This particular Land Crab has the latin name Cardisoma carnifex and is one of the "Mangrove Crabs" of Kenya. Despite the latin name suggesting that these crabs are meat eaters they are primarily vegetarian (although they will eat meat if they come across it). They live in large burrows in the sand beneath the dwarf mangroves whose leaves form their primary diet.
You can read more about this, and other mangrove crabs at David Gillikin and Anouk Verheyden's site A field guide to Kenyan mangroves. Our thanks to David Gillikin for identifying this species for us.
Found on the Kenyan coast this butterfly is also known as the Danaaid Eggfly and has the scientific name Hypolimnas chrysippus. The males are very dark blue in colour with large white wing spots (as shown in the large photograph) however the females look very different and are bright orange. The females mimic another butterfly, Danaus chrysippus, because it has a foul taste and is left alone by many predators. The Diadem Butterfly is also found on a few Caribbean Islands and it is thought that they may have been introduced by slave traders.
This butterfly has the scientific name Eurema brigitta and was photographed in Maralal National Reserve. It is found in parts of the world outside Africa, including Australia and Asia.
This butterfly has the scientific name Salamis anarcardii was photographed in the Ngangao Forest. It is a rather delicate looking butterfly and it occurs only in Africa.
This butterfly has the scientific name Papilio desmondi teita and was photographed in the Taita Hills. Unlike the Small Grass Yellow (above) it doesn't occur outside Africa or even outside Kenya, in fact it is only found in the Taita Hills in Kenya! It is classed as being "near extinction" which means that in a few years there may be none of them left unless their forests are protected.
Our thanks to Brian Finch for providing the ids on these butterflies.
This spider is typical of the orb-weavers, which get their name from the large circular webs that they build. They belong to the family Tetragnathidae and the subfamily Nephilinae. The Golden Orbweb Spiders get their name from the colour of the web they spin. The webs of these spiders are strong and you can feel the resistance and tension in the webbing if you accidentally walk into it. The shape of the web changes with the spider's age, the older the spider the less complete the circle. The eggs are produced in egg sacs and one female spider can produce up to 4500 eggs in a single season!
They are not uncommon in woodlands and grasslands, and occasionally even make their way into people's gardens. They are harmless (to people) and always beautifully patterned and coloured as can be seen in the picture. Some species can live for up to year which is a long time for a spider out in the bush.
Our thanks to Dino Martins of Environment Liaison Centre International for the information on Golden Orbweb Spiders.
The Banded Groundling, Brachythemis leucosticta, is a very common dragonfly in many habitats in Kenya. If you go walking in its territory then it will follow you. It is particularly common in campsites and close to water. The picture we have shows the male Banded Groundling, the female is much duller and more yellow in colour. The brown patches on each of the 4 wings produce an interesting effect when you see them hovering. The rest of the wing is translucent and so it looks as though there are 4 brown blobs hovering next to a dragonfly body.
Our thanks to Itai Shanni for identifying the Banded Groundling and providing information about it.