Portraits of animals

Perhaps these small animals  portraits will make you curious - and help when you come across some of them again ...

For an exact determination of the species the pictures are unfortunately not suitable in most cases. Especially small animals can be found in many species which are very similar and hence can be mixed up easily. Those cases can only be determined considering several details.

Further interesting details on distribution, their way of living and resulting consequences of these and many other animals you will find in my book "Kinder lieben kleine Tiere" (see Publikationen/publications; in German only).

Translation into English with the support by Andreas Lentfer. Thank you!

Activities of a squirrel

An unknown, closed box is wakening the curiosity of a squirrel. What the heck is in it? It might be just a simple box but is it possible to open it? It is astonishing how clever this animal acts to uncover the secret.

Alpine Marmot

Marmota marmota

Alpenmurmeltier Marmota marmotaMarmots live in large colonies in high mountaineous areas. They build long, well connected tunnels. A few meter below the surface they have their winter chamber where entire families hibernate. While staying outside older animals are watching out and warning by loud, bright cries (“whistles”) in case of some danger. In Germany marmots are protected and may not be hunted.

Asian Lady Beetle or Harlequin Ladybird

Harmonia axyridis

Asiatischer Marienkäfer Harmonia axyridisAsian Lady Beetle (so known in North America) or Harlequin Ladybird (so its name in the United Kingdom) is native to eastern Asia, but has been introduced to North America and Europe to control aphid populations. At first almost only in greenhouses this predator has nowadays a worldwide propagation. In autumn Asian Lady Beetle shows a tendency to occur in large swarming and overwinter indoors.

Its coloring is extremely variable, ranging from pale yellow to dark red. Sometimes the mostly 19 black spots are so large that they merge and it seems as if a black beetle would have red dots.

Black-veined White

Aporia crataegi

Aporia Crataegi BaumweisslingAmongst the many White Butterflies (although some of them are rather blue, brown or yellow …) the Black-veined White is immediately striking. Provided you find it: It is not entirely clear why this butterfly is hardly found for decades. If it emerges however, it is unmistakable due to the jet black veins in its completely white wings.

The mating can take hours. Taking the pair carefully on one’s hand doesn’t disturb the copulation and even if the female or the male (?) decides to take off, they remain attached to each other during flight on their way to a better suited spot for their affairs.

Blue Horntail

Sirex cyaneus

Sirex Cyaneus Blaue KiefernholzwespeThe Blue Horntail is an impressive insect, which is not very rare in our forests, but difficult to get a closer look on. That is, because this species of sawflies mostly stays in the crowns of tree.

For humans the insect is completely harmless. Females have a long, thin, saw-like, but very strong ovipositor at the underside of their abdomen. It is used to drill the wood of coniferous trees where they lay their eggs in those small bore holes. The economic damage caused thereby is however relatively small and is pretty often only noticeable once the wood is processed and installed. The development of the larvae can take more than four years, so that one or the other Blue Horntail might appear in a sitting-room or under the textile of a new wooden bench after hatchig from the egg.