A species of scarab beetle (or dung beetle)

Phyllopertha horticola

preview hoet 00049 phyllopertha horticola gartenlaubkaeferWe find the metallically green (head, chest) and light brown (elytra) colored beetle during early summer quite commonly on the leaves or in the vicinity of his it’s favorite plants: oak, birch, cherry, rose and many other deciduous trees. Only occasionally larger and more conspicuous feeding damage occurs.

Like all members of the family of beetles also this species possesses antennae, ending in a leaf-like branched compartment: there are sensors on each end, three fine lamellas.

Smooth Newt or Common Newt (masc.)

Lissotriton vulgaris

preview hoet 00064 triturus vulgaris teichmolchThe Smooth Newt is the most common newt species throughout Europe. It belongs to the family of Newts or True salamanders. It is an amphibian with a distinct tail (belonging to the order Caudata) and its german name („Streifenmolch“) indicates that it has dark and bright lines at the sides of the head. This is more evident in males than in females, which are alltogether rather inconspicuously brown colored. The males carry large, roundish and dark points on the whole body - also on the bright orange ventral side, whereas the females show only small spots. During the mating season in spring, the sexual dimorphism is particularly pronounced.

Slow Worm or Blindworm

Anguis fragilis

preview hoet 00002 anguis fragilis blindschleicheBecause of the missing legs Slow Worms is are often mistaken for snakes. But it belongs to the reptiles and is related to lizards. Moreover the animal is not blind but has small eyes with eyelids. The naming is probably in connection with the smooth and somewhat dazzling or reflecting shed skin.

Adult slow worms grow to about 50 cm length whereby the small head changes directly into the trunk. These reptiles are mostly active during the twilight and in the morning and evening hours. Then they hunt for snails, worms, insects and other small animals. Damp soils with a dense, herb-rich vegetation are preferred.

Picking up a Slow Worm should only be done with extreme care. Once stressed the animals shed their tails in order to escape predators, like lizards. The tail regrows, but remains smaller.

Striped Hawk-moth

Hyles livornica

preview hoet 00033 hyles livornica linienschwaermerThe Striped Hawk-moth is basically a butterfly of the tropics and subtropics. As migrant butterfly some individual animals come also to Europe. The striking and very specific pattern and coloration of its wings and its body and the white tips of its feelers (antennae) make it almost distinctive.

While the caterpillars remain closely tied to particular food plant having once accustomed, the butterflies are obviously not very picky and feel attracted by numerous different plants. They especially prefer purple and blue flowering plants such as petunia, verbena, valerian, gentian, plumbago (as shown), from whose blossoms they suck nectar like hummingbirds.

Also their eggs are laid by the butterflies in various plants: sorrels, Common Knotgrass, plantains, fuchsia, snapdragons, Privet, asparagus, willowherbs, bedstraws, creepers, Purple loosestrife and spurges, in the southern countries also Common Grape Vine, brooms, Olive Tree, eucalypts, acacias and many other more.

Western honey bee

Apis mellifera

preview hoet 00040 apis mellifera honigbiene auf solidago giganteaThe honey bee is now generally ranked among the world-wide most important livestock, because it is not only valuable as a pollinator of crops but transfers mainly pollen of the same type of plant. Thus more and better fruits grow. It is estimated that 80 percent of the fruit trees and a large part of other flowering plants rely on bees.

The legs of the bee have a special characteristic. There are tiny hairs, on which the pollen remains and forms so called pollen baskets, thick orange-colored structures. The photo shows a honey bee on the inflorescence of a giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) with already bulging pollen baskets.

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