Two-tailed Spider

a two-tailed spider, Hersiliidae, © Michael Plagens

A nearly invisible web directly against the substrate surrounds a spider that also blends in with camouflage. Two long spinnerettes.

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Spiny Orb Weaver

a spiny orb-weaver, Gasteracantha, © Michael Plagens

A colorful spider with conspicuous body armor. Sits at the center of an orb web erected between branches of vegetation.

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Red-veined Drop-wing

Skimmer from City Park, Nairobi, Kenya © Michael Plagens

Red dragonfly with unmarked wings' but with veins red and a black stigma near forewing tip.

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Blue Skimmer

A blue Skimmer dragonfly from Naiberi River Camp, Kenya © Michael Plagens

Sky blue dragonfly perches with wings set forward. Sometimes commonly called set-wing.

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Stone Fly

Plecoptera at light in Kakamega Forest, Kenya © Michael Plagens

This is an adult and primarily nocturnal. The immature stage is aquatic in flowing water.

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Common Earwig

a common earwig, Forficulidae, in damaged maize, Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Feeds largely as scavenger on rotting plant material. Pincer like cerci at posterior of abdomen.

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Encrusting Termite

termites consuming a wood fence post, Eldoret, Kenya © Michael Plagens

Builds cover of mud-like carton over exposed wood before chewing and converting to more termites. Soldiers have mighty pincer mandibles.

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Beak-Headed Termite

 Termitidae, Kitale, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

The head of this termite has beak-like nozzle. Feeds on wood with direct or indirect contact with soil.

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Harvester Termite

termites at nest entrance, Nyeri, Kenya © Michael Plagens

Two to four cm diameter entrances at ground level with soldiers guarding.

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Termite

Reproductive female termite in Machakos, Kenya © Michael Plagens

Winged termites once they have flown and mated loose their wings and then must soon dig into the soil and attempt to establish a new colony.

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American Cockroach

American Cockroach in Marigat, Kenya © Michael Plagens

This large nocturnal insect is common to abundant in and around human habitations in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide.

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Kitchen Roach

kitchen cockroach, Ectobiidae, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

This is one of the common cockroaches likely to be seen in and around human habitations.

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Bark Cockroach

Bark Cockroach, Blaberidae, Kenya © Michael Plagens

Adult female lacks wings and is able to press itself close to a smooth bark surface. Nocturnal.

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Pyrgomorph Grasshopper

Black and Yellow Pyrgomorphidae, photo © Michael Plagens

This grasshopper was found at 2400 m in Rift Valley. Its bright colors indicate toxicity to insect-eating birds.

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False Katydid

A Tettigoniidae from Marigat, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Leaf like and usually difficult to see. Comes to lights at night. Long fine antennae

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Field Cricket

A field cricket, g. Gryllus from Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Field crickets of several different species are found in temperate, mesic habitats the World over.

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Praying Mantis

a large, powerful praying mantis, Kajiado, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

This large praying mantis should be capable of capturing large insects like moths, butterflies and bees.

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Praying Mantis

a small praying mantis, Kitale, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

The mantis has large eyes on a swivel-head and a pair of grasping legs held prayer-like. Adults of many kinds have wings. Voracious predators.

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Praying Mantis #2

a praying mantis, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

The mantis has large eyes on a swivel-head and a pair of grasping legs held prayer-like. Adults of many kinds have wings. Voracious predators.

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Praying Mantis #5

a slender, brown mantis, Baringo, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

This praying mantis was attracted to lights at night which could spell trouble for this predator's survival.

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Walking Stick

A walking stick, f. Phasmatidae, from Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Usually impossible to find until they are knocked from vegetation. This one has short antennae like Baculum.

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Walking Stick

A walking stick, f. Phasmatidae, from Kapenguria, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Usually impossible to find until they are knocked from vegetation. This one feeds and moves about at night and is also like Baculum.

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Stink Bug

a pentatomidae stink bug feeding on seeds of Lion's Ear. Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

The outline of the bug suggests a pentagon shape. Mouthparts are long and sharp for inserting down into plant tissue.

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Leaf-footed Bug

A mating pair of leaf-footed bugs from Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Most leaf-footed bugs have a leaf-like process on the third legs - this one is an exception. Many kinds that feed on plants.

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Lace Bug

a colony of lacebugs, f. tingidae. Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Small insects that usually live in groups on undersides of leaves. Some have lacy fringe on thorax. Host of this one is African Olive, Olea.

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Tree Hopper

Membracidae look like thorns. Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

What looks like a thorn on a plant turns out to be a hopping bug! Many species in wide array of colors and shapes.

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Felt Scale

A possible felt scale on an composite inflorescence from Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Clumsy, barely mobile bugs with a cottony border found on growing points of plants and usually with ant guards.

