Pachnoda

a flower chafer beetle, Pachnoda sp., from Nairobi © Michael Plagens

Sharply marked large beetles with rather pointed prothorax and head. Conspicuous at flowers. Grubs live in soil.

More Information.

Black and Yellow Chafer

a brightly marked Cetoniinae Beetle, photo © Michael Plagens

Clings to and feeds on flowers. Bright yellow-and-black face-like pattern on elytra. Length 23 mm.

More Information ...

Flower Chafer

Flower Chafer, Scarabiidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

The beetle to the left is also a kind of chafer. Many Cetoniinae species in Kenya often found chewing flowers.

More Information ...

Coal-colored Chafer

a glossy black Cetoninae from South Nandi Forest © Michael Plagens

Glossy black beetle gnawing of foliage. The elytra have a distinct anterior depression and ridge.

More Information.

Compact Scarab

Scarab Beetle at flowers, photo © Michael Plagens

Pollen and nectar are a nutritious food for pollinators and non-pollinators alike.

More Information ...

Plum-Colored May Beetle

Plum-colored Scvarabaeidae Beetle, photo © Michael Plagens

This may beetle has a unique color. The immature is a soil-inhabiting grub.

More Information ...

May Beetle

a May Beetle from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Many, many species of may beetles which often come to electric lights. This one has a fringe of long setae all around.

More Information ...

Punctate May Beetle

a golden brown, punctate scarabaeidae from Kakamega, Kenya © Michael Plagens

Minute pits arrayed over the surface of the elytra provides the adjective "Punctate". This one was seen at Kakamega Forest.

More Information.

June Beetle

before a beetle it was a grub underground © Michael Plagens

This relatively soft-shelled beetle was about 10mm long and had come to lights.

More Information.

Big-eyed Scarab

a large-eyed scarab beetle, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This nocturnal scarab beetle appears to have rather enlarged compound eyes.

More Information ...

Dung Beetle

Copris Dung Beetle, photo © Michael Plagens

Large dark brown or black beetles roll grazing animal dung into balls. Males have fabulous horns. This one is a female.

More Information ...

Dung Beetle

a bulldozer dung beetle, Copris, Scarabaeidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This dung beetle is an amazing earth moving machine.

More Information ...

Dung Beetle

Copris Dung Beetle, photo © Michael Plagens

Medium-sized dark brown or black beetles roll animal dung into balls. Notice the shovel-shaped head for digging.

More Information ...

Blister Beetle

a blue-black meloidae from Amboseli © Michael Plagens

Dark blue, almost black. Elytra (wing covers) soft. Pronotum narrower than head and wings. Seen often on flowers.

More Information.

Meloid

a gaudy Meloidae, Mylabris, © Michael Plagens

Gaudy black and yellow are clear warning signs about this insect's toxicity. Meloidae is the family of Blister Beetles.

More Information.

Blister Beetle

Blister Beetle, Meloidae, Hycleus, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This blister beetle with it's black and yellow bands may be part of a 'Mimicry Complex'.

More Information ...

Blister Beetle

a flower eating blister beetle, Meloidae, © Michael Plagens

Alternating orange and black bands suggest a wasp-like insect.

More Information.

Spotted Blister Beetle

Blister Beetle, Meloidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

About twelve orange-yellow spots on the gray elytra. Found on or in flowers.

More Information ...

Soldier Beetle

Soldier Beetle, Cantharidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Long antennae. Elytra soft and leathery. Moves slowly on flowers or vegetation. Probably toxic.

More Information ...

Soldier Beetle #2

a Soldier Beetle, family Cantharidae, from Machakos, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Adult soldier beetles take it easy of flowers feeding on pollen. Bicolored black and orange. Slow moving.

More Information ...

Net-winged Beetle

Net-winged Beetle, Lycidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Net-winged beetles have flexible, leathery elytra with intricate pattern of veins. Most are bright red, yellow or orange and are distasteful to birds.

More Information ...

Net-winged Beetle #2

a Net-winged Beetle, family Lycidae, from the Elgeyo Escarpment, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This is a male as evidenced by the enlarged lamellae of the antennae. Bicolored black and orange. Slow moving.

More Information ...

Net-winged Beetle #3

Net-winged Flower Beetle, Lyciidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This net-winged has a triangular pronotum and colors are blue-black and coppery. Found near Kapenguria

More Information ...

Net-winged Beetle #4

Net-winged Beetle, Lycidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Similar to #2, perhaps genus Cladophorus. This one looks like it survived a bird attach.

More Information ...

Net-winged Beetle #5

a large net-winged beetle, Lycidae, Kakamega, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This is a rather large example from Kakamega Forest.

More Information ...

Sap Beetle

sap beetle infesting damaged ear Corn/Maize, Nitidulidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Small beetles with clubbed antennae. Attracted to damaged fruit with yeast spoilage. This one is in maize.

More Information ...

