Violet Carpenter Bees Are Out Of Hibernation

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This is a real sign that the thermometers are rising, it has been well over 20 degree Celsius for the last few days during the daytime and this has awoken the Violet Carpenter Bees.

These gentle giants are flying around feeding and also mating. You may think that these are dangerous due to their size, but are really docile and yes like all bees the female has a stinger, but rarely uses it. Many people think these are black, but if you look closely, you will notice the violet reflecting in the sunlight. In some countries Carpenter Bees are a pest as they damage wooden structures, however, Violet Carpenter Bees only seek out dead wood. If you have a garden or some land, leave out a rotting tree trunk or large branch which will become a nest and hibernation home for them. They are solitary bees, but this time of year you may see them mating.

Here are a few shots I snapped in the garden this morning


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Processionary Caterpillars – It’s That Time Of Year Again

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The Pine Processionary Caterpillar can be a real issue here in Southern Europe and even more so in the Algarve.

Towards the end of December and into January/February, you may notice silky Spider-Web-like nests appearing in the Pine Trees. They have a hidden danger.

Processionary Caterpillar Nest

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An Aggressive Mantis

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Yesterday morning I was cleaning one of the terraces here at the Quinta and noticed a female Preying Mantis under the lip one of the steps. It was a warm December day and assumed she was laying an egg sack, called an Ootheca. She actually wasn’t so as I needed to hose down the area I decided to move her. I have relocated many Mantises by picking them up and they usually stand their ground but this lady was having none of it. She immediately went I to full defence mode and started to grab my fingers with her Raptorial Legs. As you can see in the photos she even opened her wings to make her look scary but actually I think made her look more pretty!

All photos were shot and edited using Lightroom on my Samsung Galaxy S9+ Smartphone.


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All images are protected by international copyright!
All of the content displayed on this website (unless otherwise stated) remains the copyright of Craig Rogers. It is illegal to download, copy (including copy by reference) or distribute any content without prior permission and/or licensing. Please read my Copyright Statement.

(African) Death’s-Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

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A great find this morning in the garden, although, it was the dogs that found it, not me!

This is a Death’s-Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar, the name comes from the pattern of a skull on the back of the moth. I have never seen the actual moth, but have put a library photo at the end. There are 3 species of this moth, this one is the African Death’s-Head Hawkmoth with the scientific name of Acherontia atropos, the other 2 species (Acherontia lachesisare and Acherontia styx) are found in Asia.

This Caterpillar is one of the largest I’ve seen, even bigger than the Elephant Hawkmoth. It was around 12-14cm in length and over 2cm wide. In fact it was so long that I struggled to get it all in focus, even with a small aperture.

When approached they click their mandibles as a defense tactic, although it’s not very loud. I relocated it away from the dogs to go about its business.


📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 1/640sec, f/14, ISO200
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All images are protected by international copyright!
All of the content displayed on this website (unless otherwise stated) remains the copyright of Craig Rogers. It is illegal to download, copy (including copy by reference) or distribute any content without prior permission and/or licensing. Please read my Copyright Statement.

Red-veined Darters Mating At Salgados

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This morning I had a great time at Salgados giving a guided nature walk, we saw lots of bird life as you’d expect, Flamingos, Glossy Ibis, Marsh Harrier, Spoonbill, Purple Swamphen to name a few. However, at an area that had a large puddle of water there were lots of mating Red-veined Darters mating.

Once mating has finished, the male and females stay attached and the female lays her eggs in the water. I snapped this quick photo of a female laying whilst still attached to the male. Whilst not the best photo, it shows this weird behaviour that the Red-veined Darters have.


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Help Me ID This Wasp! (NOW ID’D)

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UPDATE : Thanks to all those that helped, it has been identified as a species of Digger Wasp with the scientific name of Sphex maxillosus.

I have a solitary Wasp in the garden and it’s digging a tunnel in the grit between our Calçada. I have looked through many resources and cannot ID it. The closest I have found is a Hover Fly Parasite Wasp, but it lacks the white strips on the rear legs.

As you can see in the 2nd photo, its grabbing pieces of grit in its mandible and dragging it out of the hole. It is around 7cm long, so quite a large Wasp.

Anyone know?


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All images are protected by international copyright!
All of the content displayed on this website (unless otherwise stated) remains the copyright of Craig Rogers. It is illegal to download, copy (including copy by reference) or distribute any content without prior permission and/or licensing. Please read my Copyright Statement.

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