Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

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Philzoid
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Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Philzoid » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:52 pm

And so, with everyone contented I set off in eager anticipation for Cabopino. 10Km further down the road and I was in Cabopino’s car-park, managing to save a few euros by going unnoticed by the self-styled car-park attendants. A hop over the small fence and I was among the dunes and almost immediately into a Blue, ….. in fact two Common Blues in cop :D .
They two looked much more like ‘our’ Common Blues, certainly in terms of their size than the ones I’d seen previously: -
R 2017.08.10 IMG_8666 Polyommatus icarus Common Blue (mating), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg

S 2017.08.10 IMG_8670 Polyommatus icarus Common Blue (mating), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
T 2017.08.10 IMG_8676 Polyommatus icarus Common Blue (mating), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
U 2017.08.10 IMG_8681 Polyommatus icarus Common Blue (mating), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg

A great start on my return to Cabopino and this was to going to continue. My next sighting though not a butterfly was worthy of recording:- a small umbrella nest structure covered in paper wasps 8) .
V 2017.08.10 IMG_8693 Polistes sp. Paper wasps at nest, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
W 2017.08.10 IMG_8713 Polistes sp. Paper wasps at nest, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg

The nest was a hive of activity (not quite the correct pun). Being so close I could’ve been stung but the wasps were so very focussed on their nest building I didn’t feel any sense of being threatened 8) . I certainly would not go anywhere as near to a Common or German wasp nest.

Also seen was this interesting Green-eyed wasp which I think is a predatory ground wasp of the genus Tachytes.
X IMG_8720 Tachytes sp. Predatory ground wasp, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
and another large and commonly seen Grasshopper which I think is Heteracris littoralis.
Y 2017.08.10 IMG_8727 Heteracris littoralis Large Grasshopper, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg

Moving on past a shady side of a large sprawling conifer bush I put up another butterfly. Immediately I thought “Wall”, but it took me some time to find it again (or perhaps was another one?). The butterfly was tucked-in deep inside the conifer as much to do with keeping out of the heat rather than due to my presence. My Lumix FZ-72 was the only camera I could use to get this picture.
Z 2017.08.10  P1020955 Lasiommata megera, Wall Brown, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg

Then, when I moved it then flew out from the conifer and landed on the deck enabling me to get another couple of shots until (quite sensibly) it decided it was too hot outdoors and went back into the bush :D .
ZA 2017.08.10 IMG_8750 Lasiommata megera, Wall Brown, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg
ZB 2017.08.10 IMG_8758 Lasiommata megera, Wall Brown, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t02.jpg


Not far from the Wall was this little Crambid moth blending in with the sand (Pyrausta despicata).
ZC 2017.08.10 IMG_8769 Moth Pyrausta (despicata), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino t.jpg


I continued exploring amidst the sweltering heat. Walking up a sand dune bank I espied a lizard which I approached carefully for a photo but then something seemed to spook it :o . At the top of the bank I found out what … a large snake :shock: , which itself was spooked by me. It made off into a bush but some of its body was exposed as it climbed up off from ground level.
ZD 2017.08.10 IMG_8776 Malpolon monspessulanus, Montpellier Snake (climbing into hedge),.jpg
At that time, I had no idea what it was. It was certainly very long and the patterning was distinctive so I thought I’d have no trouble identifying it later. Also, I could see it wasn’t a viper so I dismissed it as a non-venomous, possibly something allied to a smooth or grass snake :?: .
I took the view that it may have been hunting the lizard and may come back out from the bush to continue where it left off. That proved to be the case although again it was wary of my approach and made for cover every time it crossed open ground. In the end, I settled for part shots (does anyone know how to electronically piece photos together :?: :) ) to give an idea of the sheer size of it (possibly around 6ft in length) :shock: . I was also able to get a head shot with the FZ-72. :D
ZE 2017.08.10 IMG_8790 Malpolon monspessulanus, Montpellier Snake (moving across the sand), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
ZF 2017.08.10 IMG_8791 Malpolon monspessulanus, Montpellier Snake (moving across the sand), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
ZG 2017.08.10 IMG_8792 Malpolon monspessulanus, Montpellier Snake (moving across the sand), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg
ZH 2017.08.10 P1020974 Malpolon monspessulanus, Montpellier Snake (head), Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg

Later back at the apartment using my daughter’s mobile, it took a while to find its identity simply as I was googling it under the subject of “European non-venomous snakes”. The snake turned out to be the back-fanged mildly venomous Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus).
Considered common but I felt a real sense of privilege from having seen it in its natural environment in hunting mode :D .
As regards the threat of being bitten? … you would have to capture it and more or less stick your finger in its mouth to get bitten .. i.e. no threat whatsoever.
ZI 2017.08.10  P1020986 Acanthodactylus erythrurus, Fringe-fingered Lizard (the snake's prey).jpg
The snake's prey: - Fringe-toed Lizard

Continuing with my searching I came across these two beetles which I haven’t identified. The black one looks like a darkling beetle (Tenebrionidae) Pimelia sp. being my guess :? The speckled looks like a weevil of some description. Your views (Mikhail) as to their ID's are very welcome. :)
ZJ 2017.08.10 IMG_8809 Pimelia sp. Darkling beetle, Cabopino t.jpg
ZK 2017.08.10 IMG_8828 Beetle, Dunas de Artola o Cabopino.jpg

Flagging badly in the heat I took a few minutes to recover by ducking into the shade from the pine trees on the mainland side of the dunes. Somewhat recovered I continued onwards to Andy's beach noticing a pair of Hoopoe flying by as well as the more numerous and noisy Monk’s Parakeets.
I nearly walked into this web belong to another but darker Argiope lobata wasp spider in its characteristic and striking pose.
ZL 2017.08.10 IMG_8850 Argiope lobata, Lobed Wasp Spider, Cabopino t.jpg

Back at Las Farolas we discussed our plans to come. Tomorrow we’d be going to Bioparc (zoo) in Fuengirola. My burning wish to go for a big butterfly search in the countryside would have to wait a little longer :| .

