Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata)

Cover image by Sue Gie – Aquila Game Reserve, Western Cape – BirdPix No. 229310

Identification

The Namaqua Warbler is a small, slender, prinia-like species. Its most diagnostic features are the pale whiteish face and supercilium combined with the russet back and rump. The tail is long and graduated and lacks buff-coloured terminal spots. The breast is variably but finely streaked. This streaking is confined to the breast and does not extend onto the belly or flanks.

The sexes are similar but males show more prominent streaking on the breast.

Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata) – Near Aliwal North, Free State
Photo by Dawie De Swardt

Immatures are similar to adults but are paler brown above and have shorter tails. The supercilium and facial area is also buff-coloured as opposed to the whitish face of the adults. Young birds have less conspicuous streaking on the breast.

Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata) – Ouberg Private Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Status and Distribution

The Namaqua Warbler is endemic to South Africa and southern Namibia. It is localised but fairly common in suitable habitat.

In South Africa it is found throughout the Northern Cape and in the drier parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State provinces. The paucity of records from the northern Karoo and Bushmanland, south of the Orange river is largely due to a lack of drainage lines in that region.

SABAP2 distribution map for Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata) – January 2023.
Details for map interpretation can be found here.

Habitat

The Namaqua Warbler is found throughout the Karoo but is characteristically associated with water-courses, where it occupies fringing thickets and reeds. It favours drainage lines with a mix of Acacia (Vachelia) Karoo thicket and Phragmites reeds. It also forages in nearby karoo scrub and has adapted to overgrown gardens and orchards along drainage lines. Dry water courses may provide suitable habitat but a prolonged absence of water can cause the habitat to become unsuitable.

Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata) – Near Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape
Photo by Zenobia van Dyk

Behaviour

During the breeding season the Namaqua Warbler is usually to be found solitarily or in pairs. They are found in small family groups after breeding.

Forages by searching among leaves, twigs and tangled vegetation, sometimes forages on the floor. Keeps largely to dense bushy growth. Their movements are quick and restless. Males sing from the tops of trees or bushes

The diet consists largely of insects and other small arthropods. Also feeds on small berries and fruit when available.

Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata) – Near Ceres, Western Cape
Photo by Gerald Wingate

Breeding may take place from August to April. The nest is a deep cup composed of grass and strips of bark. The nest is attached to upright plant stems with grass. The nest interior is lined with feathers, fluffy seeds, hair and other fine plant material. The outer parts of the nest are camouflaged with lichen, twigs, dead leaves and bits of bark.

2 to 4 (3) eggs are laid per clutch. The eggs range in colour from pale to deep blue with red-grey spotting. The incubation period lasts around 16 days and the chicks are fully fledged after at least another 15 days.

Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata) – Middelburg, Eastern Cape
Photo by Tino Herselman

Further Resources

Species text adapted from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.

The use of photographs by Dawie De Swardt, Gerald Wingate, Sue Gie, Sybrand Venter, Tino Herselman and Zenobia van Dyk is acknowledged.

Virtual Museum (BirdPix > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name).

Other common names: Namakwalangstertjie (Afrikaans); Namaqua-prinia (Dutch); Prinia du Namaqua (French); Namasänger (German); Prínia da Namaqua (Portuguese)

Recommended citation format: Tippett RM 2023. Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata). Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/28/namaqua-warbler-phragmacia-substriata/

Namaqua Warbler (Phragmacia substriata) – Carnarvon District, Northern Cape
Photo by Sybrand Venter

Bird identificationbirding

Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus)

Cover image by Phillip Nieuwoudt– Garingboom Guest Farm, Free State – BirdPix No. 229310

Identification

Burchell’s Courser is a smallish plover-like species. Its most diagnostic feature is the blue-grey hind crown and nape, distinguishing it from the similar Temminck’s Courser. It has a white supercilium that extends from the eye onto the nape. There is a narrow, sometimes indistinct, black line behind the eye. The back and chest are uniformly brown with little contrast between the two. There is an indistinct black band separating the brown upper belly from the white lower belly. The vent and lower belly are white. The bill is relatively long when compared to other coursers and the legs are whiteish.

