Tag Archives: insects

A September visitor

This, I think is a grasshopper, not a cicada. Why? Because he has short antennae. grasshopperHe lives on the ground and avoids his foes by leaping using his powerful hind legs. He is a plant-eater and generally stays out of harm’s way because of his camouflage colouration. This one, though, did not blend in with the terrace tiles.

5 to remember
creo – I think
una antenna – an antennae
poderoso/a – powerful
el camuflaje – the camouflage
la coloración – the colouration

Pollen happy

The terrace is alive to the bee-buzz. We’re watching these bees happily foraging around flowers, searching for food and unknowingly carrying pollen around and germinating plants. They pass on the male gametes, the sperm cells, onto the waiting stamens and eso es, it is as simple as that. Fertilization. No dating, or courting, as my mother would have said. Just a bit of buzzing around, sometimes it happens on the same flower, which seems a bit incestuous.


5 to remember
el polen – the pollen
la polinización – the pollination
sin saberlo – unknowingly
eso es– that’s it
incestuoso/a – incestuous

A Mammoth Wasp

Now you have to bear with me on this one.

This is a wasp, but not an ordinary wasp. It is not the least bit interested in humans, a gentle giant and solitary by nature. This is a female, about 4.5cm long with a yellow head. The male is slightly smaller with a black head. It actually looks like a larger, longer bumble bee. It is fluffy, and glossy black with two yellow bands across its back. It is the Mammoth Wasp, Scolia Flavifrons. It feeds on flower nectar and the larvae of Rhinoceros Beetles, which is good with me. Owing to its latter chosen food stuff, it is most often found around rotten tree stumps.

This one sat on the wall beside the pool, without moving, for an hour, before flying into the water, paddling around, then crawling out again. We haven’t seen her since, presumably she is in a rotten tree stump somewhere.

5 to remember
gigantesco/a – mammoth
las larvas – the larvae
un gigante gentil – a gentle giant
un abejorro – a bumble bee
el néctar – the nectar

Ant power

Apparently ants communicate using pheronomes, sound and touch, using their antennae. Where ants live and forage in groups, a forager which finds food marks a trail back to the colony. This trail is then followed by other ants, each of which reinforces that trail on its way back home. Once the food source is exhausted – as with the flower below – there are no returning ants and therefore no new trail and the scent slowly dissipates. This also helps the ant when a human sweeping the terrace, brushes away the rest of the flowers.


5 to remember
aparentemente – apparently
los pheronomes – the pheronomes
las antenas – the antennae
la colonia – the colony
un rastro – a trail [left by animal]

The Lacewing

I have never seen this elegant insect before. the lacewingIt was stranded in the pool and at first we thought it was dead. We fished it out and left it to dry, and this is what emerged. A Thread Lacewing. What a beautiful, delicate thing. Nemoptera Sinuata is native to Southern Europe and is quite distinctive. It has two sets of wings. The large forewings have zig-zag markings, his hindwings are very long and thread-like, almost like streamers.

5 to remember
elegante – elegant
que quedó varado – it was stranded
al principio – at first
frágil – delicate/fragile
nativo de – native to

The bee that eats wood

Except it doesn’t. Carpenter bees, of which there are 500 species worldwide, are so-called because they make their nests in burrows in dead wood, bamboo or structural timber. They are large, very buzzy, and a high gloss bluey-black [at least the ones we see in the valley are]. They are rather beautiful… and they love rosemary, of which we have hundreds of plants. carpenter bee on rosemary 14-4-155 to remember
una abeja carpintero – a carpenter bee
la madera – the wood
500 especies – 500 species
mundial – worldwide
alto brillo – high gloss

Ant mob

You have to admire ants. Their work ethic, their teamwork, they seem to work 24/7… do they ever sleep? Not when hungry, they made light work of this squashy ripe olive.

5 to remember
tiene que – you have to/one has to
la ética del trabajo – the work ethic
el trabajo en equipo – the teamwork parecen – they seem to
veinticuatro siete – 24/7
blanco y algo liquido – squashy