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        Coloring and Camouflage | Gorongosa Park

        Gorongosa Park is full of thousands of animal species adapting to survive. In order to keep predators at a safe distance, many animals have evolved adaptive coloring or camouflage to help them hide (or sometimes to stand out!) in their environment.

        Oleander Moth

        One of the nicest surprises that came to our UV light at Gorongosa National Park was this spectacular Oleander moth (Daphnis nerii). Growing up in Poland I always wanted to see this large, migratory species, which comes to Europe from Africa in the summer. These moths are superb fliers and have been able to colonize most of the Palearctic, Africa and SE Asia.

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        Opisatacanthus Scorpion

        These beautiful Opisatacanthus scorpions live on every tree in the Chitengo camp.

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        Blue-Orange Longhord Beetle

        Another beautiful gem from Gorongosa National Park, the Blue-orange longhorn beetle (Sternotomis bohemani).

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        Phyllomimine Katydid

        The best find so far a phyllomimine katydid (Acauloplax exigua), the only member of this group of amazing leaf mimics in southeastern Africa. This group is rich in species in Asia, but the African continent has only a handful of representatives.

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        Gasteracantha "Kite" Spider

        I love the common names that people in Africa give to insects and other invertebrates. For example, Crematogaster ants are called "cocktail ants" (because they cock their tails), whereas Gasteracantha spiders are "kite spider" (because they look like one.)

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        Pycnodicta Grasshopper

        Drier parts of the Gorongosa National Park are covered by miombo woodland, often interspersed with sandy patches rich in quartz. Grasshoppers of the genus Pycnodictya are wonderful mimics of quartz, virtually invisible among pieces of the semi-translucent rocks.

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        Camouflaged Moth

        The dry season is causing many trees to lose their leaves, and parts of Gorongosa are surprisingly reminiscent of New England in the fall. This pretty moth takes full advantage of the lack chlorophyl in the leaves, and I wonder if its development is synchronized with the falling of foliage.

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        Rhanidophora Caterpillar

        Rhanidophora species, one of the most amazing noctuid caterpillars I have ever seen.

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        Amata Tiger Moth

        There are colorful insects, and then there is Amata these ctenuchid tiger moths are some of the most outrageously colored animals I have ever seen.

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        Satyrid Butterflies

        I photographed this pair of satyrid butterflies (Physcaenura pione) during a survey of the Cheringoma Plateau.

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        Orbea halipedicola Flower

        The flower of Orbea halipedicola, one of many incredible organisms found in Gorongosa National Park.

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