Monthly Archive: January 2012

The South African Bokmakierie

The Bokmakierie is quite a common bird in Southern Africa. It does not seem to have an English name, but its latin name is Telophorus zeylonus. It belongs to the Malaconotidae bird family group which includes birds such as Bush-shrikes, Puffbacks, Tchagras, Boubous, Helment-shrikes, Batises and Wattle-eyes. This bird forages for food on the ground and attacks its prey aerially. Telophorus zeylonus eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. It is a common resident of fynbos, Karoo scrub and suburban gardens. The Bokmakierie seems to get its name from the call it makes – bok-bok-kik

South African Bokmakierie

Another Bokmakierie from a different location.

South African Bokmakierie

Portia Jumping Spider

Portia Spiders are from the family Salticidae which contains the jumping spiders. Portia is a genus of jumping spider which feeds on other spiders (araneophagic). They are remarkable for their hunting behaviour it seems they are capable of learning and problem solving. Portias often hunt in ways that seem intelligent. Their favorite prey seems to be web-building spiders between 10% and 200% of the spiders size. These are also known as the Dandy Jumping Spider. This little one was found in my garden in Port Elizabeth.

Portia Jumping Spider

Reflecting Tussock Moth

This is a Red Dotted Euproctis MothEuproctis rufopunctata. Its part of the Lymantriidae family which consists of the Tussock moths. The adult moths of this family do not feed and tend to be very hairy. They also give off urticating hairs – not good for asthma sufferers! The larvae are also hairy, often with hairs packed in tufts, and in many species the hairs break off very easily and are extremely irritating to the skin (especially members of the genus Euproctis; Schaefer, 1989). This highly effective defence serves the moth throughout its life cycle as the hairs are incorporated into the cocoon, from where they are collected and stored by the emerging adult female at the tip of the abdomen and used to camouflage and protect the eggs as they are laid. Thanks to Steve Woodhall for the ID. Look out for his book: “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Reflecting Tussock Moth

Happy Valley Palm Tree

This is a night shot of a back lighted palm tree in Happy Valley, Port Elizabeth. Happy Valley is situated on Port Elizabeths main beachfront just across the road from Humewood Beach. It is a wonderland of kiddies movie characters and lights and enjoyable place to take the kiddies for a walk. The lights are only switched on in the summer month and going into Happy Valley is completely free to all.

Happy Valley Palm Tree