animals, art, flowers, insect, macro, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: A special guest

hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) / Taubenschwänzchen

When I was out for photographing butterflies, I suddenly recognized a fast-moving subject in the flowers beside me and when I watched it with my eye, I knew at once, that I was seeing a big butterfly. I’ve never seen such a butterfly before. I encountered a for me unknown species. Fortunately, it stayed long enough to fetch my camera and even got a few frames. One of them was pretty good.

During the next two days I saw it again. Always very fast-moving and only for a few moments stopping on some of the blossoms just like the other butterflies. But, instead of sitting down on the blossoms it was ‘standing’ above the blossoms in the air, just like a hummingbird, and putting the trunk inside the blossom to suck some nectar.

My researches resulted in the fact, I was faced by a hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum). The hummingbird hawk-moth is one of the few day-active moths. They are strong flier and wander a lot. So, they come up from the Mediterranean area north to middle Europe and even Scandinavia and Russia during summer. You can find them from Portugal in the West to Japan in the East and also in North-Africa and India. Up to now, it’s not known, that they are able to overwinter in Middle-Europe, Scandinavia or Russia.

Their wingspan is 40–45 millimetres (1.6–1.8 inch) while the moth is 36-50 millimeters (1,4-2 inch) long. Their flying speed is up to 80km/h (50 miles/hour) with 70-90 wing flaps per second. They are know for conquering distances of up to 3,000km (1,875 miles) in less than 14 days.

And the only food they use, is nectar! Fascinating!! How much energy they are able to get from that food.

Take care!

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animals, art, flowers, insect, macro, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: surprise in the blooming field

Starting from last week Wednesday we had a few very summerly days. Blue sky, hot sun and temperatures around 30°C during the days. So, I took my camera and headed to the bloomy areas to chase butterflies. Every now and then, I saw a very angry-looking insect in strong yellow and black colors. It alerted me and caught my attention. I’ve never seen such an insect before. It reminded me to a wasp but it was way bigger: about 2 cm long and much fatter than a wasp. Also the face was broader and rounder then a wasps face. The biggest wasp here is a hornet. But, a hornet is colored very different. After studying several books to find out, what insect I found, I guess, I found it: Anthidium manicatum, commonly called the European wool carder bee (Große Wollbiene). One of the 524 bee species living in Germany.

The bees I know, are more brownish or black and not in such a bright yellow. The only insect I knew before in such an intense yellow is the wasp.

Just in case, someone knows it better, please drop me a line. I also have some more images 🙂

Take care!

animals, art, flowers, insect, macro, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: green on lilac

I took this image in May 2010. I was out for photographing the wonderful blooming lilac with my macro lens. When checking the images on the tiny back screen of my camera, I noticed some fine lines crossing the whole image. What’s that? I feared, I might have harmed the lens or the sensor. So, I went home for checking the camera and the images.

Fortunately, my camera and my lens were not broken. Instead, accidentally I got a spider web between my camera and the lilac. So, I went back and tried hard to find the spider web again. This time, I even found the spider. See, how tiny it is compared to a single lilac blossom. It’s an Araniella cucurbitina, sometimes called the “cucumber green spider”. It becomes only 6mm (females) and 4mm (male) ‘big’.

Take care!

animals, culture, flowers, food, insect, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Bees still in danger

Last week I’ve read an article in a German political news magazine with very good reputation for publishing their reports from a very neutral point of view. They wrote about a research report, published recently by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). I already wrote here about the huge decrease in insects around. But, this report is specific to bees.

The EFSA report said, they now have an evidence for the suspicion verbalised in 2013, that pesticides and insecticides based on Neonicotinoides (named  Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam which are used to safe seeds: i.e. rapeseeds) are an enormous danger for bees. Wild bees as well as domesticated bees.

According to experts, even tiniest doses of i.e. 4 billionth gram per bee is deadly. Weaker doses already endanger their ability to navigate, to learn, weaken the immune system and reduce the ability to fertilise.

Why do we need bees, one might say, combined with a statement about not eating honey. But, bees are much more important than for producing honey: without bees we won’t get much food. Even in greenhouses bees are working hard to pollinate billions of blossoms each day. Not speaking about the huge industry like orchard growing i.e. apples, pears, plums, cherries and many other fruits. There’s a quote, four years after the bees, people extinct too. Although, this quote often is accredited to Albert Einstein, the real source is unknown. Even channels Darwin published a statement with a similar meaning. Nevertheless, the impact of the vanishing of bees will be huge.

Despite the European Union already restricted the allowed usage for these poisons (allowed only in greenhouses and of certain plants like winter grain), the restrictions are about to get tightened now.

This new report could be the final keystone to get these poisons forbidden. A very good new for the insects.

Our environment is already very seriously harmed. Help, to turn the clock backwards. Buy your food from local farmers, where you can ask them about their usage of poisons.

Take care!