I have been exploring the Kakamega Forest in Western Kenya over the last few days. The forest is sparkling with life after the heavy rains from earlier this month. It has been wonderful taking long quiet walks in the forest to look at insects and birds and ponder the meaning of life.
Here are a few of the weird and wonderful creatures that I came across…
Arriving at the forest in late afternoon, these gorgeous Blue-Headed Bee Eaters were sunning themselves after bathing in a rainforest pool:
A pair of Blue-Headed Bee Eaters
Bees and butterflies were visiting flowers along the trails in the forest.
Brown Pansy Butterfly
There were a lot of bees around, including this strange wasp-like bee (I think that it is a species of bee in the family Colletidae):
Wasp or Wasp-like Bee?
Predators also lay in wait on the flowers in the forest.
This Stingless Bee was one of the unlucky ones…
Plebeina Stingless Bee falls victim to a spider
Further down the path troop of monkeys crashed through the treetops leaving behind a ‘gift’ that immediately attracted some wonderful flies. One of the first contenders to appear was this striking Flesh Fly (Sarcophagidae)…
Flesh Fly feasts on fresh dung
The scent of the fresh dung wafted through the forest air drawing different kinds of flies close. A Black Scavenger Fly perched on a leaf nearby:
Black Scavenger Fly
While some came for the prospect of a meal, others were drawn to the area with different hopes. The female Black Scavenger Fly was soon joined by a smaller male on the same leaf. At first she ignored him, but he waved his wings with passion at her:
Black Scavenger Flies (male on top left)
No surprises as to what he tried to do next:
“Do you think I’m sexy?”
He met with some, albeit brief, success:
Black Scavenger Flies
The antics were watched by other flies, like this ‘Zebra Fly’ (actually a Root Maggot Fly), from nearby leaves:
“Zebra Fly” (Root Maggot Fly)
Further along the trail was one of the most incredible fly-mimics that live in this forest. Resting on a fallen tree trunk I spotted a large black ‘bee’, that turned out to be a rarely-encountered Mydas Fly!
The marvelous Mydas Fly
Mydas Flies are rarely see as adults as they live only a few days in this stage but spend most of their lives as larvae preying on other insect larvae. It is simply amazing that no matter how many times I walk through the rainforest, I always find something new and interesting.
I walked back down along a road through the forest and found this lovely Clear-wing Acraea Butterfly basking in the evening sunshine:
Clear-wing Acraea Butterfly
Here’s to a New Year filled with joy and wonder…
Remember to spend a few minutes in the company of insects and other creatures when you can!
On the summit of Lirandha Hill, Kakamega Forest
More from the wonderful world of bugs soon!