Awesome Green Jumping Spider

Here is a beautiful green jumping spider. I believe it to be of the family Salticidae and of the Genus Thyenula. The species is probably juvenca. This male was found in my back yard in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and was quite a challenge to photograph as it was more interested in jumping onto my lens and leaving its silk strands all over it, that hunting for its next meal. These jumpers are supposed to be a  ground-dwelling species and  live in subtropical forests and savanna.
Thyenula juvenca male

Common and Water Geranium Bronze Butterflies

Both the Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli) and the Water Bronze (Cacyreus tespis tespis) are butterflies from the  family Lycaenidae. They are both small, low-flying butterflies, with the undersides a ground-colour brown, irrorated with white. The fore-wing has a series of darker brown spots edged with white. The hind wing underside is marbled with brown, white and black and the upper side is either blue or shiny brown. The eggs laid  resemble the shape of pills, with a concave top and a pattern of ribs in involuted curves, radiating from the micropyl, forming triangles and quadrangles. There are small knobs where the ribs cross. Their lava are slug-shaped and are green or pale pink. You would find the pupa beneath the debris of the food plant, in this case either Lamiaceae (mint plants) or Geraniaceae (geraniums, pelargoniums).

Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli)
The male size ranges from 15-23 mm whilst the female ranges from 18-27 mm.

  • Their distribution is very widespread, probably originally in the south-western parts of South Africa, but have spread to the rest of the country and even up to Europe. Found in forests, savanna, grasslands from Western Cape to Eastern Cape, along the coast, along the Drakensberg at varying altitudes and into Natal, Freestate, Lesotho,  Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West Province.
  • Their habitats are parks, gardens, gullies, mountains, coast, hillsides, wetlands and flatlands.
  • Flight period is all year round in warmer areas, usually August to May, at highest altitudes only December and January.
  • Laval Food are buds, flowers and green seeds of Geranium and Pelargonium spp.

Cacyreus marshalli  - Common geranium bronze


Cacyreus marshalli  - Common geranium bronze

Water Bronze or Blue Bronze (Cacyreus tespis tespis)
The male size ranges from 15-25 mm whilst the female ranges from 17-25 mm.

  • Their distribution is also widespread, common to grassland. From Western Cape to Eastern Cape, along the coast, along the Drakensberg at varying altitudes (up to 3000m) and into Natal, Freestate, Lesotho, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.
  • Their habitats are  gullies, mountains, coast and wetlands.
  • Flight period is all year round in warmer areas, usually August to May, at highest altitudes only December and January.
  • Laval Food are buds, flowers and green seeds of Geranium and Pelargonium spp.

Cacyreus fracta fracta - Water geranium bronze - Water-malvabloutjie


Cacyreus fracta fracta - Water geranium bronze - Water-malvabloutjie


Depicta Copper – Aloeides depicta

The Depicta CopperAloeides depicta is pretty small butterfly ranging from 26mm to 29mm in the males and 29mm to 35mm in the females. Depicta is a relatively variable butterfly, colour-wise. The upperside being a ground colour orange with a wide grey-black border.  The hind wing underside is sandy to buff-brown, occasionally reddish.
The distribution of  this Aloeides is fynbos, Nama Karoo along mountain chains from Matjiesfontein to Gydo Mountain and also Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth. It’s habitats include hillsides and rocky ledges. It’s flight period is in the warmer months of the year being September to June. The Depicta Copper’s larval food is  Aspalathus. Aspalathus is the genus to which the rooibos tea plant belongs, is the largest member of the pea family endemic to South Africa.
These pictures were taken in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Depicta copper - Aloeides depicta

Another Shot of a different Depicta copper:

Depicta copper - Aloeides depicta

Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Bark Spider – Caerostris sexcuspidata

Bark Spider

I am not going to say too much about this spider as I have given a pretty good explanation of it on a post a few weeks ago. You can find the information here.

I was trying out a flash guide that I made from one I saw somewhere on the internet. These are the resultant pics of this spider with this flash guide.

Here is a macro of its ‘face’. A stunning looking spider, close up.

Bark Spider - Caerostris sexcuspidata

….. and another of the same spider in its web later on in the evening.

Bark Spider - Caerostris sexcuspidata

Another one taken at van Stadens Flower Reserve

Bark spider

And one off my wall at home

Bark Spider

This was yet another willing spider to sit still for me to take a shot. Thank you Nature…

Bark Spider

These pictures were taken in my back yard with a Canon 7D with a Tamron 90mm macro lense and a 580EX II Speedlite flash attached to this guide:


African Grass Blue – Zizeeria knysna knysna

This little African Grass Blue, Zizeeria knysna knysna, was shot in one of the suburbs close to where I live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  Another tricky little butterfly to photography as it is really skittish. It is a common, widespread butterfly, which one will find throughout South Africa. The Zizeeria knysna knysna is also known as the Sooty Blue.  It habitats gardens, parks and fields, flatlands, wetlands, forest edges, mountains and hillsides. They fly all year round, but peak from October to December and February to April. Their larval foods include Tribulus terrestris (devil’s thorn), Amaranthus deflexus and Amaranthus viridis, Oxalis corniculata (Yellow Wood Sorrel) and  Medicago saltiva (Lucerne plant). Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa“.

African grass blue

African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

One of the rare opportunities I have had to snap one of these stunning butterflies. They are from the family Pieridae and subfamily Coliadinae. The genus is Colias, which contains the Clouded Yellows.  These two butterflies are African Clouded Yellows or Lucerne ButterfliesColias electo electo.
The distributions of Colias electo electo  are throughout South Africa in all biomes. African Clouded Yellows’ habitats included; fields, parks, gardens, coastal areas, forest edges, mountains and wetlands. Their flight is throughout the year, but will peak between April and August. The lava will eat Lucerne (Medicago Saltiva).

These two photos were taken in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.


African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Another Clouded Yellow, shot on a different day, but looks a little on the damaged side.

African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

van Stadens Gorge Frog

A frog is something that I do not often photograph, but and opportunity presented itself that I could not turn down.  This photo was snapped in the river underneath the old van Stadens River Bridge, outside Port Elizabeth.  The is a beautiful place less that a kilometer down the road from the van Stadens Flower Reserve, where I often go to take pictures. The frog, itself, I have absolutely no information on. I have looked through many books, but to no avail, but have posted the amphibian on the Virtual Museum of South Africa in hopes that someone will or can identify it. The picture is pretty sharp as it was made up of three picture, stacked in a program called CombineZP. An absolutely excellent program, and also free.


Jumping Spider Macro

This jumping spider macro is a really close up shot of a spider from the Salticidae family. This family resides in the spider order Araneae. and belong to the class Arachnida.
The shot was taken with a Tamron 90mm Macro lens with a Raynox DCR250 attached to it. The problem with this combination is that the depth-of-field is so small that you have to really make sure to take the shot in focus. This shot was taken at f16 to get as much depth-of-field as possible with this lens combination.

Jumping spider macro

South African Bark Spider

Bark Spiders are orb-web spiders. They construct webs up to 1.5 meters in size stretching from tree to tree. They are very well camouflaged spiders mimicking the colour and shapes of bark brilliantly. Bark Spiders are nocturnal. This shot was take just before the sun was about to set.
There are four species report from southern Africa namely: Caerostris corticosa, Caerostris mitralis, Caerostris sexcuspidata and Caerostris vinsonii.

Caerostris corticosa:
Caerostris corticosa occurs away from forest and appears to be an arid to fynbos species found in Botswana, the Northern and Western Cape with a record for Pretoria. At Grootvadersbos Nature reserve it was found to be common in burnt fynbos with webs spread between dead branches about 1.5-2metres above the ground. No spiders were found in the adjacent forest some 100-200metres away. It was not as common in unburnt fynbos. The egg sacs has a yellowish tinge and the spiderlings are black. The adult females were all a dark grey and no males are known.

Caerostris mitralis:
Caerostris mitralis is found in Mozambique and Kwazulu/Natal in South Africa.

Caerostris sexcuspidata:
Caerostris sexcuspidata, although nocturnal, can be found on her web in shaded forested areas during the day. This is the most widespread species occurring south of the 5° North (central and east Africa) It is the common species in South Africa and the species with the most variations in abdomen shape.

Caerostris vinsonii:
Caerostris vinsonii occurs from central Africa to Botswana, Mozambique and Kwazulu/Natal in South Africa.

This information was courtesy of Norman Larsen. Bark Spider