Horntail

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.

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Sawfly

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.

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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.

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Garden Paper Wasp

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

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

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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.

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Paper Wasp #5

Polistes wasp from Nairobi, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This relatively small paper wasp was observed in Nairobi.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Yellow-legged Mud-Dauber

Scelephron wasp gathering mud in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

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

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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.

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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.

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Spider Wasp

A spider wasp, Pompilidae, © Michael Plagens

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

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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.

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Siafu

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.

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Driver Ants Raiding

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

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

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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.

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Ponerine

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.

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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.

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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.

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Aphid-Tending Ant

myrmicinae ants tending homoptera © Michael Plagens

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Camponotus

An agile, diurnal Camponotus © Michael Plagens

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Leaf-cutter Bee

Megachilidae bee from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

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

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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.

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Honey Bee

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

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

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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.

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Honey Bee

a Honey Bee on wet soil © Michael Plagens

A more colorful honey bee.

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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.

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Carpenter Bee

Xylocopa Carpenter Bee © Michael Plagens

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

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Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 22 November 2011,
updated 19 June 2017.

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 learn them I am teaching myself. If I make errors I expect that a kind person will let me know so that I can make corrections.