Nature & Culture of Japan

To make your trip to Japan more interesting


A beautiful moth = Satsuma-nishiki

This is an insect called ”Satsuma-nishiki” in Japanese name. The scientific name is Erasmia pulchella nipponica. Although it is not a butterfly but a kind of moth, it has a very beautiful color.

Moths usually gather in the light at night, but beautiful moths can be seen fluttering in the daytime. Birds do not prey on it because it has poison in its body. When that once occur, the moths will evolve in a more prominent direction. As a result, such a beautiful moth has emerged. Just as a beautiful rose has thorns, beautiful moths are poisonous.

It can be seen in warm regions in Japan. ”Satsuma”, the first half of the Japanese name, is the old name of Kagoshima prefecture at the southern tip of Kyushu. I took this photo in the forest in Wakayama prefecture.

”Nishiki” in the latter half means beautiful clothes. There is a Japanese proverb using the word nishiki, as “wear beautiful clothes”.

― 錦を飾る Nishiki wo kazaru ―

This is used when a person who has made a career in the city returns to his hometown.


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