|Morning sunlight comes into the forest of Mongolian Oak (Quercus mongolica). Here, Gamov Peninsula (the southernmost place of Far-East Russia) is located just next to the border area between North Korea and China. Vast grassland stretches along coastal zone and some forests of Mongolian Oak (Quercus mongolica) are also seen there. Its
scenery is quite beautiful and hard to explain fully.
Once I step into the grassland with full of morning dew, I found Melitaea protomedia and Coenonympha oedippus are basking in the morning sunlight to dry their wings. When I see two species of Melitaea (M. protomedia and M. ambigua) flying at the same spot in Russia, I always cannot help wondering the historical process of the butterfly fauna. For in our country both species are never seen in same place, one is restricted in central part of mainland Honshu, the other ranges western part of mainland Honshu.
Both the sky and the sea are blue. In the valley of the grassland, The Fritillary (Speyeria spp.) is common on the flowers of Culver’s physics (Veronicastrum sibiricum) or Trollius spp. During the afternoon, cattle move from grassland to coastal zone, escaping from the heat. I realize what time it is by observing that males of Niphanda fusca begin to show territorial activity on the open mountain ridge. In the early evening, I see Japonica onoi flying weakly at the forest canopy one after another. Soon the number of butterflies grows bigger and bigger, tens or hundreds of butterflies flying at the canopy just like orange wave. This spectacle continues just before the sunset. I went back to the lodge, feeling excited with this magnificent show.
This untouched nature in Gamov Peninsula has been preserved because of low population density and the lack of the necessity against major development. As the economic grows in Russia, construction of paved roads or residence begins steadily here. I hope the nature remains to be there as it is.
|The butterfly and nature of Far-east Russia (Aug., 2008)
Photo & text by NAGAHATA, Yoshiyuki