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Plant Hopper

A flatid plant hopper on a cucurbitaceae from Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Bright white velvety wings folded into tent. Hops when disturbed.

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Cabbage Aphid

A colony of Cabbage Aphids on the underside of Sukuma Wiki from Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Slow moving blue-green insects that form colonies on coles such as cabbage and mustard greens. Small, medium and larger bugs together sometimes with wings.

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Brown Lacewing

A brown lacewing with aphids on coles © Michael Plagens

Small, delicate insect with net-veined wings and a light brown coloration. Long filamentous antennae.

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Owlfly

An owlfly hides behind a stem of grass, Ascalaphidae, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Barely the eyes and the antennae are visible in this shot. Net-veins suggest a butterfly x dragonfly cross.

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Tiger Moth

A tiger moth, family arctiidae from Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Many tiger moths are brightly colored or are otherwise not camouflaged. Often distasteful or even toxic for birds to eat.

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Catocolinae Moth

An African Noctuidae moth from Eldoret, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

When this moth rests on a tree trunk it disappears from view by camouflage.

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Skipper Butterfly

A Skipper Butterfly from Kakamega Forest © Michael Plagens

Skippers have clubs at antennae tips but also a small hooked appendage off the club.

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Garden Commodore

Garden Commodore, Precis archesia, Nymphalidae., © Michael Plagens

Medium-sized butterfly with dark chocolate brown disc encircled by two shades of yellow-orange bands. Wingspan about 5 cm.

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Gaudy Commodore

Gaudy Commodore an African butterfly © Michael Plagens

Medium-sized butterfly marked with concentric blue, orange and white on a dark background.

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Common Leopard

Common Leopard an African butterfly © Michael Plagens

Wing span of about 5 cm of bright orange marked with black spots and filigree border. Common and widespread.

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Brush-footed Butterfly

a bright orange nymphalidae from Kakamega Forest © Michael Plagens

So far a precise identification of this butterfly eludes me. It might be Pseudargynnis.

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Pea Blue

Small Blue Butterfly, Lampides sp., © Michael Plagens

There are many kinds of blues mostly less than 25 mm across. Top is blue-gray and underside is a chevron pattern of gray and blue.

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Dotted Border

Dotted Border Butterfly, Mylothris sp., © Michael Plagens

White, yellow and orange butterflies with distinct black dots arrayed along the wing margins. Several species.

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Flower Chafer

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.

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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.

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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.

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Long-horn Beetle

Lamiinae Cerabycidae © Michael Plagens

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

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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.

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Leaf Beetle

Brightly colored chrysomelid beetle © Michael Plagens

Colorful, medium-sized beetles often seen chewing leaves.

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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.

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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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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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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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Braconid Wasp

Many, many species of braconidae © Michael Plagens

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

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Big-eyed Fly

jet black Bibionidae with huge eyes © Michael Plagens

The eyes are very large, filling the dorsum of the head. Enlarged pronotum. Observed at Kitale.

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Moth Fly

A Moth Fly, family Psychodidae, © Michael Plagens

These small flies look like tiny moths with feathery wings held flat when sitting. White spotting. Usually near wastewater drainage.

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Mystery Fly

what family does this fly belong to? Photo © Michael Plagens

This little fly, about 3mm, has some peculiar morphology that might clue a dipterist.

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Blow Fly

A blow fly, family Calliphoridae, © Michael Plagens

A marvelously iridescent fly of jade and gold. The larva, or maggot, lives in garbage or carrion. Such is the economy of Nature.

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Blow Fly #2

A different blow fly species, family Calliphoridae, © Michael Plagens

This one is deep cobalt blue. The larva, or maggot, lives in garbage or carrion, maybe of a different condition or type. Such is the variety in Nature.

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Wood Louse

A wood louse, Isopoda, from Iten, Kenya © Michael Plagens

An arthropod yes, but not an insect. Too many legs and does not have 3 main body segments. A terrestrial crustacean.

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Beach Crab

A Decapod Tunneling on the Beach at Malindi, photo © Michael Plagens

Most crustaceans like this crab live in marine environments and a large number are fresh water aquatic.

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Millipede

A spirostreptidae from Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

A threatened millipede contracts into a tight spiral. This large species is banded orange and chocolate.

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Glossy Millipede

A glossy black Millipede from Eldoret, Kenya © Michael Plagens

There are two pairs of legs on each of the many body segments. This specimen is about 80 mm long.

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Large Millipede

A very large Millipede from Kirinyaga, Kenya © Michael Plagens

This large milipede is from the southern slopes of Mt. Kenya and is also about 80 mm long.

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Land Snail

A Land Snail from Kitale, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

No, this is not an insect! But for now this terrestrial mollusk is indexed here.

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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 novice 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 errors I hope that you will let me know so that I can make corrections.