Scratchy Andes

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. It was my last day in Wayqecha Biolodge, let’s say my last minutes there and since 15 days I didn’t get any shot of my nemesis there. After so many unsolicited blood sample collecting, so many early morning scratching, I simply HAD to shoot at least some images of those damned vampires.

The funny thing is that my girlfriend saw this image and yelled “awww, that’s a Simuliidae! How cute!! Did you bring me some of their larvae?” (she’s a water quality specialist…). I deserve to stay with an abnormal woman…


Namib: life extreme

A land on the edge, old and vast as the word “Namib” means in Nama language. But yet not dead at all.
Here, hundreds of species live and breed since the desert began to be, evolving with it on a slow but relentless pace.
Eyes protected from the sandy winds, organs and tissues to store water for long period or not to lose it, colors or behavior to hide where no hide is available and much more.
This is the majesty of the life in this desert, sometimes shy like a dune gecko, sometime exploding like the quiver tree or the assaulting horde of armored crickets.
Shapes, shadows, dunes and cracks against a blue sky or a black star-dusted night.
Solitary or in small groups, the gemsboks roam the land like wise mariners, without even drink for weeks, only taking some moisture from the short grasses they find during their well-known routes.
This is the realm of the fastest, the cheetah and the realm of the night, where bat-eared foxes and jackals find a good meal in a hard-shielded venomous scorpion.
A stunning land for those in search of something different to put in their memories, for those naturalists in search for extreme life, to those landscape lovers in search for something new each morning they wake up inside a place that seems unchanged since old times.


Life and death in Paracas coastal desert

Deserts are normally less “empty” than one could expect. Life can find its way through them in different ways, but there are two things that cannot miss in a “living desert”: water (at least a bit of it) and plants (or parts of it…).
In my trip to Peru I managed to do a one-day visit to the very interesting park of Paracas. The Paracas desert is among those places where it almost never rains, except for those year where volcanic eruptions lead ashes to the sky and provoke some rainfall.
It is a damn dry desert indeed, except for the coastal side, where there is some moisture, yet undrinkable while being “salty fog”. Anyway animals found a different way to eat and drink from their food sources.

This is a food web that starts from the sea in a “hard way”, with the arrival to the shores of corpses of sea lions and birds. But as usual with nature, what’s death for someone it means life for many other. So life begins with a dead sea lion on the beach, or a dolphin, that’s eaten by necrophagous beetles, which are the first “life line” together with the sea fleas living along the shoreline, the only true “vegetarians” in this world of nice carnivores.

Scorpions and spiders eat them as well as the first smaller Vertebrates, like geckoes and the sand lizard of the genus Microlophus,  which jump around the carcasses to feast on that great bonanza. 
And there come the bigger ones, even foxes, which can live here only thanks to these smaller creatures, retrieving nourishment and water from the smaller predators.

It’s a hand of life stretching from the sea to the ground, where “plants” are the algae in the Pacific ocean and the last predators are the ground vertebrates. A hand marked by the death of some marine animals, that means life in the desert.


A quiet saturday and a sally

It’s a while that I don’t update my website, basically because I’m always on the move between Genova and Rome and I’m getting lazy about internet.
Anyway, today I had the pleasure to visit a small stream I love not too far from my city, inside the Antola Regional Park, and had the chance to shoot some nice images.
It has been a quiet saturday, no hurries, no “you have to shoot that image for that work…”. Just me and nature (and a lens in between sometimes).
This is just a short note to have my orphaned website more alive, I’ll try to keep it working!
Cheers all and enjoy!


Peru Park Boasts Highest Diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles

hyalinobatrachium_2.jpgBig news today, my friends Alessandro Catenazzi and Rudi von May wrote me about this great news concerning the Peru’s Manú National Park, where I was on 2008 and took the photograph in the gallery here below, together with Ale and Francesco Tomasinelli.


This is the link from National Geographic Magazine
From here you can download the most recent paper about this marvelous biodiversity spot: http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v13n4/en/fullpaper?bn02813042013+en


My blog post on the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year site!

It’s a great pleasure and honor to give my personal point of view about macro photography and scientific photography to the official BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Blog.

Here you can read the blog post!


“Zanne, corazze e veleni” is open!

The new scientific exposition “Zanne, corazze e veleni” (trans. “Fangs, shells and venoms”), ideated by me and my friend and colleague Francesco Tomasinelli is finally open to the public until 15 June 2014. It an exposition about the never ending run for life of the smaller creatures like Amphibians, Reptiles, Arthropods and so on.

