migratory offshore and live.

The feeding habits of the aji are carnivorousness and eat the zooplankton, small fish, the crustacean, shellfish, the cephalopoda and the polychaete etc. Since the inside of the stomach of the aji will be empty in one day, they take food every day. Their natural enemies are birds and large-sized carnivorous fishes beside humans. The body color of maaji can defend themselves from such a natural enemies. Moreover, they have the character to flock to light. And they flock in quest of the strength of the most suitable light. However, the strength of the suitable light changes with environmental conditions at that time.

Use & Conservation

The maaji are mainly used for food. How to eat is various and especially sashimi, the broiled with salt and the dried fish are delicious. DHA which activates the brain and EPA which lowers cholesterol are abundantly contained in the aji. Moreover, they are used as bait when fishing a cuttlefish and a flatfish, or are treated as the object fish of fishing. It is in how to fish the aji variously, and there are mainly “sabiki fishing” and “lure fishing”.


We can be seen the aji mostly in the whole sea in Kochi Prefecture. In the sea near Kochi University, we can be seen they to Urado bay and Usa bay etc. The best season is from August to March.

Dark Chub: Nipponocypris temminckii

by T. Nakayama

I caught this in Yusuhara town during golden week.


Do you know kawamutsu? It is seen in narrow waterways , a lot of rivers. In early summer, we watch the fish change color.


Its scientific name is Nipponcypris temminckil. It is a member ofCypriniformes(called “koi” in japan). It is called Dark chub in English.

Range & Ecology

Kawamutsu is major river fish in Japan. Its size is 10-15cm and is found in many rivers. It lives in West Japan and East Japan. During breeding season, Kawamutsu’s body change breeding color. Male kawamutsu change into red color, in body, shallow water spawn.They eat aquatic insects, crustacean, small fish, and algea. Kawamutsu is omnivorous.

Use & Conservation

Kawamutsu called one of species “Haya” staple Ugui, and Oikawa . “Haya” origin Japanese word “Hayai” In Japan, people eat “Kanroni”,”Karaage” and so on.

Where to see in Kochi

Kawamutsu is seen a lot of river and narrow waterways. So we can watch near Kochi University.During the recent Golden Week holiday, I went to Yusuhara town. Yusuhara town have river source of Shimanto river. It very beautiful. It is important to protect river and preserve the animal ecology.

Benkeigani: Chiromanates dehani

by K. Saito


Chiromanates dehaani is one kind of crab in fresh water. They are called “KURO BENKEIGANI” in japan.They live in almost every prefecture excluding Okinawa and Hokkaido. in Kochi, they live in Shimanto river. They are known creature of river cleaner.
They are nocturnal creature living in dark area,like a cave.So they are hided their body in howl in morning. And they are omnivorous that eat small fish, carcasses, and rotten leaves.

Description & Taxonomy

Chiramanates dehaani’s taxonomy is Arthropoda, malacostraca, Decapoda, sesarmidae, sesarmops.

It is just about 35mm. It size like a thumb. The shell is rugged, it looks like ”Musashibo Benkei” from which their Japanese name “Benkei gani” is derived. (By the way, ”Musashibo Benkei” was warrior in the Heian period, 794 to 1185.) Chiramanates dehani`s shell looks his angry face.

Their color is almost black except for claws which are white. It can hunt under cover of darkness hidden from both enemies and prey alike.

Range & Ecology

Chiramanates dehani live in waterside,riverside and shore between Oga peninsula and Boso peninsula in Japan.It shows they can stand salty water.There are many small fishes leaves and carcasses.

They live in ocean in their childhood. it look plankton. It called “zoea larva”. Zoea larva grow up in a shoal and become club’s look, they come to a river and copulate. After copulation, female Chiramanates dehani come to a seashore and spawn. This is the life cycle of Chiramanates dehani.

Use & Conservation

Chiramanates dehani is not eaten by man. It because Chiramanates dehani is not good taste and have smelling of earth.They are not eaten,but they are bred like crawfish. Almost time they bred is man catching them, but sometimes they are sold in pet shop.In online pet shop, they are sold 3000yen by pair.

On the other hand, they are decided general protection creature in Chiba prefecture.It shows they are decreasing in Kanto area. this is because waterside in Kanto become dirty place and introduced species increased.Even Chiramanates dehani is one of the example of be suffering from destroyed.We have to know that and make an effort to save waterside clean.


Chiramanates dehani is index of fertile river. If you want to see them in kochi, go to Shimannto river and thrust a branch into hole. Then, you get many interesting creature, and you can see the crabs that have Benkei’s face.

