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Nature and Environment | 16.06.2018

Eco-at-Africa — The Environment Magazine

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eco ideas | 16.06.2018

More than just bags in Rwanda

Nature and Environment

The amazing Picasso bug

African art had a powerful influence on Picasso, did Picasso influence African insects? Otherwise known as the Zulu Hud Bug, this colorful shield-backed creature is often mistaken for a beetle. Its geometric design helps it blend into its surrounding and is meant to warn off predators. Full grown Picassos are only around 8 millimeters long and live in tropical Africa from Ivory Coast to Ethiopia.

Nature and Environment

Termite construction workers

Not many insects are known for their creative architectural abilities, but here termites in Namibia's central Otjozondjupa region have built amazingly tall structures in the savannah. Such mound-builders live throughout Africa, Australia and South America. Their complex structures full of tunnels cover a subterranean nest and are so well built they often outlive their termite builders.

Nature and Environment

Giant devil's flower mantis

Looking like part of a fashion school project, the Idolomantis diabolica, more commonly known as the devil's flower mantis, is a jumble of shapes and colors. One of the largest praying mantis species, they are native to many East African nations like Tanzania. Mimicking leaves or a flower, these carnivore killers remain still until their favorite meal — airborne insects — flies by.

Nature and Environment

The giant African fruit beetle

Another creepy crawly that tries to blend into its tropical African forest home is the giant African fruit beetle. The female is a bit smaller than the male which can grow to around 5 centimeters (2 inches) and has menacing looking horns. These beetles live off of fruits and sap flows from tree wounds. Also called the magnificent flower beetle, these mighty beasts can live up to five months.

Nature and Environment

Butterflies and moths galore

One of the world's greatest experts on butterflies and moths was German entomologist Adalbert Seitz. Born in 1860, he edited the monumental 16-volume Macrolepidoptera of the World. Elaborately illustrated with over 200 color plates, four of its volumes were dedicated to the moths and butterflies of Africa. Started in 1907, the unfinished project was only stopped after Seitz's death.

Nature and Environment

The killer mosquito

Not all insects are helpful and some are even downright dangerous. The tiny mosquito is at home on every continent except the Antarctic, but is especially bad for Africa. It only takes one bite from certain species of the Anopheles mosquito genus to transmit malaria and last year over 200 million people became ill with the disease. In Africa, a child dies of malaria every two minutes.

Nature and Environment

A rainbow milkweed locust

One African insect that is not trying to blend in is Madagascar's vibrantly technicolored rainbow milkweed locust. As the name suggests, besides being colorful, this grasshoppers' diet consists primarily of milkweed, which makes it a highly toxic dinner for predators. Officially named Phymateus saxosus, these locusts can grow to about 10 centimeters (4 inches).

Nature and Environment

The African honeybee

A subspecies of the Western honeybee, these social insects live in central and southern Africa. Slightly smaller than their European cousin they also produce less honey. But don't let their fuzzy upper body fool you — their sting is more potent than the Western honeybee. Yet despite their link to the "killer bees" spreading around the world these hard workers still have an important job to do.

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Eco eating | 16.06.2018

Food assemblies, an alternative to supermarkets

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Nature and Environment | 15.06.2018

Turning the ominous hyacinth into fertilizer

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Eco innovation | 16.06.2018

Sustainable and cheaper biogas for rural Morocco

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Eco Protection | 16.06.2018

Saving West African chimps in Liberia

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doing your bit | 16.06.2018

RenewDrive and the power of solar energy

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eco farming | 11.06.2018

Burkina Faso expands irrigation project

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Eco Sustainability | 08.06.2018

The fight to protect indigenous cattle in Uganda

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eco sustainability | 11.06.2018

Nigeria: empowering the next generation of farmers

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eco kids | 11.06.2018

South African township cleans up its streets

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Nature and Environment | 14.06.2018

The new gold rush

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