Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)

The Nursery Web Spider is a spider species of the family Pisauridae. It grows to about 15mm and they are active hunters that search for prey amongst grasses and low vegetation.

Males of this species offer a nuptial gift to potential female mates. Some have also been observed to use thanatosis (feign death) during courtship. After presenting the nuptial gift to the female, she bites on the gift and the male moves to her epigyne to deposit sperm with his pedipalps.

Throughout copulation the male keeps a leg on the gift so as to be ready if she tries to escape with it or attack him.

Thanatosis in Pisaura mirabilis has been observed to significantly increase the male's odds of successfully copulating.

The female carries her large eggs sac beneath her body, held in the jaws. Prior to the spiderlings hatching, she fixes it to some plants and spins a silken tent around it and then stands guard.

As only one species of this genus is present in northern Europe, this spider is unmistakable.

_MG_4709 copy
_MG_4709 copy
_MG_4712
_MG_4712

European dwarf mantis (Ameles spallanzania)

This species name honors the italian naturalist Lazzaro Spallanzani. Ameles spallanzania can reach a length of 4mm and can be found in different color forms including green and varying shades of brown and grey.  The males have wings and can fly moderate distances, whilst the females are wingless (apterous, with small vestigial wings).

This species can be found in the Mediterranean area, from Morocco to Greece and from southern Europe to northern Africa.

The below images where taken a year apart on March 2011 and March 2012 respectively.

ameles spallanzania ameles spallanzania

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon ssp. melitensis)

A common species with an 8.5cm wingspan, its larvae feed on Fennel and Rue. Weather permitting up to 3 broods are produced in a year. This species is found throughout the Palearctic region and is widespread in Europe. In Malta, it has been identified as an endemic subspecies Papilio machaon ssp. melitensis.

papilio machaon ssp. melitensis

Mosquito

Back this summer, I found this dead mosquito.  I took the opportunity to put it on a white background (again) and photographed it with a tripod on different focal lengths.  Finally I just stacked the image to achieve sharpness throughout all the image. If anyone knows the species, please let me know.

mosquitowhite

Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria)

The Long Skimmer was recently recorded in the Maltese Islands in 2003 and was recorded breeding on the island of Gozo in 2004. It is originally an african species which seems to be expanding its range possible due to climage change. Its natural habitats are rivers, shrub-dominated wetlands, swamps, freshwater lakes, intermittent freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, and intermittent freshwater marshes.

long skimmer

Spider - Need ID

After this night's stormy weather I went in my garden and found this spider making a web. I gently blew at the spider to see its reaction and amazingly this spider jumps off the web. Then, after some minutes of waiting it goes up slowly and rests in the middle of the web. I still haven't found the species of this spider yet. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii)

The Red-veined darter is a common species found in southern Europe and from 1990 onwards has been found in northwest Europe including Britain and Ireland. It can also be found in Africa, the middle east and south western Asia.  This is the only libellulid to be found in the Azores, on the Canary Islands and Madeira. The main flight period of this species is from May to October and scarce during winter months. Unlike other european dragonflies the Red-veined darter has more than one generation a year.

This species as other species of dragonflies will catch and eat prey on the wing.

ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-veined_darter