European Mantis or the Banded Centipede, Who Is The Boss?

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Tonight I spotted both a European Mantis and Banded Centipede in the same location. The Banded Centipede was just a small youngster and the European Mantis a fully grown adult. I grabbed my phone and started to record in case their paths crossed.

Both are serious predators in their own world but due to the Banded Centipede only being a youngster would it be an easy snack for the Mantis? I’ve often wondered who would be king of the predator if the two ever crossed paths.

If you’re looking for a big fight scene then you’re not in luck as both go their own way, however, I was still surprised, take a look for yourself. Of course, there may have been some activity before I got there as the Mantis did look unusually un-mantis-like. Maybe the Centipede had already bitten it beforehand. It’s almost as if they respected each others status of killer predator but I’d still say the Centipede had the upperhand!

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}

Flying Ant Day – Nuptial Flight (Video)

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One day every year, when the conditions are right, Winged Ants take to the air in order to create new colonies. Today, here all around the Quinta the skies became full of large flying Ants. There are many Ant species in Portugal, which these are I’m not certain (please get in touch if you know!).

Deep inside the Ant colonies, Winged species are breed and wait until its time for the Nuptial flight. Both Males and Virgin Queens take to the skies. The Queens release pheromones to entice males. Successful males mate with multiple Queens before dying, yep, their life is complete! The Queens, which now have their Spermatheca organ full of sperm, land back on the ground. They contain enough sperm to fertilise eggs for their entire lifetime, which I have read can be up to 20 years! On the ground, the (no longer) Virgin Queen has to find a new location to build her new colony and constantly lay eggs. They no longer have a use for the wings, so they tear them off and discard them. Fascinated by this I grabbed my Mobile Phone and recorded a few clips.

Here is the edit I put together to show this amazing transformation.

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}


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Morning Dog Walk: Female Napoleon Spider

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I take a camera (although just my mobile today) along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

This morning I saw a Female Napoleon Spider in very typical surroundings on a Daisy-leaved Toadflax (Thanks for Marja for ID’ing this plant on yesterday’s Walk).

The Napoleon Spider (Synema globosum) gets its name due to the markings resembling a silhouette of Napoleon Bonaparte (I don’t see it myself!). The photos were shot and edited in Lightroom on my mobile as I didn’t take a camera this morning.

Napoleon Spider (Synema globosum)

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Morning Dog Walk: A Fake Was Amongst Us

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I take a camera (although just my mobile today) along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

Walking alongside the river bank this morning and we spotted a very large Bee/Wasp looking creature, was it a Hornet?

No, it was a Mimic Hornet Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria). They can grown up to almost 16mm long (this was certainly around that size!) and although it looks like it’ll give you trouble, it’s completely harmless with no sting or bite.

Mimic Hornet Hoverfly

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