Monthly Archive: May 2011

Cute Jumping Spider

This cute 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.

Cute Jumping Spider

Red Hot Poker

The Red Hot Poker is native to Madagascar and Africa. It is also called Kniphofia, the Torch lily, and the Poker plant. It is a genus of plants in the family Xanthorrhoeaceae – subfamily Asphodeloideae. The plant grows to a height of 1-1.5m. The plants produce spikes of hanging, red-to-orange flowers which have flowering spikes of pale yellow, ivory, apricot, orange and red. All have long, sword-like basal leaves. It flowers from the bottom upward, and the bright orange flowers fade to yellowish green as they senesce, resulting in a two toned spike with orange flowers at the top and yellowish ones below.
Thanks to Firefly from The Port Elizabeth Daily Photo for permission to use this stunning picture.

Red Hot Poker

Common Chameleon

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.

Common Chameleon

Garden Grass Veneer Moth

Garden Grass Veneer MothChrysoteuchia culmella is a species of moth of the family Crambidae. It is common throughout the UK and Southern Africa,and found in grassland and meadows.
Chrysoteuchia culmella moths have a wingspan ranging between 18 to 24 mm.
The larvae of Veneer Moths feed on the roots of various grasses, in some cases causing enough damage to be considered a pest. This particular one was found in my back gardern, and taken with a MPE65 Canon Lens. The light was terrible there though.

Garden Grass Veneer Moth

Southern (Lesser) Double Collared Sunbird

The Southern (Lesser) Double Collared SunbirdCinnyris Chalybeus is a beautiful bird similar to the Greater Double Collared Sunbird, but is distinguished by its shorter bill and narrower red breast band. These sunbirds mainly habitat the fynbos, forests and coastal bush areas. Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from the far south of Namibia to South Africa, with the bulk of its population centered around the Western Cape extending east and north to KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province. It generally prefers fynbos and Karoo shrubland, woodland, Afromontane forest, gardens and Eucalyptus plantations. They mainly feeds on nectar, supplemented with athropods, gleaning prey from vegetation and spider webs and hawking insects aerially.

Southern (Lesser) Double Collared Sunbird

Common Starling

The Common StarlingSturnus Vulgaris is part of the Order Passeriformes and family Sturnidae of the Genus Sturnus. This species of starling is native to most Europe and western Asia. It is resident in southern and western Europe and southwestern Asia, while northeastern populations migrate south and west in winter to these regions, and also further south to areas where it does not breed in Iberia and north Africa. It has also been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, North America, and South Africa. Also known in Afrikaans as the Europese Spreeu. These starlings are 19 to 22 cm long, with a wingspan of 37 to 42 cm and a weight of 60 to 90 g. Their plumage is shiny black, glossed purple or green, and spangled with white, particularly strongly so in winter. Apparently these birds carry a lot of lice.

Common Starling

Hairy Field Spider

Hairy Field Spiders – genera: Araneus and Neoscona, are part of the family of spiders known as Araneinae. The hairy field spiders spends most of their time sitting on their webs waiting for an unsuspecting bug to be trapped. They make these webs in trees, between trees, on bushes and plants or even under grass. Field spiders are usually medium to large in size, about 5 – 20mm. The colours of this spider varies from cream to brown to black and from yellow to green, usually with distinct dorsal patterns. These spiders tend to make their webs in the evenings and then dismantle it at daybreak. They eat the orb section, but leave the support structures in place for the following evenings web.
This picture was taken at Assegaaibosch Country Lodge.

Hairy Field Spider

Elegant Grasshoppers

The Elegant GrasshopperZonocerus Elegans, from the family Pyrgomorphidae is a medium to large grasshopper with black antennae with orange rings. The head is mostly black with touches of blue, orange and yellow. These grasshoppers are classified as pests as they damage vegetables and fruit trees. They do, however, have a preference for milkweed. When disturbed, they can emit a nauseating yellow fluid.
Eggs are laid in autumn and remain in the ground for six months until they hatch in spring. The hoppers reach full maturity in 75 days. These two were photoed in a large field on the Assegaaibosch Country Lodge Estate.

Elegant Grasshoppers

Golden Orb Web Spider

The Golden Orb-web SpiderNephila fenestrata is a large colourful orb web spider with an elongated, cylindrical abdomen. Its markings are contrasting colours of black, white and yellow. They have very long black legs that make the spider look flimsy, but easily recognizable. The female Golden Orb-web Spider’s mass is about a 1000 times more than the male. Juveniles, both male and female, spin complete orbs, but only the female adult spins a web of strong thick golden silk. These spiders live in forests, in trees, on bushes and plants or in low based vegetation. They are completely harmless to humans. This spider’s picture was taken at Assegaaibosch Country Lodge

Golden Orb Spider

Squinting Bush Brown Butterfly

Bush brown butterflies are part of the genus Bicyclus. These are dull brown butterflies with the underside having numerous large and small eye spots. The are fond of fermenting fruit and favor shady areas. The typical wingspan for this butterfly is around 35-45mm depending on gender. They live in forests and flatlands and are well camouflaged when sitting on dead leaves. This butterfly’s picture was take at Assegaaibosch Country Lodge

Squinting Bush Brown Butterfly