Rove Beetle

conspicuous red-and-black rove beetle, Staphylinidae © Michael Plagens

Most rove beetles are much smaller than this one. Note the short elytra (wing covers) and slender shape.

More Information.

Click Beetle

large click beetle, Elateridae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

The pronotum, the segment behind the head, has two sharp points at the posterior corners. Beetle 'clicks' when threatened.

More Information ...

Tiger Beetle

tiger beetle, Carabidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Predatory and agile beetles have highly sophisticated eyes and favor open soil, often near water.

More Information ...

Ground Beetle

Carabidae from Iten, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Driver ants helped me see this beetle as it was attempting escape.

More Information ...

Big-headed Ground Beetle

Chrysomelidae from Iten, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Musculature for oversized mandibles enlarges the head of these predators.

More Information ...

Cerapterus Beetle

a Paussinae Carabidae from Kenya © Michael Plagens

Perhaps a not-so-common species that was seen at night. I got help with the id.

More Information.

Stink Beetle

a darkling beetle, f. Tenebrionidae, Tentyria (?), photo © Michael Plagens

Glossy-black, flightless beetle releases foul liquid on being disturbed. Often takes a 'tail up' posture.

More Information ...

Tapered Darkling Beelte

Tenebrionidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Nearly black, hard-cased beetle with both ends tapering to narrow points.

More Information ...

Darkling Beetle

Gyrinidae, Whirligig, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Grayish black beetle with very hard elytra. Tends to walk slowly along the ground. Semi-arid areas.

More Information ...

Hirsute Teneb

ground dwelling beetle covered with short setae, Tenebrionidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Bronze-brown over all and covered with setae (insect hairs). Crawls on ground and can spew smelly matterial.

More Information ...

Whirligig

Gyrinidae, Whirligig, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

The domain of these predatory beetles is the surface of ponds and slow streams where their spinning antics define them.

More Information ...

Gold-Spot Lady Beetle

Coccinellidae with bright yellow spots from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Sitting on exposed foliage near Turbo, Uasin Gishu, Kenya. Dec. 2015.

More Information ...

Variegated Lady Beetle

Lady beetle aphid predator © Michael Plagens

From 0 to 13 black spots on elytra. The pronotum is outlined in white with two central white spots. Eats aphids.

More Information.

Four-Spot Lady Beetle

Coccinellidae with bright  spots from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Sitting on exposed foliage at roadside in Gatamaiyo Forest, Gilgil, Kenya. Oct. 2016.

More Information ...

Lady Beetle

Lady Beetle, Coccinellidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Many lady beetles are gaily colored and because many control pests important to man they are popular insects. This one can be orange or red with black spots.

More Information ...

Shiny Black Lady Bird

A small shiny black Coccinellidae Beetle from Tanzania, photo © Michael Plagens

Many other lady beetle species are smaller and mostly black or dark gray. Most require a microscope to ID to species.

More Information ...

Lady Beetle

Lady Beetle, Coccinellidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Small, convex lady beetles, glossy black with red spots. Pronotum and head are dull red. Observed near Eldoret.

More Information ...

Lady Beetle

a medium sized lady beetle, Coccinellidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

These colorful lady birds were resting on the lower surface mango leaves in the Rift Valley.

More Information ...

Ladybird Pupa

pupal stage of a Coccinellidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Between the stage of larva and the adult lady bird beetle is the pupa, which is immobile and attached to a plant.

More Information ...

Metallic Wood-boring Beetle

a wood-boring Buprestidae © Michael Plagens

Active beetles with keen eyesight often on surfaces of fallen tree limbs. Many, many kinds from small to large. Metallic sheen especially on underside.

More Information.

Long-horn Beetle

Lamiinae Cerabycidae © Michael Plagens

Robust beetles with long, stout antennae. Larvae tunnel inside tree branches.

More Information.

Long-horn Beetle #2

a long-horn beetle, Cerambycidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Large species, about 20mm long. Long, heavy antennae. Elytra and prothorax marked with grey and black pattern.

More Information ...

Long-horn Beetle #3

Weevil male and female on Vernonia, Curculionidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Some small and medium-sized longhorns resembe bees or wasps and are diurnal.

More Information ...

Stag Beetle (female)

stag beetle female Lucanidae © Michael Plagens

Stout beetle with rich, wood-brown elytra and short, sharp mandibles. Kakamega Forest. Adult of wood-boring larva.

More Information.

Fire-red Leaf Beetle

Leaf Beetle, aposomatic and poisonous © Michael Plagens

Fire-engine red leaf beetles feeding on leaves of Clerodendron. Likely toxic to birds. Legs black.

More Information.

Beetle Larva

Leaf Beetle, aposomatic larva stage © Michael Plagens

Yes, this is a beetle! Beetles have four life stages: 1-egg, 2-larva, 3-pupa, 4-adult. This one belongs the Fire-red Beetle.

