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Elegant yet noxious (38)
cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
Hello Friends, and now something completely different. Let's go out from the deep canyons to the sunny seaside :-) Today I want to present you:

Calliptamus italicus (Linnaeus, 1758)
(pol. nadobnik wloski)
Subfamily: Calliptaminae
Family: Acrididae
Superfamily: Acridoidea
Suborder: Caelifera
Order: Orthoptera

This modestly coloured yet elegant grasshopper is a very interesting species. Believe or not but in some countries (like Poland) it's endangered and retreating, while in others (eg. Kazakhstan) it's a dangerous pest.

Originally this species is associated with steps and other types of xerophilous habitats, it has sub-Ponto-Mediterranean distribution, occurring widely from Central Europe to Middle Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and to North Africa.

Similarly to locust, it may have and aggregation phase when it joins in large groups and migrate. This takes place mostly in southern Europe and in Asia, where this species is a serious threat to sunflower fields.

Endangered in Poland:
In Poland the species is listed in Polish Red Data Book of Animals, under category EN (Endangered).
In the past it was reported from the whole of Poland, now confined to the central part of the Sandomierz Basin (Sandomierz Forest). It has withdrawn from the majority of its previous localities at such a quick rate that may be considered as a strongly endangered species in Poland, though the only extant local population is fairly numerous.

Source: Polish Red Data Book of Animals

I photographed this species in the beautfiul area of Kamen Briag in north-eastern Bulgaria, on the coast of the Black Sea. It's quite an exceptional part of the Bulgarian coast with quite high limestone cliffs, covered by xerophilous grassland. In some parts the thin layer of soil is completely red - probably due to high concentration of iron.

This place overall is very interesting for nature (several snake species, interesting insects spiders etc.) but also for the archeological remains. In antiquity the place was a Roman settlement, so you can find ancient wine cellars, cementary and ruins of Roman fort guarding the coast against the pirates - there was an important sea trading route from Bosphours north to Greek colonies at that time.

In the workshops you will find two more pictures illustrating the place: photo 1, photo 2.

To see other shots from that area please see here.

Altered Image #2

cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
xerophilous grasslands in Kamen Briag
Edited by:cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)

wide, flat and full of snakes :-)

Altered Image #1

cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
Cliffs in Kamen Briag...
Edited by:cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)

... and group of my friends on the cliffs :-)