An Alpine brook (Stanislav Sýkora)

A small Alpine brook waterfall A brook in Gran Paradiso National Park Water larvae

     Little brooks at moderate latitudes of high mountains look all very much alike. This one is at the altitude of about 1600 m in the Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso area of south-west Alps, named after its mighty Gran Paradiso mountains range. Notice the lush vegetation which at such an altitude would be a bit unusual everywhere, except on the southern slopes of the Alps. The National Park was the first one of over 120 Italian natural reserves set up to protect the varied and unique natural habitats of the Country.
     Apart from looking beautiful and carrying the most precious liquid in the Solar system, the brooks are the home of numberless animal species. The shot on the right shows a few water larvae I have picked up from its bottom. They hide in their sheath-like, carry-on homes build from tiny pebbles. Put on my palm they got soon accustomed to it and started crawling out to explore the new, overly hot environment. I have no idea how the adult insects look - they might be water beetles as well as small air-born butterflies. There were whole armies of the larvae in the brook.

Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso, Italy, August 2006

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