Often unnoticed but present in their millions, insects are an invaluable link in the ecological food chain. Preyed upon by birds, mammals and other invertebrates, their own eating habits speed up the decomposition process of dead plants and animals; a process which in turn releases vital nutrients from the soil and fuels new growth.
Safari ants or ‘Siafu’
Streaming in thick, glossy bands through the forest and moorlands, these fearsomely large ants march in foraging armies, guarded on both flanks by aggressive large-pincered soldier ants. Little stands in their way.
Bright clouds of butterflies
There are over 1, 500 species of butterflies in East Africa, 860 of which occur in Kenya. The butterfly Capys meruensis is restricted to the Mt Kenya area.
Dung beetles, sacred scarab of ancient Egypt
Often encountered rolling along atop an immense ball of dung, this amusingly determined beetle is usually heading off in search of a hole in which to bury itself and the ball. There it will either lay eggs, or devour the dung. Known as the ‘sacred scarab’ it regularly featured as an adornment of the ancient Egyptians, who saw it as a manifestation of the sun god, Ra, rolling his ball of fire across the sky.
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