SUMMER DAYS DEEP IN THE WOODS

in Amazing Naturelast month

Usually, when I'm outdoors in the summer, I spend most of my summer days in the sea. Swimming and snorkeling, or just lazily floating, with the eyes glued to the deep blue sky above me. But this summer ...

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... I was so obsessed with photographing that I jumped in the sea only a handful of times. For the most part ...

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... while my friends were busy being tourists, I was rambling around the sunny meadows and through the dense shady forests near the sea ...

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... in search of insects, spiders, and whatever nature in this season has to offer.

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The photographs in this post ...

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... were taken in the unique, lush forest near the village called Shishan, about seven kilometers from the place where I live, during July and August 2021.

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The air during the summer is pretty hot here, just like elsewhere, but there is more humidity, so you can sometimes encounter mushrooms in the season highly adverse to the growth of the fungi. On 7th July, I found these minuscule Marasmiellus ramealis that grow o the rotting twigs down on the forest floor.

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While photographing the mushrooms, I noticed some jelly-like stuff nearby ...

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... that looked like clusters of eggs. I don't know which animal produced this. When I took this shot, I was photographing only the tiny, slimy white things, that were immediately noticeable even without the macro lens, but today ...

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... when I enlarged the picture while preparing the post, I found some amazing creatures there. I wasn't aware of this minuscule stuff back then.

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These small mushrooms with tough stems can shrivel up during dry periods and later recover their original shape.

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When I was walking through the forest on 11th August 2021 ...

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... a lovely, and pretty big butterfly was flying around me.

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At one point the butterfly landed on the fallen leaves, a meter or two from my bare feet ...

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... so, after taking a couple of shots from a distance ...

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... I mounted the macro lens and started slowly, inch by inch, getting closer with the camera, until I was able to get this enlargeable shot that shows enough textures and details.
This is the Argynnis paphia, commonly known as the Silver-washed Fritillary. The adult butterflies feed on the usual nectar of various flowers, especially blackberry flowers, thistles, and knapweed, but also on aphid honeydew. This thing about honeydew was a curiosity that I didn't know until today. The butterflies feed outside the forest, on the open meadows, and the shrubs at the edge of the woods. Only when it comes time to rest a bit, they prefer the shade of the forest, where they are practically impossible to spot when not flying. If you compare these similar shots, you may notice how the shades of green on their wings slightly vary depending on the direction and properties of light. Parts of the wings can sometimes look intensely green, sometimes pale, at times shiny, at times matte.

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A bit later the butterfly flew away but soon landed again, on the sunny spot not far from there. Here, out of the shade, I could take a photograph using the natural light that shows the color of the inner surfaces of the wings.

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The leaves also looked great in that kind of light.

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This forest is made mainly of different types of oak mixed with plenty of laurel, in form of shrubs and small trees.

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The laurel (Laurus nobilis) it's a very aromatic evergreen plant that gives the forest a very specific and beautiful scent, especially in autumn when is mixed with the scent of humid soil and fungi.
Sometimes the place smells like a kitchen.

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Here I'm approaching an old oak ...

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... with a small puddle of water caught among its branches.

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The date was 13th August 2021 ...

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... and I found an interesting community of insects around the little, muddy pool on that occasion.

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This is some small fly from the Psychodidae family. I don't know the exact species. Psychodidae are commonly known as Drain flies or Moth flies. They do resemble minuscule moths and can be found around drains in urban areas. This humid place with decaying plant material it's a very drain-like habitat.

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Not far, on the dry part of that area in between the branches ...

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... I found a real moth.

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The well-camouflaged Cyclophora puppillaria. A species from the Geometridae family.

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This little thing that resembles some kind of sea anemone ...

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... fell from the same tree. This is the cup of the acorn. Two acorn cups, to be more precise. And by their shape, it's easy to conclude that the tree on these photographs is a Quercus cerris, commonly known as the Turkey oak, a species native to south-eastern Europe and Asia Minor.

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The Common paper wasps (Vespula vulgaris) ...

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... were buzzing back and forth, from the small pool to their nest.

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These metallic green beetles, the Trypocopris pyrenaeus, were crawling across the base of the branches, directed to the puddle.
The adults and larvae get the nutrients by eating mainly the detritus, occasionally animal excrements. The leaves and twigs decaying in the muddy water probably look very attractive to them.

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In this photograph, you can see one of these beetles surrounded by a group of small Crematogaster scutellaris ants.

