PHunting Round Three – December 2021

The Festive Season is upon us, or is it the Silly Season? All around there is a mad dash in the shops, the queues are long, the smell of fresh hot-cross buns strong. To escape the madness, or perhaps some family members, some individuals have turned to biomapping. Time spent in nature is never wasted and all the more so if you can contribute to biodiversity conservation!

Round Three of Photo Hunting (i.e. PHunting) kicked off on Saturday 11 December 2021 and ran until midnight on Sunday 19 December 2021. Biomappers snapped and mapped the amazing total of 3,979 records! Below is a table summarizing the number of records received, by project, in the Virtual Museum for PHunting Round Three. The table is organized by most to least amount of records received.

VM ProjectRecord Totals

12 Observers submitted more than 100 records on African biodiversity. The Top 15 PHunters for Round Three are listed in the table below:

Observer NameTotal
1Pieter Cronje402
2Mark Liptrot 309
3Corrie du Toit279
4Corne Rautenbach232
5Nico Vromant195
6M. Booysen194
7Christopher Small 185
8Les Underhill143
9Lia Steen138
10Lance Robinson134
11Crystelle Wilson123
12Karis Daniel 120
13Pieter La Grange93
14Diana Russell 93
15Mary Lindsay85

For BirdPix, the bulk of the records came from South Africa (1,663 records), followed by Zambia (79) and Uganda (55). We also received records from Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The bird species most recorded? The Southern Black-Flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina (24 records) took first place with Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus (20 records) and Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus in third with 19 records. All in all 480 different bird species were phunted! This number reflects only the records that have been identified by the expert panel thus far, but our experts make quick work of getting identifications verified.

Southern Black-Flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina – BirdPix record by Andre Harmse

Below is a table of the top ten birds recorded during the third round of Phunting.

Scientific NameCommon NameRecords Total
1Melaenornis pammelainaSouthern Black-Flycatcher24
2Alopochen aegyptiacusEgyptian Goose20
3Ploceus cucullatusVillage Weaver19
4Columba guineaSpeckled Pigeon18
5Passer melanurusCape Sparrow18
6Bostrychia hagedashHadeda Ibis18
7Streptopelia senegalensisLaughing Dove16
8Lonchura cucullatusBronze Mannikin15
9Motacilla capensisCape Wagtail15
10Pycnonotus tricolorDark-capped Bulbul15

In the OdonataMAP section of the Virtual Museum we received records from five countries: Cameroon, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. From the records that have been identified to date, 105 different species were recorded.

Russet Dropwing Trithemis pluvialis – OdonataMAP record by Hesmarie Els

The Red-veined Dropwing Trithemis arteriosa was most frequently recorded with 50 records, followed by the Broad Scarlet Crocothemis erythraea (45) and Tropical Bluetail Ischnura senegalensis (39). Corrie du Toit was the top OdonataMAPper, managing to submit 233 dragonfly and damselfly records for PHunting Round Three.

Below is a table of the top ten odonates recorded during the third round of Phunting.

Scientific NameCommon NameRecords Total
1Trithemis arteriosaRed-veined Dropwing50
2Crocothemis erythraeaBroad Scarlet45
3Ischnura senegalensisTropical Bluetail39
4Ceriagrion glabrumCommon Citril35
5Orthetrum capicolaCape Skimmer34
6Nesciothemis farinosaEastern Blacktail26
7Brachythemis leucostictaSouthern Banded Groundling24
8Orthetrum juliaJulia Skimmer23
9Sympetrum fonscolombiiRed-veined Darter or Nomad23
10Trithemis kirbyiOrange-winged Dropwing21

LepiMAPpers were also out in full force for the third round of photo hunting, snapping and mapping a total of 723 butterflies and moths. Phunting trophies from all over Africa were uploaded to the LepiMAP section of the Virtual Museum. For South Africa, most of the records came from KwaZulu-Natal Province (188), followed by the Western Cape (66) and the North West Province on 22 records.

Large Striped Swordtail Graphium antheus – LepiMAP record by Daryl de Beer

From the 723 records submitted, the expert panel has identified 221 different species thus far! The little African Grass Blue Zizeeria knysna knysna ended up being the most photogenic with 30 records. Next in line was the African Veined White Belenois gidica abyssinica (17 records) and tied for third was the White-barred Telchinia Telchinia encedon encedon and Large Striped Swordtail Graphium antheus both with 13 records. See the table below for the LepiMAP top ten for the third round of Phunting.

Scientific NameCommon NameRecords Total
1Zizeeria knysna knysnaAfrican grass blue30
2Belenois gidica abyssinicaAfrican veined white17
3Telchinia encedon encedonWhite-barred telchinia13
4Graphium antheus Large striped swordtail13
5Belenois creona severinaAfrican Caper White12
6Azanus moriqua Black-bordered Babul Blue11
7Bicyclus safitza safitzaBlack-haired Bush Brown11
8Azanus jesous Topaz Babul Blue10
9Lampides boeticus Pea Blue10
10Danaus chrysippus orientisAfrican Plain Tiger10

There are many other sections of the Virtual Museum and we encourage you to keep an eye out for these critters too. We are mapping everything from scorpions to frogs to mammals. So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera (or cellphone) and get snapping and mapping!

PHunting Round Four starts on Saturday 08 January 2022 🙂 Starting the New Year off with a biodiversity bang!

Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan is our communications, social media and citizen science coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. A citizen science project run by the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town and funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. She also coordinated LepiMAP, which is the Atlas on African Lepidoptera. Megan is passionate about biodiversity conservation. She is a firm believer in the power of citizen science and getting the public involved in nature conservation.