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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Art of disguise - Part 7

The Cream-striped Owl Moth is sitting so still that it is easy to walk past and not notice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A post for Mary - Monkey Orange

A while back I did a post on the Monkey Orange and in response to Mary's question about what they make out of it, I said I would take some pictures of the finished product when I saw them again and post it.
The ones in the top picture were made into candle holders and the ones below into rattles.
There is a variety of patterns and colours they decorate them with but are all quite attractive.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two dragonflies

On the trip with Gaelyn we came across these two dragonflies at the Dinosaur Park.
It is a Julia Skimmer and fairly common here.
It was kind enough to follow us and pose nicely for his photo session. :)
The Small Scarlet is not so widespread.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I wish....

… many times a day do we use that term? Have you ever wondered what would happen if they all came true? What if we say “I wish so-and-so gets a pain in the butt” or worse still “I wish so-and-so would go to hell”. But we don’t REALLY want them to go to hell do we because if they did, we would bawl our eyes out! Sometimes what we wish for reflects our un-satisfaction with our lives and circumstances, or maybe with just a single happening. But what if they are good wishes like “I wish you a wonderful day”, “I wish I could be with you” or “I wish there was no more hunger in this world”?
Do we wish our lives away in hopes and dreams that they will come true as we have such a negative way of thinking in these modern times? Aren’t most of them wishing for a better future? Isn’t it a kind of longing, maybe to be with someone special who is far away or to be able to make ends meet.
When we say that, are we REALLY wishing for it or is it just a phrase we use? Instead of wishing, should we not make the effort to make them come true? Words without actions are meaningless and is it not up to us to decide on our future and how things should be? Are our words sometimes so thoughtless to the consequences or so in haste that we do not watch what we say?
Is it a case of “be careful what you wish for as you might get it”?
How many times do we wish we knew the answers to questions, but do we really want to hear them?
I wish I knew…….

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pilansberg - Wild flowers - Part 5

This one is smaller than a 1c piece.
A bagworm wanting her picture taken...
Some beautiful grass and weeds.....

Then I found a golf wait...its a mushroom disguised as one. :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Peters Epauletted Fruit Bats

There is not much information to be found on these bats. In Kruger National Park they hang onto the thatched (grass) roof near the river.
Peters' Epauletted Fruit Bats are a common species in part of the southern Africa subregion, including Mozambique, eastern Zaire, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and parts of South Africa.
They congregate in large colonies of up to hundreds of individuals and make a great deal of noise together, especially when returning after a night's foraging. They hang upside-down from the thinner branches of evergreen trees, whose thick foliage provides cover.
As they jockey for position, interfering neighbors are slashed with wings and with the sharp claw at the end of the first digit or thumb on the leading edge of the wing. Eventually they all settle down, slightly spaced out from one another, and silence reigns for the day.
The so-called epaulette on each shoulder of the males is a patch of white hairs covering a sunken glandular pouch. The hairs come into prominence when the pouches are turned outwards. This happens when the animal is under stress, when it vocalizes, and possibly also when it is sexually stimulated. The male's call is a musical bark, usually uttered as it hangs in its accustomed position.
These bats prefer soft, pulpy fruits. In their raids on cultivated crops, they ignore apples and pears, but eat peaches, figs, and similar juicy fruits. A single young is produced, which clings to one of its mother's nipples and is carried by her while she is feeding.
SIZE: Length (including tail) (m) 15 cm, (f) 12 cm; wingspan 56 cm; mass (m) 105 g, (f) 76 g.
The answers to bat myths

No, bats are not blind and many can see very well. Insect-eating bats depend on sound and very good hearing to find food and to get around in the dark. So don't say, " blind as a bat" because it is not true!

If bats can find tiny insects in total darkness, would they get tangled up in your hair? No! They are much too smart to fly into people.

While both bats and mice are mammals, bats are not rodents and are more closely related to primates and people. Besides...mice can't fly!

Bats are very clean and groom themselves just like cats. Bats can get rabies, like all mammals, but few ever do. Remember, bats are wild animals. You have nothing to fear if you never touch a bat.

Some mammals, like the flying squirrels can glide, but bats are the only mammals that can really fly. There are many different ways bats fly. Some can hover like hummingbirds while feeding on nectar, and a few flying foxes can soar in the air like eagles.

Bats are very, very helpful! They help control the insect population, reseed cut forests, and pollinate plants that provide food for humans. Bats also taught us about sonar. Bacteria in their guano is useful in improving soaps, making gasohol and producing antibiotics, besides being a fertilizer.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


With all the rain we have been having, water has been collecting in a huge white plastic drum in the yard and needless to say, insects find their way to it to breed.
These Midges (Family Chironomidae) are very small, about 3mm or he size of a pencil point, in length. The Larvae which you can see in the top photograph are maybe half an inch in length. In the one below, it shows some of their development stages they go through.
Larvae feed on decaying organic matter and they occur in almost any pool of water.
The males have very long, fan-like antennae and have blue-ish wings. They have poorly developed mouthparts and the adults of some of the species do not feed at all.
They are sometimes easily confused with mosquitoes and may form huge swarms when mating.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Art of disguise -Part 6

A Grass-mimicking Grasshopper is very difficult to spot when they are on dried grass, so what you look for are stems which thicken unexpectedy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Talk about getting yourself in a bind!! Orthoporoides

Although it is getting colder here, I have seen many birds and insects still mating.
These two millipedes were rolling all over the show and I gathered by that the female was not too keen on accepting his advances.
What a way to reproduce!! :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A post to make Gaelyn jealous!!

Guess what I got and am going to be pigging out on this weekend? LOL!! LOL!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Caterpillar and ant fight

If ever there was a tenacious creature, it would be the ant!! They will single handedly take on prey which is much bigger than themselves and end up wining too.
As you can see, there is no comparison between the two with weight and size.
I discovered this ant trying to drag the caterpillar to its nest about 4 feet away. What I found amazing also was the fact that no other ant from the nest came to help him.
How long the battle had been going on before then, I do not know, but I watched them on and off for about 40 minutes, and what a battle it was!!
The caterpillar was still very much alive and kept twisting this way and that to get away, but the ant would not let him go and kept on getting a grip on him on different parts of its body.
Eventually I could see the caterpillar was weakening as its movement were getting slower and when I came out to check again, they were gone. I can only think that it finally perished and the ant managed to get him inside.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pilansberg - WIld flowers - Part 4

I have never seen a wild Morning Glory before.

This mushroom was hiding away in the grass too.