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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Julia Skimmer (Orthetrum julia falsum) Libellulidae Imm

This beautiful dragonfly was flying around outside my office.
They are found throughout Africa. This one is still immature and differs in colour slightly from the adult.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Banded-legged Orb Web Spider (Nephila senegalensis)

Family Nephilidae  
 These spider webs can contain up to 27m of silk.

I have never seen this many spider webs in KNP before and counted up to 55 spiders on one which was about average for the rest. Most belonged to the Banded-legged Orb Web Spider (Nephila senegalensis).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dentures anyone?

Does anyone need a new set of dentures? LOL!! I found these in the grass at Mountain Zebra National Park. It look like it might belong to some grass-eating animal such as a Springbok. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cape Bulbul

A bird slightly larger than a sparrow and found only in the Cape regions and part of the Freestate where it is a common resident.

Although it has the typical yellow under-tail of the species, the white ring around the eyes is diagnostic.
 Its food consists of fruit and nectar.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pallid Emperor Larvae (Imbrasia forda)

Family Saturniidae   

In January, just after the fruit had fallen off the Marula trees, these caterpillars were to be found all over them and around the bark.

They are large, about 6cm in length.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Layman (Amauris albimaculata)

Family Nymphalidae Danainae

Large butterflies 5-6cm wingspan.
 Found in the eastern regions and as far south as the Eastern Cape.
 Habitat: forest edges, parks and gardens.

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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stink Bug

Family Pentatomidae  
 A unknown stink bug of the Pentatomidae family is well disguised amongst the flowers and leaves of a Scented Thorn tree.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Potter Wasp

Family Eumenidae Sp  
 Potter wasps vary in that some species make holes in the ground in which to lay their eggs and others use ready-made crevasses.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Elephant family reunion

These pictures were taken of a video clip made during my visit to Addo Elephant Park.

The mother and calf had been down to the watering hole and the baby put on speed to get ahead of her when leaving, then stopped.
 A huge male came up and there was a lovely greeting, using their trunks, between the two adults.
 A second sibling joined the group and they went off.
 Did the baby recognise the father I wonder? And if so how?
 It was still some distance away when the baby dashed in his direction so it could not have been his smell.
See the video:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pearl Emperor (Charaxes varanes)

Family  Nymphalidae Charaxinae
 A very large butterfly with a wingspan of 6.5-7cm.

Found in a broad band from the northern regions around the eastern coast almost up to Cape Town.
In warmer areas they are found the year round.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Black-ringed Ladybird (Oenopia cinctella)

Family Coccinellidae
This ladybird has got me stumped. I found it in Woody Cape where it was feeding off a Wild Peach tree (Kiggelaria africana).

At first I thought it was Black-ringed Ladybird (Oenopia cinctella) but looking closer, I see that it not anything near the picture I have of it in my book. Firstly the facial marking are different and then seems to have that white line next to the black one.  

It is only about 3-4mm in body length.

Then it seems to have a translucent border around the body as the Tortoise beetles do which is very confusing to me?

 Does anyone have a clue what this beetle may be?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Southern Tree Agama (Acanthocercus atricollis) M

Family Agamidae 

These lizards have quite a range of colours and are able to change them like a chameleon.
They are our largest Agama species and in the breeding season, the males head becomes bright blue.

Also see:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Grasshopper – Family Lentulidae

This is a very unusual looking grasshopper and if it were not for the legs, I would not think it belonged to this species at all.
 All grasshoppers of this species are wingless and most are found on shrubs and trees. This particular one was about 2.5cm in length.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Southern Boubou

A medium size bird with the white breast feathers turning orange towards the underside.

It is found along the eastern coast and most of the Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces where it is a common resident.
 Forages for insects by hopping along the ground in thickets.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Racing-stripe Darkling Beetle Stenocara gracilipes)

Family Tenebrionidae
About 2cm in body length with very long legs.
They are found only in the arid regions of the north west where they scavenge on plant and animal material.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cape Stick Insect (Phalces brevis) M

Family Bacillidae  
 It is always wonderful to find these lovely insects.
 Although my book says that this Stick Insect reaches about 8cm in length, this specimen was much larger, about 10-11cm.
 No further information is available on it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Diverse White (Appias epaphia albida)

Family Pieridae Pierinae

About 4-5cm wingspan.
 Found in the eastern regions and as far south as the Eastern Cape.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)