Satara Summer 2021 – Invertebrate Diversity

With the Kruger National Park as vast as it is, and with human impacts kept to an absolute minimum, invertebrate life can thrive to an extent that is no longer possible in most of our “developed” society. Summer is a good time to see these fascinating creatures, as our visit in December 2021 proved yet again.

Beetles form the largest and most diverse order in the entire animal kingdom, and there are thousands of beetle species in the Kruger National Park.

While perhaps not as numerous as beetles, the various kinds of Butterflies gets lots of attention thanks to their delicate beauty.

Why exactly Moths are often regarded with such disdain compared to their relatives the butterflies I can’t comprehend, as some of these night-flying creatures are equally beautiful.

Our dislike of Flies is a lot easier to understand, though only a very few of them are actually a nuisance to humans and they all perform a wide variety of vital functions in the ecosystem.

We were lucky to see several “armies” of Matabele Ants on the hunt:

Another diverse insect group, with equally diverse survival strategies, are the Bees and Wasps.

My aptitude at identifying the various kinds of Damselflies and Dragonflies is still sorely lacking.

Web-spinners are a small and little known insect order.

A group of Gregarious Spotted Cockroaches scrambling up the wall of the laundry building at Satara was a welcome distraction on washing day.

So scary and large was this Bark Katydid crawling up a tree in Satara that you’d have to forgive me for the photograph not being entirely in focus…

Bark Katydid

Millipedes are such a familiar group of animals, and yet every time we visit the Kruger Park we are astounded to see just how many unique kinds find a home there!

We end of this post with a group that makes many peoples’ skins crawl: Spiders. Being responsible in no small part for controlling the numbers of all the other invertebrates, the entire ecosystem would collapse in their absence.

 

 

29 thoughts on “Satara Summer 2021 – Invertebrate Diversity

  1. mythbusta

    Die entomoloog het verwoed die bestaan van die Signal Hill Roach ontken en vertel van sy graad en professionele status, terwyl drie van dié goedjies agter die TV uitgekom en by die elektriese bekisting ingeklim het. Kaapstad se sg “Atlantic Seaboard” is vergaan van hierdie unieke cocoraci maar die entomoloog stry. Soms is ‘n kamera net die ding.

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  2. sustainabilitea

    I can see where the ideas came for the invading aliens looking like insects. Most of these look so odd up close. That last shot of the spider in defensive position is cool.

    On an unrelated note, now that I’m back from California, we just finished watching the Seville 7’s tournament and I was greatly relieved when the Boks poured it on against Australia. 🙂 Now we’ll switch to catching up on the Six Nations competition where my favorite team is France and my favorite player Antoine Dupont. 🙂 Maybe one of these days I’ll get to see the Springboks play as well and the All Blacks should be out of New Zealand one of these days.

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          1. mythbusta

            Bo-op die Brandwachtberge, naby die Thomas-hut (dis op Google Maps) sien mens nie voëltjies of baie insekte nie. Dis tussen ses- en seweduisend voet bo seespieël daar.

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          2. mythbusta

            Dit blyk so te wees en die ekologie verander baie vinnig binne ‘n paar meter van vertikale reis. Op daardie hoogte sneeu dit soms ‘n paar meter elke jaar; ek was al daar in die sneeu.

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