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2015-10-31 Megan Loftie-Eaton 
2015 Spring LepiBASH Report! 

For the 2015 Spring LepiBASH, 17 to 25 October, 93 observers participated and we received a total of 1883 records!!

-- 965 butterfly records

-- 918 moth records

Of these 1883 records 1273 have been identified already! Well done to our super LepiMAP ID Panel! The 1273 identified records consist of 166 taxa of Lepidoptera.

We received records from 8 African countries: Mozambique, Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and South Africa. The country for which we received the most records outside of South Africa was Tanzania (302 records).

For South Africa, we received records from all 9 provinces! We received the most records for KwaZulu-Natal (455), followed by the Northern Cape (324), and in third place we have Limpopo Province (184). We received the fewest records from Mpumalanga Province (3).

The top ten LepiMAPpers for the Spring LepiBASH are:

1. Martin Grimm (309)

2. Vaughan Jessnitz (278)

3. Altha Liebenberg (142)

4. Johan Heyns (83)

5. Luelle Watts (67)

6. Bernardine Altenroxel (65)

7. Dave Rimmer (63)

8. Quartus Grobler (61)

9. Richard Johnstone (59)

10. Alicia Culverwell (50)

Well done everyone!!! You are super LepiMAPpers!

Thank you to everyone that participated in the 2015 Spring LepiBASH! You are AWESOME!


2015-09-28 Megan Lategan 
Drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) 

Mad Mammal Monday!

The drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) is one of the most endangered of all African primates. It is a large short-tailed forest baboon, which displays pronounced sexual dimorphism. The males can grow up to twice the size of females!

Drills are active during the day and occur in small troops of around 20 individuals, usually composed of a single dominant male, related females and their offspring. In times of food abundance, these small groups may congregate, forming large groups of over 100 individuals.

Vocal communication is very important for troop cohesion in the dense forests that they inhabit; two distinct 'grunt' calls have been identified and these may be important in keeping contact between group members.

A female will usually give birth to a single infant; whilst daughters remain in their natal group, males will disperse, once they have reached maturity, to join a new troop.

Drills mainly forage on the ground or in the lower levels of the trees, and are generally fruit eaters, although they will also take a range of plants, seeds and insects.

This species has an extremely restricted range; the mainland subspecies is known only from the Cross River in Nigeria to the Sanaga River in Cameroon. The Bioko drill is found on the southern tip of the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea.

Please submit your mammal photos to our Virtual Museum and help us build 21st century distribution maps for African mammals! Visit and register:
~Megan Lategan



2014-11-30 Megan Loftie-Eaton 

Happy SCALY SUNDAY!! Most people fear snakes, but it is important to remember that snakes are a key component of natural ecosystems. Common in many types of habitat, they affect the "balance of nature" as both predators and prey. From an ecological point of view, snakes help to control rodent populations. Snakes and their eggs are in turn eaten by fish, amphibians, other snakes, birds and predatory mammals. Snakes are an important part of the food web. We must help to protect them rather than harm them. The best policy when it comes to snakes is to just leave them alone and in peace. They are not out to get you!

“In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”

The species in the spotlight today is the Mole Snake (Pseudaspis cana) - this beautiful snake has a widespread distribution throughout southern Africa and occurs in nearly every habitat, although its preferred habitat is grassland. The photo shown here, taken in Limpopo Province, is from the ReptileMAP database (view here: ). Mole Snakes prey on golden moles (hence the name), rats, mice and gerbils. For this reason, they are considered useful for the natural control of problem rodents. Juveniles, however, are largely restricted to preying on lizards.

Mole Snakes are uniform brown, grey or black in colour (juveniles have zigzag or mottled markings) and they have round pupils. They can grow to an average length of 1.4 m but may reach 2 m in length, particularly in the Cape. The Mole Snake gives birth to live young, between 25 and 50 young, in late summer. This species of snake is are non-venomous and not dangerous to man but they can inflict a painful bite, so it's best to just leave them be.


2014-10-31 Megan Loftie-Eaton 
FROG FRIDAY is here! 

Hooray! It's Friday! And that means it's time for FROG FRIDAY :) -- this awesome frog is a Yellow-spotted Tree Frog (Leptopelis flavomaculatus), this frog is quite widespread, ranging across the lowlands of eastern and southern Africa, from Mozambique north of the Save River and eastern Zimbabwe, north through Malawi and southern and eastern Tanzania, as far as the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest in coastal Kenya. It also occurs on the island of Zanzibar (Tanzania).

It lives in lowland and montane evergreen forest and especially in dry forest, in both pristine and secondary habitats, often along streams. Males call from leaves of branches, often at 3-4 m above the ground, and also from the mouth of burrows in the ground. It does not survive in open habitats outside forest, but it does occur in small forest remnants. If it is similar to most other members of its genus, it generally lays its eggs in a nest near water, into which the larvae emerge and develop. An egg mass has been observed in the root mass of floating vegetation in a permanent forest pond.

Reference: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2013. Leptopelis flavomaculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. .


2014-10-30 Les Underhill 
Six million records in the SABAP2 database 

Six Million SABAP2 records

Six million records in the SABAP2 database. Team SABAP2, you have got from five million to six million in two days less than a year. The previous millions have all taken about 13 months (apart from the first, which took two years!).

We are steadily building not only the start-of-the-21st-century distribution maps, but we are also getting enough data on an annual basis to start thinking about mapping changes in bird distribution continuously. No one, nowhere, has come close to achieving this!

Well done, Team SABAP2. Seven million, here we come.