Life from death…

Life from death…



As many of you will have read and heard on this site – there’s been a serious drought in Kenya and this has lead to lots of cattle dying. Out here on the plains we finally got some rain, and this means that there is a lot of green grass and wildflowers sprouting everywhere.



The herds of cattle that have survived (mainly from accessing grazing in the park) can be seen moving around a bit more happily now.




There are also a lot of trees and shrubs flowering at the moment. Many of these are pollinated by flies.





Over the past few days I’ve noticed large numbers of flies visiting these flowers that are fly-pollinated. Species of plants with flowers that are open pollinated by flies tend to have greenish-yellow flowers with a musty scent and nectar.




One of the most abundant fly pollinators is known as the Big-Headed Fly (Lucilia sp.). This fly has a distinctive red head (actually the eyes). And there are literally thousands upon thousands of these flies now pollinating a variety of trees and shrubs on the plains.





The reason for the abundance of fly pollinators is due to the abundance of dead cows.




The flies lay their eggs in the carcasses where their larvae, the maggots, develop. In the process the flies help clean up the carcasses as they speed up their decomposition and break-down, and this also results in lots of flies to act as pollinators and as food for other creatures.





On the same bush the flies are pollinating I found this smug-looking little reed frog. Hmmm – I wonder why he looks so satisfied?




It is not only the flies that are benefitting from the surfeit of food. Several beetles that also visit flowers, like the lovely Rose Chafer shown below, breed in the deep piles of cow manure.





So from death and waste comes life again – thanks to the efficient re-cycling of Mother Nature! More from the wonderful world of bugs soon!

1 thought on “Life from death…”

  1. Great photos and write up, as usual!

    Imagine life without flies and other insects to clean up carcasses? So many people see flies as a menace, but it would be a horribly smelly world without them.


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