Being chased by thunder storms
This last week has been extremely wet. We had a brief break in the clouds today so the girls and I jumped in the bakkie and went to Umgeni Valley again. There is a long walk along the lip of the valley ridge that we took. Everyone dashed ahead and Tracey and I kept up the rear, helping little Amelie along as she didn’t like the tickly grass. After a few hundred meters Tracey noticed a butterfly sitting on a rock, she called me over and it was a beautiful, fresh female Durbania amakoza natalensis or Natal Rocksitter. These Liptenid butterflies have always fascinated me. The larvae live off either the lichen on rocks or the algae around the lichen. The jury is still out on this one but I have collected frass of the larvae and had a friend photograph it under a microscope. The pictures are awaiting Alan Heath and co’s visit in the new year (from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard).
Drabania amakosa natalensis female
A little later we came across an area where there were masses of little Lyceanid butterflies drinking at mud puddles. They were mainly Zezeeria knysna and Azanus natalensis and I had a lot of fun chasing them down to try to photograph them.
Azanus natalensis female
Azanus natalensis male
The valley was full of interesting flowers as well. The agapanthus are not up yet but the first Brunsvigia radulosa were up showing their beautiful pink heads above the grass. The Dianthus zeyheri with their frilly edged petals were out alongside the delicate Valeriana capensis and Berkheya’s.
- Brunsvigia radulosa
- Scabiosa columbaria
- Berkheya species
Later in the afternoon, after the rain had stopped I found a pair of Acraea horta (garden acraea) mating.
Acraea horta pair in copulla