|Thoracistus sp., male in mid-winter, calling at dusk from a marsh edge|
Thoracistus is a genus of decticine or shield-backed katydid in the family Tettigoniidae.The mostly carnivorous genus is endemic to South Africa.
Insects in the family Tettigoniidae are commonly called katydids, or bush crickets. They have previously been known as long-horned grasshoppers. More than 6,400 species are known. Part of the suborder Ensifera, the Tettigoniidae are the only extant (living) family in the superfamily Tettigonioidea.
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.
This genus of decticine is extreme in the extent of its inflated pronotum. The pronotum completely conceals the tiny wings, which are used for stridulation only.The pronotum functions as a resonating chamber, to amplify the singing of the male. As in all decticines a "free plantula" is found at the base of the tarsus of the jumping leg. This pair of elongate pads may aid jumping in ground biomes.
They are bush or ground-dwelling insects, but unlike the majority of decticines, occur in mesic rather than xeric habitats. They hide by day in thickets, and become active at dusk when they ascend plants to feed on smaller insects.After dark males call to the females, which are silent. The sound of a male chorus can carry some distance. The eggs hatch from late spring to early summer. They reach adulthood from late summer to fall.
Thoracistus arboreus, the Arboreal Seedpod Shieldback is a species of katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. The species is endemic to Clarens, South Africa.
Thoracistus peringueyi, the Peringuey's seedpod shieldback, is a species of katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. The species is endemic to South Africa, and is listed as critically endangered. It is only known from a male and female specimen that were collected prior to 1879 from a location in Lydenburg district.
Galagos, also known as bush babies, or nagapies, are small nocturnal primates native to continental Africa, and make up the family Galagidae. They are sometimes included as a subfamily within the Lorisidae or Loridae.
The cicadas are a superfamily, the Cicadoidea, of insects in the order Hemiptera. They are in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha, along with smaller jumping bugs such as leafhoppers and froghoppers. The superfamily is divided into two families, Tettigarctidae, with two species in Australia, and Cicadidae, with more than 3,000 species described from around the world; many species remain undescribed.
The whinchat is a small migratory passerine bird breeding in Europe and western Asia and wintering in central Africa. At one time considered to be in the thrush family, Turdidae, it is now placed in the Old World flycatcher family, Muscicapidae. Both sexes have a strong supercilium, brownish upper parts mottled darker, a pale throat and breast, a pale buff to whitish belly, and a blackish tail with white bases to the outer tail feathers, but in the breeding season, the male has an orange-buff throat and breast.
The desert wheatear is a wheatear, a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher (Muscicapidae). It is a migratory insectivorous species, 14.5 to 15 cm in length. Both western and eastern forms of the desert wheatear are rare vagrants to western Europe. The western desert wheatear breeds in the Sahara and the northern Arabian peninsula. The eastern race is found in the semi-deserts of central Asia and in winter in Pakistan and northeast Africa.
The lesser grey shrike is a member of the shrike family Laniidae. It breeds in South and Central Europe and western Asia in the summer and migrates to winter quarters in southern Africa in the early autumn, returning in spring. It is a scarce vagrant to western Europe, including Great Britain, usually as a spring or autumn erratic.
Elephant shrews, also called jumping shrews or sengis, are small insectivorous mammals native to Africa, belonging to the family Macroscelididae, in the order Macroscelidea. Their traditional common English name "elephant shrew" comes from a perceived resemblance between their long noses and the trunk of an elephant, and their superficial similarity with shrews in the order Eulipotyphla. However, phylogenetic analysis revealed that elephant shrews are not classified with true shrews, but are in fact more closely related to elephants than shrews. In 1997 the biologist Jonathan Kingdon proposed that they instead be called "sengis", a term derived from the Bantu languages of Africa, and in 1998 they were classified into the new clade Afrotheria.
The woodlark or wood lark is the only extant species in the lark genus Lullula. It is found across most of Europe, the Middle East, western Asia and the mountains of north Africa. It is mainly resident (non-migratory) in the west of its range, but eastern populations of this passerine bird are more migratory, moving further south in winter.
