Now that the expedition is drawing to a close, I asked a few of the AquaRAP scientists to name the Delta plant or animal species they found most interesting and why. Here's what they had to say:
"I always enjoy seeing warthogs. They have a way of sneaking up and surprising you."
– Budzanani Tacheba
"The Apple Snail (Lonistes ovum) is a favorite food of Openbill Storks, which always open the large shells in exactly the same way, by cracking the sides to get at the snail inside. At the final sampling site, we found two grass platforms heaped with cracked Apple Snail shells." – Chris Appleton
"The Newbwe (Serranochromis robustus) is the largest member of the Largemouths, a group within the Cichlid family. It has strong jaws and teeth that enable it to eat a variety of food items, from other fish to crabs and mollusks. It's the main predatory bream of channels in all sampling sites and a target for angling." – Ben van der Waal
"The papyrus is interesting – it's one of the most productive plants in the world (meaning that it is very efficient at obtaining nutrients). It grows by cloning, so when you see an expanse of it across the Delta, you are often looking at a single individual."
– Leeanne Alonso
|Proof that lions visit the |
"The lion – it's an amazing animal."
– Merapelo Lekhuru
"Also, Oreochromis andersoni, or Threespot Bream, is the Delta's main commercial fish species and angling target. This fish – a detritus and plankton feeder – was found throughout the system, but the numbers collected were low, perhaps because of the high flood levels." – Ben van der Waal
"One of my personal favorites was the African Hoopoe (Upupa africana). It's a common bird throughout southern Africa, with a huge black and white-tipped crest that it displays as it probes for insects in the ground with its long, curved bill." – Clare Nielsen
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