Zatokujira: Humpback Whale

by S. Toyoizumi


Zatoukuzira is the order of a Whale, the suborder of a Baleen Whale, the family of a Finback.The scientific name of Zatoukuzira is Megaptera novaeangliae. And the english name of Zatoukuzira is Humpback Whale.

Description & Taxonomy

Lenth of Zatoukuzira is 11-16m,big ones reach 20m.Weight is 30t,big ones reach 60t.The jaw is covered with the acorn barnacle.A dorsal fin is a low triangle. Pectoral fin amounts to ⅓ of full length.This is very big and very long.

Range & Ecology

Zatoukuzira live the sea in the world.There are some areas.They live comparatively warm sea.They wander that around.They sing song.It differs for every area. Zatoukuzira can stop a breath about 30 minutes,small one is five minutes.They have from the water surface to less than 50 meters.

Use & Conservation

Zatoukuzira attracts many people for whale watching. It is 1,500,000 tourists. An economic effect is 225,000 000 dollars. To other there are Whaling. It is seldom caught for consumption, the obstensible purpose is “scientific research.” By whaling,the number of individuals decreased by 1970. Global whale program of IFAW cover this problem but it is recovering. Now, it is guessed that the numbers have recovered quite a bit.


We can watch Zatoukuzira in Kochi, Muroto, Kochi, Tosa, Tosashimizu city,and Saga, Oogata town.

Black swallowtail(クロアゲハ)

by M. Iwabuchi


Black swallowtail is the most beautiful black butterfly. It is the largest of the swallowtails. It resembles other kinds when it is larva or a pupa, but it differs greatly when it becomes an imago. It is seen most ordinarily in black butterfly. So some people observe.


Black swallowtail is a scientific name Papilio protenor. It is a kind of the butterfly classified into butterfly order and the family of a swallowtail.


It is widely distributed from Taiwan and China to Himalaya. In Japan, it is distributed over Honshu (Akita and south of Iwate), Shikoku, Kyushu and Amami Oshima. There isn’t in Hokkaido. And it is few in the lowlands of the Tohoku Region. It is found in shaded places, such as a place where trees grew thick. But it seen from town to mountain. On a mountain path, it often sees taking on water from the damp ground.


Black swallowtail’s color is blackish. The length of the front wing of the imago is about 45-70 mm. Red points are located on an edge of the back side of a hind wing. Black swallowtail of Japan is a caudate process to a wing. Male’s front edge of  the hind wing has a white band. Growing white band changes yellowish. Female’s red points are more beautiful than male’s one.

It opens a wing when it stops between trees. But it closes a wing when it sleeps. This is common behavior in swallowtails.

It generates 2 to 4 times in September from April. There are two types of spring type and summer type. Spring type is smaller, progress red points and deeper-colored black than summer type.

It oviposits usually on the branch or the trunk of  a tree. The egg becomes orange color from yellow. Finally the egg becomes light brown. It hatches in about one week.

The larva becomes green from brownish. The green larva resembles swallowtail’s larva. But the brownish larva is different. The color is glossy and the pattern is like the dropping of a bird. Green larva takes off thing like the red horn which gives off a smell if it feels danger. The larva eats the leaf of citrus fruits, such as a trifoliate, a yuzu, a prickly ash and skimmia.

The chrysalis is two patterns with brown or green. The brown chrysalis stays over the winter. The chrysalis becomes black toward hatching. And it breaks a chrysalis and comes out. The flow of these series is observable also in the garden.

Where to see in Kochi

In Kochi, black swallowtail is seen at a roadside in October from May because Kochi is warm. Kochi is the place of production of yuzu. So you will see black swallowtail’s egg or larva or chrysalis if you turn the leaf of a yuzu. It is a familiar butterfly.

Pygmy seahorse: Hippocampus bargibanti

by Y. Nagano


Have you ever heard of a living creature called pygmy seahorse? It is very tiny seahorse which has only recently been discovered. It was difficult to spot due to its mimicry capability and small size.


The classification of Pygmy seahorse is still being debated, but it is a member of the seahorse family. Any seahorse with a length of about 20mm is called pygmy sea horse. Therefore, there is not a regular classification called pygmy seahorse.

Range & Ecology

It is said that pygmy sea horse has many place witch were just discovered in 1999 years and have not been discovered yet. Therefore, specification of distribution is not yet understood. As a known place,they are temperate areas and tropical areas, such as South America and Africa,globally.

