After three months on the African continent, I’m ready to make a sweeping botanical generalization: bugs are bigger in Africa.
Sometimes their size makes you shudder. Shortly after we arrived, Bob had a harrowing encounter with an enormous hairy spider.
We’ve since realized that the larger-than-life arachnids are common in these parts. Bob had to remove another one from our current home last week.
I have no love for spiders. But on other, less ick-some bugs, the African proportions can be quite becoming. When we went camping at Lapalala last month, I came across the hollow shell of a stunning rainbow-colored grasshopper that had to have been four or five inches in length. I had never imagined a bug could be that beautiful.
During our recent trip to the Drakensberg Mountains, we spotted a slightly smaller grasshopper — about three inches long — that posed for the picture at the top of this post. Bob startled it into flight so that I could catch the really spectacular colors of its wings.
African-sized insects also have the virtue of being easier to photograph. During our Drakensberg hike, on the way back from Bob’s proposal, we came across a cricket laying her eggs. She would have been easy to miss except that 1) she had chosen the middle of the path to dig her nest, and 2) she was huge.
So, bugs are bigger in Africa, but that isn’t necessarily bad.