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

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pearl-spotted Emperor (Charaxes jahlusa)

Family Nymphalidae Charaxinae
Large butterflies with a wingspan of 4-5.5cm.
Widespread in the northern provinces and Natal coast.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Friday, August 30, 2013

African Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus edulis)

Family Pyxicephalidae
During a visit to Kruger National Park in February, there were literally thousands of these small frogs on the road to Olifants Camp from Satara and one could not pass without driving over some.
They are an inland species found in dams, marshes, rivers and pans and only come to the surface at the beginning of the rainy season.

The males protect the tadpoles from predators.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mangrove Crab (Sesarma meinerti)

These crabs are not indigenous to South Africa but are found in the mangrove swamp areas along the eastern Natal where they eat the leaves of mangroves. It is a biggish crab of about 7cm in diameter.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bronzewinged Courser

A very difficult bird to get photographs of as it stays hidden in the grass in the hopes I did not see him.
 A medium size bird looking very much like a Plover.

The eye pattern easily identifies them.
 They are solitary birds but sometimes seen as a mating pair or a small group.
 They eat insects and are mainly nocturnal.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fungus Weevil (Xylinades rugicollis)

Family Anthribidae
A medium size weevil of about 20mm in body length. They are found on the trunks of trees in the east coast moister regions.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Yellow Mongoose

Yellow Mongoose are found throughout SA except for the Kwa Zulu Natal coastal area and Kruger National Park in the north east.

Their colour varies greatly in different regions from tawny-yellowish to grizzled-greyish and reddish-yellow in others. There is a seasonal difference with the coat hairs being longer in winter than in summer.

They have 5 digits on their front feet and 4 on back but the first digits are set so far back it does not show in their spoor.

2nd and 5th digit their feet have long claws up to 10mm over the curve.

They give birth in the beginning of summer to litters of 2-4 babies.
Most are distinguished by their white-tipped tail but species found in the north do not have it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Smoky Orange Tip (Colotis euippe omphale)

Family Pieridae Pierinae
 Wingspan 35-45mm.
 They are found in all but the central regions of SA.

Seen the year round in warmer areas.
 Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Leaf Beetle

Family Chrysomelidae

A small beetle without a name.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Young male Impala spend a lot of time play-fighting and in the process, sometimes a horn gets damaged. This means that they will never be able to compete for the females when it is breeding time.

For more pictures and information, please go to:

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Although this is a medium sized bird it builds a huge nest of about 1m or more in height and near the bottom third, has a small hole for an entrance.

It gets its name from the hammer-like head.
Hamerkop nests take about 6 months to construct and almost anything is used as material to do so including bits of bone, material etc. although mostly it consists of branches and twigs. The same site is used by them year after year unless it is damaged or invaded by some kind of predator.

Found throughout SA near inland rivers, streams, dams and waterways.

Mainly eats tadpoles and fish.

Clutch normally 5 eggs which hatch in 28-32 days.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fluffball Chafer (Xeloma tomentosa)

Family Scarabaeidae
 A small chafer about 1cm in body length with longish hairs on it.
 Its common name says it all. :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grizzled Bush Brown (Bicyclus ena)

Family Nymphalidae Satyrinae
They are found only in a small area in the northeast of SA.
Of medium size with a wingspan about 3-4cm.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Greater Leaf-rolling Frog (Afrixalus fornasinii)

Family Hyperoliidae

These are found along the extreme north eastern coast of SA.
Their habitat is savanna pans.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Striped Toktokkie (Psamodes pondersus)

Family Tenebrionidae
Adults tap out rhythms on the ground with their rear ends to locate and attract mates. They are flightless and run fast. A large beetle 24mm in length.
Info: Field Guide to South African Insects

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Purple-brown Hairstreak (Hypolycaena philippus)

Family Lycaenidae Lycaeninae

The first 3 pictures are of the female and the last 2 the male.
 Small. The female has more brown on the upper wing whereas the male is more blue.
 Found along the eastern coast and from Gauteng northwards.
 Seen the year round in warmer regions.

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

Friday, August 16, 2013

Snake companion

I often set up a light to attract the night-flying insects and one evening at Roodeplaat Dam I was sitting doing just that when I heard something approaching through the bush. Outside of the light area, it is pitch dark so I could not see what it was.
 A few minutes later, this nearly 2m (6’) snake came to lay not 1m (3’) away from me!!

Thank goodness I was not on its menu that night. LOL!! I think it was attracted to the light as it knows a lot of the things it eats would come to eat the insects around it. It was too dark and the photographs not clear enough to make out what kind of snake it was but this is what comes from living in Africa, especially rural places, you never know what is going to crawl out next.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


In nature and game reserves, the animals become use to the cars and readily come close to them.

For more pictures and information, please go to:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jackal Buzzard

Often seen perched on telephone poles along the roads and is found in all but our arid regions.
Eats small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and carrion.
Usually two eggs are laid at the beginning of the summer season. Eggs hatch in about 40 and both parents will feed nestlings.
One of these days I am going to get a good in-flight shot. :)
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Walker’s Owl Moth (Erebus macrops)

Family Noctuidae
 A very large moth with a wingspan of about 12cm found in the central and northern regions.