Spot the beast

Spot the beast 26

We are very pleased to be back in our marvelous garden in Harare, always full of interesting findings.

Because of the prevailing cold weather combined with the very good rains Zimbabwe had, most garden creatures are still keeping a low profile. However, as usual, my wife called me the other day to see what she had found. This is what she spotted:

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I know, it is a very easy one! However, when you look at the young shoots of the jacaranda where my wife found it, it would have been almost impossible for you to see it as it was for me in real life! This is the picture and I assure you that the chameleon is there somewhere!

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Only the eyes reveal it below!

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Finally, a proper picture of the beast in question. I really like its rolled up tail!

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Spot the beast 22

As usual, during a walk we spotted this sight that offers a hidden beast that I thought I would put to you to discover. See if you can see it.

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Being helpful, I can tell you two things: (i) I really liked the morning dew drops on the web and (ii) do not jump to conclusions too fast…

Here it is.






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The “spider” you spotted on the right of the picture was either a dead one or an old exoskeleton of the real one that was located deep inside the web tunnel!

Spot the beast 19

Back to Africa for a while while I develop another story from “Out of Africa”. Poor internet connection and farm work… are attempting against my productivity.

This is not a difficult “Spot the Beast” but I thought it is a nice situation to challenge your power of observation. I would be worried if you cannot find it within the first 10 seconds…

Here it is:







I hope you agree with me that she was not only beautiful but well placed to see what was happening!


A few more pictures of her:



Spot the beast 16

The rain offers numerous blogging opportunities on the “spot the beast department”! Here is another one for you to find (Only look at the next picture below if you cannot find it!)

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DSCN9912 12.17.44 PM copyIt was difficult but it was spot on in the center of the picture! It had a sad expression also!

It is the flap-necked chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis) the most common sub-Saharan chameleon.

Of least concern according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, I have the impression that their numbers are declining, at least in urban Harare. Some attributed this to the proliferation of security electric fences that, apparently, can kill them.

The flap-necked chameleon lays 10-40 eggs in a hole dug in soil. The latter take an amazing 10–12 months to hatch! A very long time if we compare it with other animals such as the Nile crocodile that takes 90 days! To watch the hatching of the perfectly formed and miniature young is simply amazing.

Luckily, this rainy season we have found a few so the situation may not be as bad or the frequent electricity cuts had yielded some benefits!

Spot the beast 13

Following on the subject of the earlier post, here you have another cryptic creature for you to find:


It is hard but possible… Below I show it to you.




The fact that its wings were in tatters adds to its camouflage. For obvious reasons it did not open its wings very often so it was tricky to get a good shot. However, this is what I could do:


I believe it to be a Clouded mother-of-pearl (Protogoniomorpha anacardi nebulosa).

After a few attempts and with patience I caught it and, after having it inside the house for a while, eventually it landed on a towel and it settled down. With the patience I do not have and moving very slowly, I managed to get a better picture with a ruler! Wingspan about 7 cm.


It disappeared soon after.




Spot the beast 12

I was not planning to blog today, Sunday. However, there are no rest days for Nature so I found this creature in the garden and took a picture for you to find it. This time it is not very difficult…

scn9945-copy-2I am sure that you spotted it but, just in case I give you a close-up.

scn9948-copyIt is (I believe) a Red Tail moth (Hypopyra capensis), a common moth of Southern Africa that has a cryptic upperside that blends very well with dead leaves this time of the year.

Its under-wings and abdomen, however, are bright orange-red hence its common name.


As I try not to handle them, I thought I would not able to show you its underside as it flew away. Luckily it decided to land on the floor of the patio for a while where I could photograph it under direct sunshine and the underside colour can be seen, even from above!


The larvae of this beautiful large moth of about 70mm wingspan feed on false-thorn (Albizia) and its range goes up to equatorial Africa.[1]


[1] Picker, M., Griffiths, C., and Weaving, A. (2004). Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. Struik Nature. pp366.