The sexes are alike.

Immatures have mottled cream and black upper parts and lack the distinctive head markings of the adult.

Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus
Photos by Gregg Darling (left) and Tino Herselman (right)

In flight shows a broad white trailing edge to the secondaries. This is distinct from other coursers in the region.

Note the diagnostic white trailing edge to the secondaries.
Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus) – Karoo-Gariep Nature Reserve, Northern Cape
Photo by Gerald Wingate

Status and Distribution

The Burchell’s courser is endemic to Southern Africa, extending marginally into south-western Angola. It is generally uncommon across its range but may be locally common at some sites in Namibia and the arid west of South Africa.

The population, notably near the edge of its distribution in the south and east, is known to have declined sharply in recent years. In the past it was regularly recorded from Botswana but recently there have been very few confirmed sightings. The nature and causes of its decline are not understood and should be investigated.

SABAP2 distribution map for Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus) – January 2023.
Details for map interpretation can be found here.

Habitat

Burchell’s courser inhabits dry, open short or burnt grassland, Karoo scrub, stony semidesert and open desert plains. It is very partial to bare saltpans and ploughed and fallow lands. It is absent from fynbos and avoids woodlands of any kind.

Inhabits open, bare patches in arid areas.
Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus) – Near Poffadder, Northern Cape
Photo by Zenobia van Dyk

Behaviour

Burchell’s Courser is highly nomadic and possibly seasonally migratory in some areas. This species feeds on a range of insects and is especially fond of Harvester Termites. It runs rapidly and forages by pecking at the ground after running a short distance. It may dig with its bill in soft soil. The posture is very upright and when alarmed bobs its tail and sways its body while holding its head still. May be found in pairs but is more often gregarious in groups of 5 to 15 birds.

Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus) – New Holme Guest Farm, Hanover, Northern Cape
Photo by Tino Herselman

Breeding may take place during most months but mainly August to December. 1 or 2 eggs are laid per clutch, usually directly on the substrate. No true nest is constructed, but the site may be lined with antelope or sheep droppings, stones or clumps of earth.

The eggs are incubated by both sexes, however, further details are unrecorded.

An adult incubating its egg.
Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus) – Ncandu Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Garth Aiston
The egg is laid on bare ground and no nest is constructed.
Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus) – Ncandu Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Garth Aiston

Further Resources

Species text adapted from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.

The use of photographs by Garth Aiston, Gerald Wingate, Gregg Darling, Michael Wright, Phillip Nieuwoudt, Tino Herselman and Zenobia van Dyk is acknowledged.

Virtual Museum (BirdPix > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name).

Other common names: Bloukopdrawwertjie (Afrikaans): Ingegane (Xhosa); Makopjoane (South Sotho); Rosse Renvogel (Dutch); Courvite de Burchell (French); Rostrennvogel (German); Corredor de Burchell (Portuguese)

Recommended citation format: Tippett RM 2023. Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus). Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/25/burchells-courser-cursorius-rufus/

Burchell’s Courser (Cursorius rufus) – Near Normandien, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Michael Wright

Bird identificationbirding

Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus)

Cover image by Desire Darling – Mountain Zebra National Park, Eastern Cape – BirdPix No. 229310

Identification

The Double-banded Courser is a small, pale coloured species. Its most distinctive feature is the two narrow black bands across the breast, which are diagnostic. The undersides are pale sandy or cream coloured. The upper sides are sandy brown with white edging to the feathers, giving a scaled appearance. The neck is slightly darker with fine vertical streaking. The crown is plain and there is a prominent cream-coloured supercilium. The long legs are pale whiteish.

The sexes are alike.

Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus) – Masilonyana Local Municipality, Free State
Photo by Janet du Plooy

In flight shows distinctive rust-coloured secondaries and inner primaries and white uppertail coverts.

Juveniles are similar to the adults but have chestnut breastbands and a less defined supercilium.

In flight shows distinctive rust-coloured secondaries and inner primaries as well as white upper tail coverts.
Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus) – Carnarvon district, Northern Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Distribution

The Double-banded courser is widespread and found in three separate populations, in Southern Africa, East Africa and North-east Africa. In South Africa it occurs mainly in the arid western and central regions.

SABAP2 distribution map for Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus) – January 2023. Details for map interpretation can be found here.

Habitat

A species of flat plains with low, sparse vegetation and bare open areas. Often found in stony places and dry pans. It is partial to pale calcrete gravel and is most numerous in Nama Karoo shrublands, arid grasslands and the Kalahari. The species also occurs in sparse Mopane scrub in northern Botswana and Namibia.

Frequents open, bare patches in arid areas.
Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus) – Carnarvon district, Northern Cape
Photo by Sybrand Venter

Behaviour

The Double-banded Courser feeds on a range of insects and is especially fond of Harvester Termites. It forages by pecking at the ground after running a short distance. This species may be found solitarily, in pairs or in small groups of three to four birds.

Breeding may take place at anytime of the year. 1 egg is laid per clutch, either in a shallow scrape on directly on the substrate. The nest site is often lined with small stones, sheep or antelope droppings or bits of dried plant matter.

The egg is well camouflaged among stones and pebbles
Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus) – Steytlerville District, Eastern Cape
Photo by Dave Brown

The egg is incubated by both parents for 26 to 27 days. Chicks are known to fledge after 5 to 6 weeks and they are fed by both parents.

The Double-banded Courser is known to be highly nomadic throughout its range and it appears to be most numerous during dry conditions.

Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus) – Middelburg, Eastern Cape
Photo by Tino Herselman

Further Resources

Species text from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.

The use of photographs by Dave Brown, Desire Darling, Janet du Plooy, Sybrand Venter and Tino Herselman is acknowledged.

Virtual Museum (BirdPix > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name).

Other common names: Dubbelbanddrawwertjie (Afrikaans): Segolagola (Tswana); Dubbelbandrenvogel (Dutch); Courvite à double collier (French); Doppelband-Rennvogel (German).

Recommended citation format: Tippett RM 2023. Double-banded Courser Rhinoptilus africanus. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/23/double-banded-courser-rhinoptilus-africanus/

Double-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus) – Mountain Zebra National Park, Eastern Cape
Photo by Desire Darling

Bird identificationbirding

SABAP2 – The Southern African Bird Atlas Project

SABAP2 is a citizen science project that is driven by the energy of several hundred volunteers who are mapping the distribution of birds across several southern African countries. SABAP2 is the follow-up project to the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), which took place from 1987-1991. The second bird atlas project started on 1 July 2007 and is still growing. The project aims to map the distribution and relative abundance of birds in southern Africa and includes: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, eSwatini, Zimbabwe, Zambia. To gather data, volunteers select a geographical ‘pentad’ on a map and record all the bird species seen within a set time frame, in order of species seen. This information is uploaded to the SABAP2 database and is used for research and analysis by several different agencies, including the South African National Biodiversity Institute, BirdLife South Africa, as well as academics and students at various universities.

Since 2007, more than 17 million records have been collected with about 2 million more being added each year. This valuable dataset is key to determining the conservation status of bird species, correctly assigning red-list status and establishing Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, as well as forming the basis for informing environmental impact assessments. To gather valuable and useful data atlas coverage needs to be as thorough as possible. Ideally, each pentad should have a baseline of at least four comprehensive checklists (‘cards’), over several years and seasons. On the coverage maps this will mean a pentad turns ‘green’. Coverage intensity is scaled from yellow to dark purple, making it easy to identify which regions need more checklists.

