Archive for the Specii rare Category

Eudia pavoniella – March 5, 2017

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Specii rare on March 5, 2017 by maxpho

Spring is here now, and the Microcosmos is once again opening up for exploration.

My very first moth species photographed this year is a not-so-frequently seen one: Eudia pavoniella (Scopoli, 1763). It is a smaller version of the giant peacock moth (Saturnia pyri), but with the males much more beautifully colored. The following shots confirm that:



This is the second time I’m photographing this species. The first session was a few years ago (link).

A few more butterflies

Posted in Specii rare on August 10, 2016 by maxpho

Just some shots from a recent trip, showing mainly two very abundant species, but also very local.

Apatura metis:

metis 8.jpg

metis 7.jpg

metis 5.jpg

metis 4.jpg

metis 3.jpg

metis 2.jpg

metis 1.jpg

metis 6.jpg

metis 9.jpg

Hipparchia syriaca:

syriaca 1.jpg

syriaca 2.jpg

And many more butterflies:

fluturi 4.jpg

fluturi 2.jpg

The following image contains around 37 butterflies:

fluturi 1.jpg

Apatura metis – July 2016

Posted in Specii rare on August 2, 2016 by maxpho

Following are a few shots of one of the most elusive butterflies in Europe: Apatura metis, or “Freyerโ€™s Purple Emperor”, as it is also known.

The location where I found this species (in Dobrogea) is only the second one in which I was lucky enough to see Apatura metis flying. The other area was Comana Woods, back in 2011. The great difference is that in Comana there were only very sporadic observations of this species, about one per year, while the new location has an apparent stable population with 2-300 hundred individuals!

The large number of butterflies allowed me and my wife to get some nice shots of Apatura metis, despite the 30+ degrees Celsius and late hour (usually Apatura metis is more “docile” in the morning).

First shot presents a female resting for a few seconds on leafs:

metis 4.jpg

The second shot presents a male, with its distinctive purple iridescence on the wings:

metis 5.jpg

The vast majority of the individuals observed were fresh, some barely emerged from pupae, with only a few males presenting an older aspect, mostly from flying in between the Salix branches. There was, however, an “old timer”: a female very possible from the first brood (this was my conclusion based on the larger size – almost as large as Apatura ilia females, compared to the very small “fresh” individuals, and the “very old” aspect of the butterfly’s wings), feeding in the shade:

metis 1.jpg

Occasionally some individuals were resting on trees:

metis 3.jpg

The large number of individuals (both males and females, in a 50-50% occurrence) indicated that the species was at its peak in late July (based on observations from two trips to the location, with a 6 day interval), and some couples were observed resting together in the trees:

metis 7.jpg

Back at home, while processing these shots, I had the pleasure of discovering an extra individual in a shot of the above couple: an Apatura metis pupae. It is visible in the image below, in the lower left corner of the image (marked with two white lines):

metis 6.jpg

This pupae and a ready-to-pupate larva were observed (but not photographed, unfortunately) on a single Salix tree. This means that this second brood is still going to fly at the location for a while…

A new trip is being planned ๐Ÿ™‚

UPDATE: Following are two shots of one Apatura metis pupae. One of the observed larvae (which was also collected) has transformed. Look at the shape and compare with the above image showing the pupae well camouflaged between the Salix leaves.


metisCocoon 2.jpg


Snakes, butterflies, birds and places

Posted in Concedii, Specii rare on July 29, 2016 by maxpho

Long time since my last post…

For the last two months (June-July) I’ve been very busy exploring places and finding new species, and not photographing as much as I would have liked. Nevertheless, here are some shots.

First, some shots from the Retezat Mountains:

Bucura Lake at an altitude of 2040 m:

pano buc.jpg

-A remote location with plenty of rare butterfly species:

Pano Ret.jpg

-The Retezat mountains in the morning, as seen from some distance:

pano mountains Ret.jpg

-The Moon and some flowers, from 2000 meters above sea level; our natural satellite doesn’t seem larger from that altitude unfortunately :). The shot is a composition from two differently focused images.

Moon 2.jpg

-And an inspiring location, the Sarmizegetusa Regia capital:




And now for some butterflies:

Apatura iris:

apatura iris 1.jpg

apatura iris 2.jpg

apatura iris 3.jpg

Aglais urticae (a female with open wings, laying eggs, and the eggs):



oua aglais.jpg

Neptis rivularis:

neptis 3.jpg

neptis 2.jpg

neptis 1.jpg

Limenitis populi (with an “old” female up in a tree photographed by my wife, and a male on a dead frog; both male and female are of the form tremulae):

populi eli.jpg

populi 2.jpg

And some shots from the Cheile Nerei area:

Argynnis paphia:


Heteropterus morpheus:

hesperid 1.jpg

Polygonia c-album:

poly c album.jpg

Pieris napi:

pieris NAPI 2.jpg

pieris 1.jpg

And some snakes:

Zamenis longissimus:

herp 3.jpg

herp 1.jpg

herp 2.jpg

-The horned viper (Vipera ammodytes ammodytes):

corn 5.jpg

corn 1.jpg

corn 2.jpg

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And a large beetle, Carabus gigas:



