Have you ever wondered what kind of insects you can encounter on a safari in Africa? If you’re like me, you probably have a love-hate relationship with these creepy crawlers. Some of them are fascinating, beautiful, and beneficial, while others are annoying, scary, or even dangerous. But they all have one thing in common: they are part of the amazing diversity of life that makes Africa so special.
In this blog post, I want to share with you some of the most interesting insects I’ve seen during my Kosher Safari trips. These are not your typical bugs that you can find in your backyard or garden. These are exotic, colorful, and sometimes bizarre creatures that will make you appreciate the wonders of nature.
Let’s start with one of my favorites: the Kirby’s dropwing. This is a type of dragonfly that has a striking red and black coloration and long slender wings. It is very common in Africa and can be seen near water sources, such as rivers, lakes, or ponds. It is a very agile flyer and can hover, dart, and chase other insects in the air. It is also very territorial and will defend its perch from intruders. I love watching these beautiful insects as they sparkle in the sunlight and add a splash of color to the landscape.
Another insect that caught my eye was the **spiny orb weaver**. This is a type of spider that builds large circular webs with a distinctive zigzag pattern in the center. The spider itself is quite small, but it has a round abdomen covered with spines that give it a spiky appearance. The spines are not venomous, but they may deter predators from attacking the spider. The spider can also vary its color depending on its surroundings, ranging from white to yellow to orange. I was amazed by the intricate design of its web and the clever camouflage of its body.
One insect that made me laugh was the smurf bug. This is a type of shield bug that has a bright blue color and black spots on its back. It looks like a tiny smurf wearing a polka dot dress. It feeds on plant sap and can emit a foul-smelling liquid when disturbed. It is not harmful to humans, but it can be a pest to some crops. I found it amusing to see such a cute and colorful bug among the green vegetation.
A close relative of the smurf bug is the rainbow shield bug. This is another type of shield bug that has an iridescent metallic color that changes depending on the angle of light. It can display shades of green, blue, purple, or red on its back. It also feeds on plant sap and can produce a bad odor when threatened. It is more common in tropical regions of Africa and can be seen in groups on trees or shrubs. I was mesmerized by the rainbow effect of its shell and how it contrasted with the natural environment.
Another insect that impressed me with its color was the rainbow milkweed locust. This is a type of grasshopper that has a vivid red, yellow, and black pattern on its body and wings. It feeds on milkweed plants, which contain toxic compounds that make it unpalatable to most predators. The bright coloration serves as a warning sign to potential enemies that it is poisonous. It can also make a loud snapping sound by rubbing its hind legs against its wings. It is one of the largest grasshoppers in Africa and can grow up to 8 cm (3 in) long. I was stunned by the size and beauty of this insect and how it stood out among the grasses.
A similar insect that also caught my attention was the wasp spider. This is another type of spider that mimics the appearance of a wasp to avoid predation. It has a yellow and black striped abdomen and long black legs. It builds orb webs with a thick white band in the center that may attract prey or deter predators. The female spider is much larger than the male and can sometimes eat him after mating. It is widespread in Africa and Europe and can be found in open habitats, such as grasslands or fields. I was intrigued by the clever mimicry of this spider and how it used its web as a trap and a shield.
Another insect that fascinated me with its mimicry was the flower beetle. This is a type of scarab beetle that resembles a flower in shape and color. It has a round body with a metallic green or blue hue and yellow or orange spots. It feeds on nectar and pollen and can be found on various flowers, especially in the rainy season. It is very popular among collectors and enthusiasts because of its attractive appearance. It is one of the smallest beetles in Africa and measures less than 1.2 cm (0.5 in) long. I was charmed by the delicate and shiny look of this beetle and how it blended in with the flowers.
The last insect I want to mention is the giant African fruit beetle. This is a type of scarab beetle that is much larger and heavier than the flower beetle. It has a black body with a metallic green or blue sheen and white spots. It feeds on fruits and sap and can be found in dense tropical forests. It is one of the largest beetles in the world and can reach up to 8 cm (3.15 in) long and 30 g (1 oz) in weight. The male has a long horn on its head that it uses for fighting with other males or digging into fruits. I was amazed by the size and strength of this beetle and how it contrasted with the flower beetle.
These are just some of the many interesting insects I’ve seen on my Kosher Safari trips. There are so many more to discover and learn about, each with its own unique features and behaviors. Insects are an essential part of the African ecosystem and deserve our respect and admiration. Next time you go on a safari, don’t forget to look for these amazing creatures and appreciate their beauty and diversity.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. And if you want to join me on a Kosher Safari adventure.