SABAP2 is based at the University of Cape Town and is funded by the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology and the South African National Biodiversity Institute. The project is actively supported by BirdLife South Africa and BirdLasser.

Cape Wagtail (Motacilla capensis)

Cover photo by Anthony Archer – BirdPix 188952

Identification

Cape Wagtails are medium-sized, greyish-brown birds with long tails and a distinct dark grey collar on their chests (the exact shape of the collar can vary quite a bit between individual birds). Other distinguishing features include a thin white line above and below the eye, a whitish throat, a thin, black bill, and bright white outer tail feathers, often seen in flight. The legs and feet are blackish, and males and females look alike. 

Main Photo: BirdPix 59643 – Andrea Myburgh, KwaZulu-Natal, 26 August 2018. Inset photo (side view): BirdPix 7679 – Gregg Darling, Eastern Cape, 2 May 2014. Inset photo (tail): BirdPix 119075 – Karis Daniel, Western Cape, 29 June 2020.

Though juvenile Cape Wagtails closely resemble adult birds, there are a few differences to note: juveniles tend to be more brown overall than gray, and the feathers on their wings often have broad, buffy edges. Many juveniles also have a distinct yellowish tinge to their underparts.

Juvenile Cape Wagtail – BirdPix 77102 – Rick Nuttall, Free State, 24 November 2018.

Habitat

The Cape Wagtail frequents open habitats especially those near water. It also prefers lawns, gardens, parks and rocky coastlines. It is a mostly resident, territorial species, but it can undertake limited altitudinal migration or form flocks outside of the breeding season.

Distribution

The Cape Wagtail has a wide distribution range. It occupies Uganda, eastern DRC and Kenya, but the bulk of its population extends from southern DRC through Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. In southern Africa it is especially common across South Africa, eSwatini and Lesotho It is more scarce in Namibia, northern and south-eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique.

SABAP2 distribution map for Cape Wagtail, downloaded on 23 January 2023. Details for map interpretation can be found here

Behaviour

The Cape Wagtail forages for food while walking along the ground, bobbing its head and tail constantly. It mainly eats invertebrates and scraps of human food. It often eats insects which get attracted to lights in the early morning or caught in car radiators.

Its call is a buzzy “tseeei” that is often doubled and it has a complex song consisting of a jumble of different repeated notes. Take a listen here.

birdpix/195755-1.jpg
Cape Wagtail with a delicious morsel – BirdPix 195755 – John and Anne Todd, Northern Cape, 24 November 2021.

The Cape wagtail is a monogamous, territorial solitary nester, and breeding pairs stay together over a number of breeding seasons. The nest is built by both sexes and consists of a cup made of a wide range of materials, both natural and artificial, which is lined with hair, rootlets, wool and feathers. The nest is situated in a recess within a steep bank, tree, or bush, or in a man-made location such as a hole in a wall, a pot plant, or a bridge.

birdpix/089501-1.jpg
Cape Wagtail eggs in the nest – BirdPix 89501 – Ashwell Glasson, Kei River mouth, Eastern Cape, 25 August 2019.

It breeds all year round but egg-laying peaks from July until December (mid-winter to early summer). Between one and five eggs are laid, which both parents take turns incubating for 13–15 days. Once hatched, the chicks are fed by both parents, until they leave the nest after 14–18 days. Once fledged they adults continue to feed them for another 20–25 days, and the young become fully independent around 44 days – 60 days after fledging.

birdpix/199350-2.jpg
Feeding the young ones – BirdPix 199350 – Chris Wilson, KwaZulu-Natal, 12 December 2021.

Further Resources

Species text from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.

Virtual Museum (BirdPix > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name).

Other common names: Gewone Kwikkie (Afrikaans); Umcelu (Xhosa); umVemve (Zulu); Bergeronnette du Cap (French); Kapstelze (German).

