Hello! Have you ever heard of the "Fraxinus excelsior"? Yes, it's me: call me Ash Major! I'm all over the Italian peninsula, especially in the north-central part of the country. My height reaches 40 m, my trunk is perfectly straight and cylindrical; while my bark almost resembles the stone, smooth and grayish. My leaves are composed: they are formed by 9-11 leaves joined together in a single long pigeon. My flowers are small and white, gathered in a cluster, while my buds are dark and velvety. SAMARA is the name of the lanceolate fruit I produce: it is light brown, contains a single oval seed and is winged. The wings of the samara, resemble those of the dragonfly: to fly, disperse more easily in the environment and finally sprout!
I'm a useful tree! Drying leaves, bark and seeds, you get a substance with antifebrial properties. With my wood, very elastic but durable, plywood, floors, furniture, boat rudders, tool handles and parts of musical instruments are produced. It's also a great fuel, because it heats up a lot.
Her name is Vanessa of the nettle. It is quite common in gardens all over Europe. Its caterpillar is very thorny, black and green in color and feeds on the nettle plant. When it becomes a butterfly it amazes you with its beautiful colors: brown, cream, orange, blue. But it's not only beautiful, and not as delicate as we all think are butterflies! Think: vanessa has adapted to living in every place, even in urbanized environments, and is able to migrate a considerable distance from the place where she was born. In the winter it even goes into hibernation! You got it right, it doesn't live a few days, but it's looking for a safe cant to fall into sleep: an attic, a garage, a crack in the wall, a hole in the trunk of a tree! Only with the end of winter, it returns to 100%. At this point, there is not much left to live: it must look for a companion, mate and lay eggs.
The largest beetle you can find in Italy and Europe is called flying deer, for its two long jaws that look like two horns: it uses them to tighten, nib and chop, when he struggles to keep away, flip the bad guy and knock him out. It's "flying" because it can fly, even if it is noisy and heavy; it moves and hunts mostly in the dark. It is a harmless insect despite its appearance, it is not harmful to man and crops: it only feeds on the sap of trees and other decaying plant materials. The stage of the larva can last 3-8 years, while the stage of the adult insect only 2; and often it is the larvae that are the victims of predators such as jay, alloch, woodpecker, badger and fox.
She is the dragonfly, a beautiful and elegant insect, called Calopteryx Splendens. In Latin, it means freedom. It has an electric blue color, a long and thin abdomen, consisting of eleven segments. It is common to spot her from May to September; especially near the canals, on the banks of rivers and even in stagnant waters. Perhaps not everyone knows that it lives most of its life in the water, where the larva remains until the time of metamorphosis comes. At this point, it becomes a nymph, comes out of the water, climbs on the stem of a plant, and within a few hours the skin dries and then breaks, becoming a beautiful dragonfly, noted for its quick, elegant and safe flight. By flying, he can get to a speed of 50 km per hour!
She is the Anodonta, it belongs to the species of molluscs so named for their soft body, often protected by a shell. It is a bivalve mollusk (with double shell). It lives exclusively in fresh, slow or stagnant waterways; and it loves to sink into the muddy ground.
Among the crostaces you might spot in the park's small waterways and on the banks is Louisiana's red shrimp. It can reach 20 cm in length and is able to withstand and breathe out of the water for a few hours, stretching away for tens of meters. Unfortunately, however, it does not have a good reputation: they call it killer shrimp! Now I'll explain why. It was imported to Italy from the United States, for an attempt at commercialization then escaped the control of the farms, and spread to all freshwater streams. It is very dangerous for the natural balance of aquatic environments, for various reasons: it is omnivorous and very voracious, it eats eggs of fish, frogs and salamanders, aquatic insects, and finished these, it devours the present plant species and aquatic plants, risking to biodiversity.
It can bring serious diseases among its fellows, including the infamous "shrimp plague". He can dig deep reeds (up to 1.5 m), risking weakening the embankments of rivers. Fortunately the herons are really very gluttonous, and they are spreading a lot thanks to the abundance of these shrimps.
The orange file (also in the red or brown version), or snail without a shell, belongs to the class of gasteropods, which in Greek means "animals crawling on their stomachs". Its stomach is truly insatiable, in fact, it is an authentic devourer of vegetables and mushrooms, for this reason hated by farmers. Its body is slimy and full of water, covered with a drooling substance, from which cosmetics, miraculous creams and cough syrups are made. The drool has the function of facilitating movement and keeping the body hydrated: this animal, in fact, lives in the wetlands and goes out especially at night, when the sun is not likely to dehydrate it. What we call horns are four tentacles that contain organs.