an Owlfly, Ascalaphidae, in Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

Mweiga, Nyeri County, Kenya. Dec. 2015.

When startled from one position this insect flies a short distance and as it lands it swings around to the far side of a grass stem and aligns itself perfectly to be concealed, but also to keep its eyes peering around at the potential adversery. Its color and texture also resembles the grass.

From Wikipedia:
Owlflies are readily distinguished from dragonflies because the latter have short bristle-like antennae. The closely related antlions (family Myrmeleontidae) have short, weakly clubbed antennae, smaller eyes, and very different wing venation.[1] All but one species of Ascalaphidae have long antennae, easily distinguishing them.
Eggs are laid on twigs or under stones. Larvae are predatory, and lie on the ground or in vegetation, covered with debris, waiting for prey. Larvae resemble those of antlions, but have a "finger-like appendage" on the side of each segment. Some genera actively cement sand and debris onto their bodies as camouflage. Pupation occurs in a spheroidal silk cocoon in leaf litter or soil.

Ascalaphidae -- Owlfly Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens. Page created 1 April 2016.