Kochi’s Sika deer population caught in the crosshairs

512px-Cervus_nippon_01The forest is rather bright. It appears to be in the middle of winter as there is not a leaf left on the tree. But wait, this tree doesn’t seem right. The bark of the lower trunk is gone. It’s obvious as there is stony bark on the upper trunk, but nothing stony on the tree trunk below about 1 m high from the ground. It’s completely smooth with a woody creamy color. What is going on? Continue reading Kochi’s Sika deer population caught in the crosshairs

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.

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.                                            

Fairy Pitta

by S.Kajikiyo


There are wonderful natures in Kochi and many various forms of life. Among of those organism, Fairy Pitta is valuable animal. Because the population is very small and habitat is limited, it’s difficult to see it.


Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) is very beautiful bird, alias is “yairotyo”. Origin of the name is body colors (black, white, yellow, green, brown, red, blue and cream). Fairy Pitta is about 20cm and the body plumage of the upper surface shiny green, feathers covering the upper surface of the base of the waist and tail is blue, chest throat and body side surface of the plumage is pale yellow or yellowish brown, feathers covering the underside of abdomen is red. The tail colors are black, tip is blue.

Range & Ecology

Fairy Pitta comes to Japan from India, Taiwan, and Indochina in May through July to raise children and turn back to south in autumn. Breeding place is ground in the forest. Nest for parenting is made on the slopes along the valley. Nest is shaped dome, made of branches leafs and moss. They lay about 5 eggs at once, buck and doe incubate in rotation about 2 weeks. When the chicks are hatched, parents bird carry bait to nest in rotation. Chicks grow by eating earthworms, they leave the nest with parents. After fledging about 3 days, chicks practice to get bait alone.


Fairy Pitta is Kochi’s natural treasures, but there are only about 100-150 in
Japan. Their habitat is being destroyed by development and their population is declining gradually. There are still many factors that would reduce the population. Habitat is deprived through road construction, forest development, plantation. Parenting failed when photographer invasion to the nesting place to take pictures. These problems are very serious. Therefore, ecosystem Trust Association in Kochi Prefecture collect donations and buy the habitat of Fairy Pitta, make a protection place as a trust that people can’t enter and develop. Also in 1993 low for the conservation of wildlife species at risk of extinction is enforced, Fairy Pitta is specified rare wildlife species in Japan.


Fairy Pitta prefer a clean nature, so they live upstream of the Shimanto. If you want to see Fairy Pitta, go to the Shimanto valley you can maybe see Fairy Pitta

Fairy pitta lives in broad-leaved forest which consist of high wood ,they love environment that undergrowth is not developed because the sunlight blocked by the crown. Feeding habit is food animals, they eat earthworms, insects, crustaceans, and so on. Breeding system is oviparity. When the breeding season , they chirp loudly on the tree. フォームの始まり

Fairy Pitta

by A. Masuda


The number of animals on the verge of extermination in recent years has increased though it is Kochi Prefecture enclosed by a lot of nature. The seriousness especially has been that the number of livings of birds “Fairy pitta” it decreased every year. Because the fairy pitta is officially admitted as a bird in Kochi Prefecture, and the inhabitants of the prefecture is familiar, too.

Description & Taxonomy

Fairy pitta’s color is the head has a black line in the center in brown, and the superciliary is a whity-yellow color and has a black eye stripe. Fairy pitta’s rectrix is a black, aist and Ageo cylinder are cobalt color, wing of black and the shoulder is green.

Fairy pitta’s egg is the major axis 2.5-2.8 centimeters, and the minor axis 1.9-2.3 centimeters. The egg shell is an iron gray. Fairy pitta’s size is 18cm in the total length, wing length 118~127mm nib peak length 22~25mm, length 35~42mm of tail, and sparrow and pigeon’s middle. Fairy pitta’s color so Fairy pitta.


Fairy pitta lives in the forest, doesn’t fly so much, hit ground, and walk. Its breeding is domed nest where it reaches 20 centimeters in the diameter with which the forest floor combined the branch, warbles loudly from the tree during breeding time, 4~6 eggs times are laid in Japan in May~July. The breeding form is oviparous, incubated for about two weeks in the ♂♀alternation. Fairy pitta lacks ground with the foot, searches for food, and eats. Earthworm, insect, and crustacean are all kind of Fairy pitta’s food habit eats.


Fairy pitta is a kind of endangered species. It’s present situation is number of living decreases by destroying the habitat by development, disturbance by man’s invasion to the breeding area is feared, habitat is deprived by road works and making to the man-made forest, cameraman invades fairy pitta’s nest , and bringing up a child fails.

Fairy pitta’s present situation is number of living decreases by destroying the habitat by development so Fairy pitta has been called the bird of the phantom few. Fairy pitta disliked to be extremely cautious, and to approach the nest under bringing up a child so cameraman invades fairy pitta’s honor nest ground and bringing up a child is fails.

Relations with Kochi

Fairy pitta was enacted by the prefecture bird on May 10, 1964. Small number of fairy pittas are introduced to the prefecture west in around May. The fairy pitta is continuously confirmed in a part of Kochi Prefecture and Kyushu and Nagano now. Fairy pitta’s habit is that 100~150 has bred in Japan now, tens of are thought for being to exist in Shimant river among these, can be said the density of the fairy pitta is the highest in Japan, the nest was discovered in Kochi Prefecture Sukumo City in 1937.