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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Small Orange Acraea to Dancing Acraea

Please note this major name change:

Was: Hyalites eponina - Small Orange Acraea

Now: Telchinia Serena - Dancing Acraea


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Insects on Euphorbia in Augrabies National Park

During March on a tour to Augrabies National Park, the Euphorbia were in bloom and a host of all types of butterflies, moths, bees and other insects were busy pollinating them. A feast for the eyes!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Spotted Bush Snake (Philothamnus emivariegatus)

Family Colubridae
A harmless snake which grows to be about two and a half feet in length.
They eat mice and large insects and are good to have around the home.
Distinguished by the spots which are from the head to about 2/3 down towards the tail and the gold ring around the pupil of the eye.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

False Ink Cap (Podaxis pistillaris)

Family Agaricaceae
A large mushroom of about 10" (20cm) in height which grow only on termite mounds.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lion kill

The lions had brought down a Blue Wildebeest. All that is left are some bloated, uncomfortable stomaches, a few vultures in a tree and a clean carcass.

Info: Unique Facts about Wildlife in South Africa (Joan Young)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sea Hare (Aplysia parvula)

During a visit to the KwaZulu Natal coast, I found some amazing creatures in the tidal pools. One of them was this sea slug which is about 10" (20cm) in body length. It was laying eggs at the time and they are marked in the last picture.

Dwarf Sea Hare (Aplysia parvula) family Aplysiidae
Although called a Dwarf or pygmy, various sites list it as growing to about 5cm which is incorrect. This specimen found in a tidal pool on the beach in South Africa, is about 18cm (7” inches) in length.

This species is found in warm waters worldwide and will sometimes wander out of the water to feed on plankton and algae.

It opens it wing-like flaps in order to attract females.
 The following info is from a website on sea hares in general:
They are impressive animals growing to 40 cm and weighing up to 2 kg. Most found in Britain have been smaller, but the specimen from Poole was a large one of 30 to 35 cm and 1.5 kg.

While called sea slugs they are very different from garden slugs, being some of the most spectacular and beautiful of molluscs.

The sea hares have a small thin internal shell, largely covered by the large wing-like body flaps which also protect their gills. These give it a bat-like appearance when swimming. They vary from bright red to brown in colour, have a clear head, tiny eyes and have two pairs of tentacles, the larger of which look like rabbits ears. It is these tentacles along with its large size and rounded body shape that give it a rabbit-like look and consequently its common name. When stressed they release a purple ink into the water which is contains the toxin opaline. The animals are said to be mildly toxic but are eaten in some areas of the world.

 Most sea slugs feed on other animals including sea anemones, but the sea hares are vegetarians preferring seaweed.
They come inshore to breed, usually in the Spring. Each sea hare is both male and female being a simultaneous hermaphrodite. They are known to form long mating chains, with each animal being a male to the one in front of it and female to the one behind. The penis is on the side of the head just below the right anterior tentacle. They then lay a pink to orange chain of eggs forming large spaghetti-like masses at the bottom of the shore or in shallow water. The young hatch from these, spend some time as a veliger larva in the plankton and them settle on algae as a tiny 1-2 mm sea hare. They grow rapidly reaching full size in a year, before breeding and dying.

 They are a rare southern species but a combination of climatic conditions appear to have brought quite a few to our southern shores this year. This is probably a one-off occurrence, and there is no reason at present to link it to climate change, though it could be related to changes in oceanic currents.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


A medium size bird found throughout South Africa.
They are found near rivers and streams wherethey feed on fish, small frogs, insects etc.

For more infor mation:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Common Fig-tree Blue (Myrina silenus)

Family Lycaenidae
A medium size butterfly found in the Karoo region as well as the northern provinces and along the Kwa-Zulu Natal coast, reaching into the eastern Cape coast.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Grey Rhebuck

They are about the size of an Impala and are usually seen in hills and mountains surrounded by grasslands.
They live in small family groups of up to 12 animals.

They have a curious rocking motion which they make when running away which is very distinctive.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lizard leg

This was so funny!
During a tour to Augrabies Falls, I neede to get better pictures of the Augrabies Flat Lizard which is only found there.
I had stopped to photograph them on the rocks and this young male walked up to my feet and was smelling my shoe or something. LOL!! The pictures were taken looking straight down and that is my leg you see on the left hand side of the pictures. I wonder what he thought he could eat there? :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cushion starfish (Parvulastra exigua)

Cushion starfish are small, only about 1" (2cm) in diameter at most but they come in the most amazing colours and patterns. 

·         Cushion starfish have five short arms and thousands of small sucker-like feet, called tube feet, on their underside

·         When hungry, the cushion starfish pushes its stomach out of its body through its mouth to surround food

·         They are scavengers that feed on dead plants and animals

·         Cushion starfish mature as males at two years old and change to females at four years old

·         The females lay up to 1,000 orange eggs which then hatch into baby starfish, this often happens in our tanks so look out for tiny starfish only a couple of millimetres big
Info from: