Two species of rare butterfly observed in the vicinity of the Northern Training Area

Two species of rare butterfly observed in the vicinity of the Northern Training Area

A Pithecops corvus ryukyuensis butterfly stopping on a Sphagneticola trilobata flower on October 1 in Takae, Higashi Village

November 3, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo


In Kunigami Village and Higashi Village, in and around the Northern Training Area (NTA), near-threatened species of rare butterflies Ypthima riukiuana and Pithecops corvus ryukyuensis (a type of forest Quaker) spiritedly flutter about. According to the butterfly researcher Akino Miyagi, many of these two varieties of butterfly appear from around September to November. These butterflies often also appear in front of the main gate to the NTA.

In early October, several Ypthima riukiuana butterflies were observed flying around in the woods in Aha, Kunigami Village. This species of butterfl

An Ypthima riukiuana butterfly stopping on a Bidens pilosa radiata flower on October 1 in Aha, Kunigami Village

y is only observed inhabiting the north-central region of Okinawa Island and the Kerama Islands, and is endemic to these regions. In Takae, Higashi Village, Pithecops corvus ryukyuensis butterflies have been observed inhabiting Iriomote Island, and have been seen stopping on flowers such as those of Sphagneticola trilobata plants.

When seeking out these butterflies, Miyagi has heard the calls of Ryukyu robins (Larvivora komadori namiyei) from deep in the forest, and has encountered the Ryukyu green snake (Cycophiops semicarinatus). Meanwhile, when looking off next to the gravel path, Miyagi has seen garbage that was tossed out by American soldiers and Japanese people. She worries that “Although there are many precious butterflies in the vicinity of the training area, they are being threatened by human hands.”

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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