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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Would you look at these legs!!! (Anoplocnemis curvipes)

My goodness!! If I had legs like this I could kick-start a battle-ship!! LOL!!

These are Twig Wilters (Anoplocnemis curvipes) family Coreidae.
A large bug 24mm (about 1 inch) in length.
They inject a saliva with digestive enzymes into young plants which cause them to shrivel beyond the puncture and this is what they feed on.
They have stink glands between the middle and hind legs.
I wonder why they have such small heads?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cicadellidae sp - Leafhopper

I found this crawling on the floor in my kitchen one night. It is the nymph of the Cicadellidae family (leafhoppers) and is less than half an inch in length.
It is not known what they feed on, but thought to be herbs and/or grasses.
When I first saw it, I thought it saw some kind of jello. LOL!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Millipede (Doratogonus flavifilis)

Family Spirostrepidae

Until recently I had never seen this millipede in Kruger National Park.
A person can get hypnotised looking at these stripes. J I wonder if that is the intention and if it does the same thing to bird which want to eat it? Or is it like zebra stripes which help to disguise it?
 With the kind help of Rene de Klerk, I finally have it identified. Thanks Rene!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Black-shouldered Kite

Merry Christmas everyone!! Have a wonderful day!!
Found throughout SA and often seen perching on telephone lines.

Are great hoverers and will then swoop down to catch prey.
Eat mostly rodents but also small birds and reptiles.

Mainly solitary but sometimes seen as a pair.

Nestling cared for only by female for up to 3 months.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Monday, December 23, 2013

Green-banded Swallowtail (Papilio nireus lyaeus)

Family Papilionidae Papilioninae
An extremely difficult butterfly to catch as it prefers higher areas of the trees as well as not landing anywhere so I was lucky to be able to sweep this one out of the air as it flew by after trying for two weeks to catch it!! LOL!!
 A very large butterfly with a wingspan of 7.5 – 9cm.
 It’s colours make it unmistakable to identify.
Found in most of the northern regions as well as a broad strip along the eastern coast as far south as Mossel Bay.
Info: Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa (Steve Woodhall)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A close-up of a grasshopper

Family Acrididae (Acanthacris ruficornis) Garden Locust
I recently found this grasshopper which had just dies and it was a great opportunity to take some close-up photographs of it which one would normally not be able to get.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Two-spotted Ground Beetle

(Thermophilum homoplatum) This is a large beetle, about 2.5 inches in length.
If you disturb it, it is quite prone to playing dead and hoping that you will go away. "You ain't kidding me mate, not until I have my pictures." (I wonder if he understood me? LOL!!)
It preys on other ground dwelling insects.
For more extremely interesting information on this and other beetles, please visit Beetles in the Bush by Ted MacRae, a site well worth the visit.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Augrabies Flat Lizard (Platysaurus broadleyi)

Family Cordylidae

Some animals/insects are only found in one small area and this lizard is one of them.
 They occupy a small area around Augrabies Falls which is situated in the Northern part of SA, near the Namibia border. The male reaches a length of about 15cm. The female looks very different to the male.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Natal Acraea (Acraea natalica) Female

Family Nymphalidae Heliconiinae
Found in the northern regions as well as the east coast from about East London northwards.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Isn't he just the cutest? (Mantis)

Family Mantidae Giant Mantis (Sphodromantis gastrica)
We have many kind of mantis here and this is a baby of the Giant Mantis which gets to be about 5 inches in body length. The tail end eventually straightens out when it gets its first wings. It is a very common species and feeds mainly off caterpillars.
All mantids have large heads and compound eyes.
The female lays her eggs in cocoons like this which is mainly attached to branches. The cocoon is about 1 inch in length but there are hundreds of eggs in them.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Whitefaced Duck

Easily identified by white face.

Found from Swaziland and central regions and northwards.
Have a distinctive whistling call.
Habitat: All inland waters.
Eat seeds, grain, buds, tubers.
Info: Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Garden Orb Web Spider (Argiope lobota)

Family Araneidae Argiopinae
 I found this spider in Kruger National Park in the beginning of the year. It is the first time it is recorded as see there.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cape Fox

One of the most wonderful experiences I have had in a long time was seeing these in the wild for the first time. What beautiful animals they are!! We were sitting around the camp fire when this one paid us a visit. Pictures were taken in Kgalagadi by Roberta as I did not have my camera with me at the time and she kindly sent these to me. Thanks Roberta. Hope to see you again soon.
 These are small animals which weigh between 3-6Kg at most.
They are found only in the arid regions of South Africa where they are active at night.
 Their lifespan is about 10 years.

Their food consists mainly of small reptiles and insects but they also eat fruit.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Diverse White (Appias epaphia contracta)

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)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Salt pans - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Natural salt pans are found in desert or semi-desert areas and on the way to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, I passed this one.
Pans are found where water has evaporated and the minerals are left exposed to the sun.

They have developed over thousands of years and especially when flying over the region, the white gleam stretching for many miles can be easily seen.