Pygmy sea horse is seen in Japan in Kashiwajima, Hachijozima, Okinawa, Kishuu, Izu, etc.
Since pygmy sea horse seen in Japan differs in appearance, it is called Japanese pygmy seahorse.

Use & Conservation

Pygmy sea horse is new! Therefore, for a diver, it is extremely popular. Of course, a diver trade association will profit, if the diving position which pygmy seahorse inhabits is known. Then, scramble of pygmy sea horse is carried out.

This is actual to an ashamed thing in Japan. Argument does not cease between diver contractors or among communities by that.
In order to prevent these, the statute which does not break the ecology of pygmy sea horse is required. For that purpose, it must be indicated as a new species.

Where to see in Kochi

The place where pygmy sea horse is seen in Kochi is kashiwazima. Kashiwajima is a place where tides, such as the Japan Current, collide, and it is famous for the four seasons in the sea. Much coral which colors the sea is the highlights. The kind of fish gathering in kashiwazima drops to 1/3 of whole Japan. How about searching, when diving by Kashiwajima? You can see pygmy sea horse, if you have diving ability.

Japanese Monkey: Macaca fuscata fuscata

by K. Terayama


These days the population of these monkeys is decreasing in a semi-natural area. This is due to human demographic shift in those areas. Also, a decrease in fields caused population decrease. Broad-leaved forest is source the monkey’s food and when those forests decrease, the monkeys turn to alternative human sources of food. And now a days monkey proliferate population size that why monkey can get many food that man can’t keep enough that forest. Increased monkey cause of wild life nuisance. For example monkey tear up someone’s house or snarl at children or old man and damage field during harvesting season.

Description & Taxonomy

Japanese monkey live a troop. Japanese monkey is divided into two groups by ecological point. One group called Macaca fuscata fuscata live the Japanese main land and natural limit all over the world. Cause of that they called “snow monkey” Another group called Macaca fusata yakui they live the “Yakushima” .They are smaller than Macaca fuscata fuscata.

Range & Ecology

Japanese monkey’s male called “solitary” that is some male live solo . That means prevent inbreeding.But they have rare case observed female live lonely. Normal Japanese monkey is live a troop and that have 10~200 in troop. that troop is the maternal line troop.Macaca fuscata fuscata is 50~70cm long and male weight about 15kg females smaller than male.And they have red face and red buttocks in a breeding season. That is sing they are sexual full grow have an individual.

Use & Conservation

In Kochi many monkey cause of wild life nuisance. So a public office prize monkey and people killed monkey.If killed old monkey ,young male or monkey have many food,female can drop baby.That is meaningless for decrease population size.So we should killed be pregnant female or ripe female or take chance monkey get many food.

In Nakatosa (in Takaoka district) start project named “Saru saru project”(that mean monkey leave near the village and they live only forest). For example leave orange, loquat (Japanese-plum) can get all. Cause of that monkey can’t eat that. And we make jam or jelly or etc.from that. Then it is sold in local markets which makes people have interest about that.


Wild animal change harmful or harmless for human. We shouldn’t have a one-side way of understanding about that. And think about coexistence. This summer “Saru saru project” have a plan away off monkey if they approach field or private houses.

If you have interest in “Saru saru project” give me an e-mail for miruku0422@gmail.com Please join us!!


by K. Nagao


Octopus are very delicious living things and the octopus is located in a line with the supermarket. The appearance of an octopus is bad but octopus dumplings, sushi, etc. have many uses. An octopus has the area currently disliked overseas but in Japan, it is one of the fish and shellfishes liked very much.

Description & Taxonomy

An octopus is a mollusk. The tentacle of an octopus has a powerful beak in the inner part of a leg by eight. An octopus is an expert of disguise and changes its color of the body to a surrounding scene. An octopus defends itself from an enemy by this capability. Moreover, when attacked by the enemy, an octopus vomits sumi and escapes.

Range & Ecology

The octopus inhabits the sea in Japan and relatives of the octopus is all over the world. The kind which has poison in the octopus is also. The legs of an octopus are 8 and it can move them freely. These play an active part, also when gaining food. The favorite foods of an octopus are a shellfish and a crab, are caught using this leg and eaten with the beak in the inner part of a leg. An octopus is nocturnal. It is hidden by rock the daytime.

Use & Conservation

An octopus becomes a target of fishing or a fisherman catches it. An octopus is used as sushi sliced raw fish etc.and eats.


An octopus is seen if it goes to a supermarket, the sea, a market, and an aquarium. The Katsurahama aquarium will be recommended if you think that he will see an octopus in Kochi.

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.