Butterflies of Kenya




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Published on Jan 31, 2009

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"Once again, John Banks pictures delight by their sheer beauty while his words describe the extraordinary and profound implications that butterflies can have for the expert" - Sir David Attenborough Scientific Award-winner at IWFF, Montana, 2005! Filmed in natural conditions, with additional material from the African Butterfly Research Institute, Nairobi. This film was selected to form part of the Kenya Governments contribution to Expo 2005, in Aichi, Japan. Africa in Miniature Because of its terrain and climate, Kenyas butterflies are a microcosm of the butterflies of the African Region. About a quarter of the continents 4000 butterfly species can be seen there. The film shows about 100 of them. The savannah is one of the glories of the African landscape, and a special feature of the African Region. Butterflies that flew when man first walked, probably on the African savannah, 4 million years ago, are still flying there today, and can be seen on the film. Asian-African: 10% of all African butterfly genera have connexions with Asia, witnesses of the time 30 million years ago when Asia and Africa were connected. Worldwide colonists: the tropics are populated by many butterflies that have colonised all or most of the tropical belt around the world. Africa is no exception. Living fossils: the film asks when the ancestors of some African butterflies might have flown. Scientists do not agree on the answer. Some will say 40 million years ago, others much longer ago, perhaps 100 million, when Gondwanaland was breaking up. The film shows some of the butterflies which appear to point to the earlier date. Complementing our West African film, Ghanas Other Gold the film shows butterflies from the famous Kakamega lowland rainforest in NE Kenya, and others in the unique coastal forests, north and south of Mombasa, which have had separate butterfly populations probably since the Miocene Era.


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