Monthly Archive: February 2011

Cape Glossy Starling

The Cape Glossy Starling – Lamprotornis nitens is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Sturnidae bird family group which includes birds such as Starlings, Mynans, Oxpeckers. Lamprotornis is a large genus of glossy-starlings all of which occur in Africa south of the Sahara. The Cape Glossy Starling is known in Afrikaans as Kleinglansspreeu. The Cape Glossy Starling has a height of 25 cms and weighs around 90 gms. The head is coloured blue while the bill is coloured black. The Lamprotornis nitens has a blue coloured throat, black legs and a blue coloured back. The eyes are orange.

Cape Glossy Starling

Red Veined Dropwing Dragonfly

These dragonflies are from the family Libellulidae. This particular specimen is Trithemis Arteriosa. They are widespread and common with a wingspan of around 58mm. This one is a dull orange colour probably indicating that it is a female. The males are typically red bodied with red leading wings. Their food mainly consists of passing insects.

Red Veined Dropwing Dragonfly

Thread waisted Wasp

The Thread-waisted Wasp ( Ammophila ferrugineipes ) is about 19-28mm in length with a very long waist which is at least twice as long as the rest of it abdomen. According to Wikipedia, its body design resembles a Sikorsky Skycrane helicopter. This species of wasp prefers hairless caterpillars to feed its larva. It stings its prey to paralyze it, so the food stays fresh but unable crawl away.

Thread Waisted Wasp

Flys Eyes

This is a macro shot of a fly’s compound eyes. This is Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis the flesh eating fly. This fly often breeds in faeces and is often a transportation medium for diseases. Sarcophagidae is the dipteran family commonly known as flesh flies, comprising of approximately 2000 species. Many species of Sarcophagidae prefer to breed in carrion over other mediums, but there are several species that breed in dung. A large number of species are parasitoids or cleptoparasitoids and never breed in carrion. Sarcophagids are rather large in size ranging from 4 to 16 mm. Distinguishing characteristics include a checkerboard like pattern on the abdomen, stripes on the thorax and red eyes. Flesh flies are attracted to anything rotting, including faeces. Sarcophagidae are unimpeded by rain and fly in any weather. Because of this trait, Sarcophagidae will often be the first flies to colonize a corpse after an extended period of rain. Flesh flies appear to prefer sunlight over shaded conditions.

Flys Eyes

Button Spider

Button Spiders or Latrodectus Geometricus are some of the most dangerous spiders of Southern Africa. They have neurotoxic venom which affects the heart as well as the respiratory system. It is a very painful bite and one will usually see symptoms within half an hour. At the site of the bite will be red and swollen and often one will get a rash. Strangely enough no deaths have yet been recorded in South Africa.

Button Spider