horntail wood wasp, Siricidae, photo © Michael Plagens

Wasp with long abdomen and no sting - a horn-like process often seen at posterior. This is a male specimen.

More Information ...


a sawfly photo © Michael Plagens

The common name is one word because these are not true flies, but rather a primitive group of plant-feeding wasps.

More Information ...

Velvety Paper Wasp

Cranberry and Olive Paper Wasp, photo © Michael Plagens

Many kinds of paper wasps can be found with nests of paper placed under shelter offered by buildings.

More Information ...

Garden Paper Wasp

a paper wasp hunting prey in Kitale, photo © Michael Plagens

Reddish brown wasp with very thin waste and blue-black wings.

More Information ...

Common Paper Wasp

Paper wasp on nest at Eldoret, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Some paper wasp species are aggressive others not. This one seems docile. Dark brown w/ bright yellow spots on abdomen.

More Information ...

Paper Wasp #5

Polistes wasp from Nairobi, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This relatively small paper wasp was observed in Nairobi.

More Information ...

Paper Wasp #4

A paper wasp with young at Kitale, Polistes, © Michael Plagens

A dull colored species tending a paper nest with eggs, larvae and pupae.

More Information.

Yellow-shouldered Paper Wasp

Paper wasp from Kakamega Forest, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Yellow shoulders and last few segments of abdomen distinguish this species from Kakamega.

More Information ...

Robust Potter Wasp

A paper wasp, Vespidae, © Michael Plagens

This robust yellow and brick-red wasp was taking water at a river crossing in the Rift Valley.

More Information.

Potter Wasp

a potter wasp, possibly Delta, © Michael Plagens

Large wasp with narrow waist and blue-black wings. A pale segment near end of 3rd pair legs seems distinctive.

More Information.

Potter Wasp

a potter wasp gathering mud © Michael Plagens

This wasp is gathering mud from a wet road surface to use as building matterial for a pot-shaped nest.

More Information.

Yellow-legged Mud-Dauber

Sceliphron wasp gathering mud in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

These wasps build tube shaped nests and fill them with paralized spiders.

More Information ...

Thread-waisted Wasp

Ammophila like wasp, Sphecidae, from Machakos, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Most often seen on the ground in soft soil area digging a tunnel into which it will provision insect prey.

More Information ...

Thread-waisted Wasp

velvet ant, Mutilidae, © Michael Plagens

Predatory wasps gather and put their prey into a chamber in the soil or else built from mud.

More Information.

Cockroach Hunter

ground dwelling wasp from Machakos, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Enters cavities and crevices as it hunt and has big eyes to help in its search.

More Information ...

Bee Wolf

Philanthus Bee Wolf from Eldoret, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This is a male, but still sports warning colors despite lacking a sting. He will take nectar to fuel his mate searching.

More Information ...

Emerald Cockroach Hunter

Ampulex compressa found at Taita Hills, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Shiny emerald green and red-legged wasps that run quickly as they investigate crevices for roaches.

More Information ...

Spider Wasp

A spider wasp, Pompilidae, © Michael Plagens

Iridescent blue or black, often with reddish wings. Note the curled ends of antennae.

More Information.

Velvet Ant

velvet ant, Mutilidae, © Michael Plagens

Females like this one resemble a fuzzy ant but are solitary. Males have wings but its hard to match the numerous species.

More Information.


Soldier cast of Driver Ant from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Driver Ant in Kiswahili. Massive columns of ants with some very large soldiers with super sharp mandibles.

More Information ...

Driver Ants Raiding

a driver ant, Dorylus sp., photo © Michael Plagens

The tactical methods of driver ants send all scurring for safety!

More Information ...

Driver Ant

Driver Ants, a.k.a. Safari Ants can sting HARD, photo © Michael Plagens

Usually seen in dense columns of fast moving ants. Painful sting. Mixed sizes in the column.

More Information ...


Pachycondyla ants can sting hard! © Michael Plagens

Some are called bullet ants due to shape and pain of sting. Cylindrical shape. This one from Saiwa Swamp.

More Information.

