Lithops project blog

Lithops project blog


This is the blog page of the Lithops Project, in which we investigate the extent and evolution of locally optimized camouflage coloration in the enigmatic African "stone plants" belonging the genus Lithops.

In the first part of the project, we use hyperspectral camera equipment for making detailed comparisons of the visual properties of Lithops species and their local soil across numerous locations in southern Africa.

We set out for our first month-long field expedition on April 1, 2016 - if all goes according to plan, we should be able to post updates every 2-3 days.

Our imaging expeditions are supported by National Geographic Society Science and Exploration Europe. Hyperspectral camera equipment is provided by the Surface Optics Corporation.

For more information on our project, check out

The white ecosystems

Expedition blog 2016Posted by Tommi Nyman Thu, April 14, 2016 09:54PM
After another couple of days in the field, we decided to stop in a guesthouse in Kenhardt for the night, for the following reasons: charging camera and laptop batteries, backing up tons of image files, and showering. The last reason was the most important, because Allan, Willem, Jeroen, and Matt started to reek seriously (I still smell like flowers).

In the last days, we've gotten into whitish quartzite soils, in which many animals and plants are very pale, forming whole white ecosystems.

Avonia sp.:

The alien-looking Dinteranthus pole-evansii, which looks like a cracked golfball:

Then an again gigantic, but white, Trachypetrella stone grasshopper (we're starting to suspect that some of these are new species):

And a cute little wingless Ligariella praying mantis:

And, somewhat unsurprisingly, the minute Lithops fulleri has white flowers:

  • Comments(0)//