Rosalia alpina – a protected longhorn beetle

It might only be nearing the end of August, but there is already a hint of autumn in the air as the immobilisng heat of summer is tempered by violent storms. Every year I experience a sense of sadness at another summer over and yet I love autumn…it may be a relic of schooldays or most probably those years of teaching where my freedom was coming to a close and the grind began again. But no more!


One of the loveliest of the European longhorn beetles – Rosalia alpina a rarity and protected wherever it occurs. It is an inhabitant of ancient chestnut woods particularly on dead and rotting trees.

In Italy time seems to pass far more quickly than it ever did before – a consequence of ageing and one’s perception (so little much to do) or of having filled days that are often unpredictable in their variety. Whatever it is , I had a shock when planning a trip to find some late beetles… the superb alpine longhorn beetle, Rosalia alpina. Four years had passed since a highly memorable day when we met up with Bruno D’Amicis, friend and one of Italy’s finest photographers, to explore ancient chestnut woods near his home in Abruzzo.

We found a single individual and Bruno and I cavorted as a couple of kids in their element taking photos for some 4 hours whilst an ever-patient Lois found a comfortable spot from which to feed her tan.


Bruno enjoys a moment’s spiritual contemplation before the next shot….


Many of the images taken that day had not been scrutinised beyond making a choice of those to send to libraries so it was fun to relive that day and view them again.

I thought it worth displaying a few of them here – I used just two lenses: the 15mm f/2.8 Sigma diagonal fisheye and the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro. In a few days time I shall take along the Laowa 15mm f/4 macro and see what I can do this time.


Up or down the trunk…the 15mm f/2.8 captures the scene.


A side view shows a rather sleek insect.


© Paul Harcourt Davies 2015

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