Satyrium candidumKooels Mountains

New species named after the man who co-wrote the ultimate Cape orchid book

Bill Liltved, the driving force behind what many people call the “opus” of South Africa’s orchid species, has been honoured by having a newly identified white orchid species from the Kogelberg mountains being named after him: Satyrium liltvedianum. The new species is announced in the latest edition of the South African Journal of Botany which…

A mopane worm dish. Photo: Wikimedia

#Scibraai Menu: Mopane worms: are there still enough to go around?

In life, you get two types of people. Those who eat mopane worms, and those who definitely don’t. In Limpopo, the eating of mopane worms and trading in them are a way of life for many people living in the province. This tradition has been passed on from generation to generation. Environmental changes such as the…

samoosas

Weighty matter: metabolic syndrome on the rise among SA’s Asian Indian population

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) in South African Asian Indians is becoming a considerable health concern. It’s not only confined to older adults either. Worryingly, this lifestyle disease was identified in 6.9% of the young adults tested between the ages of 15 and 24 years. This is the results from the most up-to-date study available on the…

An Atherigon fly visiting a yellow carrion plant. Photo: Adam Shuttleworth

Carrion plant’s (only) little helper

Not all flies attracted to foul-smelling carrion plants help with its pollination In the life cycle of smelly yellow carrion plants (Orbea lutea subsp. lutea), all flies are not created equal. Their flowers, which quite literally reek, lure insects from far and wide that are attracted by the smell of decaying matter and faeces. However,…

The Sibudu Cave. Credit: South African Heritage Resources Agency

Birdie num num: Stone Age people loved it too

Fancy digging your teeth into a meal of pigeon breasts or dishing up guinea fowl legs? Middle Age Stone men and women did too. Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Evolutionary Studies Institute carefully looked at bones collected in the Sibudu Cave near Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal. Sibudu Cave – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Sibudu…

Scientists say that there are four genetically distinct giraffe species. Photo: Engela Duvenage

A rethink about giraffes

If you thought that all giraffes were created equal, think again. Yes, based on their looks they all seem pretty much the same, but their genes tell a totally different story. The ones you’ll see in the Kruger National Park or elsewhere in South Africa are genetically very different from the ones in Ethiopia and…

African striped mouse. Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:C.R.Selvakumar

In tough times young mice take things slow

When the going gets tough, the young slow down and the old keep going. That’s what happens to African striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio) in times of drought, according to researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand. Their findings are published in the journal Ethology. These highlight the influence of different seasons and the use of…