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

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


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.


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

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.



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.

Arum Lily (Araceae)

Araceae are a family of monocotyledonous flowering plants in which flowers are borne on a type of inflorescence called a spadix. The spadix is usually accompanied by, and sometimes partially enclosed in, a spathe or leaf-like bract. Also known as the Arum family, members are often colloquially known as aroid. This family of 107 genera and over 3700 species is most diverse in the New World tropics, although also distributed in the Old World tropics and north temperate regions.

Levant Water Frog (Pelophylax bedriagae)

The Levant water frog is a southern european species of frog. They are quite large however they aren't poisonous.  This frog was introduced in some countries were it was not native. One of which is Malta where this frog was deliberately introduced to a number of fresh water pools in Gozo mainly the one at Kercem called l- ghadira ta' San Raflu where it sustains a large population.  This type of fog is prolific and invasive species.