born from nature

Plants and Animals of the Island

Taketomi Island, part of the Yaeyama Archipelago, lies between the Eurasian Continent and the Pacific Ocean, an area strongly influenced by monsoons. However lacking in what people on the mainland call "four seasons," inhabitants of Taketomi still notice changes in seasons from the wind.
In Japan, when overnight low temperatures do not fall below 25 degrees, it is called 'nettaiya.' The record for Tokyo for one summer was fourteen 'nettaiya,' however, Taketomi has had up to 103 'nettaiya' in one summer.
With these and other natural conditions such as frequent typhoons and strong sunlight, the flora and fauna have adapted to the severe life on Taketomi.

Aza / Adan / Screw Pine
Commonly found glowing by the seashore, these plants bear pincapple-like fruit.
Although the ripe orange colored fruit Is edible, it is not very tasty.
Pihyashi / Hihatsu-modoki /
Long pepper
This pepper plant with green leaves grows on the stone walls of the villages.
Pihyashi is an ingredient of Yaeyama spices.
The leaves also have a unique smell so it is often fried as tempura or used in soups.
Tohnachi / Hasuno-hagiri /
Jack in the Box
This tree grows on the beach, with fruit that look like balloons. Children used to remove the seeds , put fireflies inside, and play with it as a lantern.
Cangi / Inumaki / Japanese Yew
A very hard and solid wood, the Cangi is a good building material. Some families grow this tree in their yards for future home rebuilding.
Shuiki / Monpanoki / Beach Heliotrope
Growing on the shores of Taketomi Island, the Shuiki is usually 3 meters high, but they can grow to over 10 meters. Traditionally the trunk was used to make water goggle frames for fishermen.
Tabikkya / Hama-omoto / Poison Lily
Also called "hamayuu,"this lily has white flowers and belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. The name comes from the "omoto" (Lily of China) because the leaves resemble those.
Kuba / Birou / a kind of Palm
It used to be used to make many everyday goods such as fans, sandals, well buckets, and toys. It is said that the tree is the place for gods and spirits to rest in peace in On.
It is basically a type of tall palm.
Basha /Ryukyu Itobashou /
Japanese Banana to spin weaving yarn Fiber from the stems is used to make strings for fabrics. It is possible to remove the fiber three years after it first sprouts.
On the islands, Japanese banana plants with no fruit and split leaves are called the 'string' banana plants. Can you tell the difference?

Kabirah / Tsumabeni-chou /
Great Orange Tip
This is the 'town butterfly' for Taketomi Town. It feeds on Spider Tree leaves.
The edges of its front wings are red and it belongs to the Pieridae family.
However the female has a more grayish color.
Fuhshu-fuhshu kabirah /
Oogomadara / Tree Nymph
The larvae eat the leaves of the poisonous Hourai-kagami, a kind of apocynaceae plant.
Even as an adult, this poison remains inside the body so no birds try to eat it.
Tah / sashiba / Grey-faced Buzzard
A hawk with a slender body screeches “Pikkuieh!!” or “Kinmmie!” It eats grasshoppers, frogs, snakes, and birds.
it's Southern Migration once signaled the best time to sow barley for the islanders.
Mahhabu / Sakishima Habu /
Nocturnal, this snake stays away from direct sunlight and high temperatures.
It hides itself in bushes, or in the cracks of stone walls.Use caution and carry a flashlight when you go out at night.
Mejiro / Japanese White-eye
The feathers around this bird's eyes are white ,giving this bird it's distinctive name. It eats spiders and small insects, but also sucks the nectar of flowers.
It is often seen sucking the nectar of Deigo flowers by dipping It's beak into them.
Hokkaruminah / Itomakibora /
Family Fasciolariidae
This shellfish is edible. During the warm season, they move out of the hole where they live in colonies. Minah means shell. The Japanese name, Itomakibora comes from its bobbin (Itomaki)-like-shape.
Iron / Habukurage / Box Jellyfish
This jellyfish has highly poisonous tentacles. During certain season,the population can increase explosively. Please confirm if it is safe to swim beforehand.
(Photo by Okinawa Prefectural Institute
of Health and Environment)
Hallo / Tsunomegani / Crab
Nocturnal, this crab lives on the beach.
It is used to predict the weather, and for grave-building rituals. It has characteristic eyes, and a squarish body.

The names are written in: Local Dialect / Standard Japanese / English Explanations
Names in red indicate dangerous species

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