It features more than 30 high quality printed stories about this truly amazing world together with 16 vivaria containing some of the most interesting and beautiful creatures of the undergrowth. All these live animals are ambassadors of that realms, kept inside a reconstruction of their habitat, showing how they are bond to their ecosystems.

We must start thinking that there’s no need to care about size when we look at nature. Each tiny spider is a tiger in its realm, even more mysterious than its bigger “colleagues”.

I dedicate this exposition to this realm, to the marvel it can give me each day of my life in every corner of the planet I’m in. This is for you all, tiny creatures. I dream about a day when this giant Gulliver called “man” will perceive you all as a fundamental part of the beauty of this world.

Where: Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova “G. Doria” (Natural History Museum “G. Doria”, Genoa, Italy)
When: since 7 December 2013 to 15 June 2014
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6:00 p.m (closing day: monday)

UPDATE (14 Dec. 2013): we also have a Facebook page now here!!


Some news from me

It has been a while I didn’t update this news section, cause I’m quite busy lately.

I’m presently working as a tv presenter of the Italian show “GEO in the state tv channel RAI 3. This has been a major update since september 2013, cause it happens to be one of the biggest shows in Italy related to nature, geography and human society. We also present very good documentaries about animals and nature in general. The tv show goes live each day monday-friday for three hours: 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
It’s a pretty awesome adventure, even if i miss a bit my working days in the field. I’ll be a tv presenter until May 2014, with just some short breaks during Christmas and Easter days.

Since end of May I’ll be traveling to Botswana for a very nice photo tour open to people (check here for more info). This will be a very welcome trip for me, even if I’m struggling to get also again to Peruvian Andes for a short expedition in June.

Last months have been busy with some nice happening, I had two speeches at WILDPHOTOS in London, one of the biggest symposiums about wildlife photography in the world. It was both a honor and a thrilling experience to me! I had the chance to speak about my photography and the importance of the “small world” to an impressive audience. Just awesome!  Probably something is “rolling” on the media side and they’re starting to look through the mirror and maybe understanding that the world is not only made of humans and polar bears to be saved.

I recently exposed a Meet Your Neighbours exposition in Genova during the Science Festival. The nicest thing about that is that Randal Keynes, the great great grandson of Darwin, went to the exposition and really appreciated it as I was told by one of his collaborators. It was a shame that  I didn’t have the chance to meet him!

More in the oven now, cause I’m organizing a very big scientific exposition in Genova, called “Zanne, corazze e veleni” (trad.: “Fangs, shells and venoms”) about the smaller predators of the microcosm and the way animals thrives in that amazing world. It will be held at the Genoa’s Museum of Natural History since 7th December 2013 to 15 June 2014. (more nes about that soon)


The wolf spider's predation

This is one of the pictures I looked for since a long time, not for “the art sake” or for anything related to photography in itself. It’s a simple macro picture about a wolf spider (Lycosa oculata from Corse) preying upon a unlucky robber fly (Asilidae). But the position of the spider, the perspective… it’s the image I would use in the future to show how great a spider predation can be, how similar they can be to their big furry savannah colleagues, how amazing and close to us can be this part of Nature.


Loxosceles in Italia

(NOTE for foreign visitors: I normally write in English for this site, but this time I decided to write in my home language cause it’s easier for Italian people to read this particular post)

Recentemente sto leggendo di alcuni casi di morsicatura da parte di ragni del genere Loxosceles, riportati da quotidiani locali che in un modo o nell’altro tendono sempre un po’ a spettacolarizzare questi eventi, dando a volte pure indicazioni terapeutiche piuttosto opinabili.

Da parte mia consiglio VIVAMENTE di NON “aprire la ferita” come consigliato in qualche articolo, visto che si rischia solo di peggiorare la situazione (certi consigli non vanno dati così a caso, non si sa mai chi li legga e “come” applica il consiglio). La cosa più saggia è quella di applicare una buona dose di acqua ossigenata, lavare accuratamente la parte morsicata e andare in ospedale spiegando bene al medico che si è stati “MORSI” (non “punti”) da un ragno. Se possibile sarebbe bene portare il ragno possibilmente vivo (o quando meno non spiaccicato per vendetta) in una scatola per una corretta identificazione.

Infine: tutti i ragni italiani, eccetto circa due o tre specie, non danno problemi legati ad una morsicatura, se non dolorini locali e temporanei (ovviamente escludo allergie personali). Quindi è di gran lunga più facile morire per un banale incidente domestico che incappare in questo tipo di problemi.

Riporto qui di seguito un link in cui si parla per lo più di L. reclusa (specie americana), ma la cosa vale anche per i nostri “violini”: http://insects.about.com/od/spiders/tp/brown-recluse-lies.htm