Insects of the water & forest

Heidi Axelsen


Meeting with Dr. Tomoyuki Tsuru at Kyororo, the Echigo-Matsunoyama Museum of Natural Sciences we were able to learn about the insects unique to this area from the forest and aquatic systems.

As Tsuru-san explained the insects groups of the satoyama, a great sense of synergy with our project emerged. In the days prior to visiting Kyororo we were developing concepts for huts to observe and experience the water from mountain streams and rice fields and to sit within the beech or cedar forests. We were fascinated to learn how we may help create an environment where you can be immersed in the insect and plant life & contribute to the proliferation of this system.

Dr. Tomoyuki Tsuru, Hugo Moline, Heidi Axelsen and Nathan Hawkes at Kyororo. Photo by Diasuke Hatori

Dr. Tomoyuki Tsuru, Hugo Moline, Heidi Axelsen and Nathan Hawkes at Kyororo. Photo by Diasuke Hatori

We learnt about the insects supported by the beech, oak and cedar forests; such as the long horned; stag beetles and the larvae of rare moths which feed on the bark of the oak. The fireflies and tiny dragonflys we saw in the summer, are some of the most delicate and vulnerable species which rely on pure water ponds ‘tamike’ in the rice fields and rivers.

Rare moth larvae feeds on the oak bark.  Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Rare moth larvae feeds on the oak bark.  Photo by Heidi Axelsen

While most of the insects have laid their eggs and died once the snow begins to fall there are a few species which survive in the snow. Tsuru-san took us outside to show us the tiny black bugs bouncing on the surface of the snow.

Dr. Tomoyuki Tsuru showing us the insects in the snow. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Dr. Tomoyuki Tsuru showing us the insects in the snow. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Tiny bugs in the snow, this one reincarnates itself as a winged mosquito in the summer. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Tiny bugs in the snow, this one reincarnates itself as a winged mosquito in the summer. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

The snow is incredibly beautiful, each flake so light, soft and gentle yet over such a long winter it begins to weighs so heavy on this place and people. However like the bushfires in Australia it has such an important role in balancing systems.  

At the moment I am fascinated by the sense of latent, dormant water in the striated snow piles across the landscape. 

Layers of snow on the side of the road. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Layers of snow on the side of the road. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Heidi and Nathan by the main river running through Urada. Photo by Hugo Moline

Heidi and Nathan by the main river running through Urada. Photo by Hugo Moline

View of the snow caked mountains. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

View of the snow caked mountains. Photo by Heidi Axelsen