This is the time of the year when big masses of Amphibians in Europe gather to mate and breed.
All around us there are rather common species that can surprise and amaze! Common toads (Bufo bufo) are always been among my favorite animals. I was still a 7 years old child when I saw my first tadpoles ever, that I took home by exchanging them for a toy with a older boy in a small village called Mornese, in Northern Italy, where I passed all my summers.
There are some memorable days when some of your higher-ranked wishes on your “most wanted” list really happen. Among mine, I always dreamt to witness the live bearing of a fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) in the wild.
While at Wayqecha Biological Station on the Andes I photographed this Simulium (Psilopelmia) bicoloratum, also called “that damned sons of a b..ch”, sucking my own blood with permission.
When some days ago I visited the local Apennine pond where thousands montane frogs (Rana temporaria) breed each year I couldn’t believe to my eyes.
Instead of seeing the amazing congregation I expected I discovered that the season had still to come, but it’s not all folks! Tens of them where laying dead in the bottom of the small portion of pond already free from snow and ice. The situation wasn’t really a nice one, but as a naturalist I perceived that something could be told about that.
A beautiful embryo of an arboreal salamander (Aneides lugubris) still growing inside the protective shell of the egg.
Today I had the chance to photograph an amazing plant: the dragon flower (Dracunculus vulgaris). It’s probably a non-native species to Italy, with a very scattered and oddly distributed population. It’s peculiarity is in the inflorescence: a big, rotten meat red colored giant spadix towering at even 1 m above the ground with a total size of about 30 cm (or even a bit more). And the smell… Oh… that smell…