New insect species discoveries in Dutch Limburg

Menozziola phorid fly, newly discovered in Dutch Limburg

In the Sint-Pietersberg mountain in Maastricht in Limburg province in the Netherlands there used to be a quarry. Many mosasaurs and other animals from the age of dinosaurs have been found there.

Now, much smaller, still living, animals have been discovered.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Phorid flies, Limoniinae crane flies, lance flies …. In the ENCI quarry at Sint-Pietersberg, 30 insect species were found that were not yet known in the Netherlands. Two appear to be completely new to science, a dance fly and a fungus gnat, researcher Paul Beuk announced in Vroege Vogels on NPO Radio 1.

The Natural History Museum in Maastricht placed an insect trap half a year ago on a slope of the Sint-Pietersberg. It was excavated for centuries to get marl, but since that stopped in July this year, it became a nature reserve.

According to Beuk, the trap produced more animals than expected: he has already identified more than 200 species. Beuk thinks that the great diversity comes from the different biotopes in the area and the favorable approach path on the slope.

Limoniinae crane fly, newly discovered in Dutch Limburg

Young mute swans video

This video is by Rose Marie Herpers. In Maastricht city in the Netherlands she saw this mute swan couple with fifteen youngsters, while usually swans have 5-7 cygnets.

Eagle owls nest again near Dutch Maastricht

This 2012 video from the Netherlands shows an adult eagle owl at its nest cooling itself. Also two owlets.

On 12 April 2016, Dutch conservation organisation Natuurmonumenten reported that this spring, eagle owls have against started nesting on the Sint Pietersberg mountain near Maastricht city.

They nest in a hole, specially cut out for owls by Natuurmonumenten.

9,000 years old eagle owl bone from North Sea: here.

Syrian refugee elected carnival prince in the Netherlands

Prince Ali making carnival clothes, NOS photo

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands, 5 February 2016:

Carnival Prince Ali from Aleppo

Ali came eighteen months ago to the Netherlands as a refugee from Aleppo, now he is one of the princes of Maastricht. The 21-year-old Syrian will from tomorrow on be carnival prince Ali the First in Maastricht during Vastelaovend – as they call carnival in Limburg province.

We walked along for a day with him, while the final preparations for the carnival were done.

Ali is the prince of the temporary carnival society Common Carnival, an initiative of Limburg art students to create integration by means of carnival. Maastricht people and asylum seekers together make a carnaval float and costumes. Besides students also other inhabitants of Maastricht are welcome to participate.

It is not the first time that he celebrates carnival. Last year he was in Eindhoven, but before that he celebrated it in Syria. “We celebrate it as well with wagons in many different colours. People then drink on the street,” says Ali. “The difference between carnival here and in my country is that it only lasts one day there and here it continues for three days.”

That excessively alcohol will be drunk is no problem according to Ali. “The image that many people have is that we are all strict Muslims. There are eighteen religions in Syria, but few people here know that. We are very open-minded people.”

Ali himself says he will drink some beer, but not too much. “With the music we will keep ourselves under control. We are going to make something beautiful!”

Rare cornfield ants near Dutch Maastricht

This video from the USA is called Cornfield Ants, Lasius alienus, Social Behavior and Dispersal.

Translated from Stichting Bargerveen in the Netherlands:

Jan 28, 2016 – In the Netherlands cornfield ants are very rare inhabitants of calcareous grasslands. Last summer, the species was found by employees of Foundation Bargerveen on the Sint-Pietersberg [Mount Saint Peter; mountain near Maastricht]. Is the modification of vegetation by mowing and grazing here now bearing fruit?

Rare species

The cornfield ant (Lasius alienus) is a very rare species in South Limburg. Until 2004, the species was only known from the Bemelerberg hill. During research into the effects of grazing in the Popelmondedal valley, the southern slope of Mount St. Peter in Maastricht in 2015 by Stichting Bargerveen effects on ants were also examined. Great was the surprise when during the identifications of the catches this winter several cornfield ants were found. This species was totally absent in the intensive monitoring of the Popelmondedal in 2006 and except for an unconfirmed catch from 2012 this typical calcareous grassland species had never been previously reported from Mount St. Peter.

Helping Dutch wall lizards

This is a wall lizard video from Switzerland.

Wall lizards are very rare in the Netherlands. They only live at old military forts around Maastricht city.

‘Development’ plans in Maastricht threaten the animals.

However, the Dutch RAVON herpetologists have managed to change the plans in ways favourable to the Maastricht wall lizards.

The Belvédèreberg hill, formerly a landfill, has been reconstructed for the wall lizards and slow worms.

Also, wildlife tunnels will be built to help the reptiles.

Dutch lizard species: here.