Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Southern France and my G10 pt.2

One of many great memories I have come away with from Les Berges is the unbelievable diversity and amount of little wildlife. There might not be majestic big cats, elegant plains animals or cute furry little animals running around but there is no shortage of wildlife here in this part of Southern France. You just have to look down, listen and focus on the smaller world of Insects, bugs and reptiles.

First let me introduce you to the critters that gave me the willies. Since I do not know their names in English, having only a bug identification book in French, I will use their French names.

Le Scorpian Noir - We found one of these guys almost every other day hanging on the walls in our apartment. It seemed there was a slight scorpion infestation this year at Berges or they just loved me so much, they decided to greet me on a daily basis.

Le scorpion noir w-Le Psammodrone das sables - The lizard was already dead when this scorpion decided to carry it around.

La Scutigere - This little creature is super fast. Even though they do not bite, they still gave me the willies. This one was found in our shower basin and was unable to climb up the sides to escape. She was probable 2 inches long

The translated French name for this seven legged beast is Big Hairy and Scary. This spider was at least 6 inches long but I never saw it move. It was smacked by a very big shoe before it had a chance. She was sitting a foot away from my head by our bed.

Le Minioptere - Twice at our stay in Berges we had visitors fly through the windows at night chasing moths attracted by our lights. I do not mind visitors as long as they leave when I ask. These bats just did not seem to care about manners. A broom seemed to do the trick.

Couleuvre a Collier - The creeks in this area are filled with these little water snakes that were no longer than a couple of feet in length. I was amazed how long they were able to stay under water before coming up for air. These particular snakes have almost exact markings of a viper that live in the same area. The major differences are that these snakes have round eyes instead of oval eyes.

Now for the more tame creatures that did not give me a fright but more of a warm fuzzy feeling.

L'Hemidactyle verruqueux - This Gecko fascinated me. She stood in front of these lights and as the moths flew towards her, she would eat them. Very cool

L'Escargot Elegant - On the way back from Mirapoix's farmers market, we found these beautiful snails.

I do not know about this gal. She kept given me the eye ;-)

Bumble Bee

Le Xylocope violace ou Abeille charpentiere - These carpenter bees are huge. They were probably an inch to one and one half of an inch in length. They have beautiful deep purple wings with black bodies.

Le Moro-Sphinx - This 1 inch moth took me a good two weeks to capture a somewhat clear shot. At first I thought she was a hummingbird but the locals told me otherwise. They move, look and are as shy as hummingbirds but to my surprise, they are not by the evidence of this shot. I never did see how one looked when they landed

Le Criquet - Lets just say they were everywhere. At night time, their calls were deafening and calming at the same time.

Le Criquet rhodanien - Another huge bug. This one was probably 4 inches in length. When she finally jumped to get away from me, she went at least 20 feet. I was amazed how far they could jump without the use of wings.

Le Cotoine Doree - I loved the colors on this scarab. They seemed to really love the roses.

Le Calopteryx vierge meridional - probably the most gorgeous damsel fly I have seen. She was dark blue with extremely bright alternating light blue stripes.

That is all I have for small creatures but that was just the tip compared to the varieties I saw. I could spend months just taking pics of these little critters but I had my family to enjoy as well during my stay here in southern France.

more to come in part 3

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