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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nile Crocodile

One of their purposes in nature is to control the amount of catfish in the rivers and streams.
Without this control, rivers would soon be stripped of all vegetation without which, smaller fish, turtles etc. would not be able to survive.
A distance of up to twenty kilometres will be walked by them at night in search of another water hole or stream if their current one dries up.

Their favourite food is medium sized antelope which they kill by holding it underwater until it drowns and then they will break off large portions by shaking it about and swallow it hooves and all. One impala, for example, take approximately twenty eight days to digest and so they will not feed again will during that time.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Suricat (Meerkat)

On a visit to Addo Elephant Park, I took this shot of a Suricat lookout sitting on the top of a shrub.
While the rest feed, there is always one watching for danger. They are prey to the larger eagle species.

For more pictures and information, please go to:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Carmine Bee-eater

A smallish with an unmistakable rose red colour and a blue crown, undertail and green rump.

Migrates to Zimbabwe from August to November when not breeding.

Always found in huge flocks.

Make nests in the side of river banks.

Feed on flying insects.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cupreous Blue (Eicochrysops messapus)

Family Lycaenidae Lycaeninae

I have had these pictures for ages and never posted them until I took some additional ones. For some reason I thought I had posted pictures of this butterfly before but on checking I find I have not.
 They are very small and difficult to take pictures of with less than a 2cm wingspan and they tend to fly off if you come near.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Striped Toktokkie (Psamodes vialis)

Family Tenebrionidae
Occurs in the northwest. A large beetle about 26mm in length.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Brown-lipped Agate Snail (Metachatina kraussi)

Family Achatinidae

I have never seen a snail with black skin before so this was unusual for me.

Dai Herbert says that this is a juvenile and it will get paler as it grows older.

These are the largest of our snails and can reach 16cm in shell length.

They have a wide distribution both on the Natal coast and inland.

Info: Field Guide to Land Snails and Slugs (Dai Herbert & Dick Kilburn)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fruit Chafer (Dischista rufa)

Family Scarabaeidae
A medium-sized beetle of about 2.5cm in length.
Easily confused with other Dischista who’s colouring is very similar.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rainbow Skink (Trachylepis margaritifer)

Family Scincidae
 An immature Rainbow Skink changing colours between his juvenile and adult colours.
 To see more pictures and information, please go to:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gemsbok (Oryx gazella)

The gemsbok or gemsbuck (Oryx gazella) is a large antelope in the Oryx genus. It is native to the arid regions of Southern Africa, such as the Kalahari Desert. Some authorities formerly included the East African oryx as a subspecies. The current gemsbok population in South Africa is estimated at 373,000 specimens.

Gemsbok are the largest species in the Oryx gneus. They stand about 1.2 m (3.9 ft) at the shoulder. The body length can vary from 190 to 240 cm (75 to 94 in) and the tail measures 45 to 90 cm (18 to 35 in). Male gemsbok can weigh between 220 and 300 kg (490 and 660 lb), while females weigh 100–210 kg (220–460 lb).

Gemsbok are widely hunted for their spectacular horns that average 85 cm (33 in) in length. From a distance, the only outward difference between males and females (at a distance) is their horns, and many hunters mistake females for males each year. In males, these horns are perfectly straight, extending from the base of the skull to a slight outward and rearward angle. Females have longer, thinner horns with a slight outward and rearward curve in addition to their angle.

 Female gemsbok use their horns to defend themselves and their offspring from predators, while males primarily use their horns to defend their territories from other males.

Gemsbok are one of the few antelope species where female trophies are sometimes more desirable than male ones. A gemsbok horn can be fashioned into a natural trumpet and, according to some authorities, can be used as a shofar.

Gemsbok live in herds of about 10-40 animals, which consist of a dominant male, a few non-dominant males, and females. They are mainly desert-dwelling and do not depend on drinking water to supply their physiological needs. They can reach running speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Common Scarlet - Male (Axiocerses tjoane)

Family Lycaenidae Lycaeninae
Often I only get one shot at a butterfly before it flies away and most times, the picture is fuzzy. However, luck was with me on this one.

They are smallish with a 2-3cm wingspan and seen only in the northern regions and a thin strip along the eastern coast.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Black Stork

As all storks, they are large, about 122cm in length with a wingspan of 144-155cm.
They are found throughout SA in marshes, dams, rivers and estuaries.
 Seen singly or as a breeding pair but when not breeding, small flocks of about 15 birds can be seen together.
 They eat frogs, arthropods, small mammals and nestling birds.

They nest in trees and clutches are on average 5 eggs.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Saturday, July 20, 2013


In the heat of the day, fear of humans is forgotten in the need to find a shady spot to sleep. It did not bother them that it was lunch time and most humans are scared of THEM so would not use the tables. LOL!!

For more pictures and information, please go to:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cavorting Emperor Moth (Usta terpsichore)

Family Saturniidae
 One the smaller Emperor moth species with a wingspan of only about 4cm.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (Dromica transitoria)

Family Carabidae Cicindelinae
Although most of our Tiger beetles are found on the beaches of our coastal areas, this species was found at Berg en Dal Camp, Kruger National Park.

A small beetle of about 1cm in body length and a very fast runner.

They are predators of other insects.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Male kudu hold their heads back in order to lay their horns along their back so that they do not get the entangled in the bushes when running.

When fully grown, they have thirty two teeth.

 Very often kudu are seen standing on top of anthills as this gives them a good view of their surroundings and can quickly see approaching danger.

When a herd is alarmed and starts to run away, they curl their tails upwards so that the white part underneath shows. This acts like a flag and enables those behind to follow easily and are thus able to stay together.

The spiral horns are used to pull down branches too high for them to reach otherwise.

 Kudu have the longest horns amongst the antelope species. They have been measured at 181,6 centimetres.

The female leaves the herd when she is about to give birth, and once the calf is born, she keeps it hidden for a few days until the baby is strong enough to join the herd.

They have very large ears in proportion to their heads.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shells / Starfish

On a recent visit to the coast, I photographed a selection of shells and starfish at Kidds Beach.
 They come in all shapes and colours and the prettiest ones I found to be the very small ones.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monkey Beetle (Eriesthis gutttata)

Family Scarabaeidae
 Monkey Beetles are very small and hair and mostly seen with just their butts sticking out of flowers.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chameleon colours

I find chameleons fascinating.

Not only are they masters of disguise, they have eyes which turn independently of each other so that it is capable of looking forward and behind at the same time.
 Then way they change colour automatically with no effort on their behalf is amazing.
 This is the Common Flap-necked chameleon, the largest of our species and these are some of the changes in colour I have been able to take photographs of. The first one is how they normally look.

For more information on them, please go to: