African jumping beans
This video shows one of the weirdest and strangest wonders in the African wild. At first glance, this might look like a magic trick or even camera trickery. Tiny little seeds lying on the ground, bouncing and jumping around on its own. This is no magic trick at all and the real reason for this is a rather interesting story. It all starts with a very interesting tree called the Tamboti. A medium sized deciduous tree found in the warm regions of Southern Africa. Majority of these trees are found in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. The Tamboti is notorious for its poisonous properties. It contains toxic latex that causes blistering, eye irritation and even death if ingested in quantity. Burning on campfires leads to diarrhoea and severe headaches, especially if meat is cooked on the coals. The fruit and seeds of the Tamboti is probably the most interesting part of this tree. The fruit looks like a three lobed capsule. In summer months when they ripen, these capsules bursts open with an audible clapping sound before dropping from the tree. Eventually the ground below the Tamboti will be covered by all the seeds bursting out of the fruits. By now the seeds are infested with the larvae of the knotthorn moth (Melanobasis). The movement of the larvae inside the seeds makes them jump, particularly when they lie in the sun. When you walk past these trees on a warm summer afternoon, one can clearly hear the soft snapping, crackling and popping sounds. Looking closer you will discover thousands of these seeds jumping around, hence the name ‘jumping beans’. The only other place in the world where one can see these jumping beans is in Mexico and better known as Mexican jumping beans. African jumping beans tend to move allot more erratic than their counterparts in Mexico.