dino martins, mpala research centre, insects, research, research projects, conservation, entomology, butterflies, dragon flies
Mpala Live! viewers brought their questions and curiosity about all things Mpala to a live chat with Executive Director Dr. Dino Martins on September 27, 2016.
Dino is also a Kenyan entomologist and evolutionary biologist and a research assistant professor with the Turkana Basin Institute. He holds a PhD in Biology from Harvard University (2011), and a BA in Anthropology from Indiana University (1999). He works at the intersection of biodiversity, livelihoods, health and sustainable development with small-scale farmers and pastoralists across the Greater Horn of Africa region. In 2015 he won the Whitley Gold Award for his work with farmers and biodiversity conservation.
You can enjoy the archived version here thanks to our supporter and partner, Explore.org.
Fun facts about some of Mpala's tiniest, most beautiful and intriguing creatures:
1) Globe skimmer (Pantala flavescens): This species of dragonfly is the most widespread of all dragonflies, and has the longest migration of any insect. They fly more then 12,000 miles (20,000 km) from India to East Africa—including Mpala--and back.
2) Brown-veined whites (Belenois aurota): These butterflies have a tendency to migrate en masse, often passing right through cities in very large numbers.
3) Dancing jewel (Platycypha caligata): One of the most beautiful, distinctive and recognizable insects of East Africa. The brilliantly colored males “dance” in the sunlight to attract females: they hover in the air and flash their brilliant turquoise-blue abdomens while waving their red-and- white legs about.
4) Citrus swallowtail (Papilio demodocus) and African emigrant (Catopsilia florella): Familiar butterflies of the region, these can often be seen as they engage in “mud-puddling”. Male butterflies congregate in damp spots beside rivers to sip salts and nutrients from the mud, which may be passed to the females as a “nuptial gift” during mating