When one thinks of brooding mothers, insects very rarely spring to mind. In most cases, eggs are laid and left to the mercy of nature. That is not the case with wingless female Giant cockroaches (Aptera fusca), which protect their young for a considerable time after they hatch. They mean serious business, when bothered they lean on their forelegs and point their abdomen upwards in a defensive stance, and squeek voilently for added affect! Very sweet and misunderstood creatures, our native cockroaches.
Next we have an incredible specimen. Is it a butterfly? Is it a dragonfly? No, its an adult Spotted Veld Antlion, from the family Myrmeleontidae (probably Palpares speciosus). These stunning creatures are regularly encountered when walking through mountainous fybos in the day, and flap off like drunk butterflies. Very succesful predators throuhout their life stages.
Check the legs on this beauty, the Long Legged Darkling Beetle (Stenocara longipes). A member of the Tok Tokkie family, Tenebrionidae, when these guys run they run fast!
The next photo underlies a very prolific and important service ants serve in the nutrient poor fynbos systems. The dark circle in the top centre of the picture is the entrance to the nest, and for the 5 minutes I knelt and watched these industrious animals, they carried countless seeds into their home, while simultaneously carrying countless husks and debris out. Ants are meticulous when it comes to nest cleanliness, and create chambers inside or areas outside, named middens, where they dump their waste. Many, many plants have coevolved with ants to produce fatty bodies on the outside of their seeds, called elaisomes, a nutritous reward which the ant grips onto and drags home. Once the elaisome has been chewed off, the ants push the large inedible seed to one of these middens. The seeds find themselves in favourable microsites, buried underground in middens safe from fire and predators, or in nutrient rich dump sites! The dispersal syndrome ins known as Myrmecochory, and occurs worldwide. Look at the number and variety of seedlings germinating from that midden!
Lastly, check the colours on this young milkweed locust! Beautiful!