In the Desa area, on the left bank of the Danube River, Adrian met this Libelula, or dragonfly. There were many of these huge insects all around the study area. One was sent by Arch. Dr. Florin Ridiche to Oltenia Museum, where the chief of the Nature museum, Mrs Chmisliu will study and prepare it for a future exposition at the museum.
It is a male Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator), a large and powerful species of hawker dragonfly of the family Aeshnidae, averaging 78 millimetres in length. It is found mainly in Europe and nearby Africa and Asia.
Males have a sky blue abdomen marked with a diagnostic black dorsal stripe and an apple green thorax. Females have a green thorax and abdomen. The male is highly territorial, and difficult to approach. The species lives by larger ponds, gravel pits, and slow rivers.
This powerful dragonfly is one of the largest species in Europe. They frequently fly high up into the sky in search of prey, which includes butterflies, Four-spotted Chasers and tadpoles; small prey is eaten on the wing. The females lay the eggs into plants such as pondweed, and always lays its eggs alone.
There is an interesting connection between the English name for this insect, the Dragonfly, and Romania. In a book written by Eden Emanuel Sarot in 1958 entitled Folklore of the Dragonfly: A Linguistic Approach, he theorised that the name dragonfly actually came about because of an ancient Romanian Folktale. In the folktale, the Devil turned a beautiful horse ridden by St. George (of St. George and the dragon fame) into a giant, flying insect. The Romanian names the people supposedly used to refer to this giant insect (when translated into English) mean 'St. George's Horse' or, more commonly, 'Devil's Horse.'
According to Sarot, the peasantry of that time actually viewed the Devil's Horse as a giant fly and that they may have started referring to it as the 'Devil's Fly' (instead of Devil's Horse). He stated that the Romanian word for Devil was 'drac,' but that drac was also the Romanian word for dragon. He thought that eventually the Romanian name for the Devil's Fly was erroneously translated to the English language as 'Dragon Fly' and this eventually evolved into 'dragonfly!'
Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 12th June 2011
Text: Adapted from Wikipedia and from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110321084700AAGb3sF
Buprestidae is a family of beetles, known as jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring beetles because of their glossy iridescent colors. The family is among the largest of the beetles, with some 15 000 species known in 450 genera.
The larger and more spectacularly colored jewel beetles are highly prized by insect collectors. The elytrae of some Buprestidae species have been traditionally used in beetlewing jewellery and decoration in certain countries in Asia, such as India, Thailand and Japan.
Shape is generally cylindrical or elongate to ovoid, with lengths ranging from 3 mm to an impressive 100 mm, although most species are under 20 mm. A variety of bright colors are known, often in complicated patterns. The iridescence common to these beetles is not due to pigments in the exoskeleton, but instead physical iridescence in which microscopic texture in their cuticle selectively reflects specific frequencies of light in particular directions. This is the same effect that makes a compact disc reflect multiple colors.
The larvae bore through roots, logs, stems, and leaves of various types of plants, ranging from trees to grasses. The wood boring types generally favour dying or dead branches on otherwise-healthy trees, while a few types attack green wood; some of these are serious pests capable of killing trees and causing major economic damage.
Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 14th May 2010
Although it was still very cold during the spring of 2008, this Miriapod, about 10 cm long, was found in a deep part of the valley of the fossils near Bilta. In summer these millipedes are very fast and hard to find and photograph.
Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th April
From the Columbia University Press Encyclopaedia:
Elongated arthropod having many body segments and pairs of legs. Millipedes, sometimes termed thousand-legged worms, have two pairs of legs on each body segment except the first few and the last. They do not have a poisonous bite, but many protect themselves by offensive odors produced by stink glands; some produce highly irritating compounds that can injure the skin or eyes of attackers; and some can roll up into a ball or spiral for protection.
They are widely distributed in temperate and warmer regions, living in surface litter, under stones or logs, and in relatively humid surroundings. They feed mostly on decaying vegetation, although some will consume decaying animal food. Some species attack plant roots and cause crop damage. Most temperate region millipedes are rather small and dull in appearance, but a few tropical species are brightly colored, and some reach 1 ft (30 cm) in length. The millipede body is nearly circular in cross section, with two pairs of legs on most segments. In contrast, centipedes, with which millipedes are often confused, are carnivorous, have a single pair of legs on each segment, and a body that is flat in cross section. Millipedes belong to the phylum Arthropoda, class Diplopoda.
Alexis Project Filiasi/Romania
RC J/263/230/2007 CIF 21464151