We truly feel that you will be pleased with both the images and the information in this article about these 4 Mesmerizing Mediterranean Insects. We certainly enjoyed putting together the information for your enjoyment, and hopefully, edification. Please, read on and enjoy!
Obviously, these few represent only a fraction of the wondrous species found in this region. It’s our very firm belief, however, that they serve as good examples of the insect life living there. To learn of many more such species, check out some of our many other articles.
Mediterranean Mantis Facts
- Leading off this article about these 4 Mesmerizing Mediterranean Insects comes the one with the term in its very name, the remarkable Mediterranean Mantis.
- This fabulous creation of Nature and evolution most frequently goes by the informative common name for wholly understandable reasons. The insect also has a less often used general name, though. That’s the similar, but less accurate, term of the iris mantis.
- Scientific professionals, such as researchers, however, typically refer to it by yet another name. That’s because they generally use its technical name when discussing it. The intriguing Arthropod bears the comparatively simple technical name of the Iris oratoria.
- It further shares a distinction in that regard with numerous other species. That’s due to the fact that the eminent Swedish zoologist, Carl Linnaeus, made the first official acknowledgement of it as a separate and distinct species. This he did in the year 1758.
- Regardless of which name one chooses to employ, however, it remains a fascinating creature. Sadly, though, it’s now become regarded as as invasive species insome parts of the world. This occurs due to its expansion into non-native regions by man’s actions.
- Even without this controversial expansion of its range, the Mediterranean Mantis seems to be maintaining a population base that’s both sizeable and sufficient. The IUCN, therefore, lists it as Least Concern. This status appears on the organization’s Red List.
- Nevertheless, the insect faces several potential threats to its continued survival. In this, though, it follows countless other species. Its greatest threats clearly include habitat loss due to the expansion of man, and the ongoing effects of climate change.
Mediterranean Mantis Physical Description
In general overall terms, the marvelous Mediterranean Mantis achieves the same general body shape and appearance as other mantids. That’s not to say, though, that the species lacks any defining physical characteristics. It stands out from others in its own way.
That distinction doesn’t occur in terms of physical size, however. That’s true since it ranks as a roughly average-sized member of its Order. It also displays the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism, like its relatives. In its case, however, this trademark remains quite minor.
The gender-based difference mainly appears in the size of the abdomen of the genders. More specifically, that of the female tends to be slightly larger. The difference further becomes more pronounced as the individual ages. Otherwise, they appear roughly identical.
Individual specimens achieve an average body length of approximately 2.6 in (6.5 cm). Although exceptional individuals naturally occur, even these rarely exceed this by much. Like most mantids, its body develops as highly elongated, and colors adapt as camouflage.
When young, most examples of the Mediterranean Mantis also display an overall pale shade. As these mature, though, this pattern changes to a primary background of grass-like green. In yet another minor gender-based difference, the wings of the female remain short.
But this marvel of Nature clearly distinguishes itself from others of its kind, especially those sharing its range, in one quite spectacular manner. When unfurled, the hindwings display a startling pattern. That’s the presence of a violet-brown eyespot on each of them.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Mantodea
- Family: Eremiaphilidae
- Genus: Iris
- Species: I. oratoria
Mediterranean Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Fortunately, both for the Mediterranean Mantis itself, and those of us who appreciate Nature, the Arthropod possesses a comparatively extensive natural range. That range, has, however, been indirectly further extended, and significantly so, by the actions of man.
The fascinating insect evolved originally as native to most of the continent of Europe. That area covers all of the southern portion of the continent, and extends to cover all but the most northerly sections. It does seem to be more common in the south, though.
The very name of the invertebrate stems from the portion of Europe in which the first studies of it occurred. That’s because those earliest endeavors to understand it took place in the region of the Mediterranean Sea. This include such locations as Greece and Italy.
