Saturday, January 13, 2007

Photo Friday- peaceful locust

I had a hard time choosing a photo for the topic of 'peaceful' as an awful lot of my photos seemed to fit the bill.

I decided to post these photos of a huge bug I saw peacefully warming itself in Juan Les Pins on Friday. The local temperature in the sun [according to the handy temperature guages on many pharmacies] was 20 to 22 degrees C - so it was a pretty warm day.

I had seen two Red Admiral butterflies fluttering around earlier in the day though they were flying too high for me to attempt to photograph.

I'm not sure whether the insect life thinks that spring has sprung early or that winter hasn't actually arrived yet.

I think this is most likely to be a female Egyptian Tree Locust Anacridium aegyptium- the yellowish crest running down the upper back is quite characteristic.

The female Egyptian locust is bigger than the male and can grow to up to 9 cm [3.5 inches] while the male only grows to about 6.5 cm [2.5 inches].

The eyes were quite fascinating with a stripy tiger's eye look to them.
This particular insect was probably about 9 cm. I think she had probably been roused out of her overwinter shelter to lay eggs due to the spring-like heat. They usually roost in trees but this old garage must have been quiet and dark enough to act as a useful shelter. The rusty door was a very close colour match for the locust - a lot of passersby couldn't work out what i was photographing and thought i was taking macro shots of rust [and blocking the very narrow pavement].

Egyptian Tree Locusts are considered a minor pest of grapevines , fruit trees and vegetables unless they are found in high numbers , in which case they are able to cause a lot of damage.

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