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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

White-barred Acraea - Female (Hyalites encedon)

Family Nymphalidae Heliconiinae

As with many butterflies, the females of these are more colourful than the males.
 They prefer wooded savanna and open coastal forest from East London along the eastern coast and from Gauteng northwards.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Old Man’s Beard - moss (Usnea barbata)

This species of moss is only found in areas where the air is very clean and pure such as in Addo Elephant Park because of the Porkbush.

Can find no further information on this except that it is similar to Spanish Moss.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Yellowbilled Stork

This is a non-breeding migrant bird found in the central, north and north-eastern regions.
Their habitat includes inland dams, rivers and floodplains.
Food consists of frogs, fish, crustaceans and insects. They walk in shallow water with their beaks held open and partly immersed catching prey by feel.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Winged Predatory Katydid (Clonia wahlbergi)


I came across this katydid who was laying her eggs right in the middle of the gravel road.

As you can see, her tail end is buried deep in the ground.

They are very large katydids with silver markings on their bodies.
Their food consists of large insects and they are mainly active at night.
They are found around the eastern, northern and western borders of SA.
Info: Field Guide to South African Insects

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Red-spotted Spittle Bug (Locris arithmetica)

Family Cercopidae

About 2cm in length and found in all but the arid regions.
 They are seen in small groups and sometimes confused with the Red Spittle Bug which is more orange in colour and fewer spots.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hampson’s Salad (Mittonia hampsoni)

Family Pyralidae

What a lovely name. It looks like salad. :)

A smallish moth with about a 2cm wingspan.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Natal Francolin

For some reason an idiot here decided that we now have to follow the American way of naming birds and have changed this species to Spurfowl instead of Francolin!!!! Why they think we should do so beats me and a whole lot of other birders I have spoken to!!

These birds make a lot of noise in the early evenings and dawn.

They are common in the northern and north-eastern areas and are found in small groups in all kinds of habitats.

Their food consists mainly of insects, fruit and seeds.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Setaro's/St. Lucia Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion setaroi)

Family Chamaeleonidae

They can grow up to 12cm in total length and are found near the St. Lucia estuary up towards Mozambique.

Their habitat is trees of the costal dune forests.

Info: Chameleons of Southern Africa (Tolley & Burger)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Novice - Male (Amauris ochlea)

Family Nymphalidae Danainae

A lovely find. In one day in St. Lucia I was able to catch and photograph 11 species of butterflies. A good day when one has to travel so far to find them.
 They are large 55-60mm and the male and female look very similar except for the brownish area on the  bottom centre of the males wings.
 Found along the Natal coast and northwards along the eastern boundaries of SA.

Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chacma Baboon

Baboons  are  generally  found  amongst  other  animals,  especially  antelope. This helps increase each species awareness to possible danger.
The canine teeth of  a  fully  grown  male  baboon  are  larger  than  those  of  a cheetah and constitute a formidable defensive and offensive weapon.
 They   have   a   wide   and   varied   diet.   This includes, but  is not  limited  to, insects,  fruit  and  birds  eggs.   They  will  not  eat  decayed  meat,   but  have been  known  to  supplement  their  food  supply  with  freshly  killed  antelope when necessary.
Their   life  span  is  approximately forty years, but this age is based on observation  in  captivity, and  is considered  to be somewhat  less  in   the wild   where   predators,   shortage   of    food  and  water  and  other  adverse conditions diminish their chance of survival.
When little ones are  seen  among  a  troop,  it  is  possible  to  determine  their approximate  ages at  a  glance:  up  to  one  month  old  the  babies  cling  to the bottom of their  mothers  belly;  from  two  to  three  months  old,  they  sit on her back in front of her tail; after three months they travel independently with the troop.
 One   distinguishable   feature   which   differentiates   between   the  sexes  is that the female lacks the  long  mane  of  hair  at  the  back  of  the neck  which is notable on the male.
 Because of the strong attachment between  females  and  their  off-spring, a   mother can sometimes be seen carrying around young which  have died a few days previously.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blue-striped Leafhopper (Poecilocarda cosmopolita)

Family Cicadellidae

As with all Leafhoppers, these are very small and because of this, hard to find and photograph. This one is about 5mm in body length.
 They sit on broad-leaved plants and as they are great jumpers, hop away as soon as a person gets close.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tinker Reed Frog (Hyperolius tuberilinguis)

A cute, small frog of about 4cm in length.

They are found in the northern part of the east coast and distinguishes by the plain green and orange/yellow limbs.

Males have a yellow throat.

Info: Frogs and Frogging in South Africa (Vincent Carruthers & Louis du Plessis)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dotted Border Ermine (Proschaliphora albida)

Family Arctiidae
A large moth with a 2-3cm wingspan.

No information available on it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Greyheaded Bush Shrike

Found in the northern regions as well as the Natal coast.

In Afrikaans their name mean “ghost bird” as it has a haunting call. It is very often heard but seldom seen.
It is about the size of a dove and has unmistakable colours.

Below: an unusual capture of it attacking a Vine Snake. For more pictures and video:

It is seen in woodlands and savanna with scrub and thickets as well as riverine areas.

Food: insects, frogs, lizards, small mammals and nestlings.

Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cucurbit Leaf Beetle (Prosmidia conifer)

Family Chrysomelidae
A small beetle only 8-9mm in length.
They are known to feed on pumpkin leaves as well as flowers.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Black-striped Hairtail (Anthene amarah)

Family Lycaenidae Lycaeninae
Small butterflies with about a 2cm wingspan.
 Are attracted to Acacia trees.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spotted Dikkop and eggs

I was lucky to find this bird sitting on her eggs but when I approached, she quickly moved off so as to distract me from them. As you can see, it did not work. :)
They are a common resident and found throughout South Africa.

Open grassland is preferred by them and often seen on lawns and playing fields.

Active mainly at night but seen on cloudy days in the shade of bushes.
Eat insects, grass seed, frogs and snails.