For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rabbit or hare?

So which is it? Here are some facts to help you:

Although rabbits and hares belong to the same family and look so much alike that they are mistaken for each other, there is a difference between them.

The easiest time to notice this difference is at birth. Rabbits are born blind, without fur, and cannot move about. Their eyes open in about a week, and when they are two weeks old, they are able to leave their nest.

Newborn hares, however, are born with their eyes open. They have a full coat of fine, soft fur, and can hop about within a few hours after their birth.

As both animals grow, hares become larger than rabbits, and have longer hind legs and bigger ears.

Rabbits, when frightened by enemies, can leap 10 feet or more and run as fast as 18 miles an hour!

Rabbits burrow their homes into the ground while hares make theirs on top of it.
This rabbit has a varied diet. It follows me home so I can give it bread plus it eats all the fallen fruit and leaves in the graden. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bat-eared Fox

One unusual characteristic of the Bat-eared Fox is their teeth, it possesses extra molars and a bat-eared fox could have up to fifty teeth. Their diet consists of insects, and termites comprise 50% of the diet consumption.
A Bat-eared Fox breeds just once in a year, and the cubs are born at the start of the rainy period. The Bat-eared Fox would take care of their newborns in just one place for a long time, and the gestation can last around ten weeks. There exists a high infant mortality rate, and you know why? Sadly, there are just four nipples of the female Bat-eared Fox, thus, she might be forced to kill some of the young so that at least 4 would hold better odds of surviving. When six months have passed, the kits would have grown, and she could leave the protection and nurturing.
They are monogamous, and they are capable of living in threes, that is, one male and two from the distaff side. If found in pairs, it could be observed that they play with each other, and generally aid each other. These kind of foxes are being hunted both for the meat and for their pelts. Without meaning to, mankind has actually helped them, the clearing of grasslands have permitted the increase of termites, and these foxes naturally are happy with that.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Warmbaths - Part 3

The first day there threatened to be wet, soggy and not at all time to do photography, but by the afternoon it had opened up and was beautiful. I spent a lot of time at the swimming pool just soaking up the sun and would limit myself to early morning and late afternoon sessions of bug hunting.
This was a most interesting seedpod and the wind would blow it along like tumble weed. It is about 1 inch in diameter.
Can anyone guess what this is? Believe me when I tell you it is an insect!! They are called Wax Scales belonging to the family Coccidae or Soft Scale insects.
Soft scales can vary greatly in appearance but in many of them the female is covered by a thick, soft waxy covering. They are plant suckers and a number of species are agricultural pests in South Africa. It is about 10mm in diameter.
This is a Fluted Scale and is a pest on cirtus trees. This bug is imported from Australia and can be controlled by certain types of ladybugs/ladybirds.
A tiny jumping spider was asking for this picture to be taken. He is about 4mm long.
This is some kind of Horse Fly but I cannot find its name.
This Red-veined Dropwing kept landing on the side of the swimming pool but I only had my 300mm lens with me so could not get a more detailed shot of it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snake / worm thingy

UPDATE: During my years in the bush I have come across many wonderful, brilliant people and Arno Naude is one of them. He is from SA Reptiles and knew the snake I described immediately. It is a Slender Thread Snake (Leptotyphlops Gracitior), completely harmless and the one I have is about half the size to which they normally grow. Not much is known about them but they think it eats ant larvae.
THANK YOU ARNO!!! It is much appreciated!!!
Anyone have any idea what this is??? I found it in the garden yesterday and it is so pretty but I cannot find out what it is. It is about 5 inches (11cm) in length and pencil-thin, silver with the black markings. Its head is not snake-shaped and it does not rear up as snakes do when you touch it so I do not think it is a snake. It does look as if it has scales though but is too small to take a better picture and it also does not keep still so I can use another lens.

I have sent it to our local snake park to see if they can help me with a name, but have not had a reply yet.
The head.......

Close-up of the skin...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sunflowers

I unexpectedly managed to get away for a few days down to the coast and will post the pictures later. On the way back yesterday I managed to get these two stuning pictures of a field of sunflowers but cannot decide which I like best of the two as they have just slightly different perspectives.

Which do you prefer? You can click on them for enlargements.

Picture 1.
Picture 2.