libutron

libutron:

Ladybird Spider - Eresus cinnaberinus ♂ 

Needless to say why these spiders are known as Ladybird Spiders. Eresus cinnaberinus (Araneae - Eresidae) is one of the most attractive species of its genus, and also one of the most rare.

They live in a vertical tube brownish silk that emerges from the ground, with a series of blue strands, anchored in the ground or nearby objects. The female, black, moves her eggs to the outside during the day and returns them to the nest at night, to maintain a constant temperature. These photos shows a wanderer male, probably looking for a female to mate.

The species occurs in Northern and Central Europe. However, it exhibits two disjunctly distributed color and phenological variants. So, Eresus cinnaberinus was split into two presumptive species: E. cinnaberinus and E. sandaliatus

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Alfonso Pereira | Locality: Soria, Spain (2011) | [Top] - [Bottom]

Eeeeeeeeee :3

libutron

libutron:

The Olm - Proteus anguinus 

This strange creature is commonly known as the Olm, a rare cave salamander belonging to the species Proteus anguinus (Caudata - Proteidae), which is only found in Europe. 

The Olm is perfectly adapted to live in caves. As it spends its entire life in darkness, Proteus anguinus has very poorly developed eyes and is blind. It also lacks pigment in the skin, giving its body a pasty white appearance, Its pink hue is due to blood capillaries near the skin, and as its translucency shows the contours of the internal organs. 

This salamander does not undergo a clear metamorphosis and retains many juvenile features, such as gills, throughout its life. It is long-lived, potentially reaching up to 58 years of age.

The Olm is restricted to subterranean aquatic habitats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Italy and Slovenia. The species is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Darko Visek | Locality: Rokina, Croatia, 2008] - [Bottom: ©National Geographic | Locality: Divje Jezero, Idrija, Slovenia]

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libutron:

Common European Cockchafer - Melolontha melolontha

Also referred to as Maybug and Field Cockchafer, Melolontha melolontha (Coleoptera - Scarabaeidae) is a common inhabitant on agricultural lands throughout temperate Europe and the United States.

Males Common European Cockchafers have longer antennae than females, with a large, fan-like club protruding.

Cockchafers are among the most dreaded insect pests in many European countries, causing economic losses in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. In forests of south-western Germany, populations of the Forest Cockchafer (Melolontha hippocastani) and also the Field Cockchafer (M. melolontha) have been increasing during the past three decades and, therefore, monitoring of these populations has been intensified.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Armando Caldas | Locality: Cabreira, Vendas Novas, Portugal, 2010] - [Bottom: ©rockwolf | Locality: Venus Pool, Shropshire, West Midlands, England, 2012]

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Olm (Proteus anguinus)

The olm, or proteus, is the only cave-dwelling chordate species found in Europe. In contrast to many amphibians, it is entirely aquatic, and it eats, sleeps, and breeds underwater.

Living in caves found in Dinaric Alps, it is endemic to the waters that flow underground through extensive limestone of karst of Central and Southeastern Europe, specifically the southern Slovenia, the Soča river basin near Trieste, Italy, southwestern Croatia, and Herzegovina.

This animal is most notable for its adaptations to a life of complete darkness in its underground habitat. The olm’s eyes are undeveloped, leaving it blind, while its other senses, particularly those of smell and hearing, are acutely developed. It also lacks any pigmentation in its skin. It has three toes on its forelimbs, but two toes on its hind feet. It also exhibits neoteny, retaining larval characteristics like external gills into adulthood.

The olm’s body is snakelike, 20–30 cm (8–12 in) long, with some specimens reaching up to 40 centimetres (16 in). The olm is extremely vulnerable to changes in its environment due to its adaptation to the specific conditions in caves.

On the IUCN Red List, the olm is listed as vulnerable because of its fragmented and limited distribution and ever-decreasing population.

photo credits: Boštjan Burger, mesozoico, slovenia, animalworld

astronomy-to-zoology
astronomy-to-zoology:

Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena)
…a striking species of Swallowtail butterfly (Papilionidae) which is widespread in middle in southern Europe, where it occurs in southeastern France, Italy, Slovakia, Greece, and the Balkans south to Kazakhstan and the Urals.
Adult southern festoons will fly from April to June and can typically be see in in open areas with abundant vegetation. Southern festoon larvae will feed on birthworts (Aristolochia spp.) and seem to prefer A. clematitis and A. rotunda. Birthworts are toxic making both the caterpillars and adults inedible.
Classfification
Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Lepidoptera-Papilionidae-Parnassiinae-Zerynthiini-Zerynthia-Z. polyxena
Image: Jean Laurent Hentz 

astronomy-to-zoology:

Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena)

…a striking species of Swallowtail butterfly (Papilionidae) which is widespread in middle in southern Europe, where it occurs in southeastern France, Italy, Slovakia, Greece, and the Balkans south to Kazakhstan and the Urals.

