Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stag Beetle Battle!

JARED: This video was on YouTube. It shows kokuwagata (small stag beetles) fighting. The people talking in the video are from Taiwan, so I don't know what they're saying, but it's pretty awesome anyway. I give it 4 insect legs out of 6.

EVERETT: Three kokuwagata are fighting on the video, but the person doesn't them get hurt. It's cool! I want to make my bugs fight, but I can't, because they'll get hurt. I like it!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Our New Arrivals

It's 9 Boys & 9 Girls!

After weeks of anticipation, Jared and Everett's kabutomushi (rhino beetles; Trypoxylus dichotomus politus) have finally arrived. (Click here to refresh your memory.) They invite you to share in their joy.

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The nursery. (Some of the babies are playing hide & seek in the dirt.)

JARED: Our youchu (larvae) are finished turning into kabutomushi! I'm so excited! They're all different shades of brown and some of them are bigger than others, even though they're brothers and sisters. They can make squeaky noises with their legs, like crickets.


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Larger than your average bug.

A bouncing baby boy.

JARED: You can tell which ones are boys because of their long horns in front.

EVERETT: Osu (males) are tsuyoi (strong). But their claws hurt.

A beautiful baby girl.

JARED: The girls are big, but they don't have horns. They bury themselves in dirt faster and deeper than the boys. They scratch more, too, and have more hair on their bodies.

EVERETT: I like mesu (females). They're nice, but they won't let go of your hand.


JARED: Mom named this one "Takami" because he's not very big. Takami is her favorite sumo wrestler and he's not big, either. This one's rare, because most boys are big, especially their horns. He was the smallest of all of them. He's our favorite.

EVERETT: Takami makes me happy 'cause he's cute.

Takami and brother.

Takami trying to bulk up by eating jelly.

JARED: Kabutomushi like to eat fruit, but in stores they sell special jelly to feed them that's sweet like fruit. They also eat tree sap and watermelon.

EVERETT: I want to feed them suika (watermelon).


JARED: This one's called "Snaggle" because one of the points on his horn is crooked. It's funny.

They grow up too soon--This one's off and flying already.

JARED: Our kabutomushi are super cool. I rate them 6 insect legs out of 6!

EVERETT: I love them!!!

Mom's comments: Because we are leaving Japan soon (and I don't want to be arrested by customs), Jared and Everett will be selling their bugs and putting the profits towards purchasing new pets in the U.S. One male/female pair will be 600 yen. This price includes a small cage, dirt and starter jelly food. You can either pick up your bugs or I can bring them to the Leaver's Party on the 8th or kencho on the 14th. This is a bargain price, so make your reservations now!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Japanese Carabid Beetle

Damaster blaptoides.

JARED: This bug is called a maimaikaburi. In English it's sometimes called a fiddle beetle because it's shaped like a fiddle. Mom saw it crossing the street when she was driving, so she pulled over and caught it. It was about 7cm long. It eats snails and worms. It has a funny pointed butt that looks like a kissing fish. It was fast like a gokiburi and it makes a lot of noise at night. It's a little creepy, but I kind of like it, too. I rate it 4 insect legs out of 6.

EVERETT: Oshiri (its butt) looks like it hurts. He hurts katatsumuri (snails). But I think kuwagata (stag beetles) can kill him because he doesn't have hasami (pinchers). But he's still tough. I like him!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Red Longhorn Beetle

Purpuricenus spectabilis.

JARED: Mom's friend Laura took this picture in Hiroshima. It's a longhorn beetle called herigurobenikamikiri. In one of my bug books it says that it is 13-19mm long and is found all over Japan. It's season from May to July. When they are larvae, they eat bamboo, so adults usually lay their eggs in bamboo. I've seen lots of kamikirimushi (longhorn beetles), but not this kind. It looks like it has a face on it's back, and it's really colorful. I give it 5 legs out of 6.

EVERETT: It looks like a tentoumushi (ladybug) because it's red and black and has spots. But it's a kamikirimushi. It has nagai antennas (long antennae). I like it!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Violence & Cruella: Our Pet Ookuwagata

Dorcus hopei binodulosus
JARED: These bugs are named Violence and Cruella. They are our pet Ookuwagata (Great Stag Beetles). Everett's friend from preschool gave them to us.
EVERETT: My friend, Dai-chan gave me them because he likes me.

JARED: Violence is a boy. You can tell because of his huge pinchers. He is about 7 and a half centimeters long. You have to be careful when you hold him, or he'll pinch you. Also, he might scratch you with his claws. They are like hooks, and they get stuck to your clothes easy. Everett's been pinched by Violence a whole bunch of times. I've never been pinched by him though. Ookuwagata live longer than regular kuwagata. These ones should live a couple of years. I definitely rate him 6 insect legs! I also give him 2 pinchers!