From there, however, man spread it to other parts of the world. This includes portions of Asia, the Middle East, and the United States, in North America. In all areas, though, it’s highly versatile in its habitat choice. It appears wherever sufficient vegetation occurs.
That holds true due to its nature. That’s because, like other mantises, it evolved as a pure carnivore. The beautiful Mediterranean Mantis typically feeds as a highly efficient ambush predator. It also consumes virtually any prey of small enough size for it to handle.
Its own predators, meanwhile, are few. These mostly consist of various species of birds. When threatened, though, it displays an evolved response. It faces the threat, rears up, and then raises and waves its forelegs threateningly. It also displays the large eyespots.
Red-Tailed Bumblebee Facts
- Next up in this compendium of 4 Mesmerizing Mediterranean Insects we present the fabulous creature descriptively known as the Red-Tailed Bumblebee.
- This beautiful insect quite understandably goes by the simple common name that it does for obvious reasons. Its official scientific name, meanwhile, remains much more difficult to pronounce. That’s because it’s the known to scientists as Bombus lapidarius.
- Regardless of the term one uses for it, however, it’s a lovely and fascinating member of the Bombus Genus. It’s also a locally important species. The first official recognition of the remarkable invertebrate, furthermore, occurred in the year 1758.
- This acknowledgement of it as a separate species took place as a result of the efforts of an individual well known in the annals of entomology. More specifically, the renowned Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus made the original identification.
- Most fortunately, the amazing Red-Tailed Bumblebee appears to be maintaining a sizeable and stable population base. Moreover, this tendency further seems to hold true throughout the entirety of its natural habitat range. That’s a rarity today.
- The IUCN therefore presently has no listing for it on the organizations Red List of Threatened Species. That fortunate status nonetheless remains at some risk, however. This holds true due to various factors, many of them shared by countless other species.
- For one, it does appear to be declining in numbers in some agricultural areas. Due to this, it’s now considered Near Threatened in specific portions of its range. Its greatest potential threat, though, undoubtedly consists of the ongoing threat of climate change.
Red-Tailed Bumblebee Physical Description
The gorgeous Red-Tailed Bumblebee, in fact, bears a striking resemblance to yet another variety of bumblebee sharing its range. This fact frequently makes identifying the correct species difficult for any but the most highly trained and experienced observer.
The fabulous arthropod also displays a moderately strong degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism. In its particular case, this characteristic manifests itself in terms of both color and size. Males of the species tend to be slightly smaller than females.
It further displays this gender-based difference in terms of patterns of color. More precisely, however, the males of this awesome insect present three bands of yellow, one at the base of the abdomen, and two on the thorax. It additionally has the standard red tail
Females of the insect, including the queen usually present a slightly different appearance. Firstly, these lack any of the yellow bands. Secondly, this gender of the invertebrate displays a more extensive red-colored section, covering roughly half the abdomen.
Males of the Red-Tailed Bumblebee attain an average overall body length of between 0.55-0.63 in (14-16 mm). The females, meanwhile, develop in a slightly greater size range. These average between 0.43-0.63 in (11-16 mm) in length. Both have an average-sized proboscis.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hymenoptera
- Family: Apidae
- Genus: Bombus
- Species: B. lapidarius
Red-Tailed Bumblebee Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
There’s very fortunate news for those who appreciate the beauty of Nature. That’s due to the fact that the Red-Tailed Bumblebee evolved as native to a relatively broad swathe of the world. More specifically, it remains native to a particular portion of the continent of Europe.
With further precision, in this region population concentrations appear throughout the entire region. The creature does, however, appear in greater concentrations in certain areas. These include the countries of Greece, Britain, Sweden, Finland, and Germany.
Sadly though, in Ireland its numbers seem to be declining rapidly. Wherever the insect lives, however, it proves itself to be highly adaptable in terms of where it makes its home. That’s because population groupings manifest in several different habitat types.
These locations even include such public regions as gardens and parks. It most commonly chooses to live in areas consisting of very open terrain. Unlike some varieties of related species, though, it generally avoids living in areas of moderate to heavy forestation.
