Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

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Philzoid
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:18 pm
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Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby Philzoid » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:56 pm

16/08/17.
No butterflying for this day as we used the refund for our aborted Cordoba excursion for a one to Seville. After the booking agent or tour company’s mistake, you’d have thought we wouldn’t be due any more cock-ups .. but you’d be wrong :roll: .
Due to the travelling distance involved, we had to be up even earlier that morning than for Cordoba. We left the apartment with 10 minutes to go before our coach was due, only to hear what sounded like a bus around the corner moving off :o . I quickly managed to unlock the outer gate and run around the corner to see that it was our Trans Andalucía coach pulling out :shock: . Fortunately, the driver stopped after spotting me in his mirrors chasing him down the road shouting and waving. As we got on the bus the irate tour guide scolded us for being late until they saw the time written on our ticket … ooops sorry sir :oops: .
I’ve never been to Seville before and found it to be a wonderful city suffice to say you need much much more time than the 4 hours in which we had to see it. The route in took us past Real Betis’s football ground then the Ibero-American 1929 Exposition Pavilions set in parkland. After we stopped we visited the impressive Spanish Pavilion. Then we moved on through parks past the Alacaza, the Jewish quarters and finally to the Cathedral with its Giralda bell tower. Earlier when following the tour guide, I spotted another Two-tailed Pasha flying low over the road :o . Naturally I gave chase but it was gone and then I had to shift sharpish as a tram bore down on me :shock: . That was my only butterfly encounter of the whole day :( .
Afterwards we visited the splendid Cathedral and viewed the Torre del Oro by the river Guadalquivir 8) .
A 2017.08.16_103007994_iOS Interior of Seville's Cathedral.jpg
Seville cathedral vaulting


17/08/17
The next morning after our excursion I was back into my routine with a recce at MP2. Another African Grass Blue was found and then I came across a weird looking 'white blob' on the stem of a flowering plant that had attracted Carpenter bees a couple of days ago. This entity was being attended by ants and when viewed through my lens I could tell it was a scale insect of some description with young in attendance. The scale insect is (I think) Icerya purchasi or Cottony Cushion Scale, which originates from Australia but is now a global economic pest of Citrus and other plants of horticultural importance. The majority of the insects as with this one, are hermaphrodite females and this aids its breeding success. The fact it was feeding on an herbaceous (weed) plant from the family fabaceae may mean it’s a related species endemic to the region :?: . The ants are probably in attendance for the honeydew secretions. Decidedly weird :!:
B 2017.08.17 IMG_9658 Knysna zizzeria, African Grass Blue, MP2.jpg
C 2017.08.17 IMG_9661 Icerya purchasi, Cottony Cushion Scale, ((hemaphrodite) female with young and ants) MP2.jpg

The next butterfly was my first local sighting of a Small Copper :D . So far, all those I’d seen had wing damage of some degree and this one was no exception (but not too bad).
D 2017.08.17 IMG_9690 Lycaena phlaes, Small Copper, MP2 b.jpg

Next my first skippers of MP2, Muschampa proto again :) .
E 2017.08.17 IMG_9700 Muschampa proto, Sage Skipper, MP2.jpg
F 2017.08.17 IMG_9708 Muschampa proto, Sage Skipper, MP2.jpg
G 2017.08.17 IMG_9714 Muschampa proto, Sage Skipper, MP2.jpg

Taking a shortcut from MP2 to MP1 I found another Small Copper near the roadside. Unlike the other I’d seen a bit earlier this one was in great condition but kept its wings closed at all times.
H 2017.08.17 IMG_9720 Lycaena phlaes, Small Copper, roadside nr. MP2.jpg

Next in MP1 I couldn’t resist the challenge of photographing a male Epaulet Skimmer the abdomen with full blue pruinescence (compare that with the second individual, a sub-adult male)
I 2017.08.17 IMG_9735 Orthetrum chrysostigma, Epaulet Skimmer , MP1.jpg
J 2017.08.17 IMG_9760 Orthetrum chrysostigma, Epaulet Skimmer (sub-adult male), MP1.jpg


