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.

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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.

Camouflaged Grasshopper

Recently I made a trip to Etna. While I was atop one of its craters I saw something jumping and after some time I spotted this tiny grasshopper.  Its fascinating how it blends perfectly with the environment.  Unfortunately I took this image with the only lens that I had on me (28-105mm).  However even though this image is nothing more than a record shot, I thought that I would still share to show the splendid world that we often take for granted. Here is a link to a website about insects found on Etna.

blackgrass

 

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

Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus)

The Asian tiger mosquito or 'forest mosquito' is native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia. However in the past couple of decades this species has invaded many countries. Aedes albopictus is an epidemiologically important vector for the transmission of many viral pathogens, including the Yellow fever virus, dengue fever and Chikungunya fever, as well as several filarial nematodes such as Dirofilaria immitis.

Striped Shield Bug (Graphosoma lineatum)

This species is very common in the Maltese islands.  Graphosoma is a genus of the Pentatomidae family. The Striped shield bug is also known as the Italian Striped-Bug and Minstrel Bug. It is often found on the flowers of the Greater Pignut, Wild Carrot plant or on the flower of the Giant Fennel. The bold red and black warning colours (aposematism) indicate that the insects are foul-tasting. The insects are common across Southern Europe. This species grows to around 1cm in length.