Butterflies and Colourful Insects in Ruidera

2012_07_08 RUI - Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) 02
Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis)

I’ve been fairly busy these past few weeks and not been keeping up much with my blog. Sometimes other things take priority. Anyway in an attempt to catch up, here’s a quick entry about three interesting invertebrates I found in the Ruidera Natural Park three weeks ago.

2012_07_08 RUI - Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) 03
Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis)

The first is the two above, the Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis). It is found in Spain, Portugal and a small part of Southern France. It feeds on certain grasses and the flight period is late June to August. The underhind wings are not as colourful as the Marbled White, but to me still a beautiful butterfly.

2012_07_08 RUI - Great Banded Grayling (Brintesia circe) 03
Great Banded Grayling (Brintesia circe)

And then we have the  Great Banded Grayling (Brintesia circe). There were about 20-30 all flitting about some grassland not far from the Iberian Marbled White at the lake at the end of the road in Ruidera. When flying around the look like a chocolate and vanilla ice-cream. Maybe that was just the heat of the day talking. But when they land they are much more mottled which helps them blend in amazingly on the bark of trees. Unfortunately they all seemed to close their wings immediately after landing and are difficult to catch in flight, even in such numbers.

2012_07_08 RUI - Chrysis semicincta
Chrysis semicincta

And finally we have another insect, Chrysis semicincta, which is another without a common name (there are so many). This colourful insect is a member of the Cuckoo Wasp family, a large family with over 3000 described species. Superbly coloured with a metallic sheen this family has members that are sometimes also referred to as the Jewel, Gold or Emerald Wasps. Seemingly they are most diverse in desert areas, although this was near the lakes in grass. They are also cleptoparasitic, where they lay their eggs in host nests and then the larvae consume the host egg or larva whilst still young, and then eating all other food provided. One other interesting fact is that they can curl up into a defensive ball. This is known as conglobation. (Information extracted and paraphrased from Wikipedia)

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