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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vacation Time - Day 4 Part 2

At this time of year so many trees and plants are flowering. Some are dull and others have brilliant colors. Wherever you look, the bees are busy collecting pollen.
Although this Agama lizard is a completely different color, it sits so still that one can walk right by without noticing it.
The Fever Tree has spread its roots along the top of the ground and because of its color, it somehow looked pre-historic to me. Please click on the link to read the story of how it got its name.
While photographing the roots above, I noticed a large ant scurrying along one of them and bent down to take a closer look as I had not seen one so large before. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be something else!!
It is a baby Flower mantis (family Hymenopodidae). In the picture above he is on my thumb nail to give you some idea of its size. When larger, they mimic flowers and are very beautiful but extremely difficult to find.
Most mantids of this species have some kind of raised section in the middle of their heads and this one reminded me of a unicorn.
It has very unusual eyes don’t you think? All mantids are carnivorous and eat all kinds of insects, spiders etc which they can easily grip with their spiny forelegs.
The Yellowbilled Hornbill is very common here. A large bird maybe twice the size of a dove. They are also insect eaters and hop along the ground all day looking for food. Their nests are in hollow trees which the male closes with mud to leave just a narrow slit. The female moults completely inside and has to rely on being fed through it by the male.

26 comments:

Costea Andrea Mihai said...

hello! i'm a big fan of nature photography!! wonderful captures! congratulations!

Sandra said...

everything on this post is blowing my mind. never seen anything like any of it except the flowers. loved the story of the fever tree. the flower mantis is awesome. your photos show all that tiny detail we miss with our eyes.all your little bugs today are like tiny prehistoric monsters and I love them. great post

Sandra said...

forgot to say how much i like that lizard that is hiding in plain sight and doing a great job of it.

troutbirder said...

What a strange looking bird that Hornbill. Fierce too! :)

Gaelyn said...

Those Fever Tree (yes, I remember the story) roots do look prehistoric. But then so does that unicorn looking mantis. You do find the most unusual things in the wild. Love it!

Andrea said...

Impressive!
The mantis head is really impressive!

blog with no name said...

Good thing it's so small... Can you imagine if it were big as a horse?

That's one mean looking bug!
Very unusual bird... great colors!

Becky and Gary said...

What an amazing post again Joan! That Mantis must be almost invisible. So interesting, and your images are FANTASTIC!
I did read about the Hornbills inside the nest. How safe they must feel with their babies.
B.

Craig Glenn said...

Fine Joan, you gonna start making stuff up again and I am going to call you out.... fever tree... for pete's sake...

The claymation work is coming along nicely though. Great work on those.

Craig

And if any of y'all buy the bug ladies stuff come on by my place, I have a photo of woody woodpecker!
Really, I do...

Firefly said...

I am fasinated by this flower mantis. I have never seen one in real life and probably would miss it.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting Costea Andrea Mihai.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Sandra. I think it is because you never get to see them so close up. I have seen people post the most interesting bugs from your part of the world too. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Sandra: I had to smile at that lizard. He definitely thought he was invisible. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

They are strange looking Ray but very common here by us. We have about 7 species of them here the biggest being about the size of a turkey. Now THAT is a fierce looking bugger and does not hesitate to take on snakes.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

This whole trip was a good one Gaelyn. You should see the other mantis I found later, it is coming up in a later post.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It sure is Andrea. It was a day of finding very unusual things.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

THAT I do NOT want to imagine Mike. LOL!! If it was that big I can assure you I would not have shown you a picture of it as I would have run away. LOL!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Becky. Yes, they are very safe there. The only thing is that if anything happens to the male, the female dies as there is no one to feed her and she has no feathers to fly with. Nature can be strange sometimes.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! Lets face it Craig, you enjoy all these stories of mine. LOL!!

My clamation was at least more creative than that sloppy one you made of the woodpecker!! Woody woodpecker indeed!! LOL!! I am going to have to teach you the art of clamations. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

They are really hard to find Jonker but I know you have them in your area as I saw someone post one on another forum and he was from PE.

Craver Vii said...

That is the coolest mantis I have ever seen. This world is filled with so many wonderful sights!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Craver. I found many mantis on this trip and have another neat one coming up.

Yes, and most of us did not realize how many there are.

Rambling Woods said...

How interesting about the bird...I guess if the male gets killed, she dies too then...love the mantis..glad I am not tiny when I look at them....

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Yes she does Michelle as she is completely helpless without him.

Me too!! Imagine coming across this if we were like Thumbelina!! :)

JM said...

Wow! The baby mantis made me speechless! What an amazing critter! Also love the Flying Banana shot!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I agree Jose. He was so small I almost missed him. Flying Banana? LOL!!