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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dandy Jumping Spider (Portia Schultz)

Family Salticidae
This spider was very small and what I found most interesting was the way it holds its legs. The front three seem to look like one at times.

I am told that they use various means to get into the webs of other spiders which they then eat.
ID confirmation: Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman

Friday, December 28, 2012

Aloe White Scale (Duplachionaspis exalbida)

Family Diaspididae
They are less than 1mm in length and I found them extremely difficult to photograph.

Population generally kept under control by parasitic wasps and ladybird beetles.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stink Bug (Antestia lymphata)

Family Pentatomidae
Not very good pictures ..... sorry!!
 They are smallish bugs and with the colour and pattern, very easy to identify.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ichneumon Wasp (Osprynchotus gueinzii)

Family Ichneumonidae
Of medium size, the females have a conspicuous ovipositor such as the one in these pictures.

They parasitize nests of mud dabbers or any other that seals their nests with mud.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rain Spider (Palystes superciliosus)

Family Sparassidae
Also called Huntsman Spiders.

This female is fairly large, about 5cm in body length with legs which can reach up to 10cm.
She was sitting on this large egg sac and which will sometimes be covered with grass and leaves.

The female guards them aggressively.
Info: Spiders of the Kalahari (Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

White-ringed Atlas Moth (Epiphora mythimnia)

Family  Saturniidae

These moths have a huge wingspan of about 12cm (5”).

They are found around the north eastern (Natal) and north west borders of South Africa down to Kalagadi.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Koppie Foam Grasshopper (Dictyophorus spumans)

Family Pyrgomorphidae
These are very large grasshoppers and found in most regions of South Africa. Their colours make them very easy to identify.

They are flightless and lack hind wings. Because they feed on Milkweed, they exude poisons when molested which can be fatal to animals such as dogs.
Info: Field Guide to Insects of South Africa

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Painted Reed Frog (Hyperolius marmoratus)

Unmistakable colouring and markings makes this frog easy to recognise.
They are found in savanna pans where they call from the nearby reeds.
They have a short, loud, bell-like, piercing whistle.
Info: Frogs and Frogging in South Africa (Vincent Carruthers & Louis du Plessis)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Three-horned Dung Beetle (Catharsius tricornatus)

Family Scarabaeidae
These are large beetles found in most northern and central regions, then along the coast, down along the coast towards the Cape.
 They are nocturnal and the adults burrow below or in fresh dung heaps.
Info: Field Guide to Insects of South Africa

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lesser Baboon Spider (Harpactirella overdijki)

Family Theraphosidae
Males are slightly smaller than females and this one was slightly smaller than my open hand.

They are ground dwellers and construct burrows, silk-lined of various depths.

The egg-sac is deposited in the bottom of a j-shaped burrow which might have a hollow space on the side which is used for storage.

They feed on beetles, grasshoppers, millipedes and other spiders.
Info: Spiders of the Kalahari (Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Longhorn Beetle (Olenecamptus tesselatus)

Family Cerambycidae
 During my stay at Dinonyane I did come across a lot of longhorn beetle species but can find no interesting information about them.

This is a very small beetle, maybe 5mm in body length.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Black Flycatcher

These are found in the northern and central region and along the eastern coast. They inhabit gardens, woodlands and forest edges.
 Breeding is in the summer and this one had two chicks in a nearby tree which she was busily feeding

They do not have any distinguishing features besides having a slightly notched tail. They feed on insects and the nectar of aloes.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Potter Wasp (Tricarinodynerus guerinii)

Family Eumenidae
 There is a common species of wasp which I see which looks a lot like this one but it is larger and only the tip of its abdomen is yellow so can be easily confused with this one.

I was lucky enough to find where it was building its nest and could take pictures of that too. The female normally builds it in existing cavities such as keyholes, ends of pipes and bamboo, holes in trees etc.

The cells in the nest are separated by mud.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Emperor Moth (Aurivillius fuscus)

Family Saturniidae

I have never seen so many strikingly beautiful moths as during my time at Dinonyane!!

This one was no exception and is about medium in size as far as Emperor moths go but large if measured against most moths.

No information is available on it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fork-nosed Dung Beetle (Coptorhina klugi)

Family Scarabaeidae
These are medium-sized beetles and easily distinguished by the forked-horn on their head.
 They are found in the northern and eastern regions and are attracted to light.

The adults feed on mushrooms.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Interesting facts about bees - Part 3

The only function of drones is to mate with the queen.
The workers are sexually undeveloped females.
Life expectancy is approximately 28 to 35 days.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Red Toad (Schismaderma carens)

I had to laugh at these Red Toads ..... there was an old disused pond which they were breeding in and I caught some in a bucket in order to take pictures.

The male of the mating pair would not let go of the female no matter what happened!! LOL!!

In a way this was good as it allowed me to take both male and female in one picture so you can see the markings and the difference in size.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mayflies - Order Ephemeroptera

Mayflies are very small and sometimes confused with mosquitos but can be distinguished by their tails.
Some species only live a few hours and some a day and they go throught their whole life cycle in that time. They live near water and do not have mouth parts with which to eat. Of the 2500 known species, about 100 occur in the region.
Info:Field Guide to Insects of South Africa.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Spotted Tortoise Beetle (Conchyloctenia punctata)

Family Chrysomelidae

They are common in South Africa and can vary from a copper colour to orange or red.

They are smallish, about 12mm in length.
 The front portion is a reddish brown unlike most other tortoise beetle which have an almost clear ridge around it.

The eggs are laid on the underside of the leaf and hatch after about two weeks, the pupa being white with black markings.

Beetle larvae stack their excreta (the long thin, black filaments) as well as cast off skins onto a thin, fork-like appendage near the muscular anus. This forms the “tail” of the larva.