The first photograph has three "bugs" or groups of "bugs" evident. I have labelled the first 2 - Bug 1 and Bug(s) 2. Can you spot the third "bug"? It may be advisable to click on the photograph to enlarge it which should make the text that I have added easily readable.
The solution is posted at the end of this blog - a photograph with a specific area enlarged to display the "bug". I almost missed a photo opportunity, but fortunately did see "bug" number 3.
The bug labelled Bug 1 forms the basis for today blogpost. I noticed an orange/red and black "ladbybird" on a leaf. Took the first photographs and realised that this bug was no "ladybird". Note the thorny / spikes along the perimeter.
While I zoomed in, and looked for another angle, the bug extended itself upwards, while stuck to the leaf at one end. I am unsure if it was a defence mechanism or a means to slumber until the bug "metamorphoses" into the next stage of its life. Notice the area which is attached to the leaf resembles a circle of thorns. The bug remained in this upright extended position and I moved on to take some other photographs.
I am sure Joan will have the answer as to what this orange/red/black spiny bug is and what it matures into. Here are more photographs of the bug, in what I presume to be a more advanced stage of its life cycle. 6 legs are evident, which it uses to scurry frenetically around the leaves with. There were a reasonable number of these creatures on the leaves, and I would be interested to know what they will eventually transform into. Butterflies possibly? If so, then I need to get back to the spot quickly - anyone know what time frame the transformation takes?
Solution to the 3rd bug mystery. See enlarged area of the leaf - dead / brown area has the bug hiding in plain sight, but neatly camouflaged.
A tiny brown jumping spider is the answer. Click photograph to enlarge.
Pine forests in the Tsitsikamma
4 hours ago