It really bugs us that Japan has the prettiest bugs.

Japan’s Ministry of the Environment has placed three rare species of arthropods native to Okinawa under immediate legal protection until June 30, 2024. Under Japanese law, the capture, killing, distribution, exportation, or unauthorized display of these species during this timeframe could result in imprisonment for up to five years or a fine of up to 5 million yen (US$45,270). The special protections are intended to save the species from extinction and make it easier for scientists to study them in the wild moving forward.

The protected species include two newly discovered cockroaches (after a drought of no new ones in Japan for 35 years) and one new centipede (the first in over a century!). Notably, they’ve been winning over entomophiles and the public alike because of their striking color accents–even among those who aren’t usually part of the cockroach-loving crowd.

Let’s properly introduce the new guys now, shall we? 

1. Eucorydia miyakoensis (Japanese name: Benieriruri cockroach)

Inhabiting only the forests of Okinawa Prefecture’s Miyako Island, Eucorydia miyakoensis was just recently recorded as a new species in a scientific article in June. It immediately stands out for the vivid orange belt pattern on its wings. Not much is currently known about its habits apart from the fact that it thrives in humus (decayed plant and animal matter) on the forest floor.

▼ Why can’t we have an iridescent cockroach like this in the U.S…?

2. Eucorydia donanensis (Japanese name: Usuobiruri cockroach)

Meanwhile, Eucorydia donanensis was identified as a newly discovered species on the small Yonagumi Island (home to the westernmost inhabited point in Japan) in a November 2020 article. It has a purple abdomen with a dim, poppy-red band covering its wings. Males can supposedly grow slightly bigger than E. miyakoensis. Just like its fellow genus member, it also lives in humus on the forest floor.

▼ Having fun soaking up some sun

3. Scolopendra alcyona (Japanese name: Ryujin centipede)

Centipedes are not actually scientifically classified as insects (though they do share the same phylum Euarthropoda along with arachnids and crustaceans). Scolopendra alcyona has been observed on several islands, including Kume Island and Tokashiki Island near the main Okinawa Island as well as Iriomote Island and Ishigaki Island farther south. S. alcyona is approximately 19 centimeters (7.5 inches) in length which also makes it the biggest in Japan. Most interestingly, in April 2021 it was determined to be only the third amphibious centipede in the world, living a semi-aquatic lifestyle in forest rivers.

▼ The species epithet alcyona is derived from a story in Greek mythology in which a woman named Alcyone was cursed by the gods and turned into a halcyon, or kingfisher. The centipede’s legs are of a similar color to this bird.

As a word of caution, if you’ll be traveling to Okinawa anytime in the next three years, might we suggest that you NOT bring the strongest roach killer in Japan on your journey–unless you want a dead insect apocalypse and decades of debt as a souvenir.

Source: Japan Ministry of the Environment via My Game News Flash
Reference: Live Science
Top image: Pakutaso
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