This creature is the builder of death pits. The black holes of the ant world, or in fact that of any careless, hapless termite, moth, isopod, wasp. It is the antlion larvae Myrmeleon. I’m spending this entire week looking for aforementioned death pits in the tropical dry forest with my project group, Among a bunch of other fun things, we’ll be counting the number of and measuring the diameter of the pits.
All that means is that I get to hang around in dry tropical forest in the dry season - the best and most interesting season. That’s a very good thing.
Huge-ass orthopteran outside the classroom at Palo Verde. All sorts of bugs come to the light at night. I didn’t want to scare my roommates so I took some pictures and let it go.
An Ameiva lizard ran into the library today and darted under the bookshelves, its claws skidding on the tiled floor. After ten minutes it emerged, satisfied that there was no secret exit from the dusty underneath. It ran to the corner where sunlight streamed in through the glass, hoping for an opening but to no avail. I caught it with two hands and felt its face and little muscular body press apart my index and middle finger. It had library dust on its claws and felt more leathery and less scaly than I expected; blue tail joining its body in a gradient of fading blue to olive green. I released it outside, next to the Heliconia, it slithered away on its legs and was gone.
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl, all fluffed up and content. I’ve been busy getting used to the schedule of early morning breakfasts to 7pm lectures after field classes. It’s great, but it does drain you if you don’t pay attention. I do have a bunch of pictures and notes that will become good stories…soon.
We’re moving to Cuerici National Park in two days to experience the uniquely Neotropical, high altitude, páramo ecosystem (that was a mouthful) It will actually be cold. And there will be no internet. Peace out.
There’s a lot going on today … but did you also know it’s World Wetlands Day? Wetlands provide a multitude of ecological, economic, and social benefits. Learn more about why wetlands are so important: http://1.usa.gov/1cHEK6C
Photo: Coastal Wetlands at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Kelly Fike/USFWS)
Happy World Wetland Day!
This is a picture of another kind of click beetle…glowing in the dark. One of my classmates found it and all of us went quite ballistic when we realized that two spots on its thorax were glowing. It clicked for us, too. The bioluminescence is a ‘cold light’ created by the oxidation of a pigment called luciferin - the source of the glow in another family of beetles, the fireflies (Lampyridae). Though online sources say the base of the abdomen is aglow as well we did not think to look for it. We’ll find another one, just you wait.