Scary Japanese insects are our friends

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    Stars & Stripes doesn’t want us to be afraid of the big scary bugs that inhabit Japan:

    “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “This bug was prehistoric.”

    Big. Quick-moving. More than 10 pairs of legs … having just one of these endearing qualities is usually enough to make an insect unwelcome, let alone all of the above, says Hideomi Kakimoto, a Yokosuka base environmental engineer.

    But “geji,” or household centipedes, are known as “good bugs” in Japan, as their ninja-like maneuvering (and, cringe, their ability to jump) allows them to hunt other household pests like cockroaches and clothing moths.

    Wikipedia says that geji are even sold in Japanese pet stores.

    “They do look scary,” Kakimoto said. “But they are good bugs.”

    Other good bugs can also frighten foreigners who aren’t used to sharing their living spaces with them, Kakimoto said. Take ashi daka gumo, or the “high leg” spider. Huge, brown with knobby legs, these spiders are common residents in Japanese homes.

    Frightening in size and speed, these are excellent cockroach killers and are harmless to humans, Kakimoto said. The spiders don’t even make a mess, as they don’t build webs, relying instead on high-speed chases to snag their prey.


    [Images via: 1, 2]

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