The Cicada’s with their two-note warning ‘croak’ have been ever present in MP1 as have the Southern Gatekeepers. Some like this first individual had wing damage. I saw a lot of butterflies like this in Spain perhaps due to the hot dry conditions making pupal eclosure difficult, or the wings drying before they’ve been pumped-up properly (or even the insect being unable to find enough clearance space to prevent snagging) :( .
K 2017.08.17 IMG_9740 Cicada (orni), MP1 t.jpg
L 2017.08.17 IMG_9748 Pyronia cecelia, Southern Gatekeeper, MP1 t.jpg
M 2017.08.17 IMG_9774 Pyronia cecelia, southern Gatekeeper, MP1.jpg
N 2017.08.17 IMG_9781 Pyronia cecelia, Southern Gatekeeper, MP1 t.jpg
O 2017.08.17 IMG_9791 Pyronia cecelia, Southern Gatekeeper, MP1.jpg

The unusual bugs kept on coming. This is I think is Zelus renardii the Leafhopper Assassin Bug which originates from the Americas. It preys on other insects and I would suspect it feeds on butterflies if they stray too close. :?:
P 2017.08.17 IMG_9795 Zelus renardii Leafhooper Asassin Bug, MP1 t.jpg
mean looking and deadly to other insects
Q 2017.08.17 IMG_9801 Zelus renardii Leafhooper Asassin Bug, MP1.jpg
R 2017.08.17 IMG_9808 Coscinia cribraria, Speckled Footman. Las Farolas Spain.jpg
Speckled Footman moth


Our plan for the afternoon was to explore the hill town of Mijas again. Before that I had time to check out another area close to the refuse recycle bins which I’ll call MP3. First seen was a Geranium Bronze but then a Skipper caught my attention not least because it landed on a lanterna flower, a flower which up until then had not been a butterfly magnet :o . Unfortunately for me the butterfly was inaccessible for a decent photo but I did manage a better one from another butterfly low down. I am not sure about the identification but I think it is Carcharodus alceae the Mallow Skipper or perhaps (outside chance) Carcharodus tripolinus the False Mallow Skipper. The two species are only reliably separated by genital determination (gen det). It is not clear as to how much the two species ranges overlap in Southern Spain though the map in the link shows it missing from our area, perhaps because it’s been overlooked :?
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j& ... okXDZcLZsQ
S 2017.08.17 IMG_9827 Carcharodus alceae, Mallow Skipper, MP3.jpg
T 2017.08.17 IMG_9830 Carcharodus alceae, Mallow Skipper, MP3.jpg
U 2017.08.17 IMG_9832 Carcharodus alceae, Mallow Skipper, MP3.jpg
V 2017.08.17 IMG_9835 Cacyreus marshalli, Geranium Bronze MP3.jpg
... and the Geranium Bronze


The afternoon in Mijas with the family was very enjoyable: - a tour around the town in a horse drawn carriage; a visit to the agricultural museum; some last minute shopping for leather goods and souvenirs, A drink and a game of cards in a café (where I released a trapped Geranium Bronze :D ) and finally a walk around the parque la Muralla with wonderful elevated views of the Fuengirola and the coastline 8) … oh and a butterfly which I’d never been able to photograph before. I saw it go up into a conifer above a ravine and was able to get the FZ-72 zoom on it for a snap before it made off. A reasonable record shot of Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) which will do for me :D … for now :lol:
W 2017.08.17 P1040009 Iphiclides podalirius, Scarce Swallowtail, Mijas, Spain.jpg
X 2017.08.17 P1040015  Ameglia sp. Blue-banded Bee Mijas.jpg
Blue-banded bee probably the easiest bee to capture due to hoverfly type flight
Y 2017.08.17 P1280573 Fuengirola from Mijas m.jpg
Z 2017.08.17 P1280579 Podarcis hispanicus Iberia Wall Lizard, Mijas.jpg
Iberian Wall Lizard (juvenile), Muralla Park, Mijas


18/08/17.
Only one day left to go and spending money low. My start to the day was the usual with a visit to MP2 followed by MP1. To be honest I was feeling a bit despondent probably due to the thought of going back home and to some extent it felt like I was just going through the motions. The tatty old Common Blue just confirmed the feeling …it’s all over, there’s nowt more to see here :( .
ZA 2017.08.18 IMG_9843 Common Blue, MP2.jpg

