A new species of hunter-fly (genus Coenosia) has been described from Mariepskop, Mpumalanga by Burgert Muller of the Terrestrial Invertebrates department.
The little fly measures just under 5 mm and has striking whip-like bristles and hairs on its body, which is reflected in its species name C. flagelliseta (Latin flagellum (whip) and seta (bristle)).
Modern skeletal reference collections are essential tools to help with identifying fossil bones to family and species. Recently the Florisbad Quaternary Research Station (FQRS) entered into a partnership with the Zoology department of the McGregor Museum to collect and exchange material for our modern reference collections. This process meant clearing out material collected over many years by staff of the McGregor museum, including road-kills and specimens brought in by the general public. Material which has been housed in their freezers, but which is no longer appropriate for their own collections.
Dawie de Swardt, National Museum ornithologist conducted fieldwork at the farm Armika, along the Vetrivier in the Wesselsbron area. Dawie has been visiting this site since 2008 for bird ringing and specimen collection.
Dr Jennifer Botha-Brink from the Karoo Palaeontology Department attended the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Brisbane, Australia in October this year. Dr Botha-Brink presented her research as a poster on Early Jurassic dinosaur life histories from the Elliot Formation, Karoo Basin of South Africa.
In a recently published paper by Ermilov et al in Systematic and Applied Acarology, an interesting morphological difference was discovered in the oribatid mite species, Coetzeella navalensis, which lives inside termite nests. Observations showed that in some individuals of this mite the anterior side of the prodorsum (head) is flat and smooth while other individuals have movable blades forming a ‘tube’. Further studies are needed to confirm the mechanism and reason of this phenomenon and if it relates to living with termites.