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  • Snakes. Secretive predators that can be both fascinating and a bit scary. 

  • Butterflies. Images of many species but most of text still to be written.

  • Mantids. These predatory insects come in many shapes, sizes and colours and are thought to have evolved from  cockroach-like ancestors.

  • Sharks, rays and chimaeras. A guide to the cartilaginous fish found round the coast of southern Africa

  • Birds. Comprehensive coverage with images, information and distribution maps.

  • Mammals. Text and images uploaded for many species.

  • Spiders. By far the most popular section of Biodiversity Explorer.

  • Scorpions. Avoid walking barefoot at night in scorpion country - some species can kill.

  • Cape stag beetles. Comprehensive treatment of the genus Colophon, endemic to the Western Cape.

  • San arrow poisons from beetles. San hunters in the Kalahari poison their arrows with the contents of beetle pupae

  • Declared weeds and invader plants in South Africa. The 3 different categories of invader plants are listed.

Wild biodiversity

The wide range of biomes and habitats in southern Africa yield a spectacular array of wildlife. 

Agricultural and forestry biodiversity

Agriculture has created or modified a range of habitats that interface with wild biodiversity.

Urban biodiversity 

Plants, insects, birds and other organisms found in our cities and towns.

Home biodiversity

Where you like it or not, other forms of life also like living in your home.

Food and drink biodiversity 

Domestication of wild animals and plants has yielded the food we depend on today.

Harmful biodiversity 

Understanding how some organisms can harm us can help us to avoid sickness or injury.

Porifera Cnidaria  Arachnids Crustacea Echinoderms Annelids Molluscs
sponges Cnidaria (jellyfish, corals, etc.) Araneae (spiders) Scorpionida (scorpions) Crustacea starfish sea urchins annelids (earthworms, segmented worms, leaches) Mollusca (snails, mussels, squid, etc.)
sponges jellyfish, corals, etc. spiders


crabs, lobsters, etc


sea urchins earthworms, seg. worms, leaches snails, mussels, squid, etc

Insects, including:

cockroaches (Dictyoptera) termites (Isoptera) grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera) bugs (Hemiptera) beetles (Coleoptera) flies (Diptera) butterflies (Lepidoptera, part) ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) wasps and bees (Hymenoptera)
cock-roaches termites crickets, grass-hoppers bugs beetles flies moths & butterflies


wasps & bees


Chordata (mainly Vertebrates)

centipedes (Chilopoda) millipdes (Diplopoda) bony fish frogs (Amphibia) reptiles (Reptilia) birds (Aves) mammals (Mammalia)


centipedes millipedes fish amphibians reptiles birds mammals mushrooms, etc. mosses


Flowering plants, including:

ferns and fern allies gymnosperms Iridaceae Proteaceae Fabaceae Ericaceae Geraniaceae Rosaceae Asteraceae
ferns, fern allies gymno-sperms Iridaceae Proteaceae Fabaceae Ericaceae Geraniaceae  



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