On MP1 I heard the classic warning croak of a cicada before it took to the wing, collided with me and then made off only to end up in a banded wasp spider’s web :oops: :( . I watched the spider take on its prey in the way that nature has played out this scenario countless times before. After the initial bite, the spider attempted to wrap up its still struggling victim, the flaps on the spinnerets wide open spraying out sheet-like silk as it circled the Cicada. Even so after the spider had finished the Cicada still looked like a Cicada rather than a neatly packaged shiny ball of silk, testament to its size and strength I suppose. Prey secured, the spider just sat away from it knowing it was job done, no more energy need be wasted :| .
ZB 2017.08.18 IMG_9863 Argiope trifsciata with Cicada (orni) prey, MP1.jpg


Feeling a bit rejuvenated having witnessed that gruesome but fascinating episode I tried getting shots of the swifts that were flying around … I never learn :roll: … a waste of time really :lol: .

To be continued … (final part at last :roll: :wink: ).

John Vergo
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby John Vergo » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:35 pm

Hi
It has been great to follow your trip (holiday ) in Spain, and great that you got a photo of Scarce Swallowtail, BUT it is not the Scarce Swallowtail (podalirius), but Southern Scarce Swallowtail ( feisthamelii ) it was in 2015 considered as a speices on it own right, and thats the one flying in the iberian

john

Philzoid
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:18 pm
Location: Woking

Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby Philzoid » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:09 pm

John Vergo wrote:Hi
It has been great to follow your trip (holiday ) in Spain, and great that you got a photo of Scarce Swallowtail, BUT it is not the Scarce Swallowtail (podalirius), but Southern Scarce Swallowtail ( feisthamelii ) it was in 2015 considered as a speices on it own right, and thats the one flying in the iberian

Thanks John. My book (Collins Field Guide (1997)) has it down as a sub-species of podalirius but as you can see it's a bit out of date. That aside I should've considered feisthamelii based on the location I saw it and that species' distribution so thanks for pointing this out :).
Btw the way I have seen 'this' species in the Ariege region of Southern France (foothills of the Pyrenees (no pictures though)). Is it likely to be Southern Scarce too?

John Vergo
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby John Vergo » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:22 pm

Hi
In the newest books : feisthamelii is flying in the southern France as well : Pyrenees-orientales, southern parts of Aude, Haute Garonne, eastern part of Ariége

john

Philzoid
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Location: Woking

Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby Philzoid » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:56 pm

John Vergo wrote:In the newest books : feisthamelii is flying in the southern France as well : Pyrenees-orientales, southern parts of Aude, Haute Garonne, eastern part of Ariége
I'm not entirely familiar with the region. I saw my butterfly in La Bastide de Serou nr. Foix in 2015. I'm not sure if there is an overlap of the two species in this part or France :?

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Roger Gibbons
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby Roger Gibbons » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:34 am

I spent a day or two near Foix in July and I thought the Iphiclides there looked right for feisthamelii.

Lafranchis presented a paper on these two species at the Digne conference in 2013 (summary here: https://issuu.com/judelock/docs/tristan ... conference).

The recent changes to the taxonomy can be found here: http://www.bc-eig.org.uk/species.html
The current list (until they start tampering with it again) can be downloaded from this page.

Roger

Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby Philzoid » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:26 pm

Thanks for providing these interesting and useful links Roger :) . The paper info is in French but there is a map which shows the relative distribution of both podalirius and feisthameli in Southern France. My sighting in 2015 at La Bastide de Serou, appears to be on the borderline between the two species' ranges and all I got was a fly-by sighting. I suppose it could’ve been either?.

Incidentally in the “tampered with” link the Spanish species recording list notes it as “Iphiclides podalirius feisthamelii” (i.e. sub-species) with the vernacular name “Spanish Swallowtail”. Does that mean it will require more tampering :wink: .

Phil

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David M
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby David M » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:11 pm

Roger Gibbons wrote:The recent changes to the taxonomy can be found here: http://www.bc-eig.org.uk/species.html
The current list (until they start tampering with it again) can be downloaded from this page.


Thanks for providing that link, Roger. Having seen this species in numbers during the latter part of May in the Pyrenees Orientales, I can confidently state that they were all of the 'form' (now species) feisthamelii. They DO look quite different to podalirius, with a much paler ground colour, contrasting with darker wing edges.

Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 6

Postby Philzoid » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:05 pm

If anyone is interested the Assassin Bug is Rhynocoris erythropus and not Zelus renardii as previously stated :)


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