Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Ethiopia - Stick Grasshopper

Took this photo of a weird looking Grasshopper. After a little bit of research I found they are called Stick Grasshoppers [Acrida] for obvious reasons. There are 40 species world-wide. Taking out the species outside Africa reduced it to 14. Taking away species not seen or recorded in Ethiopia I was left with three species - Acrida bicolor, Acrida herbacea, Acrida sulphuripennis. Looking at each species and trying to ID them through photographs proved fruitless to anybody but an expert as I cannot find any ID keys available on the net and they all look similar to the untrained eye. So I decided to look into the experts and their on line sites. There are no experts in the Horn of Africa. So the only time they are recorded is when other countries do expeditions there. By cross referencing experts from USA, South Africa, UK, Netherlands and Germany and their specimen records available on databases. I found that Acrida bicolor and Acrida herbacea were last recorded on expeditions in 1922. However a 2009 expedition recorded Acrida sulphuripennis as being abundant. So by a series of eliminations this is most likely but not definitely the Stick Grasshopper - Acrida sulphuripennis. And was seen on the Liben Plains grasslands 20 kms east of Negelle.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Ethiopia Moth 3

This is Chiasmia subcurvaria [Triple Striped Peacock]. Common in the western half of Africa including Ethiopia. The shape and curvature of the three black lines on the wing are the most important feature. A similar species is Icturgia disputaria but the darker background colour and shape of the black lines discount this species. This species was next to the outside light of my chalet at Sidamo Lodge, Lake Langano at 1605mts above se-level.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Ethiopia Moth 2

There are only 2 species of Macroglossum [Hummingbird Hawkmoth] in mainland Africa. The familiar Macroglossum stellatarum [The Hummingbird Hawkmoth] which we see in the UK during passage in the summer is confined to the north of the Sahara. And this one Macroglossum trochilus [African Hummingbird Hawkmoth] which is common in sub-sahara Africa. Couldn't quite get it in focus as it wouldn't stay still. But the photo is enough for a positive ID. Seen at Simbo Lodge on the banks of Lake Langano at 1595mts above sea-level. The white hair tufts on the side of the tip of the body is a good indication of the species.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Ethipoia moth

Finally started to look at my moth photos from Ethiopia thanks to the weather. The first I've ID'd is the Semi-looper Moth [Trigonodes hyppasia]. It's a moth of the sub-sahara in Africa, but occurs in Australia and as far east as Fiji. Generally fairly common on semi-cultivated grassland. This was photo'd on the Liben Plains. The "Moths of Africa" states it occurs from the coastland up to 1050mts. The interesting thing about this moth was that I photo'd it at 1592mts above sea-level. So quite a lot higher than previously recorded. There are one or two species that look somewhat similar. But the  black basal triangle on the wing [nearer the head] is much larger than the hind black triangle and is a diagnostic feature of the species, it is the other way round on similar species.