Acrobat Ant

Crematogaster ant on Mauritius Thorn pod © Michael Plagens

The tear-drop shaped abdomen makes this genus of ants easy to recognize. Small, just 3 mm long.

More Information.

Whistling Thorn Ant

a tiny ant, Crematogaster, in acacia thorns, photo © Michael Plagens

Several different acrobat ant species plus a few others make use of the hollow thorns on acacias to nest inside.

More Information ...

Aphid-Tending Ant

myrmicinae ants tending homoptera © Michael Plagens

Many kinds of ants form relationships with sap-sucking bugs. These big ants tend aphids.

More Information.

Harvester Ant

Pheidole Harvester Ants, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Two meter diameter nest clearing in savanna. Some workers have bigger heads/mandibles than others. Harvests seeds.

More Information ...

Carpenter Ant

A ant, formicidae, © Michael Plagens

This unknown variety of diurnal ant was seen on a tree trunk in Kitale; it is about 4mm in length.

More Information.

Big-Headed Carpenter Ant

a carpenter ant, Camponotus sp., photo © Michael Plagens

Large ants with powerful mandibles and shiny black throughout. Nest in dead or compromised tree bowls.

More Information ...


An agile, diurnal Camponotus © Michael Plagens

Fairly large, nearly black ant common on foliage in highland areas of Kenya during daylight.

More Information.

Not an Ant !!!

Tettigoniidae, resembles an ant, photo © Michael Plagens

Birds simply don't eat ants. By natural selection many insects, such as this cricket, have evolved to look exactly like ants.

More Information ...

Male Carpenter Ant

winged reproductive ant, formicidae, photo © Michael Plagens

Worker ants in the colony never get wings. Only reproductive males and females develop wings.

More Information ...

Small Carpenter Ant

a small carpenter ant, Camponotus sp., photo © Michael Plagens

These small ants, about 4mm, were foraging on foliage during day. Jet black and with one petiole segment.

More Information ...

Queen Ant

a queen ant, Formicidae, © Michael Plagens

The vast majority of queen ants that emerge from ant hills become food for birds, bats and spiders.

More Information.

Ichneumon Wasp

a Ichneumon Wasp, Ichneumonidae, © Michael Plagens

There are thousands of ichneumon wasp species in Kenya. Their parasitic activities are vital to farming success.

More Information.

Braconid Wasp

Many, many species of braconidae © Michael Plagens

These even small, delicate wasps do not sting; instead they are the farmer's ally by killing pest insects.

More Information.

Apoid Wasp

a Crabronid Wasp feeds on pollen, photo © Michael Plagens

Short, thread-wasted wasp, squared-off head, black and yellow bands on abdomen. Many, many species predatory on insects.

More Information ...

Leaf-cutter Bee

Megachilidae bee from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Cuts away circles and ellipses from leaves to line its solitary nests.

More Information ...

Stingless Bee

a bee gathering pollen from exotic invasive Tithonia, photo © Michael Plagens

Compact shape, short thread-waist, two pairs of wings, dense hairs on legs and body.

More Information ...

Honey Bee

a bee taking moisture at a river crossing, photo © Michael Plagens

Is this a honey bee variety? All dark abdominal segments.

More Information ...

Honey Bee

a Honey Bee at flowers on Menangai © Michael Plagens

Golden brown bee often numerous and working together at a good nectar/pollen source. Unlike most bees, lives in large colonies.

More Information.

Honey Bee

a Honey Bee on wet soil © Michael Plagens

A more colorful honey bee.

More Information.

Sweat Bee ?

a small bee, possibly Halictidae, photo © Michael Plagens

Many kinds of sweat bees are found around the world and they are rather uniform in appearance. Specific id usually requires a microscope. Important pollinators.

More Information ...

Carpenter Bee

Xylocopa Carpenter Bee © Michael Plagens

A very large carpenter bee exhibits adaptibility by attending flowers of exotic bouganivillea.

More Information.

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 22 November 2011,
updated 20 Apr. 2018.

By no means am I an expert on the Natural History of Kenya. I am a novice exploring Sub-Saharan Africa. By creating a page for the species as I encounter them I am teaching myself. If I make errors I expect that a kind naturalist will let me know so that I can make corrections.