Reptiles in the Amami islands
Unlike those in mainland Japan, reptiles in the Amami islands include a variety of lizards, including tropical species such as Okinawa tree lizard (Diploderma polygonatum). Among such reptiles, the venomous snake Habu reigns the ecosystem, having long prevented exotic species. As anther unique example, Goniurosaurus kuroiwae splendens, a primitive gecko with four pink horizontal strips is a natural monument designated by Kagoshima prefecture to which the Amami islands belong.
Habu (Protobothrops flavoviridis)
The largest Crotalinae in Asia. Its typical body color is yellowish brown with some variations, including gold, silver, and reddish black. The snake has unique mosaic pattern on the skin. The species has a wide differentiation in middle Ryukyu region (consisting some Tokara islands, Amami archipelago, and Okinawa islands), and significant differentiation in the skin color, habits, and protein toxin between different islands.
Banded ground gecko (Goniurosaurus splendens)
An endemic species found only in Tokunoshima island. The reptile cuts its own tail to run away from its predators like snakes.
Okinawa tree lizard (Japalura polygonata polygonate)
About 20 cm long. Males have brilliant green skins.
Photo / ©Futoshi Hamada