22 October, 2009

Tiny tigers, burning bright

(with apologies to William Blake's poem ...)

I saw a batch of minute eggs on my little L’Aimant rose. So I asked the Ungardener to take some of his superB Super macro photos. Imagine our wonder when we saw, not just the bugs newly hatched. But the unborn bugs waiting in their transparent eggshells. Now it is a few days later and they have all dispersed. Just a little bunch of empty shells hanging on the rose stem.

The tattooed carrot, is the tip of the Ungardener's finger, for scale

Our insect book, Field guide to insects of South Africa, by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, Alan Weaving. New edition 2004. Published by Struik, identifies this as Graptocoris aulicus. “Metallic black-green head and body markings” you know the greenish cast liquorice has? Distribution in the book says sub-tropical part of South Africa, and on the East, summer rainfall side. Global warming starting to bite here too. These are tigers to the leopards down there in ladybird world.

They eat Malvaceae, the Hibiscus family (Abutilon and Anisodontea are South Africans in our garden, but they would prefer North American subtropical Malvastrum or Malviscus).My beloved plant book is The South African What flower is that? by Kristo Pienaar. 1984. Struik. Wild plants which seed themselves, and get gently weeded out, as the plants are straggly, the flowers insignificant. But now I know someone wants to eat them, I will leave a few more.


  1. WoW! What a moment you caught!Amazing. And the rose is very lovely, such a delicate color!

  2. Fabulous photos of the insects in the eggs, and those just hatched. They are so clear.

  3. Tatyana - the rose has the prettiest edged petals in my garden.
    "Guardian" Angel - with the naked eye I saw bugs. On the camera tiger stripes. And on the computer screen - wow!

  4. Great pics of the insects and eggs. I always love finding little surprises like that in my garden.

  5. bradzio - remember when we didn't have digital cameras, and macro. I do, that is why we choose this camera.


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

Midnight in Darkest Africa

Midnight in Darkest Africa
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