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, 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.







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.
 The following info is from a website:
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.
 Hermaphrodite
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

Hamerkop

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: http://saphotographs.blogspot.com/2013/08/hamerkop.html

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. 
Facts:

·         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: http://www.wemburymarinecentre.org/viewspecies.php?id=8





Saturday, August 2, 2014

Butterfly flying upsidedown? I must be going crazy!

I THINK I MUST BE GOING CRAZY!!!!!
Is this white butterfly REALLY flying upsidedown or do I need new glasses?? Sorry it is a lousy shot but I had to share this.
I see there are actually 4 insects in this picture .....
I LOVE my work .... everyday there is something amazing in my life!!
I have been told that some butterflies do a back-flip like this in order to avoid predators but this is not easy to capture. Have to admit though this was taken by pure accident and did not notice it till I was processing the pictures. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lizard and butterfly capture

An amazing piece of luck!
During a tour in March we were at Augrabies Falls. The Euphorbia were in bloom and the butterflies, moths and other insects were having a feast.
I noticed a lizard of about 10” (25cm) climbing up a small bush and stalking a butterfly and took this sequence of shots. Wish I had captured it on video rather than photographs.