For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pretoria - Part 5

No matter how much I have traveled and enjoyed it, when I come back fom the airport and see this sight, I know I am home again. The building on the right is part of our very large university and the other buildings are the centre of town.
These are the administrative building for the University and also house a wonderful hall in which they have symphony concerts.
Another view of it.....
These are some of the 4 campus buildings
On the hill where I was taking these pictures, you can see a large portion of the town and some of the small hills it is bult on. For most of the year it is lush and green with our climate being similar to that of Florida.
In the distance, on another hill is the Union Buildings I feature last week in Part 1 and Part 2.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An uninvited visitor

I woke up to the feeling that there was someone in my bedroom. I switched on the light and there he was just disappearing around the corner. I grabbed my camera to get evidence of the intruder and the flash made him stop in his tracks.
Gotcha!! That will teach you to come sneaking around my bedroom at night when you think I am sleeping!!
Those beady eyes were watching my every move ...... so I switched off the light and went back to sleep. LOL!!

This is a Grass Katydid (Tylopsis) which are large (about 20mm in body length). They feed on grass, plants, aphids and caterpillars.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pretoria - Part 4

The City Hall was built to celebrate Pretoria's city status, obtained in 1931. Marthinus Pretorius established Pretoria in 1855 and named it in honour of his father.
The two statues in front of the building depict the Voortrekker (Pioneer) leaders, Marthinus Pretorius and his father Andries.
The walks are lined with various rose bushes........
and the pond in front of it is full of water lilies.
Across the road is the Transvaal Museum which I featured a while back and has a wonderful Rocks and Minerals Section. The pigeon was very interest in having his picture taken too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Birds of Pilansberg - Part 6

Yeah, yeah, I know!! Some of these are STRANGE looking birds aren't they?? LOL!! LOL!!

I stopped for coffee at a small dam and looking over the wall saw a lot of turtles coming up for a breath of air.
Warthogs were feeding on the banks but everything was still a bit dry as no rain had fallen yet.
An immature Blackshouldered Kite was posing very nicely although a bit far away.
The Pied Kingfisher was sitting on a nearby branch and...
.....looking at the fish swimming in the water below with hunger in his eyes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leopard Lizards

I want one of these too!! :)

The blunt-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia sila) is a relatively large lizard of the Crotaphytidae family. It has a long, regenerative tail, long, powerful hind limbs, and a short, blunt snout. Adult males are slightly larger than females, ranging in size from 3.4 to 4.7 inches (120 mm) in length, excluding tail. Females are 3.4 to 4.4 inches (110 mm) long. Males weigh 1.3 to 1.5 ounces, females 0.8 to 1.2.
Blunt-nosed leopard lizards feed primarily on insects particularly grasshoppers, crickets, moths, and other lizards and occasionally plant material.
Although blunt-nosed leopard lizards are darker than other leopard lizards, they exhibit tremendous variation in color and pattern on their backs. Their background color ranges from yellowish or light gray-brown to dark brown, depending on the surrounding soil color and vegetation. Their undersides are uniformly white. They have rows of dark spots across their backs, alternating with white, cream-colored or yellow bands.
Females typically produce only one clutch (2-6) of eggs per year. But some may produce three or more under favorable environmental conditions. After about two months of incubation, young hatch from late July through early August, rarely to September.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rhombic Egg Eater (Dasypeltis scabra) Colubridae

Thanks to everyone who took part. :)

We have a lot of pipes laying in our yard at work and early one morning they came running to tell me they had found a snake in one of them. This one was about 18-20 inches long.
 They use their teeth to "walk" prey four times the size of their heads into their stomachs.  Having a very stretchable type of skin, it allows them to stretch their jaws over the eggs or any large prey. These snakes are harmless to humans and are found throughout most of South Africa.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mystery Monday - Part 2

It seems as if everyone enjoyed the guessing game last week so I thought I would do it as a feature for a while as long as I have suitable subjects.

Today I have a good one for you........

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Garden Inspector

The Garden Inspector (Junonia Archesia) is a medium-size butterfly found mainly in our coastal areas. The larvae feed on herbs.

During the dry season, their plumage changes color from the above to that seen below.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pretoria - Part 3

Pretoria is a very pretty town. This is an average suburban street.
We have two small hills running through it and some of the houses are built on them.
The sculptor Anton van Wouw's statue of Paul Kruger occupies the centre stage on Church Square. While the bronze figures of Kruger and the sentries were cast in Italy at the turn of the century, it was only in1954 that they were installed in their rightful place.
The Palace of Justice forms part of the Northern Fa├žade of Church Square. Dating from the end of the 19th century, it was designed in the typical Italian Renaissance style, by Dutch architect Sytze Wierda. It is the headquarters of the Gauteng Provincial Division of the Supreme Court.
The Ou Raadsaal (Old Government Building) on the southern side of the square as designed by Dutch architect Sytze Wierda and erected by JJ Kirkness, a Scotsman from the Orkney Isles in 1887.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Even weeds can be beauiful - Part 2

I left this one dark on purpose as I like the effect it gives.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dwarf Chameleon

This one is in the process of molting.

A chameleon, with its compressed body covered in small granular scales, is the most easily recognized species of lizard. Its protruding eyes, which can move independently, are especially characteristic. It has a telescopic tongue that can be shot further than its body length to capture prey.A chameleon can change its body color, usually in response to its mood. They vary in size - from 2.5 cm to up to 50 cm in length. South African dwarf chameleons rarely exceed 10cm (4 inches) in length.
Most chameleons live primarily in trees, bushes and on other plants, but at least one South African species is terrestrial. Fifteen species occur in South Africa. A few newly discovered species await description.
Chameleons are only active by day. They primarily eat insects.
There are fifteen recognized species of dwarf chameleons (Bradypodion) in South Africa, of which five are endemic to the Cape Fold Mountains. In addition, there appear also to be several other un-described species present in these mountains. Unfortunately, the geographic distribution of many of these species remains largely unknown, and their taxonomy, distribution, and diversity is poorly understood.

This one kept on wanting to climb onto my camera. LOL!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lunate Blister Beetle

(Decapotoma Lunate) is just under an inch in length.
Adults feed on flowers of the cotton plant, fruit trees and vegetable.