EVERETT: It always looks like Violence is mad! He looks like an oni (demon) because of his pinchers. He pinched me like, um, 48 times. It hurt a little bit, but not too bad. Amari itakunai (Didn't hurt very much). I like him a whole bunch!



JARED: This is Cruella. She's a girl. Girls don't have very big pinchers. She's about 4 and a half centimeters long. She's the kindest kuwagata I've ever seen. But her claws still hurt. I rate her 6 insect legs and 2 pinchers--the same as Violence!

EVERETT: Cruella looks cute and nice. She tickles me on my face. She's a little bit strong, but not as strong as Violence because she's small. I think she's sansai (3 years old) because she's not big yet. Violence looks 4 years old. (NOTE: Everett is 4.) I like her a lot!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Suzumebachi: the World's Largest Hornet

Vespa mandarinia

JARED: I saw this suzumebachi (Asian Giant Hornet) near the high school in our village. It was about 3 and a half centimeters long. I've seen bigger ones, but this one was still scary. Everett and I stood back while our mom took pictures of it. Suzumebachi are dangerous. Every year there are people who die from their stings. But I think it was weakened by something, because it didn't attack like suzumebachi normally do. Right now there are a lot of these insects flying around. One hit our windshield when we were driving, and it didn't even get hurt--it just flew away. I rate this insect 4 legs out of 6.

EVERETT: It looks like an Oosuzumebachi (Great Asian Giant Hornet). It looks like he's mad, so we have to stay away. It's abunai (dangerous) because it bites. His antennas look like tsuno (horns). I like it!

If you haven't seen it yet, view National Geographic's "Hornet's from Hell" documentary video about these amazing insects.

For other posts on this species of insect, visit here and here.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Harmonia axyridis spectabilis.

JARED: This ladybug is called a namitentoumushi. It was by our house. It's different than normal ladybugs because it's black with red spots, not red with black spots. Ladybugs are good because they eat bugs that harm plants. So they are good for gardens, but they pee on you when you bother them. I rate it 3 insect legs out of 6.

EVERETT: It's a black tentoumushi (ladybug). I like it when they fly away. Sawatara, tonde ikun yo. (If you touch them, they'll fly away!) I like it!

To see other kinds of ladybugs, click here and here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Prepare for Invasion!

Statililia maculata.

JARED: This is a kokamakiri (baby praying mantis). Everett found it in our backyard. That means that there's going to be a whole bunch pretty soon. He's tiny but he looks just like an adult. I'm excited for them to come out. I rate it 5 out of 6 insect legs.

EVERETT: It looks like he's licking his hands in the last pictures. I like kamakiri because they kill anything. But this one's kawaii (cute). They eat chouchou (butterflies), bata (grasshoppers), and kumo (spiders), but kumo can eat bata, also. Zenbu tabemono o tabetara, okiku naru yo ne (If they eat all the food, they will become big, won't they?)! I like it!

See previous praying mantis posts here and here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chinese Yellow Swallowtail

Papilio xuthus.

JARED: This butterfly is called a namiageha in Japanese. In English, it has 3 names: Chinese Yellow Swallowtail, Citrus Swallowtail, and Asian Swallowtail. Mom saw it when she was walking to the train station in Houhoku. This kind of butterfly is in season from April to October. It looks like a hummingbird when it flaps its wings quickly. It's beautiful, so I rate it 5 insect legs out of 6.

EVERETT: It looks like a zebra butterfly. He's colorful. He's smelling the flower. I like him!

Monday, May 15, 2006


Sipalinas gigas.

JARED: This is an Oozoumushi (a type of weevil; lit., "big elephant bug"). It is the biggest kind of weevil in Japan. We found it near the high school in our town. This kind of bug lives 1 to 2 years. He is over 3 cm long. He eats plants by digging holes into them with his long nose. He also likes tree sap. At night, he likes to be in light. I rate this bug 4 insect legs out of 6 because of its impressive size for a zoumushi.

EVERETT: I found it on the ground by my mom's school. I thought he was going to bite me, but he didn’t. He is a hard bug and bumpy. Looks like a kabutomushi (rhino beetle) with a broken tsuno (horn). I like it!

To see a previous post about a different, much smaller zoumushi, click HERE.
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  • Hotaru/Firefly: Megan
  • Kabutomushi/Rhino Beetle: Jared, Laura, Shaun, Speaka
  • Kamakiri/Praying Mantis: Jess, Victoria
  • Kuwagata/Stag Beetle: Dad
  • Mukade/Poison Centipede: Adline
  • Semi/Cicada: Ellen
  • Suzumebachi/Asian Giant Hornet:
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