Small is Beautiful

Somewhat inevitably, with the weather threatening to collapse for a while and being in the area, we have ended up back at our old haunt of Fanjeaux. It would be rude, after all, for us to be in striking distance and not to call in to say hello to Luc and Nadine, et al.

We got here from Marciac after a few trials and tribulations deciding to go on a cross-country route rather than sticking to the faster autoroutes. The satnav’s route was thrown a curve ball when the town market barred the road that the satnav wanted to take. So, we ended up following her diversion and ended up in the confusion called Toulouse, which we’d been wanting to avoid.

All was not over, though. Having got to the Toulouse rocade [bypass], Sally Satnav studiously avoided dumping us on the A61 out of Toulouse. Curious. A look at options showed us avoiding single use toll roads. We had had a glitch approaching Amboise and wondered if that was a software update and thought it may have reset an option or two? We’ll never know. We reset the option, found our way to the A61 and arrived.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHawk-eyes Francine spotted that Frodo had attracted a visitor, and a very curious looking visitor at that. This was a job for my macro lens, being a little less than a centimetre long. Fortunately it remained stationary for me while I set my camera options. This glorious little delight, hitherto completely unknown to me, is a so-called Buffalo Treehopper (Stictocephala bisonia). This is an in-camera focus-stacked image. The “cephala” part of the genus means head but I’m not sure about the “Sticto” bit. There is a fearsome looking thorn on the end of what would seem to be part of the thorax, the abdomen being beneath it behind the wings. However the name is derived, it’s absolutely gorgeous and I’ve never seen the like before.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMoving away from Frodo and into the sanitaire or, at least, the washing up area of the sanitaire, we found a curious little delight. This was even smaller than our buffalo friend, being no more than 5mm across. Once again this is an in-camera focus-stacked image of 15 slices, hand held but with the aid of a monopod. The detail revealed is beautiful. I did try flash at first but the bright light on the white tiles obscured the finer detail and especially the delicate white spots which give it it’s name: Clogmia albipunctata.. I’m going to stick to the scientific binomial because the common English name of Drain Fly really doesn’t do it justice, though it is apparently technically accurate. It’s actually a kind of midge and another new one to me. I love this little creature to bits.

Posted in 2023-09 France