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Drakensberg Creeper (Opisthacanthus validus) #CritterThursday

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Scorpions stridulate by rubbing their chelicerae (mouthparts) together to produce a hissing sound. In some cases, they may drag the telson (sting) over the body segments (tergites) to produce a sudden scraping sound in an attempt to frighten off a predator.This is a medium sized scorpion of around 9 cm with the tail extended.It is black in colour, but often with a muddy appearance. It sometimes has lighter coloured legs and a lighter tipped tail.It is common across its range, occurring under rocks often at high altitudes in areas like the Drakensberg.The sting of this species may cause pain but is not medically important.Contact us at info@africanbushtraining.com

The lowland nyala or simply nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) #WildWednesday

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The nyala is mainly active in the early morning and the late afternoon. It generally browses during the day and during the night in the rainy season. As a herbivore, the nyala feeds upon foliage, fruits and grasses, with sufficient fresh water. As a shy animal, it prefers water holes rather than open spaces. The nyala does not show signs of territoriality, and individuals areas can overlap each others. They are very cautious creatures. Old males live alone, but single sex or mixed family groups of up to 10 individuals can be found. These inhabit thickets within dense and dry savanna woodlands. The main predators of the nyala are lion, leopard and, while baboons and raptorial birds hunt for the juveniles. Mating peaks during spring and autumn. Males and females are sexually mature at 18 and 11–12 months of age respectively, though they are socially immature until five years old. After a gestational period of seven months, a single calf is born.Contact u…

The Puff adder is responsible for causing the most snakebite fatalities in Africa. - Wikipedia

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They are short stocky snakes that occur in a variety of colours, from sandy brown, grey, bright yellow & black in some parts of its range. As South Africa’s most widely-spread, venomous snake, the Puff Adder occurs in a large range of habitat, from coastal bush, grassland, fynbos habitat. The Puff Adder along withe the Mozambique Spitting Cobra account for the majority of serious snake bites South Africa. The Puff Adder is a snake with excellent camouflage, and it prefers to sit and wait for opportunity when it comes to feeding. These snakes may remain in an ambush position for several weeks, waiting for a potential meal to pass by. They have a powerful cytotoxic venom which can lead to extreme pain, severe swelling, and blistering of the skin.Anti-venom: Polyvalent anti-venom is used in the effective treatment of bites.The name ‘puff adder’ stems from the snake’s habit of inflating itself and hissing when threatened. The noise produced is a menaci…

The crimson-breasted shrike is non-migratory. #BirdingSunday

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It mainly eats insects, gleaning prey from the leaves and trunks of trees, often flying to the ground to feed on ants or some fallen fruit. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:InvertebratesFormicidae (ants)Coleoptera (beetles)Lepidoptera (caterpillars)FruitBoth sexes construct the nest, which is a tidy cup made almost entirely of Acacia tree bark, collected from trunks and branches about 50-90 metres from the nesting site and lined with grass and rootlets. It is usually bound with spider web to a fork in the main stem of a plant, or occasionally onto a horizontal branch. Most of the construction work is done in the early morning, and it is usually complete after about 4-6 days.Egg-laying season is from August-january, peaking from October-November.It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 15-17 days.The chicks are fed and brooded by both parents, leaving the est at about 18-20 days old. Although they forage indepe…

The Mopane tree and its importance #BotanyFriday

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Colophospermum mopane, commonly called mopane,mopani,balsam tree,butterfly tree,or turpentine tree, is a tree in the legume family (Fabaceae), that grows in the far very hot northern parts of southern Africa. The tree only occurs in Africa and is the only species in genus Colophospermum. Its distinctive butterfly-shaped (bifoliate) leaf and thin seed pod make it easy to identify. In terms of human use it is, together with camel thorn and leadwood, one of the three regionally important firewood trees. Mopane wood is one of southern Africa's heaviest and is difficult to work because of its hardness.However, this also makes it termite resistant. For this reason it has long been used for building houses and fences, as railway sleepers and as pit props. The termite-resistance and rich, reddish colouring also make it popular for flooring. Outside Africa, mopane is gaining popularity as a heavy, decorative wood, its uses including aquarium ornaments, base…

Jumping spiders are a group of spiders that constitute the family Salticidae.#CritterThursday

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As of 2019, this family contained over 600 described genera and over 6000 described species,making it the largest family of spiders at 13% of all species. –WikipediaJumping spiders have some of the best vision among arthropods and use it in courtship, hunting, and navigation. Although they normally move unobtrusively and fairly slowly, most species are capable of very agile jumps, notably when hunting, but sometimes in response to sudden threats or crossing long gaps. Both their book lungs and tracheal system are well-developed, and they use both systems (bimodal breathing). Jumping spiders are generally recognized by their eye pattern. All jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes, with the anterior median pair being particularly large.Although jumping spiders are generally carnivorous, many species have been known to include nectar in their diets. Jumping spiders conduct complex, visual courtship displays using both movements and physical bodily attrib…

The giant jewel beetle is a favourite protein-rich insect delicacy in many rural communities of Limpopo Province.#ConservationTuesday

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Their lazy nature makes them an easy catch, as they spend most of their time clinging to thorny bush trees. Adults feed on foliage (especially of Vachellia, Senegalia trees and Dichrostachys species) as well as nectar. Larvae are free-living root-feeders. Sternocera orissa displays sexual reproduction. Adult females are generally bigger than their male counterparts. Females lay eggs (during mid-December to late January) in bark crevices, and larvae tunnel into wood and plant stems. At times, eggs are laid into the soils or dropped onto the ground. Females have a single reproductive cycle annually. Adults are relatively short-lived, whereas the immature stages can take as long as 35 years to complete their development.Giant jewel beetles tend to be social and often semi-gregarious, occurring in small communities. No direct predators are known for Sternocera orissa. However, resource competition (i.e. for nectar and pollen) is common; since Vachellia and…