Canaraua fetii 2014

This post is about four trips in the special area of the Canaraua Fetii region in Dobrogea, Romania, in July, August and September 2014.

During these trips I was accompanied by my wife, her brother and my uncle. All of us remember these excursions vividly, since all of them had something special: from new species to strange weather conditions, and, unfortunately, to direct contact with the destruction of Nature by man.

Like in all Nature-related posts, I will list some of the species I’ve observed through photographs.

First trip – July 6

One of our firsts, a snake, Elaphe longissima:

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IMG_9690And now an insect species, again a first for us, and one of the larger beetles in Europe: Cerambyx velutinus. Only one female was found alive, but different body parts from other individuals were scattered around their home trees (an oak species- Quercus pubescens) in a wide area, making this a good sign for their good-sized population in Canaraua Fetii.

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IMG_9710July is a good period of the year when you can see one of the yellowest butterfly in Romania: Gonepteryx rhamni.

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IMG_9747 bAnd also in July, the adults of Bradyporus dasypus make some of the loudest insect sounds at Canaraua Fetii. We’ve found some of them only by listening from tens of meters away. And they are also some of the largest insects found in Romania, with some females reaching more than 80mm in body length, including their ovipositor.

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IMG_9781And since no trip to Dobrogea is truly a trip to Dobrogea untill you meet one of the region’s icons (Testudo graeca):

IMG_9784Other insects were of course present, but some were flying too fast, some were nocturnal, while others were lurking in the trees. like this Cerambyx cerdo female:

IMG_9805Due to the high temperatures and associated drought, large gatherings of blue butterflies (Fam. Lycaenidae) were all over theĀ  roads inside the Canaraua Fetii area, feeding and drinking minerals from the very few still-wet places.

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And since the frenzy activity was a joy to watch, a few short Full-Hd videos:

Second trip – August 23

This was the first time when we’ve decided to get inside the Canaraua Fetii area on a different route. We were glad we did so…(Warning: large image below!)

mic IMG_4637_stitchSome of the attractions in the Canaraua Fetii area are not alive anymore. They don’t even have a true body left, but only impressions (fossils) of their existence are to be found in the calcareous walls exposed in a few locations. Below is just such an example of a calcareous formation, which I’ve named (for this post) “The Tower”.

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And some fossils:

fosileThese locations are also habitats for many stranger-looking species, like this centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata):

IMG_4559This expedition was planned for observing some of the crepuscular/nocturnal insects found in Canaraua Fetii, but due to winds and a rapidly advancing cloud front, we left quite early. Still we did found one dragonfly (not quite nocturnal, I know) almost dead in the grass (Aeshna mixta)…

IMG_4649…and enjoyed for a few moments the artificially-illuminated area (from the head-lamps of our car), plus a starry background, with the constellation of Cassiopeia rising:

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Third trip – September 6

Some of the first butterflies you notice in September are the Lycaenids. Some of them are fast fliers, like this Lycaena phlaeas phlaeas male:

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IMG_4965Other insects wait their pray on the ground or small grass, like this praying mantis from the species Ameles decolor:

IMG_5002And there are other invertebrates that wait their pray at an even lower level, in small burrows in the ground, like this young Geolycosa vultuosa male:

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IMG_5023Against predators, some insects display defensive mechanisms like warning colors and positions. One such case are caterpillars. Two examples:

Acronicta psi

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Acronicta rumicis

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Fourth trip – September 20

Our last trip into Canaraua Fetii in 2014. We did meet a lot of insect species, but we were looking for specific ones, so not so much photographs this time.

Still, a large number of lycaenids was present, so at least one shot was mandatory.

Polyommatus icarus icarus

IMG_5071And a larger version of the above; look at the scales on the wings.IMG_5072A lot of wolf spider burrows were present on the rural roads, so a lot of spiders from the species Geolycosa vultuosa were found. Only two were photographed.

A male:

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IMG_5091And a female:

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IMG_5077And a “true” closeup:

IMG_5080 bFor this year I plan to make a lot more photographs of the species and views that Canaraua Fetii has to offer.

Max

2 Responses to “Canaraua fetii 2014”

  1. nevermind Says:

    omg!!!! those blue butterflies r fantastic. good job max

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