AN AROMATIC POST WITH PLENTY OF INSECTS

in Amazing Nature2 months ago

Sometimes on my walks around woods and meadows in search of small wonders from the natural world, I don't do much walking really …

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… because, sometimes, there is so much to photograph in just one place.

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15th July 2021 was a typically hot summer day and I spent hours under the intense sun, in the middle of the open meadow about a hundred meters from the sea. First, I noticed a group of yellow - faced bees, some species from the genus Hylaeus of the Colletidae familly.

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They were resting, hidden among the small leaves and tiny flowers …

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… of an aromatic plant that attracts a wide variety of species when it blooms.

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These small bees can easily be mistaken for wasps. Unlike most bees that carry the pollen on the hair that grows on their legs or abdomen, Hylaeus carries the pollen inside the organ called crop. An expanded portion of the alimentary tract used for the storage of food prior to digestion. The regurgitated pollen serves as a larval food.

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On another branch, the small moth Choreutis nemorana was sucking the nectar …

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… an even smaller bug, the Nysius senecionis from the Lygaeidae family, was resting nearby, well camouflaged on that surface …

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… and this colorful spider …

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… the pink - white version of the Thomisus onustus crab spider, was waiting in ambush.

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All that and much more was going on at the same time around the plant at the center of this post - the Mentha Suaveolens, commonly known as the apple mint … sometimes called also pineapple mint or woolly mint. On the following shot …

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… you can see how much motion can be found on this plant. Small Hylaeus bees are crawling around, some moth is feeding above them, and the Polistes gallicus paper wasp has just landed when I took the photograph.

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On a hot summer afternoon, when I feel drained and exhausted by the sun, chewing the mint leaves restores me a bit, it gives me a sensation of refreshment and I can think and concentrate better. I don't know how exactly that works, but from my experience, I can tell you that it works …

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… so I was chewing and photographing … and the heat ended up being almost enjoyable. On this and the following few photographs …

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… you can see the Sphecodes monilicornis sweat bees.

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Like all bees, the adults feed on nectar … but they don't collect pollen. The Sphecodes monilicornis females lay their eggs in the nests of other bee species. The host’s offspring gets destroyed by the parasitic female or later by her larvae, which feed on pollen supplies accumulated by the host.

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At one point, while I was photographing these cleptoparasitic bees in their daily feeding activities …

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… a moth landed in the frame ...

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... the Emmelia trabealis, a very common species along the coastline and in other dry and warm areas.

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This is the Pyrausta aurata, commonly known as the mint moth, a species that often uses various mint plants as the food source for the caterpillars. Often, but not exclusively.

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Many small moths are visiting these flowers during the day.

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Here you can see the Tyta luctuosa.

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The Convolvulus arvensis bindweed is the main host plant for the larvae of this species. Here you can see adult moths enjoying the nectar from the tiny flowers of the mint. About 10 - 15 moths were present during the shooting for this post.

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Acontia lucida is one of quite a few inconspicuous moth species that mimic bird droppings with the colors and patterns on their wings.

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This is another Choreutis nemorana moth, a species already introduced at the beginning of the post.

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This is some moth from the Crambidae ... I think ... I don't know the exact species. So this is all, maybe.

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There is a great variety of moths on these meadows. Quite a few similar looking species are present in the area, and that makes the search for the exact species often long and tedious. This time I just gave up before finding the name.

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On this shot, the same moth is enjoying the nectar with the Sphecodes monilicornis nearby. While the bee has to crawl from flower to flower in order to get its meal, the moth with the long proboscis can take the nectar from a bunch of tiny flowers while standing in the same place.

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Here you can see a very similar looking moth, feeding in company of a butterfly ...

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... the Coenonympha pamphilus ...

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... commonly known as the Small Heath.

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A bit later, I encountered two Brown Argus butterflies (Aricia agestis)

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They were busy performing their courtship ritual.

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Male butterfly of many species spend a lot of time defending their territories.

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These territorial activities include aerial fights in which the veterans end up loosing a lot of their scales from the wings, and therefore the intense colors get lost as well.