Recommended citation format: Loftie-Eaton M and Daniel KA 2023. Cape Wagtail Motacilla capensis. BDI Bird Feeder Project. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/23/cape-wagtail-motacilla-capensis/

Ascalaphus festivus

View the above photo record (by Richard Johnstone) in LacewingMAP here.

Ascalaphidae (Owlflies)

Ascalaphus festivus

 (Rambur, 1842)

Identification

Size: Medium sized (Wingspan 60mm)

Adults can be recognised by the striking chequered pattern of black/brown yellow and white along the abdomen.

The body is predominantly yellow with a few dark brown, parallel lines on the thorax. The wings are clear with a conspicuous amber-coloured leading edge.

As with other owlflies, they possess long, clubbed antennae.

The larvae closely resemble those of antlions (Myrmeleontidae).

Ascalaphus festivus – False Bay, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett
Ascalaphus festivus – False Bay, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Habitat

Ascalaphus festivus inhabits grasslands, especially in damp places such as moist or flooded grassland as well as marshes, floodplains and other wetlands fringes.

Habitat – Near Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Behaviour

Adults are recorded during Summer from October to April.

The winged adults are frequently flushed from long grass. They fly rapidly but will soon settle again on a grass stem in typical posture, wings pointing downwards and the abdomen held out at an angle to the grass stem.

They hawk smaller flying insects at dusk.

Eggs are laid in batches on leaves and stems, and the larvae are sedentary ambush-predators.

Ascalaphus festivus – Mooketsi, Limpopo
Photo by Bernardine Altenroxel

Status and Distribution

Ascalaphus festivus is Common and widespread throughout the Afrotropical Region – and beyond. In South Africa it is absent only from the Eastern and Western Cape provinces.

Distribution of Ascalaphus festivus. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, January 2023.

Taxonomy:

Order: Neuroptera Family: Ascalaphidae Subfamily: Ascalaphinae Tribe: Ascalaphini Genus: Ascalaphus Species: festivus

Further Resources

Virtual Museum (LacewingMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)

Acknowledgements:

The use of photographs by Alan Manson, Bernardine Altenroxel and Richard Johnstone is acknowledged. This species text has benefited enormously from comments made by Mervyn Mansell on records he has identified in LacewingMAP. We acknowledge his important contribution.

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Tippett RM 2022. Ascalaphus festivus. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/15/ascalaphus-festivus/

Ascalaphus festivus – Mkomazi River, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Alan Manson

Ascalaphus bilineatus

View the above photo record (by Ryan Tippett) in LacewingMAP here.

Ascalaphidae (Owlflies)

Ascalaphus bilineatus

 (Kolbe, 1897)

Identification

Size: Medium sized (Wingspan 60mm)

Adults can be recognised by the pair of broad, parallel, dark brown lines on the upper thorax – hence the name “bilineatus”.

The body is predominantly orange-yellow with a checquered pattern of brown yellow and white along the abdomen. The wings are clear with a conspicuous amber-coloured leading edge.

As with other owlflies, they possess long, clubbed antennae.

Ascalaphus bilineatus – Near Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Richard Johnstone
Ascalaphus bilineatus – Lake Mzingazi Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Richard Johnstone

Habitat

Ascalaphus bilineatus inhabits damp places such as moist or flooded grassland as well as marshes, floodplains and other wetlands fringes.

Habitat – Near Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Behaviour

Adults are recorded during Summer from October to April.

The winged adults are frequently flushed from long grass. They fly rapidly but will soon settle again on a grass stem in typical posture, wings pointing downwards and the abdomen held out at an angle to the grass stem.

Ascalaphus bilineatus – Lake Mposa Dam Wall, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Richard Johnstone

Eggs are laid in batches on blades of grass (about 30-35 per batch).

The larvae are sit-and-wait ambush predators and seldom move position. They take about a year to progress from egg stage to adult.

