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

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Bush - Part 11

Sand Wasps can be very easily confused with Yellow Jackets but they do not have yellow legs or the yellow markings on the head and thorax.
Females dig multi-celled nests in the sand and provision it progressively with flies The nest is seal when the larvae are almost mature.
I got there just too late!! This katydid was busy emerging when I saw it but I managed to at least capture the final part.
The white shell is much smaller than the katydid and I always wonder how they fitted into it. we have about 160 species here of which about 2/3 are endemic.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Museum Gardens - Part 4

This fly has the most unusual eyes.......
It is almost like the rings of a rainbow.
A Heart beetle was not concerned with anything except getting a meal.
At times it would feed hanging upside-down. LOL!!
The bees were having a feast. How busy they are in summer with so much to choose from.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Bush - Part 10

In one section of long grass, there were hundreds of these Devil's Maiden Moths flying around.
They belong to the Ctenuchinae family.
The Scarab beetle had different colurs to what I normally see and is possibly one of the Fruit Chafers.
This plant was flattened in the middle and I wondered what had spent the night cuddled up in it. Maybe some small buck?
With all the rain, there are many species of mushroom popping out right now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sunday walk

One Sunday morning early I went again to the local dam. It was lush and green after the rains and a dream place for finding insects. Behind where this picture was taken, there is just wild bush which no one ever goes into except you know who. LOL!!
The first thing I would was this Robber Fly with very unusual color eyes but he was so tiny I could hardly see him properly and it was only after I got the pictures onto the computer that I noticed the midge he was eating.
Some the cacti were in full bloom and this one had a very pretty flower.
Once again I never noticed the two, what look like fruit flies with green eyes, mating on this small flower. It is only about ½ an inch in diameter so you can imagine what size the flies are.
Summer is mating season even for the Assassin bugs.
What I found notable about them was the thorn-like protrusion on their shoulders and wondered what they are for, if anything.
The Lantana makes a beautiful splash of color in the bush but the rain seems to have chased all the insects it usually attracts away.
This look like the egg sack of a mantis (ootheca).
It is hard to believe that something that looks like this is actually an insect but Scale lives on the surface of many plants and can be very destructive.
Amongst a bed of wild flowers I noticed this one. There were hundreds of ants on it and yet none on the surrounding flowers which was unusual.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Bush - Part 9

It is getting towards the end of our summer season and most of the grass is turning to seed and looks very pretty.
A small Elegant Grasshopper having lunch.
I left home so early that I still managed to catch this dew drop on a weed.
A wild flower......
This was unusual for me as the caterpillar normally builds a cacoon around itself but this one was protecting one spun in the grass. Anyone know what it going one here?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Miscellaneous Beetle - Part 2

We have a few species of green dung beetle here of which this is the smallest, Gymnopleurus humanus.
The female lays her eggs in the dung and then she holds onto the ball as the male pushes it with his rear legs.
They would not stop moving and I had to put my finger onto it in order to get some pictures. The male would get so mad, he would crawl onto my finger. :)
Common Metallic Longhorns (Promeces longipes)
Small dotted fruit Chafer.
He was trying to bury himself in this flower.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bush - Part 8

Have you ever heard of a Bird Dropping Spider.......?
His back is disguised to look like bird droppings so he can hide away from predators. In the picture above, it has some egg sacks it was watching over.
Wooly Bee fly.....
Hidden in a thick shrub I found this chameleon hiding but the poor thing look to be very old and thin. Later on I found another one which was in its prime. I am hoping that next season when I plant my garden, I will have a few in my plants too.
This is tiny, about 3-4 mm in length. I think it is the egg of a Braconid Wasp and I am watching it to see what hatches but knowing my luck, it will do so when I am at work. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Bush - Part 7

On every almost stalk of grass there were Net-winged Beetles......
...and almost all of them were in pairs and mating.
Needless to say there are lots and lots of spiders..... this one was huge, about as big as my hand and I almost walked into its web....
Most of them are Golden Orb spiders which are rather pretty....
...okay, I know most of you are not going to agree with that statement. LOL!!
This one had caught herself a fly for dinner.
There are other species around too but I do not have time to have them identified.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wasp and spider

These have to be the worst pictures I have ever taken but there was just so much activity that I could not get anything better than these. I was standing outside at work when I noticed this wasp of the Pomilidae family land on the ground next to me.
These wasps actively hunt for spiders and it had a small jumping spider which it had caught.
These wasps have very long legs and a few of the species are wingless.
It obviously had a nest under a piece of machinery which was standing there and I watched it trying to manouvre itself with its prey, under it. The spider would be placed in one of its cells in order to feed the wasps babies when they hatch.