yakushima insects

Yakushima insects comprise of an impressive +1,900 species – ranging from the common horsefly (promachus yesonicus) to the very rare Yakushima Wonderful Green Hairstreak butterfly (lycaenidae). The latter butterfly brings avid butterfly observers from all over the country to particular locations on Yakushima where there is best chance of spotting the Green Hairstreak at certain times of the year. The former horsefly will be the annoying things buzzing around the deer and macaque during the summer months. They give a sharp prick to pierce the skin as they feed on blood. They do not carry a sting, but the sudden stab is annoying!

Wonderful Green Hairstreak

Yakushima is blessed with a multitude of butterfly. Some of these butterfly like the Chinese Peacock (papilio dehaanii) and Red Helen (paplio helenus) are nearly as big as a human adult hand! So big are they that they form shadows when fluttering overhead. The butterflies are a major pollinator on Yakushima. Other Yakushima insects that do their share of pollinating include ants and the Japanese honey bee (apis cerena).

Obviously the warmer months of the year are best for insect observation. From June until October the skies are abundant with dragonfly and damselflies. The Ohko Waterfall is a great place to watch the dragonfly as they soar close to the cascade.

Should you visit the tea fields of Yakushima during the summer months then it is usual to find a variety of mantis lurking around the tea bushes as they prey upon flies and other smaller insects. The tea farmers actually encourage these predators to inhabit the tea fields as a preference to usually a chemical solution to the problems caused by pests.

Over the years of guiding visitors around Yakushima, we have noticed that a great number of people have a weakness for insects, but we hope visitors develop a greater appreciation and affection for them when they leave our island.