Adult southern festoons will fly from April to June and can typically be see in in open areas with abundant vegetation. Southern festoon larvae will feed on birthworts (Aristolochia spp.) and seem to prefer A. clematitis and A. rotunda. Birthworts are toxic making both the caterpillars and adults inedible.

Classfification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Lepidoptera-Papilionidae-Parnassiinae-Zerynthiini-Zerynthia-Z. polyxena

Image: Jean Laurent Hentz 

Asian Multi-spotted Ladybird Beetle (Harmonia axyridis):

The first photo set shows the variety in coloration and spotting, bit what stays the same are the large white edge spots on the sides of the pronotum (thoracic shield).  (photo by ©entomart)

The second set shows the full life cycle of H. axyridis. (photo by puddingforbrains).

This species has been widely introduced, purposefully, into Europe and North America, as garden pest control. This has had a deleterious effect on several of our native lady bird beetle (“ladybugs”) species, as native species are often unable to compete with the voracious predator of scales and aphids.

In the United States, we do have several species of native Ladybird Beetle. Find out more here:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/179

astronomy-to-zoology
astronomy-to-zoology:

"Freshwater Hydroid" (Cordylophora caspia)
…a ‘unique’ species of Oceaniid hydrozoan which is native to Northern Europe, but has been introduced into the United States and Canada. True to its common name Cordylophora caspia inhabits freshwater and brackish (or sightly salty) habitats, with colonies growing on a myriad of hard surfaces like rocks, pilings, and even mussel shells. Like marine hydroids C. caspia is predatory and will consume a variety of freshwater invertebrates. 
Cordylophora caspia populations may benefit from the expansion of zebra and quagga mussels in North America, as they provide substrate. It is thought that the increase salinity in systems impacted by road salt benefit them as well. 
Classification
Animalia-Cnidaria-Hydrozoa-Hydroida-Anthomedusae-Oceaniidae-Corydlophora-C. caspia
Image: Nadine Rorem

astronomy-to-zoology:

"Freshwater Hydroid" (Cordylophora caspia)

…a ‘unique’ species of Oceaniid hydrozoan which is native to Northern Europe, but has been introduced into the United States and Canada. True to its common name Cordylophora caspia inhabits freshwater and brackish (or sightly salty) habitats, with colonies growing on a myriad of hard surfaces like rocks, pilings, and even mussel shells. Like marine hydroids C. caspia is predatory and will consume a variety of freshwater invertebrates. 

Cordylophora caspia populations may benefit from the expansion of zebra and quagga mussels in North America, as they provide substrate. It is thought that the increase salinity in systems impacted by road salt benefit them as well. 

Classification

Animalia-Cnidaria-Hydrozoa-Hydroida-Anthomedusae-Oceaniidae-Corydlophora-C. caspia

Image: Nadine Rorem

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Iberian Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl)

Also known as the Spanish Ribbed Newt or the Sharp-ribbed Newt, the Iberian ribbed newt is a species of ribbed newt (Pleurodeles sp.) which is endemic to the central and southern Iberian Peninsula and Morocco. They are noted for their ‘sharp’ ribs which puncture through its side and secrete a mild poison, acting as a defense mechanism for the newt while causing the newt no significant harm. 

Fun Fact: Pleurodeles waltl has been sent to space at least six times. As they are a good model organism for the study of microgravity. 

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Amphibia-Caudata-Salamandridae-Pleurodeles-P. waltl

Image(s): Peter Halasz

Elusive European Wildcats Found Hiding Out on Mount Etna
by Laura Geggel
A healthy population of European wildcats has been discovered living in the forest surrounding Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily, researchers say.
The rare, elusive wildcats typically avoid people, making them difficult to study. By tallying the cat’s numbers across Europe, researchers hope to understand how urgently the animals need outside protections, such as habitat safeguards, said Stefano Anile, the study’s principal investigator and an independent wildlife researcher in Sicily…
(read more: Live Science)
photograph by Stefano Anile

Elusive European Wildcats Found Hiding Out on Mount Etna

by Laura Geggel

A healthy population of European wildcats has been discovered living in the forest surrounding Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily, researchers say.

