For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The biggest, fattest caterpillar I have ever seen!!

This caterpiller is about 5 inches long and as thick as my thumb. I have brought one home to see what it eventually becomes but I get the feeling it is only going to do this in the spring. I found it in a park about 3-4 miles away.
It is one of the species of Mopane worms we have here.
They are a staple part of the diet in Southern Africa, they are harvested twice a year and sold in the local markets. The mopane worm is the brightly colored caterpillar of the Emperor Moth, which is one of the world’s largest moths, and the caterpillar lives on the leaves of the mopane tree – hence, it gets its name. The worms are hand picked or shaken off the trees. The local collector’s squeeze the Caterpillars to remove their bright green ‘guts’ and then they are cooked in a cauldron of salty water until the water has evaporated, they are then dried in the Hot African Sun. Once dried, they can be stored for many months. Their protein content is three times that of beef, weight for weight, and they are traditionally cooked in a stew containing tomatoes and onions. The biggest worms have the best flavor as they contain more fat ; the texture is similar to tofu or soya meat and they taste a little like dried fish, but they seem to soak up the flavor of whatever they are cooked with. Mopane’s can also be eaten as they are as a snack like, ‘jerky’.

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