Monthly Archive: November 2012

Depicta Copper – Aloeides depicta

The Depicta CopperAloeides depicta is pretty small butterfly ranging from 26mm to 29mm in the males and 29mm to 35mm in the females. Depicta is a relatively variable butterfly, colour-wise. The upperside being a ground colour orange with a wide grey-black border.  The hind wing underside is sandy to buff-brown, occasionally reddish.
The distribution of  this Aloeides is fynbos, Nama Karoo along mountain chains from Matjiesfontein to Gydo Mountain and also Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth. It’s habitats include hillsides and rocky ledges. It’s flight period is in the warmer months of the year being September to June. The Depicta Copper’s larval food is  Aspalathus. Aspalathus is the genus to which the rooibos tea plant belongs, is the largest member of the pea family endemic to South Africa.
These pictures were taken in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Depicta copper - Aloeides depicta

Another Shot of a different Depicta copper:

Depicta copper - Aloeides depicta

Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Bark Spider – Caerostris sexcuspidata

Bark Spider

I am not going to say too much about this spider as I have given a pretty good explanation of it on a post a few weeks ago. You can find the information here.

I was trying out a flash guide that I made from one I saw somewhere on the internet. These are the resultant pics of this spider with this flash guide.

Here is a macro of its ‘face’. A stunning looking spider, close up.

Bark Spider - Caerostris sexcuspidata

….. and another of the same spider in its web later on in the evening.

Bark Spider - Caerostris sexcuspidata

Another one taken at van Stadens Flower Reserve

Bark spider

And one off my wall at home

Bark Spider

This was yet another willing spider to sit still for me to take a shot. Thank you Nature…

Bark Spider

These pictures were taken in my back yard with a Canon 7D with a Tamron 90mm macro lense and a 580EX II Speedlite flash attached to this guide:

 

Malachite Sunbird – Nectarinia famosa

Facts about Malachites:

The male Malachite Sunbird – Nectarinia famosa is a metallic green bird with yellow pectoral tufts and has a long tail making his total length approx. 25cm. The female has a brown back with pale yellow underparts and white outer tail feathers. The tail is much shorter than that of the male, making her total length approx. 15cm. The juvenile malachite looks like the female but it has greener upperparts and yellower underparts. This sunbird is territorial and aggressive  especially when nesting.

Habitats:

The Malachite Sunbird is found on hilly fynbos, on proteas and aloes. Malachites prefer a habitat consisting of montane grasslands and scrub, riverine bush, fynbos and gardens. This species can occur at high elevation, 2400 metres in Ethiopia, 3000 metres in Tanzania, and from sea-level up to 2800 metres in South Africa.

Feeding and Diet:

The Malachite Sunbird feeds primarily on nectar and insects. It gets food from several plants such as Lobelia and Aloe, and also Kniphofia (Liliaceae). They will also feed from other plants as well. It will observe insects from an exposed perch and fly up to grab them. The babies will eat mainly insects and other small bugs.  Both genders have long curved thin bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues for nectar feeding. It feeds and forages alone or in pairs, or in loose groups of 30-40 birds.

Male Malachite Sunbird

 

Picture of a female Malachite Sunbird –  note the lack of colours compared to the male. She usually lays two grey eggs, which she incubates for 13 days. Her nest is oval. It is made with grass, plant fibres, leaves, twigs, rootlets and spider webs.  The interior is lined with soft grass, hair, feathers, down and wool.
The nest is placed within a bush with an entrance facing inwards, between near ground and 20 metres up in tree or bush, often above the water.

Female Malachite Sunbird

 

Another male, but this time without the breeding plumage.

Malachite Male