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The Green bottle flies (Lucilia sericata) were also present around the pool, adding more metallic green shine to the place.

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This minuscule, well-camouflaged creature, photographed on the bark near the pool, isn't an insect. This is the Orchesella cincta springtail. Being about four millimeters long, you can say that is a very small animal, but among the springtails that are less than a millimeter long in most cases, this is a giant.

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While exploring the forest on the 18th of July, I was focused on large horizontal cobwebs spread in between thorny plants under the trees. Pollen grains and various fragments caught in the silk made the spider's construction very visible.

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Here you can see the author of those impressive cobwebs ...

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... the Agelena labyrinthica ...

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... a spider from the Agelenidae family.

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This one is eating some small cockroach caught in the silky trap.

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Spiders from this family are commonly known as Funnel weavers.
Agelena labyrinthica isn't a huge spider, so the web looks even more impressive when compared to the size of its builder.

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On another web, built on the small, shrub-like oak at the edge of the forest ...

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... another Agelena labyrinthica has caught some small beetle.

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In the foreground of this photograph, you can see the thorny Ruscus aculeatus plant that covers the forest floor in many areas.

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Here you can take a look at the interior of the fruit of that plant. This red berry was partially eaten by something.

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On the nearby plant of the same kind ...

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... I found another elegant moth. The Camptogramma bilineata. Another species from the large and varied Geometridae family.

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Ruscus aculeatus it's an evergreen shrub, so I rarely encounter desiccated brown plants, like the one in this photograph.

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The Hymenochaete rubiginosa, commonly known as the Oak Curtain Crust fungi ...

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... can be found on dead stumps or rotting parts of living oak trees.

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I photographed these perennial fruiting bodies, hard as wood, on the 2nd of August 2021.

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While sniffing around the forest floor like some truffle hog, a bit later that same day ...

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... I found quite a few interesting fungi.

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This is the Inonotus hispidus ...

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... a fungus that appears on dead or dying deciduous trees.

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When young and soft, the perennial fruiting body can be eaten like any other mushroom. The old, hardened fruiting bodies like the ones in these photographs can be used to prepare some kind of healthy herbal tea.

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This is a small, not completely developed Ganoderma lucidum ...

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... another hard, unchewable mushroom that can be used for healthy drinks.

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I can't tell you much about this colorful fungal growth.

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I found it in the same area ...

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... on some very rotten fragments of wood.

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On 15th August, I was approaching another old oak ...

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... attracted by the look of the ivy growing at the base of the tree.

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The young shoots crawling along the trunk looked pretty cool and photogenic.

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That same day I also came across the rusted pieces of some ancient, partially buried bicycle by the narrow path that leads through the forest ...

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... and photographed some interesting creatures on the ivy spread on the forest floor, around some smaller younger trees. In these four pictures, you can see some adult planthopper, probably from the Tettigometridae family, and some young grasshopper nymph - don't know the species nor family.

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Here you can take another look at the planthopper. Probably the same species with slightly different patterns and markings.

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In this photograph, the planthopper jumped right into the silky trap, and now the spider is consuming its meal.

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I don't know what species is the small spider in question ...

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... but from observation, I can tell you that it's a very common species in these woods, where creates large horizontal webs on which always hangs upside down. I encounter this species only in the dense woodland vegetation, in shady, humid places, never on open, sunny terrains.

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This robust wolf spider, the Hogna radiata, was resting (or waiting in ambush) on the leaf of ivy.

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Some days later, on 17th August ...

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... I found more mushrooms.

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These are the slightly dried-out Stereum hirsutum fungi, commonly known as hairy curtain crust ...

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... yet another species that grows on dead wood.

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On some dry branches not far from the fungi, I noticed a jumping spider.

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With many similar-looking Salticidae around, I can't tell you the exact species here.

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On the nearby piece of the rotting stump, I found this fungus. It looked like jelly but was hard as wood. I don't know what exactly is this. Maybe some magically hardened jelly fungus from outer space.

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On 23rd August 2021, I was passing through the green tunnel that leads out of the forest ...

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... and there, on the fern along the path ...

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... I photographed the smaller, juvenile version of the jumping spider you already saw, not so long ago, in this post.

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This small Neozephyrus quercus butterfly was resting on the laurel leaf, just above my head.

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On the sunny edge of the forest, where the blackberry shrubs grow while climbing along the branches of the trees, I photographed more small butterflies from the Lycaenidae family.

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This is the Satyrium ilicis.