The Red-Tailed Bumblebee makes its appearance in the summer, between June and August. Being social insects, like many Hymenoptera, all members of the hive work together. In its case, there’s little hierarchy among workers, just between them and the queen.
Most types of bumblebees generally stay close to their hive when foraging. This one, however, tends to roam relatively great distances in search of food. Some individuals, in fact, venture as much as 5,741 ft (1,750 m) from the hive. For its kind, that’s a long distance.
The hives themselves, meanwhile, appear in various types of locations. In this it’s an opportunistic species. Locations for nests include such unexpected areas as under large stones or fallen logs. Colonies remains small, though, rarely exceeding 200-300 individuals.
Conehead Mantis Facts
- The third entry into this listing of 4 Mesmerizing Mediterranean Insects, the aptly-named, Conehead Mantis, appears in that spot solely due to random selection.
- The highly evocative term for this amazing creature appropriately serves as the common name for this remarkable insect. This marvel of Nature also goes by another name, though. That’s its somewhat difficult scientific name of the Empusa pennata.
- Regardless of which of these term you use for it, though, it remains blessed with a distinctive appearance. The common name, quite understandably, derives from the presence of the incredible structure on the top of the invertebrate’s head.
- The first recorded scientific recognition of this creature as a separate and distinct species occurred in the year 1815. That formal recognition took place as a result of the work of the well known Swedish naturalist, Carl Peter Thunberg.
- For the moment, the marvelous Conehead Mantis appears to be maintaining a stable and sufficient population. This further seems to be the case throughout the entirety of its range. As a result, the IUCN currently list the species a Least Concern.
- The invertebrate must nevertheless be considered to be facing at least some threats to its existence. One of these is probably the danger posed by increasing habitat loss. Its greatest threat, however, likely consists of ongoing climate change.
Conehead Mantis Physical Description
Although the marvelous Conehead Mantis fully deserves appreciation, this does not derive solely from its sheer physical size. That aspect of the invertebrate does nonetheless rank as respectable, since it represents an above-averaged size variety of mantis.
Like most of its relatives, it also displays a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism. In its specific case, this trait manifests itself in two separate ways, though. Simple physical size forms the first of these, with the female attaining a slightly greater length than the male.
This wonder of Nature achieves a size slightly greater than the European Mantis. That being said, females reach an average length of about 4 in (10 cm). The smaller males, meanwhile, attain varying lengths, but rarely grow beyond 3 in (7.6 cm) in total length.
The second form of gender-based differences among the Conehead Mantis appears in the form of the antennae of the male. These appendages possess a fine, feathery characteristic. However, only the male of the species develops these distinctive features.
Otherwise, the genders remain similar. The colors vary, since it employs active camouflage, but certain ones are more common. These consist of green, pink, and various shades of brown. Its most noticeable feature, though, is the cone-shaped structure on the head.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Mantodea
- Family: Empusidae
- Genus: Empusa
- Species: E. pennata
Conehead Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The remarkable Conehead Mantis possesses a comparatively broad, if somewhat broken, range of habitation. It’s broad because it covers parts of both Europe and Asia. It’s broken, though, since it only appears in scattered parts of the two continents, not evenly.
More precisely, in Europe, the arthropod seems to live in the countries of France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, and Greece. In Asia, meanwhile, its only known habitat consists of the country of Lebanon. The exact for this pattern presently remains undetermined.
In all regions of the globe in which it appears, though, its habitat preference remains the same. This particular form of mantis prefers to inhabit more open areas, as opposed to denser forest regions. This mainly includes regions of scrub and perennial herbs.
The amazing Conehead Mantis prefers such regions because of its feeding habits. Like its many relatives, it evolved purely as a carnivore, and acting as an ambush predator. This powerful and efficient hunter eats a vast variety of small insects native to the same habitat.