Status and Distribution

Ascalaphus bilineatus is common and widespread in the northern parts of South Africa, including Mpumalanga, KZN, North-West and Limpopo. Its range extends northwards to Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya. It has also been recorded from eSwatini (formerly Swaziland).

Distribution of Ascalaphus bilineatus. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, January 2023.

Taxonomy:

Order: Neuroptera Family: Ascalaphidae Subfamily: Ascalaphinae Tribe: Ascalaphini Genus: Ascalaphus Species: bilineatus

Further Resources

Virtual Museum (LacewingMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)

Acknowledgements:

The use of photographs by Richard Johnstone is acknowledged. This species text has benefited enormously from comments made by Mervyn Mansell on records he has identified in LacewingMAP. We acknowledge his important contribution.

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Tippett RM 2022. Ascalaphus bilineatus. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/12/ascalaphus-bilineatus/

Ascalaphus bilineatus – Lake Mzingazi Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Richard Johnstone

Eremoides bicristatus

View the above photo record (by Stephen Ball) in LacewingMAP here.

Ascalaphidae (Owlflies)

Eremoides bicristatus

 (Banks, 1924)

Identification

Size: Medium sized (Wingspan 60mm)

Males have very characteristic “epaulets or flanges” on the thorax – hence the name “bicristatus”, each ending in a small hook. The flanges are absent in females.

The body is predominantly yellow with some brown lines running lengthwise down the abdomen. The wings are clear with a conspicuous brown leading edge.

As with other owlflies, they possess long, clubbed antennae.

The larvae of this species are unknown.

Eremoides bicristatus (Male) – Near Beestekraal, North West Province
Photo by Evert Kleynhans
Eremoides bicristatus (Male) – Near Beestekraal, North West Province
Photo by Evert Kleynhans

Habitat

Eremoides bicristatus is a species of grasslands and grassy areas in woodland and savanna. It is often found in damp places near wetlands.

Habitat – Near Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Behaviour

Adults are frequently flushed from long grass. They fly rapidly but will soon settle again on a grass stem. They hawk smaller flying insects at dusk.

Eremoides bicristatus is sometimes attracted to light. Adults are recorded during Summer from September to March.

The larvae, like others in the genus, are thought to live on vegetation where they are ambush predators of other insects.

Eremoides bicristatus (Female) – Nylsvlei Nature Reserve, Limpopo
Photo by Jacobus Labuschagne

Status and Distribution

Eremoides bicristatus is fairly common and widespread in the northern parts of South Africa and is also known from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Distribution of Eremoides bicristatus. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, January 2023.

Taxonomy:

Order: Neuroptera Family: Ascalaphidae Subfamily: Ascalaphinae Tribe: Ascalaphini Genus: Eremoides Species: bicristatus

Eremoides bicristatus (Female) – Danielskuil, Northern Cape
Photo by Aletta Liebenberg

Further Resources

Virtual Museum (LacewingMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)

Acknowledgements:

The use of photographs by Aletta Liebenberg, Evert Kleynhans, Jacobus Labuschagne and Stephen Ball is acknowledged. This species text has benefited enormously from comments made by Mervyn Mansell on records he has identified in LacewingMAP. We acknowledge his important contribution.

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Tippett RM 2022. Eremoides bicristatus. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/09/eremoides-bicristatus/

Syngenes longicornis

View the above photo record (by Ryan Tippett) in LacewingMAP here.

Myrmeleontidae (Antlions)

Syngenes longicornis

(Rambur, 1842)

Identification

Size: Medium sized

Syngenes longicornis is an attractive species with a bold black and yellow abdomen and intricately patterned wings. The thorax and legs are covered in conspicuous bristle-like setae (hairs).

Larvae: The large larvae have a striking white colouration.

