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 and multispectral camera equipment for making detailed comparisons of the visual properties of Lithops species and the soil on which they grow across numerous locations in southern Africa.

We set out for our second month-long field expedition on June 27, 2018. As on the 2016 expedition, we aim 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 Specim Spectral Imaging Ltd. and the Surface Optics Corporation.

For more information on our project, check out

First three days

Expedition blog 2016Posted by Tommi Nyman Thu, April 07, 2016 02:48PM
We finally got out of town around noon on the 5th, and dashed about 600 km northwards. We set up camp at sunset, and continued the next morning. We experienced our first flat tire after about 10 km, but the wheel was rapidly replaced, especially because we got help from a local road crew that happened to dive by. Otherwise people and cars were few and far in between.

Here are our additional team members, Willem Augustyn and Jeroen van der Merwe, both from the University of Stellenbosch.

And here are our first Lithops plants! These are from a small population of Lithops aucampiae, which we found on the second evening according to a hint obtained from a Lithops specialist.

Now on the third day, the weather has been rainy and windy, so we have made only tests with our multispec UV+VIS setup and concentrated on finding new populations (which we have noticed to be rather difficult). The UV+VIS camera seems to work fine, but we'll have to wait for better weather for the actual imaging.

Our internet connections are sporadic, but we hope to send updates every now and then.

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