Welcome to the C-O-N-G-O blog ! A daughter-father team who love to go on bug safaris. Keep your antennas up for cool pictures and stories from Congo and beyond.......

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What butterfly species is our blue-horned dragon caterpillar ??

We wrote to The Bugman at http://www.whatsthatbug.com to help us figure out what species our cool caterpillar was, so we can look for the adult butterfly or moth on our future outings.  Here is his response:

Hi Katy and her dad,
While we are unable to provide you with a species name, we can provide you with the genus for this horned Caterpillar.  It is in the genus
Charaxes, a group of Brush Footed Butterflies found in Africa.  According to the Butterfly Corner website, there are over 180 species of Charaxes.  Members of the genus are also found in India and other parts of Asia where they are known as Pashas or Rajahs.  While this is not your species, you can see the similarities to this Madagascar native, the Green Veined Charaxes on the Online Fieldguide website.

This is an adult Charaxes jasius

Monday, July 25, 2011

Expedition: Kisantu Botanical Gardens

Dina, Lise and Katy - Expedition members taking a break on the bug and flower filled day.
Below is a peek into the sights encountered on the expedition. 

The museum at the gardens has a nice collection of plants, insects and a few animals 

Take a walk on the grounds and check out the great variety of flowering trees and plants. 
And, where there are plants and flowers there are lots of ............ BUGS !!!!!
Mini butterflies only 1 centimeter tall.
A giant moth in need of a refresher course on camouflage
A big spider with a mask pattern on its abdomen
A tiny red beetley guy
An even smaller hungry looking crab spider cleaning a leg
And finally, the fantastical Blue-horned dragon caterpillar

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jumpie in da House !

When fiddling with the UPS in the living room this this little house jumper made her appearance.  We are learning that lady jumpers are hairier than males and that their abdomens are bigger.  We named her Sandy.
While on a green leaf she started to clean her feet.
She took a break to pose on a red leaf 
And then started on the right side

Thanks to a small flashlight and Katy's steady hand we got some of Sandy's cleaning action on video

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cousin Fang and Mantis

Cousin Fang is the same species of jumping spider as Lil' Red from last week's post.  They are Hasarius adansoni. 
Often found indoors, Fang is from a group of spiders commonly known as House Jumpers.
We actually had to go outdoors to bring in a leaf for him to pose on
At the edge of a piece of paper, Fang seemed to be saying to himself "Hmmmm, to jump or not to jump ? That is the question."
After the photoshoot, Katy let Fang out in the garden where he probably had a better chance of catching some juicy flies.  We just hope he did not run into the big Mantis that we ran across the next day.  He is looking pretty hungry, don't you think ?
We hope you are still out there Cousin Fang !! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Porch Buddies

We were happy to find a few jumpies on our porch during the last week.  They were very hard to photograph as they were intent on showing us how they got their name.  Today's visitor was the most cooperative, almost acting as if she liked being the object of the photo shoot and posing for the camera at every chance she got.

Bald Spots
Lil' Red
At first she acted very shy.....
....and then Green Eyes couldn't get enough of the spotlight.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Symphonies Naturelles

Katy, Dina and I went for a visit to this nice forest park only 30 minutes from our house.  Here are some of the interesting creepy crawlies we encountered.

This mantis greeted us as we arrived


Armor plated bug pod

Bright-eyed grasshopper
Dina spotted this big caterpillar that was about 6 inches long

Head closeup.  Time for a trim ?

Peachy butterfly

Interesting new growth

Big ants tending to white gunk

Pinky dragon

Funky colored cricket

And finally for the find of the day!! 
In our quest for spiders and especially jumping spiders, Katy found this colorful little guy.  
He looks like he means business!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A visit with the Bonobos

We went to see our friends the Bonobo chimps yesterday. Taking pictures of them is very difficult because of the fence around their sanctuary.  If you try to get close to take a picture through the fence they have a habit of running up and grabbing the camera and throwing dirt at visitors.  We were only able to get one good picture of a mom and her baby resting after eating their lunch.


We saw some interesting critters as we walked around the sanctuary too - 

Different kinds of Dragonflies

Some fuzzy and prickly caterpillars that look like they would be very hard to swallow if you were a bird trying to eat them.  Yuck!!
A cute tiny little yellow beetle

And finally a couple of cool spiders.  Thanks goes to our featured C-O-N-G-O blog Bug Hunter - Emily for having found the zig-zag web spider above. 
Keep your feelers out cuz we're going to be buggin' you again soon !!