More Information.

Skeletonizing Beetle

Galerucine Chrysomelidae © Michael Plagens

Wide variety of often colorful beetles that eat leaves. Some can jump and are called flea beetles.

More Information.

Root-worm Beetle

adult Leaf Beetle of a possible root-worm © Michael Plagens

Some leaf beetles are called rootworm because the larva stage feeds upon plant roots.

More Information.

Leaf Beetle

Brightly colored chrysomelid beetle © Michael Plagens

Colorful, medium-sized beetles often seen chewing leaves.

More Information.

Leaf Beetle

Brightly colored chrysomelidae beetle © Michael Plagens

The larvae of this group may be found skeletonizing plant leaves.

More Information.

Leaf Beetle

Chrysomelid Beetle © Michael Plagens

Another skeletonizing leaf beetle, but with rather drab coloration. The elytra are nearly transparent.

More Information.

Sesbania Leaf Beetle

a leaf beetle, Mesoplatys sp., feeding on Sesbania, Chrysomelidae, © Michael Plagens

Sesbania is valued for its ability to fix nitrogen so this foliage-eater could be considered a pest.

More Information.

Rumex Leaf Beetle

an irridescent blue-black leaf beetle, Chrysomelidae, © Michael Plagens

There are many species of small blue-black leaf beetles. Look for holes chewed in leaf of specific plants. Some kinds can jump.

More Information.

Knot-weed Leaf Beetle

weevil found on knotweed, Polygonum, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Irridescent bronzy beetle. Like many beetles, it's capable of flying to escape.

More Information ...

Orange Tortoise

Cassidinae from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Rusty-orange, convex leaf beetle from Nairobi National Park.

More Information ...

Golden Tortoise Beetle

Golden Tortoise Beetle, Chrysomelidae, tribe Cassidinae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Gold colored with tortoise-like shell. Often seen on Beach Morning Glory along Indian Ocean coast.

More Information ...

Fecal-Pellet Tortoise Beetle

d chrysomelid beetle © Michael Plagens

This mating pair resemble fecal pellets of a large caterpillar - a ploy to avoid being eaten.

More Information.

Pearl Tortoise Beetle

a decorated tortoise Beetle, Cassidinae, photo © Michael Plagens

Intricately marked with black lines on pearly elytra. Larvae and adults feed on foliage of morning glories (Convolvulaceae) and were found in Kajiado.

More Information ...

Ashy-Gray Tortoise

a gray tortoise on Ipomoea, Chrysomelidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Tortoise beetles are leaf beetles, i.e. their food is leaves. This one is also on morning­glory.

More Information ...

Lantana Leaf-miner

Beetle introduced to control lantana © Michael Plagens

Dorsally compressed beetle with bumpy texture. Brought in from America to control lantana.

More Information.

Mottled Weevil

a weevil on Cyathual, Curculionidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This weevil is mottled yellow green and black, is about 8mm long and is on Cyathula (Amaranthaceae).

More Information ...

Broad-nosed Weevil

Broad-nosed Weevil, Curculionidae, Entiminae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Thousands of kinds of weevils inhabit farms, forests and grasslands of Kenya. Many have larvae (grubs) that live under the soil.

More Information ...

Broad-nosed #2

a broad-nosed weevil from South Nandi, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Wide snout with mothparts at end. Textured and striated elytra are ashy gray. Adults chew on green foliage.

More Information ...

Broad-nosed Weevil #3

a sturdy-built weevil, Curculionidae, Entiminae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Crawling along on heavly grazed ground west of Eldoret.

More Information ...

Kalanchoe Weevil

weevil found on Kalanchoe, Curculionidae, Entiminae, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Nearly black broad-nosed weevil found feeding on leaves of Kalanchoe in the Rift Valley highlands.

More Information ...

Broad-nosed Weevil #5

broad-nosed weevil in Corn/Maize, Curculionidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Adult beetles create holes in maize leaves that are tender and unfurled.

More Information ...

Punctate

Taita Hills Curculionidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This shiny black weevil has numerous rows of minute black pits (punctate) on its pronotum and elytra.

More Information ...

Cordia Snout Beetle

a small black weevil, Curculionidae, Curculioninae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This weevil is small, about 3mm. It is on a leaf of Cordia africana, a tree-sized borage.

More Information ...

Vernonia Weevil

Weevil male and female on Vernonia, Curculionidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Large weevils, about 22 mm. Feeding on leaves of Vernonia, perhaps the larval host as well.

More Information ...

Granary Weevil

granary weevil, sitophilus, Curculionidae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Small dark brown beetles that bore into grains like corn or sorghum. Wings allow insects to disperse.

More Information ...


Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 2010-2017

Disclaimer: By no means am I an expert on the Natural History of Kenya. I am new to exploring this part of the World. By creating a page for the species as I learn them I am teaching myself. If I have made an error please, kind expert person, let me know so that I can make corrections.