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This Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) has seen better days ... but even in this washed out edition ...

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... the butterfly is still beautiful. Still elegant, only in a different way.

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Here you can see another butterfly from the same family as the previous two species.

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This is the Lycaena phlaeas, commonly known as the Small Copper ...

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... and the family is Lycaenidae (Gossamer-winged butterflies).

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While photographing these lovely butterflies ...

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... I noticed an interesting inchworm.

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It looked like some green part of the plant itself, at first.

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Only when it moved, I realized that a caterpillar was in the frame.

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The inchworm was chewing the anthers of the flowers.

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This is the larval stage of some moth, but I don't know what kind of moth will this inchworm become.

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While some insects that I encountered that day were incospicous and well camouflaged, many were quite colorful ... like this Tachinid fly, the Gymnosoma rotundatum, ad example ...

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... and the Apion frumentarium beetle ...

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... an apionid weevil that feeds and reproduces on various Rumex plants ... like the Curly Dock (Rumex crispus), ad example ... that grew abundantly all around the Apple Mint plants.

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The plants on which all these photographs were taken, looked like a small, green, flower - covered island surrounded by the sea of dried out grass.

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Do you remember the colorful, pink - white spider from the beginning of this post? The Thomisus onustus? Well, here you can see a very different, pale version of the same crab spider species.

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On the nearby plant of the same kind, I photographed another colorful spider ...

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... from the Philodromidae (Running Crab Spiders) family this time.

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Philodromus aureolus is the name of this species. The color can vary from pale brown, almost white, to vivid colors like on this specimen.

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While the spiders were waiting in ambush, various small, wild bees were buzzing around. Here you can see another yellow - faced bee ... with the head deep in the flower. The post started with this species, but the bees on those opening photographs were just resting. Here you can see this insect during the feeding action.

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Here you can see some considerably bigger wild bee. I don't know what species is this.

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One colorful, medium-sized wasp was also very active around the flowers ...

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... the Philanthus triangulum.

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On this enlargeable shot, you can see the Philanthus triangulum feeding among the yellow - faced bees. Adult wasps eat only nectar, and they don't look like a threat to bees ...

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... but the common name of this species is the European Beewolf.

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Only the females hunt various bees, including the honeybees (Apis mellifera), which are paralysed with the stinger. Each brood cell in the underground nest is provisioned with between one and five bees for the larva.

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I saw this wasp many times before, but I didn't know anything about its behavior. Only when I took these photographs, I felt inspired to search for the name of the species, and so I found out the interesting story of the European beewolf.

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At one point, while walking around the mint plants, I noticed a minuscule black dot in motion.

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Only after taking a better look through the macro lens ...

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... I saw what looked like some kind of bug ...

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... and in fact - it was a bug.

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Earlier today, while preparing the post, I found out that this is the Geocoris erythrocephalus, a very distinctive bug from the Geocoridae family, a family commonly known as Big-eyed bugs.

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These pair of Beosus maritimus, bugs from the Lygaeidae family ...

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... was mating, well hidden in the intricate mes of many leaves and branches on the lower part of the plant.

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Here you can see yet another bug ... from a completely different family.

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This is the Camptopus lateralis from the Alydidae (Broad-headed bugs) family.

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On this shot, some minuscule insect is flying, blurred in the background. That's why the photograph entered the post.

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This Tachinid fly, the Cylindromyia Bicolor ...

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... is visiting the flowers for nectar and pollen.

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Some grasshoppers were also present on the mint that day.

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This is some relatively small nymph that will look different once its development is completed. I can't tell you the name of the species. You can also see the Geocoris erythrocephalus on this shot, slightly blurred in the lower central part of the picture.

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This is some considerably bigger and more developed nymph ...

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... and here again - can't tell you the name of the species.

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The green nymph of the very big Anacridium aegyptium grasshopper ...

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... is very hard to notice on this plant.

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The colors and markings provide a nice camouflage.

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As nymphs, these grasshoppers can be green, brown and gray ... in various shades of those colors.

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And now ...

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... with this Brown Argus butterfly ...

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... and the last look at the Sphecodes monilicornis bee ... is time to end this little journey.