Phil

Chris Jackson
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Chris Jackson » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:26 am

Hi Phil,
Out of interest, can you confirm that your "Common Blues" had an underside cell spot ?
Chris
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Padfield » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:22 am

... but the snake had moved between the first and second shots ...

Image

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Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Philzoid » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:24 pm

Chris Jackson wrote:Hi Phil,Out of interest, can you confirm that your "Common Blues" had an underside cell spot ?

Hi Chris. Thanks for commenting :D .. you make a very good point and in-short the answer is no .. .I did not see a basal cell spot. I made the assumption of Common Blue simply on the fact they looked very much like the ones we see here in the UK. The majority of “Common Blues” I saw did show the presence of the spot, and they looked more like Wurzel’s “Portuguese Blue” ( I hope you don’t mind me saying this Wurzel?) on the identification board which appears to show the cell spot.

The lack of the spot is indicative (but not conclusive?) of a Chapman’s Blue (Polyommatus thersites) and I believe this species' range comes into that area of Spain .... so perhaps it is a second brood Chapman’s :? . My guide mentions a male androconial patch for thersites but I cant see anything in my photo that looks different to what I'd expect from a Common Blue. The Blues can be a very difficult to Id from photos :roll: :lol: .

Thanks again Chris and I would very much like to hear your view on this :)

Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Philzoid » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:27 pm

Padfield wrote:... but the snake had moved between the first and second shots ...

Brilliant :D Thanks for doing this Guy. Look great to me ...perhaps I could've matched the colour balance a bit better but Great :!:

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Wurzel » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:22 pm

I'd go for Chapman's as there is a nice clear gap between the orange and the black markings... :D

Have a goodun

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Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Philzoid » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:31 pm

Wurzel wrote:I'd go for Chapman's as there is a nice clear gap between the orange and the black markings...
I haven't read about this feature so I'm a bit unsure :? . What I will say although this pair looked like icarus you'd find in the UK they were different to all the other 'icarus' I encountered .... unless of course those were all 'species' celina (Southern Blue).

Oh heck ..I'm having it :roll: :wink: ... until someone comes up with a good reason why it isn't a Chapman's :lol:

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Padfield » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:53 am

I agree with Wurzel that the submarginal black spots recall thersites, but the upperside of the male really doesn't. The lack of any obvious androconia (admittedly, these can be difficult to see from the wrong angle), the broad marginal line, especially on the forewing, and the spots on the hindwing suggest celina. My own pictures of celina all have the underside hindwing submarginal spots touching the orange, like in icarus, but I've had relatively little experience of the species and I don't know the range of variation. Therefore, I'd go for celina here. To me, the upperside trumps the underside.

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Philzoid
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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Philzoid » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:22 pm

The absence of an underside cell spot seems to be the key (but not the definitive) indicator for Chapman’s but none of my pictures show it for this pair … and I didn’t want to disturb them from getting on with the business of making the next generation. According to Matt Rowlings you cannot discount icarus using this feature alone, only under circumstances where you see a ‘sizable population’ i.e where all are minus the spot could you say definitely Chapman’s. If the population is 5 – 10% without the cell spot then it is likely to be icarus. Above 10% then a mixture of the two species.

The upperside andriconal scaling is supposed to be the definitive factor for the male. I cannot say either way for my image as I haven’t the experience to tell what it is I’m looking for (even when viewing internet images from Matt Rowlings and other websites). Matt Rowlings again does not mention the marginal line feature although the "butterfliesoffrance.com" site does ("narrow & even") and I agree with you Guy that my example does have a broad looking line (less so spotting).

What is odd was that they don’t look quite like the ones I posted in part 2 which were smaller and with the border spotting variable, but more noticeable. Also, all my others gave away the presence of that underside cell spot with the way they held their fore-wings (not so tucked in behind the rear wing). The clearance between the orange lunules and black spotting is also less on my examples in part 2

Of course, it could be that this pair is icarus and the others are celina. My Collins field guide (possibly out of date) has Celina down as a form of Icarus but I think it is now seen as a separate species?

As this is not definite I’m going to count it as the one (or two) that got away :) .

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Wurzel » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:59 pm

Opps - lesson learnt (but then that is the point of mistakes) - 'always reread and look more closely at photos' :oops: :oops: I misread and so assumed that the first shot was of a Common/Southern Blue and then didn't look closely enough at the image either where the female is visible so missed out on the fact that the top shots and subsequent ones are of the same pair :roll: :oops: . So a revision - Southern Blue for me...if you'd only posted from the second image down I would have gone with Chapman's though :wink:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Holiday to Spain 2017 part 3b

Postby Philzoid » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:22 pm

Sorry for the late reply Wurzel :) . Just got back from a few days in Sunderland (and saw a couple of species up there without having to try too hard :) ).
I agree that paired female in the first shot isn’t noticeable and I was asking myself the question “what’s this” :? when I first saw that image on my computer back home. I still think though that there was some difference from that pair and all the others I encountered which I happier to have down as celina. However, I agree that if icarus is considered not to have any marginal upper wing spotting, then my pair must be celina :) .

Phil


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