Monthly Archive: February 2011
The Common Emperor Moth or Cabbage tree emperor moth (Bunaea alcinoe) is a saturniid which is widely distributed throughout southern, central and east Africa. Its lavas’ main foodplant is Cabbage Trees. The lava can completely defoliate a Kiepersol tree (Cabbage tree) within weeks This one’s size was about 100mm from the tip of one wing to the other.
Chameleons, of the family Chamaeleonidae are a distinctive and highly specialized type of lizards. They are recognized by their parrot-like feet, their separately mobile and stereoscopic eyes, their very long tongues, their swaying gait, crests or horns on their distinctively shaped heads, and the ability of some to change color. There are approx. 160 different species of chameleons. Chameleons have very long tongues. The tongue extends out faster than human eyes can follow, at around 26 body lengths per second. The tongue hits the prey in about 30 thousandths of a second.
The Rain Spider – Palystes superciliosus (Palystes castaneus occurs from Cape Town to the Langeberg), are the large spiders, often referred to as “tarantulas“, that cause havoc by entering buildings during summer or before rain. They were previously listed as dangerous, but for humans, the venom is in fact no worse than a bee sting. They occur usually in vegetation but sometimes occur in the home. These spiders are also know as Huntsman Spiders. Rain spiders range in size from 15 – 40 mm. This measurement is body length – omitting leg span. Once they unfold their legs they can span up to around 100 mm – that’s a BIG spider! It is really nice to know that they are harmless to humans.
A shot of a different Rain Spider, this time found walking on a window. Take a real close look at those nasty fangs. She was finishing the remains of meal she had caught. This one had a freshly prepared nest in the bush right next to the window she was sitting on, obviously keeping a watchful eye on the surrounding dangers.