As always in these posts on HIVE, the photographs are my work - THE END.

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Hello @borjan!

great repertoire of species, we like that you identify them
We appreciate your work and your post was manually curated by @none! from the DNA team!

Reach us on Discord to learn more about the project!

Thank you :)

There is no post like it anywhere on the blockchain--unless it's one of your posts :))

Battling butterflies? Who knew.

I could spend half an hour commenting on the different impressions your pictures had on me (I stopped to look up tachinid, for example and wondered if the different crab spiders were changing color as a form of camouflage). So many ideas flowed through my head. Even about the soothing nature of mint.

Stellar post.

:) Glad you enjoyed the details. I found in a couple of articles that only adult females ( and those spiders in the post are females, much larger than males) can adjust their colour to some extent in order to match the color of the flower. Didn't know that. I'll try once to observe this change.
I just read on Internet that menthol in the mint has analgesic and local anesthetic properties.

I love mint! How lucky. From now on it's mint tea and mint ice cream:))

Manually curated by blacklux from the @qurator Team. Keep up the good work!

Hi @borjan, congratulations, wonderful work!
The photo tour through the variety of insects, velvety butterflies, in the photos you can appreciate the texture of their wings.... colourful spiders, shimmering gold, and the Tachinid fly, what a surprise, it's a beautiful fly !
.
Thank you for sharing this extensive and fabulous exhibition of insects and allowing us to discover and enjoy the fascinating world of insects, with each of your publications, for me it is a continuous learning of nature.
See you soon my friend.
Happy life!

Thank you :) glad you like these posts with flora and fauna.

Another awesome piece of work from your side.
Bravo!

:) Thanks!

That camouflaged grasshopper , I’m surprised you saw him. There is a red bug that looks like the walkers in Star Wars, like that one too. Damn that is a lot of pics.

:) I noticed the grasshopper only after being an hour or so close to him without a clue that it's there. Only when I accidentally got to close, and he moved, I saw him. Many insects have great mimicry, and that looks cool - once you discovered them.

Very nice and long documentary ;))

Awesome photos and post overflowing with wonderful information. Great shots of that tiny Groceries bug especially 🙂. I found a masked bee Hylaeus the other day, I don't often find them and definitely not in those numbers!

You captured some really great scenes .. I like that one with the wasp and the bee .. the one withe the European Beewolf .. just stunning .. I love all of your captures, but this one especially is really amazing 👀🤯👍

WOW, just WOW, what incredible pictures, and the quality of each one, the way you seen to be able to blend in the area and dint scare the wild life but instead they let you take photos of them, i just wonder how much time you dedicated to it, because they are great photos and you can see it with ease. I send you a big hug, im going to watch other post you have made, these are great.

Thank you. :) Glad you like this photo excursion in the world of insects. Have a great day.

Thank you, have a great day aswell :)

The Thomisus onustus crab spider sure had some cool markings and color. The shiny wings of the moths on the mints were lovely. Incredible number of bugs you found on that one stand of mint. I love these posts!

We appreciate your work and your post has been manually curated by zoology team (oscurity/nelinoeva) on behalf of Amazing Nature Community. Keep up the good work!

Thank you :)

Wow!!!! Just wow. I never thought I'd appreciate insects not until I saw this post. The quality is crisp and clear and I am totally amazed with each photos. It totally brought me into a dimension that I too, feels like one of them. Good job on this Borjan! 😊

Thank you. :) Glad you like this journey among the insects.

Totally! Looking forward for more of your photos! 😊😊

The main thing is not to eat the Green shield bug! I once chewed on one with raspberries, there will be enough emotions for a lifetime!))) And the pictures are just space!

:D Green shield bug can turn your face green! When eaten ...

Went through it one time now .. and definitely have to do it several times more .. just amazing.. you said "plenty" and I prepared for that, but it is far more than that .. its like "countless" 😅 .. just awesome collection @borjan .. excellent 👍

Thanks. :) It was a long day by the mint plants. Never spent so much time looking through the macro lens without a break. So much was going on around the flowers that just couldn't stop observing and photographing.