The Kruger National Park is full of life, but these are some insects you might see on your safari.
Golden Orb Web Spider
A part of the Nephila family of arachnids is the banded legged nephilia, commonly known as the golden orb spider. Around the world, there are several nephila species, also referred to as golden orb-weavers, giant wood spiders, or banana spiders.
The name of the genus, loosely translated from Ancient Greek, means “fond of spinning,” a tribute to the massive webs that weave the golden orbs. The web of the golden orb has been seen originating at the top of a 6-meter tree and reaching as much as 2 meters across. While most other spider webs are short-lived, they will survive for years with these amazing structures.
Due to the colour of its silk, the golden orb spider is so called. It is assumed that this colour will serve two purposes; it will attract bees driven to the bright yellow in the sunshine, while it will be camouflaged into the foliage in darkness, thereby ensnaring other insects.
Honeybees are flying insects, and near cousins of wasps and ants. Except for Antarctica, they are present on every continent on earth.
Bees of all kind live on nectar and pollen Without bees, pollination will be challenging and time-consuming – one third of the human food supply is believed to be dependent on insect pollination. They use the gathered nectar to generate our favourite sweet treat – honey! Their bodies break down the nectar’s complex sucrose into two basic sugars, fructose, and glucose, while transferring the nectar back to the hive.
We get 3 different types of Honeybees in a hive:
The most familiar-looking member of the honeybee hive is the worker bees, as they make up about 99 percent of the population for each colony.
Drones are called male bees. Their role is to mate in other hives with the queens. They usually die instantly after they have mated.
Each hive has one queen bee – she’s the mother of all the other bees. She is the colony’s only fertile member, and during spring and summer she lays around 1,500 eggs a day.
Common Rain Spider
This is one of the most common spiders with a widespread over South Africa. You can find these spiders in Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, Eastern Cape, and the Western Cape. It averages in body length at about 25 mm and can have a leg span of about 110 mm. You will usually find them balled up in the corner of a ceiling after rain.
The female builds a circular egg sac about 60–100 mm in size made of silk after mating in the early summer, with twigs and leaves woven into it. From around November through April, these egg sacs are widely seen. The female builds the sac over 3-5 hours, then vigorously protects it until around three weeks later, the spiderlings, which hatch within the protected sac, chew their way out. During their two-year life, females can create about three of these egg sacs.
Because of their conspicuous front legs that resemble a human in prayer, praying mantis are called thus. Praying mantis have long necks and triangular heads capable of turning 180 degrees, in addition to these unusual legs. The bug is well camouflaged while hunting, usually green or brown.
Mantises exhibit rocking behaviour, like stick insects, in which the insect does rhythmic, repeated side-to-side motions. If it strays close enough, most mantises stalk appealing prey, and may go further once they are very hungry. With their spiked raptorial forelegs, once within sight, mantises strike easily to grasp prey.
Although some of Africa’s insects are potentially dangerous, there is no need to be scared. If you do not aggravate them, they will not do you any harm.