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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Common Emperor (Bunaea alcinoe)

Family Saturniidae
They also are known by the name of Cabbage Tree Emperors as their larvae is found there as well as on Bauhinia.
 These moths are large with a wingspan of about 16cm.
 At the moment the trees are covered with these caterpillars which are as thick as my thumb and just as big in diameter.
Photograph of the moth courtesy of Ilse Riediger.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Swollen-legged Leaf Beetle (Sagra bicolor)

Family Chrysomelidae

They are fairly large, nearly 2cm in length with the male having the swollen legs which are much longer than his body.

They are found only in the northern areas.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tree Squirrel

They have a body length of about 35cm with a tail half that.

Their black whiskers are conspicuous and up to 5cm in length.

They moult twice per year and are found in all kinds of habitats except forest and arid regions.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Longhorn Beetle (Clytini)

Family Cerambycidae

A small beetle about 5mm in length. No further information available.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fish Eagle

They have an average body length of 63-73cm and a wingspan of around 190cm for males.
 They are found at large dams, lakes and river with large trees and also coastal lagoons.

As their name implies, they mostly eat fish up to 3kg in weight which they pick out of the water while flying over.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Small Jewel Beetle (Acmaeodera)

Family Buprestidae
There is no information available on these beetles but they are small, about 5-7mm.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Emperor Moth (Heniocha dyops)

Family Saturniidae
 This is a large moth with a wingspan of about 10cm.
 For such a pretty moth, it is a pity that there is no further information available on it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rainbow Shield Bug nymphs (Calidae dregii)

Family Scutelleridae
It is easy to see where they get their names from but I could not find any adults which look much the same as these nymphs.

They are about 1.5cm in length with a red underside and breed on sunflowers, tobacco and various other plants.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Turquoise Longhorn (Prosopocera lactator)

Family Cerambycidae
This is another beetle I have been looking for and was pleased to eventually find it.
They lay their eggs in the stems of the Buffalo Thorn.
 It is about 2.5cm in length and is a light peppermint green and brown in colour with turquoise leg markings.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lizard Buzzard and snake

Sometimes, chance brings you to the right place at the right time. Cruising around on one of the sand roads, I spotted this buzzard in a tree with a snake which it was eating.
The snake must be about 1.5m in length but as it was nearing the end of the day and I had to take the pictures against the setting sun, the pictures are not good enough to identify the snake. It does seem to have a vertical stripe on it which would make it a non-venomous species.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Measly Moth (Platysphinx piabilis)

Family Sphingidae

These are large moths with a wingspan of over 10cm.

They are found in the northern and east coastal areas of SA.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Velvet Ground Beetle (Graphipterus limbatus)

Family Carabidae
These are very small beetles and very active not staying still for a minute. They prey on small insects.

They are identified by two rows of flattened white hairs on their heads while the rest of the body is covered in yellowish brown hairs.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Red Tip (Colotis antevippe gavisa)

Family Pieridae Pierinae
Medium-sized butterflies with a wingspan of 28-35mm and recognised from other species by the small black dot on the wings. 
They are found in the northern areas as well as the Natal coast.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Plumcoloured Starling

They are found in the northern parts of SA in woodland and savanna habitats.
 They form small flocks when not breeding. They rarely feed on the ground and can take insects in flight. Also eat fruit.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Giant Longhorn (Tithoes confinis)

Family Cerambycidae
These are extremely large beetles reaching 90mm in length. This specimen is 70mm (Nearly 3”).

They are nocturnal and use those massive mandibles to prey on smaller insects.

I have been searching for one for a long time now and found it against the wall in the bathroom.