The Kleiner Schillerfalter and Other Beautiful Bugs.

P1200874

One of the things which I really enjoyed in France was the abundance and variety of the butterflies. They were everywhere; although, often quite difficult to photograph. Whilst the Dordogne had been impressive in that regard, the Tarn Gorge area was better yet. What follows then is a collection of photographs of some of the butterflies, and other insects, which I saw in and around the campsite. (There will be even more butterflies to come, from various days out.)

First up, the Lesser Purple Emperor, in German the Kleiner Schillerfalter, or Smaller Shimmer Butterfly. Like many of the other insects here, I spotted this during a short afternoon wander a little way upriver. Here are the underside of the wings…

P1200879

And here when they are slightly open…

P1200891

Brown, orange and white you’ll notice, but when opened a fraction more…

P1200884

Bright, iridescent blue! Absolutely stunning. I’ve been wondering how the wings could  change colour like that and eventually tracked down an explanation: apparently the scales on the wings have tiny structures on them which diffract light waves and subsequently cause interference which gives the iridescent colour.

That was the first and, so far at least, only Lesser Purple Emperor I’ve ever seen; but there were some more familiar species about too.

P1200871

Large Skipper.

P1200916

A very tatty Peacock.

P1200961

Common Blue(?)

P1210009

Comma (Robert le Diable to the French).

P1200903

This is another species which was new to me, although they can be found in England. It’s a Marbled White.

P1210042

Dragonflies like this one…

P1200908

…were extremely common along the river’s edge. I’m pretty confident that it’s Onychogomphus uncatus, the Large Pincertail Dragonfly.

P1200919

There were more Beautiful Demoiselles…

P1200932

P1200943

Although the related Banded Demoiselle…

P1200951

…seemed to be more prevalent. I think that this…

P1200945

…female is a Banded Demoiselle, because they are apparently brighter than female Beautiful Demoiselles.

P1210050

A Blue-winged Grasshopper. I wish I could show you what it looked like in flight, when those blue wings were on show. It’s not only Schillerfalters which can undergo a startling transformation of colour.

P1210555

Another female Great Green Bush-cricket, this time in our Kubb set.

Finally, back to butterflies and one that got away, just about. I saw lots of Swallowtails during our trip, but this is the only one I managed to photograph*.

P1200846

This was in the village of Les Vignes and taken from a considerable distance. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

(*The photograph in a previous post was of a Scarce Swallowtail, a similar and related species.)

Advertisements
The Kleiner Schillerfalter and Other Beautiful Bugs.

Beautiful Demoiselle Flies and Great Green Bush-cricket.

P1200508

Beautiful Demoiselle, male.

P1200509

Beautiful Demoiselle, female.

This stunning damselfly is a British species, but isn’t generally found as far North as Silverdale and is new to me. It likes gravel-bottomed rivers and was abundant in both places where we stayed in France. They were everywhere and would land on your head when you were in the water.

P1200531

I think that this is a Great Green Bush-cricket. Here seen on one of our plates. Again, Great Green Bush-crickets can be found in the UK, but not in our area and I don’t think I’ve seen one before – or any grasshopper or cricket anything like as large as this in England. This one is a female with a long, curving ovipositor, used to lay eggs into light, sandy soils apparently. B found her in our tent one morning. She’s missing a leg and we feared for her continued existence but, having put her onto a nearby tree trunk, found her back in our tent again the next morning, or another female, one-legged Great Green Bush-cricket, which seems unlikely.

Beautiful Demoiselle Flies and Great Green Bush-cricket.