Broad-bodied Chaser (fem.)

Platetrum depressum

preview hoet 00050 platetrum depressum blattbauch femFrom early May to Broad-bodied Chaser late July Broad-bodied Chaser is often seen near smaller lakes and ponds in a sunny location. Remarkable is the pronounced sexual dimorphism. While the abdomen of the male is colored pruinose blue, the female possesses a yellow-brown abdomen, which becomes olivegreen with increasing age and finally dark brown.

Like all dragonflies also Broad-bodied Chasers are outstanding fliers. They detect, seize and consume their prey (many different types of small insects) in flight, after having exactly observed the area from an elevated position.

Burgundy Snail or Edible Snail

Helix pomatia

preview hoet 00032 helix pomatia weinbergschnecke paarungBy the width of the spherical shell of 30–50 mm Burgundy Snail is the largest terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in Europe. Its average life span amounts to 6 years but animals in captivity can live significantly longer. In any case, a calcareous substrate is important because the animals have to take up lime for the building of the shell regularly.

Reproduction of these hermaphoditic animals in central Europe occurs from end of May onwards. First of all, the partners touch and lick each other in an upright posture. Only after a pause, which interrupts this love-scene, one of the two animals shots the so-called love dart and transmits the sperms (via spermatophore) at to the partner. After a second pause the activity changes and the other animal transmits its sperms. Some weeks later eggs are laid in clutches of 40-65 eggs by both animals. These round whitish eggs are laid in self-made hollows which will be closed later by loose soil.

Common Scorpionfly

Panorpa communis

preview hoet 00043 panorpa communis gewoehnliche skorpionsfliegeThis fly lives only locally and isolated and is characterized by some very strange features: a trunk-like elongated forehead, two long thread-like feelers, and roughly veined dark-spotted wings. The male owns also an unusually intensified abdomen, upward curved and ending in pair of pliers. It looks like the abdomen of a scorpion (hence the name of the fly), but the male of the Scorpionfly uses its abdomen pliers only for holding the female during mating.

Crane fly or Daddy Long Legs

Tipula spp.

preview hoet 00062 tipula schnakeCrane flies have very long fragile legs (hence the name Daddy Long Legs) and often to be confused with mosquitoes. But their mouth parts are not strong enough to perforate human skin. Crane flies are in fact completely harmless. Adult insects consume nectar and plant sap or they do not feed at all.

In Germany there are about 140 different species of crane fly. Although they are among the largest representatives of true flies, the identification of a certain species is very difficult.

The behavior of the animals can be easily observed, especially during mating. Here, the end of the abdomen of the two partners interlock into each other, and this posture is maintained even when the animals are disturbed – they just take off together.

A species of digger wasp

Pemphredon spp.

preview hoet 00029 grabwespe erbeutet spinneThis was the end of the spider: The moment it started moving again, the spider was grabbed by the digger wasp, turned and anaesthetized with a bite. But it could not have been the first bite, since this spider seemed to live in the upper parts of the trees and possibly was already attacked and immobilized there.

Biting again and again, the wasp ensured not to lose it’s prey. The spider was far too heavy for the wasp to become airborne with it’s prey, but the dwelling of the wasp was only two or three meters away under a tree root. This is where the completely immobilized spider was pulled now.