For interesting information on flowers, trees and plants please click on this link:

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.
Videos: YouTube

Monday, April 30, 2012

Changing the "safe" for the "not so safe"

"It is so boring always playing in the back yard"
"I wonder whats over the hill?"
"Whoa!! Now I know what they keep me there, its safe!!"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Close-up of an Emerald Fruit Chafer

This specimen was only about half an inch in length but they do grow a bit bigger than that. I was outside having my coffee when he flew onto my shoulder. I guess he wanted me to take pictures of him too and was not shy about letting me know.

He very obliginly fell over so I could take a picture of his underside too. How kind of him.
The adults feed on flowers and fruits.
Larvae develope in goat and cattle manure. (Yuck!!) :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Waterdrops - Part 2

This half open hibiscus made a pretty picture after the rain.

A high fence reflected....

I wanted to see how many song I could find with the word "rain" or "raindrops" in them and these were a few I came across. I must admit that I have not heard half of them!!
STEVIE WONDER LYRICS - Passionate Raindrops
INME LYRICS - Raindrops On Stones
MANIC STREET PREACHERS LYRICS - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
TAMYRA GRAY LYRICS - Raindrops Will Fall
BILLY TALENT LYRICS - Standing In The Rain
DEBORAH COX LYRICS - September In The Rain
ANGIE STONE LYRICS - No More Rain (In This Cloud)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wolf Spider

I found this smallish Wolf Spider which had unfortunatley fallen into a drain full of Jeyes Fluid and the poor things was dying. I would like to have one as a pet but I so seldom find any. He was about 2-3 inches in length.
The Lycosidae or wolf spiders, as they are commonly called, are often seen dashing from under the grass trying to escape the lawn mower or doing freestyle in the pool. The family name and common name are derived from the Greek word "lycosa" meaning "wolf" due to the spiders' hunting method of ambushing and running down its prey. Research has shown that the Lycosidae are important in agriculture, as they are efficient controlling agents of insect pests. They are harmless to man.
Lycosids are often parasitised by wasps probably because they are free roaming and do not enjoy the protection of a web. The wasps will parasitise them in one of two ways. Depending on the wasp species, the spider will either be stung and immobilized, stocked into a prepared nest, have an egg laid on it and then sealed into the nest, there may be one or . The wasp larva then hatches and consumes its live prey that eventually dies as the larva pupates. Secondly, a female wasp will immobilize the spider and lay the egg directly onto it. The spider continues living a normal life with the wasp larva feeding on it until the spider becomes too weak and dies. This coincides with the maturation of the wasp larva that then pupates later to emerge as the adult wasp.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Close-up of a Carpenter Bee

I found this carpenter bee which had a damaged wing and could not fly so I took it home to get photos of it to show you.
Carpenter Bees get their name because of their annoying (to humans) habit of excavating living galleries in all kind of wood to create a nest. Although they do bore into wood, carpenter bees generally do not cause structural damage.
Although carpenter bees are good for pollinating plants, they can also be a nuisance to humans who live and work around them. They are noisy and will dive-bomb and fly erratically around humans who walk nearby. The male bees are extremely territorial, and may fly aggressively.
They do have some resemblance to the bumble bee, but they do not have any yellow hairs on their sleek, black abdomens, nor do they have the pollen baskets on the hind legs sported by bumble bees. Also, carpenter bees nest in wood, not in the ground.
They do not have stingers, however, so the male bees are completely harmless and the female bees are docile and only sting if they are handled. Yes, that is my finger it is on. LOL!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Incredible eyes

The grasshopper uses its two pair of eyes (the simple and compound) to see, the tympanum to hear sounds, palps to taste, the antennae for feeling and smelling. The five senses are sight, hearing, taste, touch, and scent.
Antennae- detect odour and touch
Simple eyes- sense changes in light brightness
Compound eyes- sense movement and crude images
Mouth parts- designed for chewing
Palps- used for tasting
Wings- thin but rigid and veined
Tympanum- a round membrane designed for the grasshopper to detect sound waves
Spiracles- tiny holes that allows air to enter the trachea
The grasshopper has a hard outer shell called an exoskeleton made of chitin, to protect it. It also preserves moisture.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The biggest, fattest caterpillar I have ever seen!!

This caterpiller is about 5 inches long and as thick as my thumb. I have brought one home to see what it eventually becomes but I get the feeling it is only going to do this in the spring. I found it in a park about 3-4 miles away.
It is one of the species of Mopane worms we have here.
They are a staple part of the diet in Southern Africa, they are harvested twice a year and sold in the local markets. The mopane worm is the brightly colored caterpillar of the Emperor Moth, which is one of the world’s largest moths, and the caterpillar lives on the leaves of the mopane tree – hence, it gets its name. The worms are hand picked or shaken off the trees. The local collector’s squeeze the Caterpillars to remove their bright green ‘guts’ and then they are cooked in a cauldron of salty water until the water has evaporated, they are then dried in the Hot African Sun. Once dried, they can be stored for many months. Their protein content is three times that of beef, weight for weight, and they are traditionally cooked in a stew containing tomatoes and onions. The biggest worms have the best flavor as they contain more fat ; the texture is similar to tofu or soya meat and they taste a little like dried fish, but they seem to soak up the flavor of whatever they are cooked with. Mopane’s can also be eaten as they are as a snack like, ‘jerky’.