Night Insect Survey

On the evening of January 20th, we embarked on an enthralling expedition to conduct an evening insect survey. The primary objective was to capture moths that elude our usual observations. This intricate task entailed the strategic placement of UV lights designed to allure moths and other fascinating insects. While the survey did yield a few captivating discoveries, they weren’t exclusively moth-related as initially anticipated.

Nature unfolds with perpetual spontaneity.

Shieldback locusts (Lobosceliana genus)
Shieldback locusts (Lobosceliana genus)
Drab thicktail scorpion (Parabuthus planicauda)
Drab thicktail scorpion (Parabuthus planicauda)

The evening enveloped us in a gentle warmth, yet the winds picked up and began sweeping through Lehele Valley compelled us to modify our moth survey arrangement, acknowledging that our expectations for a bountiful moth collection might be tempered. Armed with cameras and flashlights, we traversed the vicinity where our trap had been deployed.

Our initial discovery added a fascinating twist to the evening – a pair of cape stick insects engaged in the intricate dance of mating, captured on video below. (The Female is larger and a bright green colour while the male is smaller and brown.)

While exploring our surroundings the night sounds began to hum and we were captivated by the resonant stridulation of a katydid echoing loudly through the air. Intrigued, we successfully located the source and observed the creature in action. With specialized forewings, it deftly rubbed them together, creating a high-pitched noise designed to allure females. This mesmerizing stridulation occurs as the scraper on the right forewing engages with a tooth-covered file on the left forewing – an intricate mechanism that left us utterly fascinated!

The third fascinating revelation involved an undescribed huntsman spider devouring a stick insect (below). Scientists are tentatively labelling this species as the “golden huntsman,” yet formal classification awaits the collection of specimens and a detailed species description.

Golden huntsman - (undescribed huntsman spider)
Golden huntsman – (undescribed huntsman spider)
Golden huntsman - (undescribed huntsman spider)
Golden huntsman – (undescribed huntsman spider)

In total we observed 38 different invertebrate species in the two hour survey that we conducted.

  • Moths and Butterflies: 20 species
  • Grasshoppers and katydids: 4 species
  • Hemiptera (true bugs): 3 species
  • Beetles: 3 species
  • Flies: 2 species
  • Spiders: 2 species
  • Mantids: 1 species
  • Scorpions: 1 species
  • Centipede: 1 species
  • Stick insects: 1 species
Scroll to Top