Insects on Table Mountain and Cape Floristic Region.
The Cape Floristic Region is well known for it's species-rich plant life. You'd think that Table Mountain would be correspondingly similar and diverse in the numbers of small crawling or buzzing beings living on its slopes. Especially considering that insects in general are the most common animal life form visible to the naked eye.
While you see more insect-life on Table Mountain than other wildlife, it's not abundant. And as a hiker you are rarely bugged by some pest.
Some have pointed out that compared to plant and insect diversity in other biomes, the Cape Floristic Region is surprisingly low. While this seems true in the case of butterflies, some researchers point out this is not so.
Spend a bit of time up on Cape Town's famous mountain, and you will soon hear a buzz, or catch a flutter and notice the drabness or dazzling color of some small being grinding, trapping, nesting, hunting, mulching or pollinating or just socializing.
There are clearly enough insects to satisfy the numerous insectivorous sundews (below left) that grow in the damper parts of the mountain.
For a perpetual novice like myself it's really just the WOW-factor when I come across an insect. Just finding the names of these creatures can take a while. They make up 55% of all known species - about 600 000 of them.
So taxonomy be damned. Here's an aesthetic cyber-sample of some remarkable invertebrates that have called for an impromptu photo shoot while tramping the hills around the Cape.
Their coloring and design have evolved to influence whatever passes as an insect's mind. This is to attract other insects, and repel predators, including non-insect.
If you have any input - not just scientific - but cultural or historic etc, or a correction, please let me know. Thanks. And oh, yes. Their proper names would help.
Spotted 13 September 2017, Kasteelspoort.
Can't find a name or what it's business on the planet might be - except perhaps as the natural fiber used to make Leonid Brezhnev's false eyebrows?
3 Common Metallic Longhorns
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
Nature's Valley, 2014