In turn, the powerful hunter falls prey to other, larger predators. These vary according to its particular region, of course. Overall, however, these mainly include such animals as snakes, frogs, lizards, and a wide variety of avian species sharing its region.
Death’s-head Hawkmoth Facts
- Closing out this complilation of 4 Mesmerizing Mediterranean Insects we present to you the phenomenal creature named the Death’s-head Hawkmoth.
- Distinctively, the eye-catching common name for this amazing Lepidoptera remains what it does due to itds sheer apperance. Most notably, though, the term actually serves as the common name for a total of three species within the genus Acherontia.
- The distinctiveness of these three forms, however, does not simply stop there. That’s because, in addition to the astonishing obvious physical trait, other facts also set it apart from most other types of moths. These, in fact, are fascinating in their own right.
- First of all, the astonishing and highly unusual Death’s-head Hawkmoth evolved the ability to emit a high-pitched chirp. This action only occurs, though, when the arthropod feels either threatened or irritated. Few insects can make sounds internally.
- Secondly, all three varieties also evolved as relatively rapid fliers. In point of fact, one of them, the Acherontia atropis, constitutes the fastest known moth on earth. That’s because individuals of that species can reach speeds of up to 30 mph (48 kph).
- The IUCN, furthermore, does not currently have a listing for any of the three varieties. That’s surprising, given the fact that each of them qualifies as quite rare. Like many creatures, it obviously faces threats such as climate change and habitat loss.
Death’s-head Hawkmoth Physical Description
Not surprisingly, physical differences naturally exist between the different types of Death’s-head Hawkmoth. All three types, however, also as is to be expected, remain quite similar in terms of appearance. Many general descriptions therefore apply to them all.
It must be pointed out, though, that measured adult wingspan varies significantly, even within the same gender and species. While not unknown, this trait definitely qualifies as uncommon. Due to this fact, adults range in width of wings from 2 – 8 in (5 – 20 cm).
In addition, like the majority of Lepidoptera, this marvel of Nature displays a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism. As a result of this physiological trait, in its case, females generally develop slightly larger than the males. These also tend to be bulkier in shape.
The body of the magnificent Death’s-head Hawkmoth also displays a comparatively thick, bullet-shaped form. The two forewings further develop long and narrow. Yet the hindwings, however, appear much shorter, like most related forms of invertebrate.
Its coloring also varies, quite understandably. But these typically consist of combinations of shades of brown, black, gray, and yellow. The astounding presence of a human skull-like marking on the back of the thorax, however, represents its most memorable feature.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Sphingidae
- Genus: Acherontia
Death’s-head Hawkmoth Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The species bearing the common name of Death’s-head Hawkmoth also have different habitat ranges. That alone sets them apart from many of their peers. One appears in parts of Europe. The other two members of the genus, however, live in scattered sections of Asia.
All forms of this amazing insect, furthermore, seem to be highly adaptable to varying habitats. As a general rule, though, the insect appears in regions with substantial foliage. This most commonly includes temperate forests, as well as parks, and even home gardens.
The larval form of the Death’s-head Hawkmoth stays on or near a single host plant. These it feeds on voraciously. It shows no preference for type of host. The adults show a preference for honey, in addition to fruit. As a result, adults often raid the hives of honeybees.
Its own natural predators, meanwhile, consist of the same as other moths. These mainly consist of the various birds found in its region. Many bats also love to feed on it, though. Finally, the chirping ability it evolved serves the intended purpose of deterring these.
4 Mesmerizing Mediterranean Insects
We fervently hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed reading, and hopefully learning from, this article about these 4 Mesmerizing Mediterranean Insects. It’s also our fervent hope that having done so left you with a new or renewed appreciation of all such wonders.
Sadly, though, many of the amazing species found throughout our world now find themselves facing uncertain futures. That occurs for many reasons, but usually due to the actions of man. It’s up to each of us to protect and preserve all such creations of Nature.