Monthly Archive: April 2011

Black Collared Barbet

The Black Collared Barbet or Lybius torquatus is a fairly large member of the barbet family. It has a bright red face and neck with a black border towards the chest. The juveniles have dark brown heads and throat with orange and red streaks. It is a common resident in gardens, forests and woodlands. Females will typically lay 2-5 eggs. Their diets consist mainly of fruit, but will eat insects and nectar. The Afrikaans name for this is the Rooikophoutkapper.

Black Collared Barbet

Butcher Bird

The South African Lanius Collaris is commonly known as the Butcher Bird or the Fiskaallaksman (Afrikanns). The colours are black and white with a little reddish-brown under the wings. It probably gets its name from the way it treats its prey. It tends to impale it food on sharp objects such as thorns or the barbs of barb-wire fences.
Butcher Birds are very territorial birds and will chase away and attack any unsuspecting trespasser in its territory.
The female is the nest builder and will lay 3-4 eggs at a time. The eggs will hatch in about 16 days.

Butcher bird

Hawk Moth caterpillar

This caterpillar or worm seems to resemble a hawk moth. It has the usual ‘eyes’ on the sides and also the fake ‘sting’ which most hawk moths seem to have.
There are many of these species of moths that look similar, but have different colours. For example the Oleander Hawk moth (Daphnis nerii), is mostly green and feeds mainly on the oleander bushes.
This caterpillar could be brown as a result of it possibly being ready to pupate.
If anyone else can identify this caterpillar other than a hawk moths lava, please leave me a message

Hark Moth Caterpillar

Miniature Jumping Spider

This miniature jumping spider is from the family Salticidae in the spider order Araneae. Both spiders and scorpions belong to the class Arachnida.
There are over 4000 species of these spiders. The jumping spiders big eyes are so sharp, they can see things clearly from as far away as 20 times the length of the spiders body.
All jumpers have eight eyes, and two of the eyes are huge in Comparison. Jumpers have superb vision which is better than any other kind of spider. With its eight eyes they can see in almost every direction at once.
This spiders body is just smaller than 4mm in length with this picture being a magnification of approx. 5X.

Miniature Jumping Spider

Long Legged Fly

The long-legged fly is from the dolichopodidae family. They make up a large family of true flies with more than 7,000 described species in about 230 genera distributed worldwide. They are small and bristly with long strong legs. They are often metallic green with bronze or blue reflections. These flies feed on other small insects. They live in vegetation under trees and shrubs or at the edge of water. The males often have enlarged genitalia which can be useful for species recognition. The adults are predatory on other small animals.
Many thanks to Zane for this stunning macro.

Long Legged Fly

Potter Wasp Delta Hottentottum

Potter wasps and mason wasps come from the family Eumenidae, Order:Hymenoptera. This one’s scientific name is Delta Hottentottum. They are currently treated as a subfamily of paper wasps (vespidae). They are distinguishable from paper wasps by their long mandibles, that cross over each other when not in use. These wasps are diverse in nest building. They may either use existing cavities (such as beetle tunnels in wood, abandoned nests of other hymenoptera or even man-made holes like old nail holes and even screw shafts on electronic devices) that they modify in several degrees, or they construct their own either underground or exposed nests. When a cell (it’s home) is completed, the adult wasp typically collects beetle larvae, spiders or caterpillars and, paralyzing them, places them in the cell to serve as food for a single wasp larva. These wasps don’t often sting, but if they do, it’s said to be equivalent to a bee sting and people can have allergic reactions to them
Thanks Zane for this photo.

Delta Hottentottum - Potter Wasp

Giant African Snail

Giant African Snail – achatina fulica. This snail has two pairs of tentacles, the larger pair with eyes at the tips and a smaller pair located at either side of the mouth. The shell is conical with yellow and brown markings. It feeds mainly on plant matter and carrion and may eat the whitewash off walls to obtain calcium for its shell construction. It will lay several hundred eggs at a time which will hatch after only a few days.

Giant African Snail