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

Monday, September 30, 2013


This Kudu was so eager to eat the leaves off the Sjambok Pod Tree that he was stretching his neck almost out of his body. :)

 He managed to get a small mouthful ......
 and seemed to smile with satisfaction. LOL!!
 For more information and pictures:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Whiteheaded Vulture and a Yellowbilled Kite feeding off a Leopard Tortoise

A truck had probably ridden over a medium size tortoise and broken the shell, without which, the birds would not be able to open it. Unfortunately, there are some people who never look at what is on the road!!
When I came across them, the vulture was having a feast and had already eaten most of the inside. Some of the intestines had fallen out and the Kite joined him for a meal.
The vulture kept on dragging the tortoise across the road for some reason. The tortoise shell alone must weigh about 2kg but the vulture picks it up without effort.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Southern Foam Nest Frog (Chiromantis xerampelina)

Family Rhacophoridae
This is an extract from Frogs and Frogging in South Africa (Vincent Carruthers and Louis do Preez)
 “During the rainy season one frequently finds balls of white foam suspended on branches over the water. These are the ingenious nests of the Southern Foam Nest Frog. Before laying her eggs the mating female secretes a fluid that is churned into a stiff froth by continuous movement of the hind legs of the mating pair.

They are joined by several other males who jostle for positions close to the female. After about 15 minutes the female releases the first batch of eggs and they are fertilized by her mating partner. As the eggs are laid, all of the frogs churn them into the foam. The process lasts all night with the female periodically leaving the nest to re-hydrate herself in the water below and frequently changing partners on her return.

The following night she sometimes returns alone to add more foam to the outside of the nest. In sunlight the outer surface of the nest hardens into a crust. The foam protects the eggs from aquatic predators and functions as an isolator, allowing the eggs to develop at an even temperature.”
Info: Frogs and Frogging in South Africa (Vincent Carruthers & Louis du Preez)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Knob-billed Duck

Found in central SA and the northern regions in all clear water, floodplains etc.

They eat grass, waterlilies, locusts and aquatic larvae.

 Identified by the large knob on its nose and the males have an iridescent purple/green lot of wings near his rump.

When not breeding they are found in large groups together.

Female below has no knob.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dotted Blue (Tarucus sybaris) M

Family Lycaenidae Lycaeninae
Easily overlooked when not flying as they are only 2cm in wingspan.

Seen in the Eastern Cape, parts of the Freestate and further north then along the eastern coast.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dung Beetle (Copris elphener)

Family Scarabaeidae
 A small dung beetle which also has a horn.

The male digs tunnels under the dung and fills them with the dung.
 Females come and lay an egg at each tunnel so that when the larvae hatches it can feed off it so please do not ride over dung laying in the roads. There is a whole echo-system going on in it which we do not see or know about.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tachinid Fly

Family Tachinidae
 A small and very colourful fly. No info available on it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fruit Chafer (Dischista cincta)

Family Scarabaeidae
 A medium size beetle which is very similar to Dischista rufa and easily confused with it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spider and bee

Even a very small lynx spider like this has enough venom to kill prey more than twice its size. The venom is not enough to do anything to humans and they will only bite you if you hurt them so there is no need for us to worry about them.
 No sooner had the bee ending its struggle, the flies arrived to see if they could share the meal.
 Knowing the spider already had its meal, they were not worried that they would become the next one. The spider lost no time in spinning its silk around it just to make sure it stayed in place and did not escape.

Friday, September 20, 2013

White Millipede

Until recently, I have never seen a white and black millipede like this, now they seem to be all over.
A mutation? A new species? Once again I am left wondering.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cone-headed Katydid (Raspolia Sp)

Family Tettigoniidae
 I have now photographed 2 species of Cone-headed katydids which I cannot get identified.
 This one has very distinctive white eye which should make it easy but either it is a new species or not a very common one.
 This mouth looks scary. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Babault’s Blue (Leptotes babaulti) M

Family Lycaenidae Lycaeninae

Small, with a wingspan of only 2-3cm.

They are found in the eastern half of SA in savanna and grasslands.
Seen the year round.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pygmy Bush Cricket (Trigonidium)

Family Trigonidiinae
 Very small little crickets no bigger than an ant, 5mm.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dotted Veld Antlion (Palpares sobrinus)

Family Myrmeleontidae
 Very large with a wingspan of 10cm.

They are found in grassveld in the warmer regions.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cape Turtle Dove

For some reason, even our most avid birders overlook the doves and pigeons but I guess that is because they are so common and there is no area where they are not found.

Probably the ones most seen are the Cape Turtle dove which can be distinguished by the black ring behind the neck and the black eyes.

 Their call is also one which most people, even non-birders, recognise.
 They flock together in great numbers in some areas and forage on the ground for seeds, insects and grain. They come readily to people feeding them in parks.