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Trichodes octopunctatus (Fabricius, 1787)

This is a beetle species belonging to the family Cleridae than can be found in the Iberian Peninsula, Balearic Islands and Italy. It feeds on pollen, nectar and other small insects. Larvae live in hymenoptera nests, feeding on their larvae and nymphs.

The head, antennae, pronotum and legs are black, while the elitrae are orange to red with several black dots (commonly eight and hence the adjective “octopunctatus). All the body is covered by white hairs.

The photo was taken in Almodóvar del Río (Córdoba) in April 10, 2016

Trichodes octopuntatus

 

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Crocus serotinus Salisb. subsp. salzmannii (J. Gay) B. Mathew in Kew

This is a herbaceous perennial herb with a bulb that thrives in rocky grasslands, scrub and pinewoods of the Iberian Peninsula and NW Africa. Bulb tunics are papery and with parallel fibres. Leaves are enclosed inside a sheath at anthesis. Flowers, 1-2, are campanulate and lilac, sometimes with darker veins. Anthers are yellow. Style is yellow to orange-red, with three or more branches that are fimbriate or lobed at the apex.

Flowering takes place from September to December.

The photo was taken in a placed called “Las Jaras” (Sierra de Córdoba) in October 11, 2017.

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Pontia daplidice (Linnaeus, 1758)

This is a small white butterfly with a wingspan of 45 to 50 mm. The underside of the hindwing has a pattern of greenish blotches, which is characteristic of this species and easily identifies it from other in the family Pieridae. It is extremely widespread through southern Europe, north Africa and Middle East; ocurring in a wide variety of open habitats, including semi-desert and elevations from sea level to almost 3,000 m. Its diet is generalist and it utilizes a variety of larval host-plants.

The male is differentiated from the female by the markings on the upperside of the forewing. The apex of the forewing is black with white spots and lines. There is a black spot at the end of the cell, but in the case of the female, there is an additional discal spot in S1b. The female also has an obscure row of terminal and marginal spots on the upper hindwing.

The photo was taken near the city of Córdoba, in a place called “La Palomera”, in October 11, 2017.

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Empusa pennata (Thunberg, 1815)

Empusa pennata is a species of praying mantis in genus Empusa. It can be found in perennial herbs and scrubs from Southern Europe. It has a large and thin body along with a great flying apparatus by their pair of wings and light body mass. The first pair of legs is placed in the front part of the thorax while the other four legs are below. The anthers are different in males and females: bipectinnate in the former, and filiform in the latter. This species of mantis is easily distinguished by the protrusion from its crown. Both male and females, even from first hatching carry this tall extension giving them a very alien appearance. They live in areas that are warm and dry and use their cryptic colouring of either greens and pinks or various shades of brown to keep them hidden from predators. The female may grow to a length of 10cm while the male is shorter and slimmer.

The photo was taken near the “arroyo Pedroche” (Córdoba) in October 2, 2017.

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Mentha suaveolens Ehrh.

Perennial and rhizomatous herb with a sickly sweet scent, that is usually found in humid places in Mediterranean Region and central Europe. Stems, which range from 40 to 80 cm, are hairy, erect and sparsely branched. Leaves are sessile and rugose, and range from ovate-oblong to suborbicular. Flowers are grouped in verticillasters that are usually congested forming a terminal spike. Calyx is campanulate and hairy, and corolla is whitish or pink.

Flowering takes place from May to December.

The photo was taken near the “Arroyo Pedroche” (Córdoba) in October 5, 2017.

M. suaveolens has been used in the traditional medicine of Mediterranean areas and has a wide range of effects: tonic, stimulating, stomachic, carminative, analgesic, choleretic, antispasmodic, sedative, hypotensive and insecticidal. Moreover it shows depressor activity, analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. More info here

Sympetrum fonscolombii (Selys, 1840)

This species is widely distributed throughout Africa, Asia and Mediterranean  Region. It has a nomadic behaviour and shows a strong tendency to migrate. It is usually found in, and reproduces in permanent and ephemeral shallow and sunny standing waters, lakes, ponds, tanks and seasonal rivers.

