Fauna present at the Xewkija Farm

Since we have began The Hands On Farming Programme we came across various kinds of fauna most of them protected by law. In this section we are reproducing some photos that we took and some information on each of them. We intend to add more entries as we encounter them.
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Żrinġ
Painted Frog
Discoglossus pictus pictus
This is the only amphibian found on the Maltese islands. There are different coloured frogs. It stays in humid places where there is water either flowing or stagnant. It is only found in the Maltese islands and in Sicily . It lays around 500 eggs and when the tadpoles hatch they have long tail. While they are in this stage they breath through their gills, but they develop lungs later on. While developing , the tail disappears and legs emerge
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Serp Iswed
Black Whip Snake
Coluber viridiflavus

This is the most common snake in the Maltese Islands. It is black-green in colour. Its belly is grey. During its first years it is grey in colour. It feeds on rats, mice, lizards and small birds. It lays around 10 eggs which hatch usually in August.

 

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Gremxula Ta’ Malta
Maltese Wall Lizard
Podarcisfilfolensis

This is still common in our countryside although their number is diminishing, as their habitat is threatened by man. The male lizard has bright colours while females are brown-grey. It is usually found on rubble walls and each male defends a territory of his own. It is endemic to the Maltese Islands.

 

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Wizgħa tal-Kampanja
Moorish Gecko
Tarentola mauritanica

It is still common in the countryside although like the lizards their number is decreasing because of human persecution. It lives in rubble walls, cliffs and unused countryside buildings. It feeds on insects.

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Nannakola Tal-Faqqus il-Ħmir
Gourd Ladybird
Henosepilachna alaterii

This is one of the many species of ladybirds found on our island. It is common and can be found on the Squirting Cucumber plant. Both the ladybirds and their larvae are found living and feeding on this plant.

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Ġurat tar-Raba
Egyptian Grasshopper
Anacridium aegyptium

This grasshopper is very common in our fields especially in cultivated land and trees. It is one of the largest grasshopper found in Malta but does not cause much damage to crops.

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Debba Tax-Xitan
Praying Mantis
Mantis religiosa

These are slow moving insects with very good eyesight. There are two colours, green and brown and are the only insects that can turn their heads from side to side. Their slander body can reach a maximum length of about 6.5 cm. They can camouflage themselves very well with their surroundings. Common.

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Mazzarell
Dragonflies
Odonata

These are beautiful insects. In Malta we have different species and are found near open reservoirs, ponds and pools. Dragonflies have wingspreads of 5 to 8 cm and they feed on small insects such as mosquitoes. They spend their first stage of their life in water breathing with gills. After some time the nymphs get out of the water and attach themselves to the side of the pond. After some time they transform themselves into mature dragonflies. Common .

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Farfett Tal-Hurrieq
Red Admiral
Vanessa atalantal

This is a beautiful dark butterfly that is common in our country-side is usually found on Lantana flowers. Butterflies undergo complete metamorphosis . Four stages make up their full life cycle: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (cocoon) and butterfly. The Red Admiral has earned its Maltese name since its caterpillar feeds mainly on nettles (Hurrieq).

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Qabru
Malta Fresh water crab
Potamon fluviatilis lanfrancoi

This crab is not found in the Xewkija Farm but in one locality in Gozo. It is the only fresh water crab in the Maltese Islands. This is an endemic species and it is becoming rare because of human interfering in its habitat. We have encountered this sole crab in this locality and photographed it.

 

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