Friday, 18 May 2007

Hairy slit-faced bat and other enchanting names

Ever heard of a Boland Skolly, a Yellow Zulu or a Soldier Pansy? No, these are not South African insults - they're names of butterflies. There's a lovely article in today's Star (Chasing butterflies into the future, by Leon Marshall, no link) about a project that's cataloguing South Africa's butterfly species in an effort to ensure their survival.

Other butterfly names mentioned by Marshall: Jitterbug Daisy Copper, Deceptive Widow, Common Joker and Gaudy Commodore. Aren't they delightful?

Here's a list of common names of other South African animals which I think are sheer poetry:

Mammals
Hairy Slitfaced Bat
Brant's Whistling Rat
Fat Mouse

Birds
Rosy-faced Lovebird
Tinkling Cisticola
Zitting Cisticola
Cape Penduline Tit
Pale Chanting Goshawk

Frogs
Shovelfooted Squeaker
Whistling Rain Frog
Bubbling Kassina
Mottled Shovenosed Frog

Snakes and lizards
Schlegel's Beaked Blind Snake
Elongate Quillsnouted Snake
Shortheaded Legless Skink
Lomi's Blind Legless Skink
Transvaal Thicktoed Gecko
Graceful Crag Lizard

I found these on checklists published here

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