....about Agios Georgios north, Corfu Nature Corner

AGIOS GEORGIOS INTRODUCTION BIRDS FLOWERS INSECTS OTHER NIGHT Notebook

INSECTS

Around Agios Georgios,
Arilllas and Agios Stefanos


Larger Photograph

This magnificent species of solitary wasp (scientific name : Megascolia maculata maculata) has been seen several times. This one was photographed as it spent several minutes feeding. Just look at those hairy legs and striped antenna ! The larger females grow to about 45mm but despite their large size and intimidating appearance this insect poses no threat to humans. Females will find, paralyze with their sting and then lay their eggs in larvae of large beetles. Upon hatching the wasp larvae will then feed on the paralyzed grub

The hot conditions and mixture of vegetation provides conditions for a variety of insects and the summer air is filled with a constant hum of these often tiny creatures. In early summer the fields and roadside verges are full of wild flowers and scented, wild herbs and it is difficult not to notice the myriads of insects, but easy to ignore them.

We all know the mosquitoes, wasps, bees and hornets but here are a few pictures of some others photographed either in or fairly close to Agios Georgios (several taken by visitor Jim Green, whose contribution is much appreciated).

A sunny stream will support dragonflies and dozens of delicate blue and red damsel flies.

 

Butterflies and Moths

Among the numerous species of butterflies and moths which visitors may notice, depending on the month, are these few examples seen in or near Agios Georgios.

In May 2009 the countryside was brightened by many gorgiously coloured Cleopatra butterflies over from North Africa. They are a very frustrating species for photographers for they never show their beautiful upper-sides when stationary, but only when flitting around or flying fast searching for food plants (see below). The right-hand photo, presumably a dead example from a collection, is only included to illustrate the georgeous colours which are usually seen by visitors. This large butterfly shows lovely orange patches on its open wings when flying. It flies across the Mediterranean Sea from the north of Africa and is often common. (information kindly given by Matt Rowlings whose excellent web-site Matt's European Butterflies is well worth a visit).

Cleopatra

 

Cleopatra

The beautifully marked Fritillary (below left) taken in June, and the dusky coloured Southern White Admiral (May) are easier to photograph.

A Fritillary

 

Southern White Admiral

as are the Painted Lady and beautifully coloured Red Admiral.

Painted Lady

Red Admiral

These 2 photographs are by courtesy of the late Linda Walls.

If you are lucky you might see the large and beautiful Swallowtail in Agios Georgios too.

Swallowtail

 

Scarce Swallowtail


Two-tailed Pasha

Just look at the brilliant underside of this fellow !

In May 2009 this beautiful large butterfly was spotted in a garden at Afionas and several were seen at the same spot in September. (Surprisingly this was the only place where this species was noticed.)


Two-tailed Pasha (2 images)
(click on image)
 

These 2 colourful moths from the large Zygaena family were photographed a few miles from the resort.

 
and then my wife spotted this unusual moth;
 
The Humming-bird Hawk Moth does not land on the flower to feed but hovers with its wings moving at a bewildering speed while it feeds. It took many photographs to get these 2 blurry images.

Links to Butterfly information

Painted Lady SwallowtailRed Admiral
 

Cicadas, Grasshoppers and others

On summer walks the air is filled with the constant "rasping songs" of amorous male cicadas and grasshoppers, and the humming of busy insects. The cicada doesn’t bite or sting and is virtually harmless. It just makes a whole lot of noise, as does the green grasshopper.

The Switch for cicada sound


 

Cicada

 
     

Grasshoppers are very common in the verges and fields


Larger Photographs
 

(Click on Photographs for Larger Photographs of grasshoppers)

 
     
 

Praying Mantis

 
  Although not related to the Grasshoppers the Praying Mantis bears some resemblance to those long-legged insects.  
 
 
  Thank you to Sara (Villa Theia) for this photograph.  
 

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Dragonflies and slender Damselflies are often seen around water and damp areas. Streams and other areas of water may be enhanced by the dancing flights of numerous dragonflies and damselflies of several colours, including the georgeous black winged ones with their irridescent bodies. Mosquitoes are a major food of Damselflies and Dragonflies.


Click on
images for
larger photographs



 
Mosquitos

Like any other Mediterranean country Corfu has its fair share of Mosquitos, and Agios Georgios is no exception. The biting 'mozzie' is much disliked by visitors and can even spoil a holiday without precautions. It is the female which bites and a female 'mozzie' can pick up the scent of a person from several hundred metres so if the weather is suitable for them to hatch out they will find you. They are attracted by chemicals emitted from the skin but also by carbon dioxide breathed out. Ladies can not even win by applications of scented perfumes and creams because often these contain chemicals which also attract mosquitos!

Many years of research by scientists and the US military have failed to find a perfect screen for them, but report that the best repellants are DEET based. These are readily available everywhere.

The best defence, although not what you went on holiday to Corfu for, is to cover up most bare skin, especially in the evenings. Apply a good repellant to all exposed skin trying to leave no large patches untreated. (Carry a pencil 'afterbite' treatment with you at all times.)

Large numbers of mosquitos are consumed by bats and especially dragonflies and the pretty damselflies.

The web-site owner is not a naturalist and for all these topics will be pleased to receive comments and contributions from specialists who are acquainted with the area.

 

Emails

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