Plants & Animals

Keramashoto National Park

The seas around the Kerama Islands are home to 248 species of reef-building corals, and were designated a Ramsar site in 2005. Around June, the corals spawn, and some of their surviving larvae are swept out to make their way to the west coast of the main island of Okinawa and settle in the waters there.

Over 620 native plant species grow in the Kerama Islands. The forests have a variety of 46 tree species, where fan palm and Pinus luchuensis (Ryukyu pine) grow in abundance. The landscape is heavily effected by seasonal winds, so trees grow relatively low to the ground.

The islands have rare wildlife, including Sword-tail newt (Cynops ensicauda), Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Ryukyu robins and Kerama deer. The outlying sea areas of the Kerama Islands are also breeding grounds for humpback whales.

Plants

Coral Reefs

The coral reefs of Keramashoto National Park shelter a wide variety of colorful fish, including damsel fish and butterfly fish. These reefs are an important supply source of coral larva to the main island of Okinawa.

Keramashoto National Park coral reefs

Animals

Kerama deer

The Kerama sika (Cervus nippon keramae) are smaller in size compared with the sika deer inhabiting Kyushu, and are characterized by a smaller head and antler. This species is recognized as a National Natural Monument.

Kerama deer

Green Turtle

Distributed widely in tropical and subtropical zones, green turtles wade ashore to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches of the Kerama Islands. You may have a chance to swim with them.

Green turtle

Humpback Whale

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) range between 13 to 15 meters in length and weigh up to 30 tons. They swim the seas around the Kerama Islands between December and April. They mainly breed in the Ogasawara Islands and the Nansei Islands.

Humpback whale

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