African Whip Spider

The African Whip Spider (Damon variegatus) is an arachnid in the Phrynichidae family. It is not a true spider because it does not produce silk or venom. It is also known as the Giant Tailless Whipscorpion but it is not a scorpion.

The African Whip Spider has a large, flattened abdomen and cephalothorax, with eight legs. It has six ambulatory (walking) legs and two tactile legs that are longer than the others and act like feelers. It also has two pedipalps which are pincer-like appendages that helps to catch and hold its prey. It is mottled dark-grey to black carapace.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Dama Mhorr Gazelle

The Dama Mhorr Gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr) is a mammal in the Bovidae family of bovines, including gazelles and antelopes. It is also known as the Mhorr Gazelle, the Mohor Gazelle, and the Addra Gazelle. It is a sub-species of the Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama). It is extinct in the wild and was last seen in the wild in 1968, therefore it is a critically endangered species. It exists in breeding programs in zoos and reserves.  

The Dama Mhorr Gazelle is white below with a reddish-brown head and neck. It has a small head with a narrow muzzle (nose). It has large eyes. The male and the female have medium-length curved horns in the shape of an S. It has longer legs and a longer neck than other gazelles. It is an artiodactyl because it has cloven (split) hooves.

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East African Dwarf Spider

The East African Dwarf Spider (Microlinyphia aethiopia) is an arachnid in the Linyphiidae family of dwarf spiders. 

The East African Dwarf Spider has a dark-brown abdomen with a light-brown carapace (shell). The male has a more pointed abdomen than the female. It has eight brown legs covered with hairs. It has tooth-like pedipalps near its mouth. It has two rows of four eyes to total eight eyes. The back row of eyes is straight and the front row of eyes is slightly curved.

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What is Hippo Honking?

What is Hippo honking?

The Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) is a large African even-toed ungulate (hoofed) mammal.

The Common Hippo lives half in the water and half out – this is called semi-aquatic. It lives in a group of about 30 individuals, which is called a pod, herd, or bloat.

The Common Hippo makes loud vocal noises, such as grunts, honks, bellows, and squeals. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Velvet Ground Beetle

The Velvet Ground Beetle (Graphipterus sp.; possibly Graphipterus ancora or Graphipterus cordiger) is a common insect in the Carabidae family of beetles. It is a carabid.

The Velvet Ground Beetle has velvety brown elytra (wing casings). It has a light-brown body with dark-brown markings. It has long, segmented antennae. It has a head, thorax, and abdomen. It is flightless, even though it has wings. It runs along the ground.

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Common Bluestripe Snapper

The Common Bluestripe Snapper (Lutjanus kasmira) is a fish in the Lutjanidae family of snappers. It is also known as the Bluebanded Snapper, Fourline Snapper, Blue-Line Snapper, and Moonlighter.

The Common Bluestripe Snapper has an oval-shaped body with a steeply sloped head. The back and sides are bright-yellow, with the lower sides and underside of its head fading to white. It has four bright-blue longitudinal stripes. Its fins are yellow.

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RESEARCH: Older male elephants keep younger males calm

Older male elephants keep younger males calm and help prevent conflict with humans, says a new study reported in Science News in December 2021.

Researchers at the Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour at the University of Exeter in England conducted research with a British-based charity organization called Elephants for Africa that is also a registered non-government organization (NGO) in Botswana, Africa.

The researchers studied 281 male elephants in an all-male area in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana for three years. They divided the elephants into four groups, by age: two groups of adolescents and two groups of adults. In one group of adolescents, the elephants were 10-15 years old, and in the other group of adolescents, the elephants were 16-20 years old. In one group of adults, the elephants were 21-25 years old, and in the other group of adults, the elephants were older than 26 years of age.

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Kirk’s Dik-Dik – young male antelopes

The Kirk’s Dik-Dik (Madoqua kirkii) is a small mammal in the Bovidae family of antelopes. It is native to eastern Africa.

The Kirk’s Dik-Dik is one of the smallest antelopes in the world. It grows to 35-46 centimetres (14-18 inches) tall. 

The Kirk’s Dik-Dik’s photographed are both males. Only the male has horns. The horns are backward slanting and short at 8 centimetres (3 inches) long. 

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Eureka Red Peacock Cichlid – Yellow Morph

The Eureka Red Peacock Cichlid – Yellow Morph (Aulonocara jacobfreibergi) is a freshwater fish in the Cichlidae family. It is also known as the Freiberg’s Cichlid or the Fairy Cichlid.  

