KENYA REVISITED AGAIN
(May 2000) by Roy P. Taylor. (E-Mail:- email@example.com)
The end of May and beginning of June I was back in Kenya. What was there to be seen? It was very hot - upper 30C most days in the area around Voi. I saw a magnificent Papilio phorcas, several (mostly female), Catopsilia florella, Eurema hecabe, Danaus chrysippus, Vanessa cardui, several very small Lycaenids (probably Anthene sp.) and some Hesperids - three of which I identified, the Large Grizzled Skipper (Spialia dromus) and Dingy Skipper (Sarangesa phidyle) and a few Gegenes sp. I also saw several nondescript brown Noctuids. In the hills above Voi I saw two Acraea satis and several Precis hierta.
On the way to Taveta (very near to the Tanzanian border) we passed 40-50 Eronia leda and a few Eurema desjardinsi by a nearly dried up puddle in a rut made by a lorry. Several Lymantrid and Arctiid-type cocoons were found - but the moths had all emerged. Papilio dardanus and demodocus were much in evidence as were several Pierids - Mylothris chloris, Belenois thysa, Nepheronia argia and Colotis erone. D. chrysippus and V. cardui were once again in evidence. I also saw two Charaxis varanes, several Precis oenone and a few Byblia ilithyia and B. acheloia.
At Eldoret (North west Rift Valley) there was a lot to be seen - P. demodocus, C. florella, D. chrysippus, P. oenone, V. cardui and Anthene sp. Each day about lunchtime lots of Mylothris rhodope and sagala, Colotis hetaera, Pontia helice and Belenois zochalia appeared around several nectar-bearing flowers in the garden of the Kip Keino Children's Home. The Pontia and Beleonis always seemed to be heading Northwards at about 1.00pm. H. chrysippus was also to be seen. Several female Eicochrysops messapus were also flying around. I found a freshly emerged male Convolvulus Hawk resting on some roof rafters: its body colour was very similar to that of a Privet Hawk.
Several moths were to be seen early in the morning, mostly Thyratini - a female Teracotona rhodophea laid a great mass of eggs from which 100+ furry caterpillars emerged. I also found several male Metarctia sp. (probably lavicinata and lateritia) and a Clearwing - Eupterotidae sp. and several Noctuids and Carpets. I found a female Gonimbrasia ertli resting on a wall, but she had laid all her eggs. Whilst out walking I found four small pale green with yellow tubercules Saturnid larvae, feeding on an as yet unidentified bush. They appear to be Epiphora antinorii. A male and a female hatched from the two caterpillars that pupated but they failed to pair. I also found several of the Burnet Moth type larvae (wrongly identified by me as Limasodids in my last account), two of which have just emerged (one from the November visit and one from this) - they seem to be Saluinca sp. The other moth (from the red larva with yellow blotches on the back) that emerged was probably a Lamprochysa sp. One Tachnid fly and several Ichneumons have also emerged from the Saluinca cocoons. I found a very small P.demodocus larva feeding on a creeper and two Euproctis torrida larvae feeding on Sesbania, the larger of these was host to a bright yellow maggot which refused to pupate, the smaller turned out to be a male. There were no Acreas, Anthene sp., C. florella or D. chrysippus eggs or caterpillars to be found, although I examined the food plants very carefully. The wingless female Lymantrid moth I referred to in my last article turned out also to be one of the Thyratini - Automolis meteus.
I went to the Natural History Museum in Nairobi, but the insect section is being 'renovated' (I dread to think how long that will take!) and so I was unable to attempt identification of some of the moths. I am greatly indebted to Pat Haynes for helping me identify some of the above-mentioned moths. Who knows what I will find on my next visit in 2001?