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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Goliath Heron

Found in the central and northern regions where there is inland water as well as open grasslands.

Solitary when feeding but roosts in colonies.
Eats frogs, insects, rodents, fish and small reptiles.

The nest is a platform of sticks in trees where it lays an average of 2-4 eggs.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Elephant babies are protected

Not only are they shielded by their mothers but by the rest of the herd too.
 The females and other siblings surround them and make sure they are in the middle of the herd when moving.
 These pictures are of elephants in Addo Elephant Park where the majority are tuskless.

 When born, calves are 100% in proportion unlike other animals which have larger heads and longer legs.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Humbug Ladybird (Micraspis striata)

Family Coccinellidae
Ladybirds/ladybugs are not only found with spots on them but also plain colours and stripes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Spotted Sailer (Neptis saclava marpessa)

Family Nymphalidae Limentinae
 Medium size: 4-4.5cm wingspan.
 Attracted to fermenting plant matter.
 Seen the year round.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Swainson’s Francolin

A medium sized bird found in the central and northern regions.
Found in all bushveld and cultivated habitats.

Food: Berries, insects, snails, seeds.

 Average clutch of eggs: 12

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ant fight

These are not the best photographs I have taken as there was too much moving around.

Once again I have observed that it is always the smaller ants which attack the larger ones and I am wondering why this is as one would think it should be the other way around. I could even understand if was a whole lot of small ants attacking thee, but no, it is always just one??

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brown Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum)

(Cornu aspersum) Family Helicidae
 Found this fellow slurping up the dew on the grass. He is rather a large, about 3" in length.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

You are what you eat

...or so I have heard. In the bush there is this wild pumpkin which grows in most places. They are about 4-6 inches in length and the vines often grow up into the trees.
I am not sure if they are edible to humans but the birds seem to love them too and this is usually one indication that we can eat them. They sometimes come in a more roundish shape like this and go orange when ripe.
What I found interesting was that this caterpillar took on the color of the ripened fruit in order for it to blend in.
A close-up of it but I cannot find it in my book so do not know if it belongs to a moth or a butterfly.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


They are the only member of the cat family whose claws are not retractable after the age of three months. This has led to the misconception that cheetah belong to the dog family.
Cheetah do not stalk their prey as do lion and leopard, instead, they rely on their exceptional speed, which is 80kmph (48 mph) on average, but some people maintain can be as high as 112kmph (67mph).

Their name is derived from and Indian word “chita” which means “spotted one.”
The tail of these beautiful creatures is moved from right to left like rudders to facilitate their changing direction when in high speed pursuit of an intended victim.
An open environment is preferred by them, for, by lying on top of a raises raised piece of ground or anthill, they are able to spot their prey quite a distance away.
Cheetahs are easily distinguished. Even at a distance, the muscular shoulders sloping down to their hind quarters, stream-lined belly and small head can be seen.
Females will breed only after the current litter reaches the age of about two years. They are found in small family groups of two to five.

Impala and other medium sized antelope make up most of their diet, but they also eat hares, guinea fowl, ostrich, warthog and any other game which might be available.
Males will urinate on the boundaries of their territory and, as this smell lasts for about twenty four hours, they will need to do this fairly regularly to ensure that other cheetah males do not come into their area.
Info: Unique Facts about Wildlife in South Africa (Joan Young)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lacewing (Hagenomyia lethifer)

Family Myrmeleontidae
They are the largest of the lacewing species of which we have about 125 in South Africa.

This is to show you how thin he is as he is on a very narrow grass stem.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Golden Piper (Eurytela dryope angulata)

Family Nymphalidae Biblidinae
 Medium wingspan of 4.5 – 5.5cm.
 Seen the year round.
 Found in broad strip from the north eastern regions to Port St. Johns.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Giant Kingfisher

Found throughout SA in rivers, streams and dams.

The largest of the kingfisher family and identified by the black and white colouring with red breast.

Eats crabs, fish and frogs.

Make tunnels in earth banks for nesting.

Average 5 eggs per clutch.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stick Insect - Heteronemiidae Sp

As far as Stick insects go, this one is of medium size being about 10cm in body length but as there seems to be no-one in South Africa who has any knowledge of them, I cannot find a name for it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Spotted Buff (Pentila tropicalis)

Family Lycaenidae Poritiinae
 Small butterflies of about 2-3cm in wingspan.
 Found in a very restricted area on the east coast from Swaziland to just south of Durban.

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