Syngenes longicornis – Eastern Cape
Photo by Marie Delport
Syngenes longicornis – Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Richard Johnstone

Habitat

Syngenes longicornis occupies sandy, well-wooded habitats including bushveld, Sandforest and dune forest along the East Coast of South Africa.

Habitat – Mlalazi Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Behaviour

Adults often form aggregations on the undersides of branches where they are well camouflaged against tree bark. They are occasionally attracted to lights and are active during late Summer from December to April.

The larvae live in coastal dune sand and are very active, but do not construct pits.

Syngenes sp. larvae – Selati Game Reserve, Limpopo
Photo by Ross Hawkins

Status and Distribution

Syngenes longicornis appears to be uncommon but is perhaps overlooked. This species is confined to the east coast of Southern Africa, extending from Wilderness in the south, northwards along the coastal plain to Mozambique.

Distribution of Syngenes longicornis. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, January 2022.

Taxonomy:

Order: Neuroptera Family: Myrmeleontidae  Subfamily: Myrmeleontinae Tribe: Acanthaclisini Genus: Syngenes Species: longicornis

Syngenes longicornis – Near Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Further Resources

Virtual Museum (LacewingMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)

Acknowledgements:

The use of photographs by Marie Delport, Richard Johnstone and Ross Hawkins is acknowledged. This species text has benefited enormously from comments made by Mervyn Mansell on records he has identified in LacewingMAP. We acknowledge his important contribution.

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Tippett RM 2022. Syngenes longicornis. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/03/syngenes-longicornis/

Syngenes longicornis – Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Photo by Richard Johnstone

Neuroleon chloranthe

View the above photo record (by Ryan Tippett) in LacewingMAP here.

Myrmeleontidae (Antlions)

Neuroleon chloranthe

(Banks, 1911)

Identification

Size: Small

Neuroleon chloranthe is characterised by its distinctive pale-spotted abdomen pattern. The wing markings are also a useful aid to identification.

Males have more elongate abdomens than the females.

This species is is similar to Neuroleon guttatus but lacks the obvious black spots in the forewings.

Neuroleon chloranthe – Bushmanskloof, Western Cape
Photo by Zenobia van Dyk
Neuroleon chloranthe – Danielskuil, Northern Cape
Photo by Aletta Liebenberg
Neuroleon chloranthe – Heidelberg, Gauteng
Photo by Johan Heyns

Habitat

Neuroleon chloranthe occupies a range of habitat types including savanna, fynbos and Karoo scrub.

Behaviour

Adults are readily attracted to light.

The larvae live concealed on dusty rock ledges in small caves and under rock overhangs. They are sit and wait hunters and do not actively seek out their prey.

Adults are most active during the warmer months from September to April but may be active all year in hotter areas.

Neuroleon chloranthe – Near Carnarvon, Northern Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Status and Distribution

Neuroleon chloranthe is a fairly common and widespread species, occurring over most of South Africa and all neighbouring countries.

Distribution of Neuroleon chloranthe. Taken from the LacewingMAP database, December 2022.

Taxonomy

Order: Neuroptera Family: Myrmeleontidae Subfamily: Nemoleontinae Tribe: Nemoleontini (Pit-trapping Antlions) Genus: Neuroleon Species: chloranthe

Neuroleon chloranthe – Near Carnarvon, Northern Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Further Resources

Virtual Museum (LacewingMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)

Neuroleon chloranthe – Near Carnarvon, Northern Cape
Photo by Ryan Tippett

Acknowledgements:

The use of photographs by Aletta Liebenberg, Johan Heyns and Zenobia van Dyk is acknowledged. This species text has benefited enormously from comments made by Mervyn Mansell on records he has identified in LacewingMAP. We acknowledge his important contribution.

Recommended citation format for this species text:

Tippett RM 2022. Neuroleon chloranthe. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2022/12/16/neuroleon-chloranthe/

Neuroleon chloranthe – Bushmanskloof, Western Cape
Photo by Zenobia van Dyk