The Eureka Red Peacock Cichlid – Yellow Morph is the yellow variant. It is greenish-to-yellowish with a red-orange head and a yellow tail. It has tinges of blue on its bottom lip and bottom fin.

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Rosemary Beetle

The Rosemary Beetle (Chryolina americana) is a small insect in the Chrysomelidae family of leaf beetles. 

The Rosemary Beetle is metallic, iridescent green with purple-brown stripes on its ridged elytra (wing shields), from its pronotum (neck shield) to its tail. It has short wings hidden underneath the elytra. It can fly, but only for short distances. Most tend to walk. It has six little brown legs. Its body is slightly domed with a rounded tail end. It has round, black eyes. Its antennae are light-brown and look like a string of beads. 

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Comma Butterfly

The Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) is an insect in the Nymphalidae family of butterflies. It is also known as the Anglewing, due to its angular wings. 

The Comma Butterfly is orange on the upperside of its wings with dark-brown to black markings and light spots on the edge. It has angular notches on the edges of its forewings (front wings). The underside is marbled brown. The hind wings (back wings) have a white spot in the shape of the letter C. It can look like fallen leaves when resting, which confuses its predators. It is a strong flier.

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Southern Lechwe

The Southern Lechwe (Kobus leche) is an ungulate (hoofed) mammal in the Bovidae family of cattle and antelopes. It is also known as the Red Lechwe.

The Southern Lechwe is golden brown with a white belly. The male is darker than the female. The male has long, spiral horns. The female does not have horns. Its hind legs (back legs) are longer than those of other antelopes – perhaps to be able to walk in the marshy soil. Its legs have a water-repellent substance on its legs, which enables it to run in knee-high water.

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White-Belted Ruffed Lemur

The White-Belted Ruffed Lemur (Varecia veriegata subcincta) is an arboreal (tree-living) primate mammal in the Lemuridae family of lemurs. It is a sub-species of the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur. It is also known as the Northern Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur.

The White-Belted Ruffed Lemur has fluffy black and white fur. Its stomach, tail, hands and feet, forehead, face, and crown are black. It is white on the sides, back, and back legs. It has a distinct white belt around the middle of its body. It has a black nose, small ears, and bright orange eyes. Its tail is long, black, and bushy. 

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What is the difference between the male and female Greater Kudu?

What is the difference between the male and female Greater Kudu? 

The Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is an ungulate (hoofed) mammal in the Bovidae family of cattle and antelopes.It is a browser, eating plants, leaves, flowers, and fruit. It is native to the bushlands of eastern and southern Africa. 

A male Greater Kuduis called a bull and a female is called a cow.

Both the male and the female Greater Kudu have a sandy-brown body with huge cupped ears, a white chevron stripe between its eyes, 6-10 vertical white stripes on its sides, a ridge of dark hair along its back, and a short, bushy black-tipped tail. 

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Madagascar Giant Day Gecko

The Madagascar Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis or Phelsuma grandis) is a reptile in the Gekkonidae family of gecko lizards.

The Madagascar Giant Day Gecko is bright green with a red stripe from its nostril to each eye. It has red coloured dots or bars on its back. Its underbelly is creamy-white or yellow. It has round pupils (instead of vertical pupils like nocturnal lizards). It has no eyelids, so it keeps its eyes moist and clean by licking them with its long tongue.

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Red-Necked Ostrich

The Red-Necked Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) is a large flightless bird in the Struthionidae family of ratites. It is also known as the North African Ostrich or the Barbary Ostrich. It is a sub-species of the Common Ostrich. It is related to the emu, rhea, cassowary, and kiwi. 

The male Red-Necked Ostrich is black with white tail feathers, a featherless red neck, and red thighs. The female and young male have grey feathers. It has the largest eyes of any land vertebrate. Its legs have no feathers. The Red-Necked Ostrich has two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have four toes and emus have three toes.  

It cannot fly because its feathers lack the tiny hooks that lock together to make external feathers smooth for flying. Its long legs and large wings makes it able to zigzag when it runs. 

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Panther Chameleon

The Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) is a reptile in the Chamaeleonidae family. 

The male Panther Chameleon can vary in colour from blue to red, green, orange. The female is usually tan and brown with a bit of pink or orange. It has distinctive eyes, with a pin-hole where the pupil is located. Its eyes, with good eyesight, can rotate independently, giving the Panther Chameleon 360 degrees of vision (all around it). It has a very long tongue with a suction-capped tip to catch insects.

It has five toes on each foot, but some are fused together so it looks like it only has two toes on each foot: two together and three together. Its feet act like tongs and can grip branches. Each toe has a sharp claw. 

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