Monday, December 29, 2014

Inception (or flower within a flower)


Wild carrot (Daucus carota) umbellet inflorescence, where the central flower is surrounded by lots of white flowers, creating the sense of a flower within a flower.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Butterflies - Speckled Wood (Πεταλούδες)

Pararge aegeria

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) is a rather common butterfly species in Crete. This shot was taken at Pantomatris River, Fodele, Crete.

  Pararge aegeria

This one was shot some year ago, with my tele Canon 75-300, at Gerani Village, Chania, Crete.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Butterlies - Small Copper (Πεταλούδες)

Lycaena phlaeas 
A Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) shot in a small lagoon in Vrasna, Northern Greece.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Insects - Shield Bug

Carpocoris mediterraneus 
A shield bug (Carpocoris mediterraneus) photographed at Almyros Gorge in Crete.

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)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Marsh Frog...Smile!

Rana ridibunda
This little frog was well camouflaged in the environment, but yet gave a smile to the camera! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Butterflies - Silved-studded Blue (Πεταλούδες)

Plebejus argus
It always feels nice when you go back to your archive and find a photo that you have missed. That's what happen to me when I saw this photo of a Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) dating back to May 2009 (I didn't even have my macro lense back then...). This photo was taken in Chortiatis Mt., next to the city of Thessaloniki.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Butterflies - Mallow Skipper (Πεταλούδες)

Carcharodus alceae

When photographing in close up you need to get as close to the subject as possible. Some butterfly species are easily frightened and fly away once you start approaching them. However, others, like this Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae) let you get pretty close without flying away.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Camouflaging - Small Red-Eyed Damselfly

Erythromma viridilum
In nature, very often the best way to survive is to remain unoticed. However, if your body is blue and your eyes red things get complicated, unless you find something reddish and rest there for a while. That's excactly what this male Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum) chose to do in order to fit the environemt. This might not be so well displayed by this photo, but if you  had the chance to see this insect from the front side, it was extremely camouphlaged!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Butterflies - Anomalous Blue (Πεταλούδες)

Polyommatus admetus

Anomalous Blue butterflies (Polyommatus admetus) are endemic to south-eastern Europe. I saw this one alone around many Common Blues (Polyommatus icarus), as is the usual case with this species. Really glad to have photographed it!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still Alive

Still Alive

Early in a summer morning, with much dew, this elder male Red-Veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) was trying to stay alive for one more day. Spreading the wings in order to gain energy from the sun, is the usual way to achieve this.


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