Rainforest insects…

Here are some more interesting insects from Kakamega Forest in Western Kenya. Lirhanda Hill emerges from the green blanket of forest covered in lush grass and topped with gnarled protea bushes. kakamega-hillviewlr1.jpg  There are some beautiful large trees in the relatively undisturbed forest that clothes one flank of the hillside…kakamega-treelr3.jpg  Lots of different insects frequent the top of the hill. I found this colourful beetle living on a protea bush:beetle-protea-lr1.jpg  The hill is cloaked with lush grass, that is periodically cut back and used for thatching roofs. The insects living here are different from those in the forest. There are lots of beetles, like these chafers, who eat the grass pollen. As the female feeds, the male clambers on her back and mates with her. She continues feeding throughout the entire courtship and mating… scarab-mate-lr1.jpgscarab-mate-lr2.jpgThe road to the hill is a popular place for butterflies. Here are some of them mud-puddling. This behaviour is commonly engaged in by male butterflies. They are seeking dissolved salts and other minerals that seep from the edges of the puddles. In this case some colobus monkey dung provided an additional feast! On the left are some swallowtails and tiny blues and coppers, on the right are several large emperor butterflies, who are powerful canopy-dwellers who are only rarely tempted down to the ground by such delicacies…kakamega-mud-puddle-lr1.jpg   The butterflies spend a lot of time sipping at the puddles and damp dung. They sometimes have minor ‘scuffles’ and flick their wings at each other in irritation. But usually after a few minutes everyone settles down again to sipping salts…Here is a video clip of butterflies mud-puddling at Kakamega (this is my first attempt to post a video, so I hope this works!)[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/PCORyFQky1k” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /] 

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