The rare, elusive wildcats typically avoid people, making them difficult to study. By tallying the cat’s numbers across Europe, researchers hope to understand how urgently the animals need outside protections, such as habitat safeguards, said Stefano Anile, the study’s principal investigator and an independent wildlife researcher in Sicily…

(read more: Live Science)

photograph by Stefano Anile

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens)

The Eurasian water shrew is a relatively large shrew, up to 10 cm (4 in) long, with a tail up to three-quarters as long again. It lives close to fresh water, hunting aquatic prey in the water and nearby. Its fur traps bubbles of air in the water which greatly aids its buoyancy, but requires it to anchor itself to remain underwater for more than the briefest of dives.

Like many shrews, the water shrew has venomous saliva, making it one of the few venomous mammals, although it is not able to puncture the skin of large animals such as humans. Highly territorial, it lives a solitary life and is found throughout the northern part of Europe and Asia, from Britain to Korea. The Eurasian water shrew is active both night and day.

photo credits: itsnature, bioweb

libutron

libutron:

Spurge hawkmoth - Hyles euphorbiae

The Spurge hawkmoth, Hyles euphorbiae (Sphingidae), was the first classical biological agent released against leafy spurge in the United States, with approval for introduction granted in 1965. The moth was also introduced from Europe into Ontario, Canada, to help control various weed spurges, and then into Alberta where specimens are occasionally still taken.

Originally the Spurge hawkmoth occurs from south and central Europe to central Asia. 

Caterpillars may approach 10 cm in length, and are variously patterned with green, yellow, and black (young); or red, black, yellow, and white (older). They are distinctive by having the so-called “ring-spots” (spots that lack a nucleus), which is thought to have an aposematic function, being used as signals of distastefulness. 

The body of the adult moths is light brown with various white and dark brown markings, while the wings have a conspicuous tan, brown, and pink or red color pattern. The upperside of the hindwing is a rosy-pink, but there is a great deal of variation among the adults.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Adam Gor | Locality: Nagykovácsi, Pest, Hungary, 2013] - [Bottom: ©Tony Morris | St. Margaret’s at Cliffe, England, 2007]

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libutron:

Bee Beetle - Trichius gallicus 
This hairy beetle resembling a bee is an European species of the Scarabaeidae Family, scientifically named Trichius gallicus [Synonym: Trichius rosaceus], and commonly referred to as Bee Beetle due to its coloration pattern and because it buzzes like a bee when it flies.
Reference: [1]
Photo credit: ©linanjohn | Locality: Ciron, Brenne, France (2010)

libutron:

Bee Beetle - Trichius gallicus 

This hairy beetle resembling a bee is an European species of the Scarabaeidae Family, scientifically named Trichius gallicus [Synonym: Trichius rosaceus], and commonly referred to as Bee Beetle due to its coloration pattern and because it buzzes like a bee when it flies.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©linanjohn | Locality: Ciron, Brenne, France (2010)

Beetle ID - BC, Canada:
Possible ID, please? :) Found in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada.
Paxon:
Yes absolutely. This is a Knapweed Root Weevil (Cyphocleonus achates), family Curculionidae. They are native to Europe, and were introduced into North America to help control invasive Knapweed.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/226667
http://www.invasive.org/browse/subthumb.cfm?sub=3127
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyphocleonus_achates

Beetle ID - BC, Canada:

Possible ID, please? :) Found in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada.

Paxon:

Yes absolutely. This is a Knapweed Root Weevil (Cyphocleonus achates), family Curculionidae. They are native to Europe, and were introduced into North America to help control invasive Knapweed.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/226667

http://www.invasive.org/browse/subthumb.cfm?sub=3127

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyphocleonus_achates

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Libelloides macaronius

…is a species of Ascalaphine (Split-eyed) owlfly which occurs throughout parts of Europe and Asia. Like other owlflies L. macaronius is an insectivore and will feed on a variety of flying insects. L. macaronius larvae, on the other hand, are antlion-like ambush predators. 

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Neuroptera-Ascalaphidae-Libelloides-L. macaronius

Images: Sebaho and Srđan Mitić