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Here you can see the Satyrium ilicis and the Plebejus idas.

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In these two photographs, you can see the Lycaena phlaeas.

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Quite a few moth species were also present on the foliage.

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I saw this one for the first time. Don't know the exact species. The family is probably Pyralidae, but I'm pretty far from being sure.

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Here you can see the Celypha cespitana, a small leafroller moth from the Tortricidae family.

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This is the Epagoge grotiana, another leafroller species from the Tortricidae family.

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Here I can't tell you the species and don't know the family, while on the following photograph ...

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... you can see the Emmelia trabealis from the Noctuidae family, a mainly diurnal species that likes sunny, open spaces.

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The Pachytodes cerambyciformis longhorn beetle ...

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... and the minuscule Scymnus apetzi ladybird beetle were photographed on the fluffy flowers of the Clematis vitalba, a climbing shrub that covers the young trees in some areas at the edge of the forest.

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With many potential preys flying and jumping around, some orb-weaving spiders have built their traps among the foliage. This is the Araneus diadematus.

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This juvenile Argiope bruennichi has caught some diurnal moth.

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The juvenile Neoscona adianta in this photograph is feeding on the same kind of prey.

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This adult Gibbaranea bituberculata spider is resting among the foliage at the edge of the web.

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Some spiders, like this Philodromus rufus from the Running crab spiders family (Philodromidae) ...

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... were waiting in ambush for their prey.

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At one point this small solitary bee, don't know the species, landed on the oak leaf in front of me.

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After a bit of antenna cleaning, the bee flew away.

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I encountered also some Hemiptera, here on the foliage at the edge of the woods. This is some leafhopper from the Cicadellidae family. Don't know the exact species.

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Here I don't know what to say. Because I saw this beautiful species with transparent forewings for the first and only time on that occasion.

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Could be a Cicadellidae. Maybe Tettigometridae. I don't know.

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This is the Coraebus rubi, a beetle from the Buprestidae family. In the following photograph ...

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you can clearly see some minuscule wasp at the rear end of its body.

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When it comes to their reproduction, many small wasps are parasitic ...

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... so maybe this shiny one is also a parasite.

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I don't know. Never encountered this behavior before. Never read about it. Never saw it in books or on the Internet. If somebody knows what this is about, I will gladly hear it.

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This is the Malthinus punctatus, a beetle from the Cantharidae family.

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I photographed it on the lower branches of another young tree not far from there. Cantharidae are commonly known as Soldier beetles.

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Back in the shady ambiance of the forest, surrounded by dense vegetation, I photographed some mysterious circles ...

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... and other, more complex natural artworks on fallen leaves.

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I found this leaf covered with protuberances ...

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... with a hole, more or less in its center ...

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... and these minuscule silky cocoons on the bark of the nearby tree.

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And now, with this lovely moth ...

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... the Catocala nymphaea from the Erebidae family, photographed in the evening of 23rd August 2021, is time to end the post.

Hope you enjoyed the relatively long journey. As always in these posts on HIVE, the photographs are my work - THE END.

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@tipu curate :)

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!

So many photos for us to feed the eyes. My focus is on that first butterfly. It got quite unique colors on its wings. I love those brown designs on it.

Sundown beautiful collection @borjan ^^ .. these pictures look really nice in that light .. but these jelly like fungi looks really weird 😂

:)

I thought it won't end :))) but great pictures !WINE


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:)

I thought something similar. It takes literally two minutes just to scroll down. But it is worth every second. As if we were walked with him in that forest. Beautiful. I cannot even imagine the time he put into this post.

So many amazing living creatures out there! Nice shots, @borjan.

Thanks :)

Those were some impressive webs! Love the green of the Trypocopris pyrenaeus. Loved the bronze iridescence of the moth you couldn't identify. Liked the transparent wings on that other one you couldn't identify. Lots of spiders!

Beautiful and surprising detail in every photo.... excellent work.

Thanks for sharing, I continue with you discovering and learning from nature.

Thank you friend @borjan

:)

The animal is so scary, but it looks so cute in this photo 😍😍

the jungle trip is certainly very exciting, but you do photography in a very beautiful forest landscape and we were very surprised to see these animals, they are not completely extinct, but I rarely see these unique beetles and small eggs, of course this is very difficult to find. wow you did this very well. Shishan forest has a lot of beautiful memories

All those Photography you have captured beautifully. Butterfly , beetle and Mushrooms Photography looking so beautiful.

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:)