When I was in the north last year in November, the first rains of the season fell and these shiny velvet Christmas 'Spiders' appeared.
I don't know where the name comes from - maybe it's because they look like little red-suited Santas ... I'm not sure that they're true spiders either, I only count six legs and two 'feelers'.
There were also thousands of Millipedes, commonly known as the 'Shongololo' - (try say that out loud, it's not so hard ... shon-go-lo-lo).
The common variety of Shongololo, shown in the pic below with a Christmas Spider, is about 7cm long:
I also saw the rarer Giant African Millipede - Archispirostreptus gigas - and managed to get a pic with it's 'normal' cousin for a size comparison:
This specimen was probably about 25cm long:
I don't know whether either Christmas Spiders or Shongololos are eaten by predators but, while the Christmas Spiders look delicious in their shiny velvet suits, the Shongololos look positively unappetizing ... I'm not about to try and find out either ... :)
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