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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cheetah - Part 2

For interesting info on these beautiful cats please go to my first post CHEETAH. If you have any other question, please feel free to ask.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lacewing / Antlion - Red Lacewing (Dysochrysa furcata) family Chrysopidae

Sometimes called 'doodlebugs' - This antlion was not easy to get a photograph of as they disappear so easily once you start digging into their cone-shaped nest and look like this:

I am sure you have seen them in your garden.
The sides are built at a 45 degree angle and once the ant falls in, he cannot get out again. The larvae is extremely small, about 2-3mm.
Lacewing larvae are carnivorous and differ in appearance and habit, but all have elongated mouthparts modified for sucking out the fluids of their prey.
Their anus is sealed so that waste products of their diet can be stored until excreted as a white pellet after emergence.

They spin a spherical cocoon for pupation.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pilansberg - Wild flowers - Part 3

Okay so these are not flowers either but as we are heading for winter, all the grasses are starting to seed and some of them are so pretty.

This very young little bird sat dead still for me for a change. It is probably on of the Cisticola family but they all look the same and are very difficult to tell apart.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Who's stealing my bread?

I put out seed and crumbed brown bread for the birds and the other morning when I came out, I found this rather large millipede having his breakfast there too.
I did not know that anyone else was eating there besides the birds and the rabbit.
What surprised me was the fact that there were no birds around while the millipede was eating and that some of them did not think to make a meal of HIM!! :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Rose

It has rain here all of yesterday and last night, with more being forcast over the next few days.
Being at the oppostite end of the world, we are heading for winter and as I am an early riser, I can see the sun coming up later every day and moving further north.

I especially love roses as they remind me of someone special and with the raindrops on them, it makes them look exceptional.

We have a beautiful rose farm a little way up the road and it is nice to spend a Sunday morning there.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The sun is slowly going down in the west giving the pink and blue clouds a halo of gold. The last of the birds are flying to their roosting sites and their song is over for the day. It is a quiet time, one to relax by and just enjoy the moment and nature around you.

My mind travels along almost forgotten paths and I recall similar scenes in my life. A chance remark heard during the day tempts me to think about the past, to reflect and wonder at how I got to this space in time.
I had always been an outdoors person but had never seen or had much to do with wild animals besides the odd chameleon for a pet, my working life was in the city surrounded by concrete. I had grown up hearing about game reserves and all the animals to be found there but had never stirred myself enough to actually go there to see it for myself. We know these places are there, but take them for granted most of the time. In anycase, it was 5 hours drive away and I was so comfortable in my little space, I did not want to move out of it.

Then along comes a stranger to our beautiful country and asks if I would take him there. My first reaction is to say no, I mean, I am still at peace in my little world aren’t I? I don’t want to get out of my rut do I? Let someone else take him!! But after a lot of coxing, I am persuaded to change my mind. Some other friends decide to join us as well and we are eventually 5 people who want to make the trip.
How little was I aware that this was going to put my life into a sharp curve which would take me very far out of my comfort zone and into one I was to call “home” for the rest of my life. I think we are uneasy and reluctant to move from one space in our lives to another. We become so accustomed to things as they are so why should we try anything else?

From that time on, I have gladly sought out new experiences and adventures. My curiosity would get the better of me to know what is around the next corner and over the next hill. My life has been full with new adventures, scenes and experiences and all it took was that first reluctant step into a new world.

So my advice to you is this, no matter how afraid or reluctant you are to take that initial step into the unknown, no matter how young or old, do it!! You might find yourself in a wonderful space you can call “home” too!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Black / Brown Widow (Button) Spider

Here is, for me, an interesting one on the Brown Widow (also known as Button spiders) Spider. This young lady made her nest in the gate at the office and I managed to get a few nice shots of her. What we discovered was that there are two varieties, the Black and the Brown Widow Spider. Of these two, the Brown Widow, pictured here, is the more dangerous of the two. But she is tiny, only about 4mm (less than half an inch) in diameter. Some of the species are very colorful and are not only black as I had previously thought.
Markings on the back....
and on the stomach.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Flowers / Inchworm

After 5 days of continuous rain, it was nice to see some sunshine again. I love the rain, but hate the cold it brought with it as a reminder that winter is on the way.

These are probably the last of the sunflowers I will be able to take pictures of for this season. The petals are starting to droop and discolor.
I was lucky to find this inchworm...or should I say, he found me!! When I brought my bags in from shopping, he was crawling on the handle of one of them. I don't know where I could have picked him up, but he was kind enough to pose for some photographs. He is about 1.5 inches long and very thin, about the size of a #12 knitting needle.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wooly Bee Fly (Systoechus) Bombyliidae

These are Wolly Bee Flies. The flowers they are on are about 3-5mm and these flies are very small, maybe 5-7mm at most.

Usually all I get is this......
....but today must be my lucky day as I got this....
...and this.....


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Morning Glories (Ipomoea sp) Convolvulaceae

I never realized that the common Morning Glory came in such a vast aray of colours.