Finally, the last visited region, Dobrogea, with the superb area of the Macin mountains:


macin 1.jpg

macin 2.jpg

A White Stork (Ciconia ciconia):

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barza 2.jpg

A young Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo):

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cormoran 2.jpg

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Eudia (Saturnia) pavonia larva:


And one of the most restricted butterflies of Europe, Apatura metis. Despite being restricted to a few locations in Romania, this individual was one of more than 80+ individuals flying around us in one small area near the Danube river.

apatura metis 2.jpg

And with slightly opened wings, next to a dead frog:

apatura metis 1.jpg

Nice way (this last species) to end the holiday (for now) ๐Ÿ™‚

Some insect macrophotography – May 2016

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Comana, Plimbari, Specii rare on May 21, 2016 by maxpho

During a few expeditions at the beginning of May, I’ve managed to get a few pictures of some beautiful butterflies and other insects, some of which are threatened with extinction in a few locations due to the “great human intervention”. I will not get in depth with the reasons why this happens more and more often in our country. I will, perhaps one day, write a more comprehensive article about this, but I already believe it will not have any impact…

And now the shots:

Parnassius mnemosine distincta:

parnassius 1.jpg

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parnassius 9.jpg

parnassius 3.jpg

parnassius 2.jpg

parnassius 5.jpg

parnassius 4.jpg

parnassius 6.jpg

parnassius 7.jpg

Melitaea phoebe phoebe:

melithea 1.jpg

melithea 2.jpg

Glaucopsyche alexis alexis:

licenid 1.jpg

licenid 2.jpg


Carcharodus orientalis orientalis:

HESPE 2.jpg


Saturnia pavonia pavonia (only eggs and larva):



Zerynthia polyxena polyxena (adult female and eggs):


And other insects:




Retezat Mountains – August 1/5, 2015

Posted in Concedii, Plimbari, Specii rare on March 30, 2016 by maxpho

The second trip of 2015 inside the Retezat National Park. The following shots span on a period of five days and present some of the butterfly species that may be found in different areas, as well as two individuals of the species Vipera berus. This trip was focused on different activities regarding insect species mostly, not so much on photography. This year (2016) it will be a little different I think…

First, some mountain views:



pano pietrele bucura.jpg



peisaj 3.jpg

And the two Vipera berus individuals:

vip 1.jpg

vip 2.jpg

vip 3.jpg

vip 4.jpg

And the second one, perhaps the most beautiful individual of this species ever found by me (and I did find around 20 in the last few years):






And now, for the butterflies…

Aglais urticae:


Apatura iris:

apatura 1.jpg

apatura 2.jpg

Apatura ilia:

ilia 1.jpg

ilia 2.jpg

Thecla betulae:


Nymphalis antiopa:

nymphalis 1.jpg

nymphalis 2.jpg

Papilio machaon:


Nymphalis polychloros:


Minois dryas:

satirid 2.jpg


Superb few days…with superb many species…

Vipera ursinii moldavica – July 28, 2015

Posted in Specii rare on March 27, 2016 by maxpho

Last year, during a Physics conference at which I’ve participated in Iasi, I had the immense luck to find one of the more endangered viper species in Romania.

The species name, Vipera ursinii moldavica, is representative for the general location where this viper can be found.

The danger to the survival of this species comes mostly from urban expansion, at least for one of its habitats. From the two locations closer to Iasi, I’ve visited only the one at “Valea lui David” (David’s Valley), west of the city:

Valea Lui David.jpg

Two interesting articles guided me in finding one of the locations where the species is (still) to be found (article 1, article 2).

After a no-success trip in July 2013, in 2015 I’ve returned at the same location, this time with a little bit more time on my hands, and a lot more determination to find at least one individual. The rush was due to the rapid destruction of the habitat, visible (for me) in just two years. The construction of more and more buildings at the entrance of the reservation, and the increasing number of plastic bottles on the road that cuts through the valley signal a fast degradation of the habitat of this unique reptile.

Somehow coincidentally, the first of the two individuals found during the few days I’ve visited the area, was observed on July 28, my birthday. It was surely a very nice gift!

The shots of this individual:

vip 3.jpg

vip 2.jpg

vip 4.jpg

vip 1.jpg

The second individual, a more aggressive one, were shot on July 30.

vip b 1.jpg

vip b 2.jpg

vip b 4.jpg

Of course, there were many other species present at this location, especially insects, from which I’ll mention the very large Saga pedo:

saga pedo 2.jpg

saga pedo 1.jpg

saga pedo 3.jpg

And the Mantis (Mantis religiosa), which was by far the most numerous large insect during my visits there:

mantis 3.jpg

mantis 1.jpg

mantis 2.jpg

I truly hope to find in the next years the habitat at “Valea lui David” at least in the same condition as it was in 2015, if not better (free of junk and no other buildings inside the perimeter).

And of course, a lot more individuals from the species Vipera ursinii moldavica in the tall grasses ๐Ÿ™‚