Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Insects - Shield Bug

Shield bug
A shield bug of the Ventocoris genus seen in quite an abundance in Crete. These little fellows have an amazign body design, which totally explains their name as "shield bugs".

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Butterflies - Dusky Meadow Brown (Πεταλούδες)

Hyponephele lycaon
A Dusky Meadow Brown butterfly (Hyponephele lycaon) shot under harsh light at Rihios river, Greece.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Butterflies - Knapweed Fritilary (Πεταλούδες)

Knapweed fritilaries mating

Fritilaries in my opinion are the among most beautiful, yet most difficult to identify, butterfly species. These Knapweed Fritilaries (Melitaea phoebe) were mating in late summer in Lake Volvi. After a while I met another individual with its wings spread and was able to photograph the upperside as well.

Melitaea phoebe

Saturday, December 13, 2014

ID - Red veined Darter - Immature male VS female

A common problem when trying to identify odonata species (both Damselflies & Dragonflies) is that immature males of a species often look quite similar to mature females, which can become very misleading. The easiest way for a fast and accurate identification is the observation of reproductive structures, such as the male secondary genitalia and appendages or the female ovipositor or the vulvar scale. However, in many cases this becomes difficult due to their small size or a not so suitable angle between the subject and the observed. In this cases coloration might become a better index for the identification. Here I will try to point out some differences between immature male and mature female red veined darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii).

Sympetrum fonscolombii female

This is a mature female individual. The abdomen's coloration, with the two black stripes running the ventral part of the abdomen, is characteristic for the females.

Sympetrum fonscolombii female

A better view of the female abdomen.

Sympetrum fonscolombii

Now this is how an immature male looks like. The general similarity with the female is more than obvious, however the specific pattern in the abdomen is missing. Moreover, if you give a better look under the base of the abdomen (S2) you will notice a slight "swelling" which is a male's reproductive structure enabling him to transfer sperm to the female, the so called secondary genitalia.

Sympetrum fonscolombii

Eventually, the immature male will start to become mature and change his colour to red. This is how this procedures begins. As you can see the dorsal of the abdomen has already turned red, and the rest of the body will follow.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Damselflies - Migrant Spreadwing

Lestes barbarus
Some days out in the field can be very poor. This is what happened to me on July 22, when I went out to photograph Dragon- and Damselflies and for the first hour I would only encounter the common and over-photographed Common Blue-tails. But then my luck changed and I saw one individual of a different speceis...which was this Migrant Spreadwing, (Lestes barbarus) a new species for me! Photographic from a distance at the beggining, and then getting closer step by step.

Lestes barbarus

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Dragon's breakfast

Life can be hard, especially if you are small. This is what happer to this small damslefly (Blue-tailed damselfly - Ischnura elegans) which is being eaten by its larger distant "cousin", a Scarlet Dragonlfy (Crocothemis erythraea). Odonata are indeed ferocious predators!

Butterflies - Wall Brown (Πεταλούδες)

Lasiommata megera
Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)


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