Dragonflies are colourful insects which show remarkable sexual dimorphism, colour transition, and colour polymorphism. In this case, males are bright red coloured while females are yellow-brown. The eyes are red-brown above and blue below and the wing bases are yellow. The pterostigma is yellow to orange, strongly outlined in black. Males become a deep red with maturity with red veins on the wings, particularly on the leading edges. The frons and the thorax are red-brown. Females  have ochre-yellow abdomen, with two black lines along each side. Inmature males are coloured as the females but have only a single line along each side of the abdomen.

Sympetrum fonscolombii is a multivoltine species, so adult individuals can be found from April to November.

On the left we can see an adult male; on the right an inmature (observe the single black line on the abdomen). Both images were taken in mount Calamorro (Benalmádena, Málaga).

Argiope lobata (Pallas, 1772)

This is a species of spider belonging to the family Araneideae. Its distribution encompasses the whole Africa and stretches to southern Europe and Asia. 

Sexual dimorphism in this species is very pronounced. Males are small but females are large and spectacular at up to 25 mm in length. Its silver abdomen is marked with black spots and carries deep furrows and distinctive lobes around the edge. As all spiders do, this species has glands within its abdomen, capable of secreting a fluid that hardens into silky threads. These filaments are spun into large and beautiful webs, usually with a prominent zig-zag decoration. It is thought that this decoration not only attracts preys to the web,but possibly even prevents its destruction by larger animals.

Argiope lobata is an insectivore spider, and before consuming its victims, it poisons and spins it in silk. Individuals from this species are able to devour animals up to twice its size. This species forms part of Andalusia’s species diversity and one should not harm or collect it; instead, such large spiders should be allowed to play their important role in the natural cycle of life.

The photo shows an female individual, in ventral view on the left and dorsal view on the right. Both images were taken in mount Calamorro (Benalmádena, Málaga) in September 23, 2017.

Fritillaria lusitanica Wikstr.

This is a bulbous perennial herb that lives in grasslands, thickets clearings, and screes of the Iberian Peninsula and N. Morocco. Stems, up to 50 cm tall, are green. Leaves are alternate and linear to lanceolate, the lowest broader than the highest. Flowers are campanulate, often expanded at the mouth. Tepals are purplish with a greenish central band and yellow tesselated on the inside (though sometimes also on the outer side, as it is shown on the image below). This species also bears greenish nectaries on the inner side, and at the base, of the tepals. The fruit is a obovate and truncate capsule.

Flowering occurs from February to July.

The photo was taken in the Sierra of Córdoba, in February 21, 2017.

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Tripodion tetraphyllum (L.) Fourr.

This is a procumbent annual herb that can be found in grasslands, roadsides and slopes in the Mediterranean Region. Stems, up to 50 cm, are hirsute. Leaves are imparipinnate with 1-5  sericeous leaflets, the terminal obovate and much bigger than the others. Flowers, sessile, are grouped (2-8)  into axillary fascicles. Calyx is inflated at the anthesis. Corolla with a pale yellow to whitish standard and yellow wings.

Flowering occurs from March to June.

The photo was taken in a slope of an abandoned quarry, near the city of Córdoba, in April 7, 2016.

Anthyllis tetraphylla

Asphodelus fistulosus L.

Short lived perennial with numerous slender roots that can be found in roadsides, cultivated ground and dry, sandy or rocky places along the Mediterranean Region. Leaves are hollow and almost terete (subcylindrical). Scapes are up to 70 cm tall, simple or branched and hollow. Bracts are scarious and the tepals are oblong-obtuse and white with a neat central longitudinal stripe of brown to reddish purple. Anthers are yellow to orange.

Flowering occurs from January to June.

The photo was taken near the “Arroyo Pedroche” (Córdoba, Spain) in March 21,2016.

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