Grasshoppers are a group of insects belonging to the suborder Caelifera. They are among what is probably the most ancient living group of chewing herbivorous insects, dating back to the early Triassic around 250 million years ago.
The Cape sparrow, or mossie, is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae found in southern Africa. A medium-sized sparrow at 14–16 centimetres (5.5–6.3 in), it has distinctive plumage, including large pale head stripes in both sexes. Its plumage is mostly grey, brown, and chestnut, and the male has some bold black and white markings on its head and neck. The species inhabits semi-arid savannah, cultivated areas, and towns, and ranges from the central coast of Angola to eastern South Africa and Swaziland. Three subspecies are distinguished in different parts of its range.
The notum is the dorsal portion of an insect's thoracic segment, or the dorsal surface of the body of nudibranch gastropods. The word "notum" is always applied to dorsal structures; in other words structures that are part of the back of an animal, as opposed to being part of the animal's ventral surface, or underside.
Cyrba is a genus of spiders in the family Salticidae.
The pennant-winged nightjar is a species of nightjar that occurs from Nigeria to northern South Africa. It is an intra-African migrant and displays remarkable sexual dimorphism in the breeding season.
Thopha saccata, commonly known as the double drummer, is the largest Australian species of cicada and reputedly the loudest insect in the world. Documented by the Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius in 1803, it was the first described and named cicada native to Australia. Its common name comes from the large dark red-brown sac-like pockets that the adult male has on each side of its abdomen—the "double drums"—that are used to amplify the sound it produces.
Crickets, of the family Gryllidae, are insects related to bush crickets, and, more distantly, to grasshoppers. The Gryllidae have mainly cylindrical bodies, round heads, and long antennae. Behind the head is a smooth, robust pronotum. The abdomen ends in a pair of long cerci (spikes); females have a long, cylindrical ovipositor. The hind legs have enlarged femora (thighs), providing power for jumping. The front wings are adapted as tough, leathery elytra, and some crickets chirp by rubbing parts of these together. The hind wings are membranous and folded when not in use for flight; many species, however, are flightless. The largest members of the family are the bull crickets, Brachytrupes, which are up to 5 cm (2 in) long.
The bark mantises and ground mantises are praying mantises of the family Tarachodidae that are native to the Afrotropics. They are generally light brown but more silvery on the wings. The wings are attractively reticulated, and the veins may be mottled dark and pale. The head is wider than the pronotum, which is rounded anteriorly, and doesn't overlap with the rear of the head. The pronotum is depressed, with its sides more or less parallel, and only a weak supra-coxal bulge is present. The anterior tibia are flattened and greatly expanded longitudinally, and the tibial claw does not fit into a pit between the 1st and 2nd external spines of the anterior femora, as in a few mantis groups.
Lestes dryas is a species of damselfly in the family Lestidae, the spreadwings. Its common names include emerald spreadwing, scarce emerald damselfly and robust spreadwing. An alternate name in Ireland is the turlough spreadwing.
Sinodendron rugosum is a species of the family Lucanidae, the stag beetles. It is commonly referred to as the rugose stag beetle, and is the only known member of the genus Sinodendron to occur in western North America.
Saltoblattella montistabularis is a species of jumping cockroach known only from Table Mountain near Cape Town, South Africa. Both the species and genus were newly described in 2009. Researchers nicknamed the species leaproach. Its jumping mechanism is similar in anatomical features and in performance to grasshoppers with which it shares its habitat. Like grasshoppers, it is able to jump between grass and sedge stems. Its ability to jump is unique among the approximately 4,000 known species of cockroaches.
The Pneumoridae are a family of nocturnal short-horned grasshoppers in the order Orthoptera, commonly known as the bladder grasshoppers. Their centre of diversity is in southern Africa, but one species occurs as far north as South Sudan. Most adult males acquire an inflated abdomen, a specialization for amplified sound production, which is likely its primary function. Most genera display striking sexual dimorphism, and several species exhibit a dual male phenotype.