In April 2022, I led the first biological expedition focusing on dung beetles at Mount Mabu in the Zambézia Province of Mozambique. The expedition team was composed of Dr Werner Strümpher (Ditsong Museum of Natural History), Mr Isildo Nganhane (Universidade Lúrio, Mozambique) and I (PI of the project – Fig. 1). Werner and I flew from South Africa to Nampula (northern Mozambique), and Isildo took a bus from Maputo to Nampula. We hired a company that drove us from Nampula to the village of Tacuane (Zambézia Province, Mozambique). There is no road from Tacuane to Mount Mabu, thus, we hired local porters to carry our camping/kitchen gear and fieldwork equipment (Fig. 2). We took eight hours of hiking from Tacuane to the camping site inside of Mabu Forest.
Tiger Flies (Fig. 1), scientifically called Coenosia are small inconspicuous grey flies. They belong to a family of flies called the Muscidae, generally referred to as “Houseflies” but they are not your stereotypical pesky housefly (Fig. 2) and are not likely to come into your house to irritate you like their cousins. You see, these little flies are actually fierce predators and typically hunt all kinds of insects.
Almost all terrestrial animals have some type of claw. Vertebrates like mammals, reptiles and birds have claws made from a protein called keratin, while invertebrates for example insects, spiders and mites have claw-like structures made from a combination of chitin, calcium carbonate and sclerotin. A typical claw is a curved, strong, often hard appendage at the end of a limb. Nails in humans are also made of keratin, but don’t end in a sharp or curved point. Claws have various functions such as walking, climbing, digging, catching and self-defense. Anyone who owned a cat can confirm their claws are very efficient for defense!
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936–2018) in front of her banishment house in Brandfort’s Majwemasweu township, c. late 1970s. (Photo: South African History Online)
The Soweto uprisings of 16 June 1976 have become firmly entrenched in South African popular memory. However, the school boycotts that happened in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) in the aftermath of the Soweto unrest are neither well-known nor well-documented. This article briefly discusses the Mangaung riots of 1976, 1977 and 1980. In addition, the article provides contextual historical information to explain the main causes of the unrest.
The tail and sting of a South African burrowing scorpion (Scorpionidae: Opistophthalmus sp.) © Jan A. Neethling 2012
Scorpions have been around for more than 420 million years. Originally aquatic, they were some of the first creatures to venture onto land and have since taken up a completely terrestrial lifestyle. They occur on every continent except Antarctica, and are most prevalent in arid regions, though many species do occur in the tropics. They are amongst the most recognizable arachnids and are characterized by an elongate body, pincer-like grasping appendages (called pedipalps), four pairs of walking legs and a tail that terminates in a sting (telson).