Friday, July 23, 2010

Minibeasts in the Ariege - with Son 2

Son 2 is our real mini-beast fan. Here he is introducing a little French neighbour to the wildlife of our campsite stream. This ice cream tub came in really handy for housing a temporay collection of creatures to be observed. There were lots of tadpoles.
Son 2 gave them lots of stones to hide under, kept them in the shade, and let them out at the end of the day.
One morning he shouted excitedly that he'd found a newt! "Is it tiny?" enquired Ben. Son 2 agreed that it was pretty small.
"Then you can call it my-newt!" concluded Ben, cheerfully. After some reflection on the source of the hilarity, Son 2 got the joke, and indeed called this young newtpole 'my-newt' for the rest of the day.
On another morning, Ben found this snail as I was hanging out the washing. Ordinary looking snail?
Not when you see it up against Son 2's hand - this one's a whopper! It's a common enough species, apparantly, although we'd never seen one before. We had to work quite hard to talk Son 2 out of bringing this one home to join his snail collection...
... but in the end the snail successfully ensured its own (surprisingly speedy) escape.
Ben found these amazingly sparkly blue chafer beetles too.
The males live near streams, and we never found a female - they are much duller in colour, apparantly.
Son 2 snapped a photo of this moth with a face-like profile in the toilets! Now, if you're a bit squeamish about flying beasties, steel yourselves for the final few photos...
This is Ben's man-size hand, so you realise that this curious fly on our tent is really quite big (more than an inch long). It turns out to be a stonefly. Its larvae live only in very unpolluted rivers - what a good sign! Son 2 and his little friend found several of its transparent, scorpion-like larvae in the stream.
Then on a visit to the bigger river down in the valley, the boys found these curious 'shells' on the rocks. If you weren't spooked by the last photo, you might be by the next...
The boys left the monstrous skins they'd found on our picnic table. It helps to have a strong stomach...
So it's goodbye from me and Son 2,
and goodbye from the alien-stonefly-larva!
j
Pop by tomorrow for a camping photo-quiz prepared by Son 1. He's offering a prize!

6 comments:

silverpebble said...

I can't say I'm keen on some of the finds but those beetles are truly amazing. What a colour.

Mr my newt is very cewt isn't he?

Sherri B. said...

What a good mom and wife to look at these things and try to be happy and interested and take pictures...I am impressed. Have a good weekend, hopefully without creatures!

Sarah said...

Great photo's, but I am beginning to itch! I love it when children do those sorts of activities - good traditional fun!

Josie-Mary said...

hahaha I just noticed I was itching!! Great photo's :)

Itch2stitch.com said...

Fantastic close ups! That beetle is a wonderful colour. Actually I just realised I am itching a bit too! Suie xxx

Sarah said...

Aren't tadpoles the best fun? I always used to collect them too. We had a little stream at our house when I was young and we had fabulous times there. The snakes were another matter! Love the blue beetle. What a lovely shade and shimmer he has. I was getting pretty scared about what was going to be the later photos, but as long as there aren't any spiders I'm fine. What a relief.