Lots of these Variegated Grasshopers around now. Its dry here and they often seem to be around when its dry (or maybe i just hear them better in the withered grass?). These guys travel in small swarms (oftern times about 30 or more individuals). Insects with black and yellow markings are often times poisonous or foul tasting and so i would not be surprised to find that these guys were also distasteful.
Solifugids aren’t from hell folks, it just makes a catchy headline. The other day this guy (2.5″ across) roared into our tent. Solifugids or Sun Spiders as they are commonly called move at high speed. They are nocturnal predators of small insects (this post is in the insect category but i realize that solifugids are not insects but arachnids) and when this fellow came into our tent he was likely hunting under the plastic ground fly. Read more about what these guys are all about on Wikipedia below:
I ran into this Golden Orb spider in the door of our camel boma last week. Fortunately i ran into a small strand first and was able to stop before putting my face right through her beautiful web. Golden Orb spiders in New Guinea have such strong webs that they are woven and used locals for catching fish.
You normally only see Baboon Spiders out of their underground funnels when there is rain (or I suppose possibly when breeding). This particular specimen was coaxed from his home with a blade of grass a trick perfected by most young boys in these parts. Baboon Spiders are quite harmless but they will give you a good bite if hassled. This guy we returned to his house after taking his picture.
This centipede was found this morning under one of our tent floors. These centipedes evidently give a serious sting and one of my guys said that they can kill a camel (but are only very painful to humans). I don’t know from where the venom comes from. This particular centipede has rather formidable grabbers at its tail but I’m not sure if that is where the venom resides. This guy and a mass of toads as well as some snakes have been around with the beginning of our first rains that started the day before yesterday. hooray for the rains.
A lot of people think “a grasshopper is just a grasshopper”. Not true. Look at the diversity of shapes and forms that grasshoppers can take in our immediate area:
Parm, one of our rangers pointed out the following larvae the other day while we were walking across a large plain together. the larvae at that time was not exposed and the only indication of his presence was a simple non descript hole. parm said in swahili “watch”. He cut a piece of grass, chewed the tip a bit and then wiggled the end near the entrance to the hole. The larvae attached, pinched the grass and with a smooth motion parm removed him from his hole where i photographed him before returning him to his home.
I reckon this must be some kind of beetle larvae. I have never seen tiger beetles here and he is far too big but he does resemble their larvae. Anyway he is very predatory and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the large nocturnal ground beetles that prowl the savanna in search of prey. ideas welcome.
I found the following Assasin bug under some logs today in camp. Evidently they can give a rather severe bite. I wonder what he assasinates for food???
While swimming down on the river I ran into this interesting fishing spider in a small pool of water in a large rockoutcrop. the pool had mosquito larvae and when i found the spider he was totally submerged trying to hid underneath a rock. his movements under water were identical to a crab and when he emerged to the surface after some coaxing he appeared totally dry. Very Cool.
Hi, this is Kerry. We were packing up camp on the Ewaso Nyiro River and noticed Harvester Ants carrying a Spider to their hole. They slowly took off it’s legs and took them down the hold and then finally tried to get the body of the Spider in to the hole. I have only ever seen these ants harvesting vegetable matter and did not know they would have any interest in a Spider?