04 September 2010

Letting The Monkey Out Of The Sleeve

I'm sure all of you know by now that I frequently check up on my cameras at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve managed by the City of Cape Town.

Today I'm going to show what I usually take with me when I go check on the cameras. Because it is close by and a small reserve I prefer to pack light. I used to be able to fit everything into the camera bag and my pants' pockets, but recently I upgraded to a two-bag-system.

The usual collection of items - sometime I also take a water bottle and something to eat along

I write the GPS point and date of each new location into the notebook. I only carry fresh batteries with me when I think some cameras might be getting flat.

Last week was a bright and sunny day and all the flowers were open. Providing a feast for a multitude of insects. I came across this lovely Monkey Beetle. These beetles are important pollinators in the Fynbos landscape and this one was hard at work.

Glittering Monkey Beetle (Glinsterende Aapkewer/Bobejaankewer - Anisonyx ditus) visiting a flower

I looked in my insect book and I'm pretty sure it is a Glittering Monkey Beetle. In real life the beetle glitters even brighter and the colour looks almost metallic and solid, but the camera doesn't capture their full splendour.

The hair help to transfer the pollen from plant to plant

For those of you wondering, there wasn't much action on the cameras last week, so this post will have to do :)

Showing his face at last


  1. Excellent shots and beetle. Looks like that may be a non-native wild Euro radish it's destroying, so maybe you've found an effective bio-control there too!

  2. O dear, thanks for pointing that out (again).

    I'm terrible with plant names and identifying them. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I won't be surprised if many of the plants in the photos I post are of non-native species. Especially because non-native species often grow in disturbed areas, like next to a dirt road, where I walk by and see them easily.

    It seems like I'll have to invest in a field guide for plants to save some face. There is a good one I saw covering some of the most common species in South Africa :)

    If I remember correctly the monkey beetles eat the plant/pollen, but some plants have ways of using this behavior to benefit by being pollinated in the process.

  3. Don't even worry about Henry - I take lots of photos of non-natives too. Just cause they're non-native doesn't mean they're non-interesting. Besides - we have those same non-native wild radishes growing all over the place here in California as well.

  4. That is very true. For instance I read up a bit about the lupins you pointed out the other day and stumbled upon some interesting things. For instance the lupins where introduced as a forage crop into the Western Cape. (I always find it interesting to find out how/why a non-native species got introduced in the first place.)