From the monthly archives: "May 2010"

I just caught and moved 5 more of Lefty’s and Digitalis’ fry that hatched exactly 2 months ago.  There are now 25 younger siblings and 4 older siblings, three of them gold.  There are a few fish in this new generation that have only 1 pectoral fin.  By my count, 2/25 of the moved fry have 1 pectoral fin, but these handicapped fry do not seem in any way less hardy than their siblings.  It is quite odd though that there are fast growers and slow growers in each batch, and with each passing week, the size differential seems greater.

Lefty (on right) and Digitalis with fry

After moving 5 fry, I caught some Mosquito Larvae to feed the fish, and I decided to set up a “studio” in the back yard with white paper so I could photograph the Mosquito Larvae, making them the Bug of the Month for May 2010.  I have been feeding the Angelfish Mosquito Larvae since last year, and the fish really love them.

Mosquito Larvae

Update:  May 5, 2010
I caught and moved 10 additional fry to the growout aquarium today.  I have moved 35 from the newest spawning to date.

Unidentified Grasshopper like insect
May 1, 2010
Good day.
I found these strange looking insects in my garden this morning, never seen anything like them before.
There are obviously male and females in the picture, I just can’t seem to phathom out which is which.
Jaco van der Merwe
Gauteng, South Africa

Giant Twig Wilter: Adult and Nymphs

Hi there
I have subsecuently found it on your site as the Giant Twig Wilter”

Hi Joco,
Your insects are Big Legged Bugs or Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae, and there is a winged adult with five immature nymphs that appear to be in various stages of growth.  We checked your Giant Twig Wilter suspicion, and we believe it is a related but different species.  The nymph from February 2008 we identified as possibly a Giant Twig Wilter, Carlisis wahlbergi.  Our current web search on the Beetles in the Bush website revealed what appears to be an adult of a different species, Petascelis remipes
, identified as a Magodo or Giant Twig Wilter, but it is also in the family Coreidae, an identification matched on the Beetles of Africa website.  Your adult insect matches an image on the Field Guide to Insects of South Africa that is identified as Carlisis wahlbergi, back to our original identification in 2008, and this information is provided:  “Identification:  Medium-sized (body length 20-26 mm).  boldly marked, with tan and black fore wings, and white- and black-banded antennae and abdominal margins.  Hind legs enlarged.  Biology:  As many as 9,000 individuals recorded on single Gardenia volkensii shrubs, which then failed to flower but did not wilt.  Can spray defensive secretion up to 15 cm.  Habitat:  Bushveld and gardens.”  This exactly matches our own identification in January 2007.  Alas, the link we used to identify it is no longer active.

Please Identify
April 30, 2010
Found this on a beach trying to scuttle back into the water
Durban South Africa

Water Bug

Dear Antonio,
We really wish your photos had a higher resolution because we cannot really see any details that would assist identification.  We are not sure what family this Water Bug belongs to, but we are certain it is an aquatic true bug.

Hi Daniel
May 18, 2010
Sorry it has taken so long I have managed to retrieve the high res pics of the water bug – hope this will be more appropriate.
Kind Regards – Toni

Water Bug

Thanks so much for resending these images Antonio.  We just may update this old letter as an announcement which will place it at the top of our homepage where our readership can take a stab at identification.

Water Bug

Karl has a theory
May 19, 2010
Hi Daniel and Antonio:
This bug looks very much like a giant water bug or toe-biter (Belostomatidae), except for those legs and that elevated posture. However there is one primitive genus (Limnogeton) with only four representative species, all African as far as I can tell, that may be the one you are looking for. The most widespread and common species appears to be Fiebers Giant Water bug, L. fieberi. Most of what follows was gleaned from an online book entitled “The Evolution of Social Behavior in Insects and Arachnids” (Jae C. Choe and Bernard J. Crespi,  1997). The Limnogeton are considered to be the most primitive of the Belostomids and differ from all the rest in several ways. They are obligate predators of snails, they apparently hunt more by walking than swimming, and they do not use their forelegs to capture their prey as Belostimids typically do. The forelegs are long and dexterous but they don’t have the massive musculature that is normally seen in Belostomids, which typically feed on more active prey items which they capture in a mantis-like fashion. According to Choe and Crespi, “Limnogeton seem to recognize their prey when the mollusks are creeping very slowly and even when they are still. Limnogeton fieberi approaches snails with its beak extended. The stylets are then inserted into the body of the snail causing it to release its grip if attached to a plant or other substrate.”  Furthermore, the middle and hind legs are not built for swimming – they do not have the paddle-like expansions. Since it is an effective snail predator Limnogeton is being considered as a potential biological control agent in the fight against schistosomiasis carrying snails. I was able to find only one online image of Limnogeton, in the “Field Guide to Insects of South Africa”. Unfortunately, the picture of L. fieberi (spelled Limnigeton) is not great and the brief write-up doesn’t match very well with biological information I found elsewhere. I hope I am on the right track and that this helps a little. Regards.  Karl

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