Friday, October 28, 2011

Flower Lover



The Jigenji Park is in a valley between two of the train stations about 20 minutes south of Kagoshima-chou station (just before you get to Goino, with the shochu factory there). It's a fairly large park, buried under lots of trees. At one end is a little river, with a restaurant on the bank, and a bridge about 10 feet from the restaurant's entrance. As I was walking over the bridge, I caught some movement in the trees over the river. Initially I thought it was a hummingbird sipping nectar from the flowers. Then I noticed another 10 of them flitting around the same tree. I took quite a few photos but the things kept moving too fast for the camera to focus on them.



Finally I got this shot. I think it's some kind of weird huge moth.

11 comments:

Randy B said...

I think they're "Great Mormon" butterflies (Papilio memnon). See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JeEP3BwzUM and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAm5yXM7LYk . Their wing shape and color is variable; they can be all black, or have some white and orange markings, and they can have the classic swallowtail hindwings or completely rounded hindwings. The ones in your photos appear to be all black with a tiny bit of orange on the underside near the base of the wings.

TSOTE said...

Thanks, Randy! Based on the videos, I guess I have to agree with you. Mine don't have the swallow tail, but the body shape is similar. I always expected butterflies to be more attractive.

Can I ask why you know this?

Randy B said...

Here's a site that has some examples of the different forms of this species: http://www.geocities.jp/raytyou/Papilio_memnon.html

In my original comment on GoComics, I assumed you were talking about one of these moths: male http://www.flickr.com/photos/jshillaw/4868259027/ or female http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianadler/4845608817/ .

I don't have any direct experience with Japanese insects, but I have a lot of experience distinguishing and identifying critters from field guides or through web searches. I'm especially interested in showy insects like butterflies and moths. I'm an amateur naturalist.

TSOTE said...

Thanks again, Randy. Yeah, you're original impression was a little different from the reality, sorry about that. When I first saw them hovering around the tree, I really thought "wow, cool, hummingbirds". When the one stopped moving long enough to make it out clearly, I slowly stepped back and turned around to leave. They're pretty big and hover more than fly.

Cool. Do you have much of a collection, or do you prefer to just take photos rather than specimens?

Randy B said...

I collected and mounted a lot of California insects when I was in elementary school. Now I just take photos, mostly while traveling.

TSOTE said...

That's cool. How much traveling do you do, and what camera do you use? (I'm looking for a new camera, but I'm limited on budget at the moment.)

Randy B said...

I live in San Jose, CA and drive around the state to parks and wild areas with coast redwoods, sequoias, and wildflowers. I go to Yosemite more than any other single place. Last September I went to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, and the year before I drove to Dallas and back (for a conference) and visited every park I could in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

I use a Nikon Coolpix P100 for its zoom (distance magnification) and macro (closeup) capabilities, and for its ability to take fairly good pictures in low light.

TSOTE said...

Sweet. I've only been to a couple of those places. Yellowstone, most recently. I used to work in Dallas for a Hitachi subsidiary, then moved to Austin for a Japanese semiconductor equipment maker whose U.S. HQ was in San Jose. I had to go out to SJ 3-6 times a year, but spent my spare time visiting Japantown in San Francisco, rather than going to the parks. I've always wanted to go to Yosemite and the Grand Tetons, but never had the chance.

Do you use any of the manual settings on the Coolpix, or do you only have it on auto?

Randy B said...

I usually leave it in the default photo mode, with the macro or distant focus modes as appropriate. It's got a lot of features that I've never used.

TSOTE said...

There's a photo developing shop near me, which has some cameras on sale. One is the CoolPix P7100, which seems similar to the CoolPix 100. I need to find a comparison chart.

Do you have any of your photos online I could look at?

Randy B said...

Well, the P7100 is a lot more compact because it doesn't have the extreme 26x zoom.

I don't really have any of my photos online. Sorry.