Monday, June 09, 2008

Portals, continued

Summer time must be right around the corner. It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies and everybody and everything was scurrying around with an extra bounce. I even got across Lake Maria without having to float the car across. Smile. I was loaded with plants given to me by Sr. Dagaberto and his family on a visit to their orchid farm in Mararu yesterday. Cleuson broke away from his walkway construction to get everything planted and I took off on the lower trail to have another look at the tachi cauaçu tree pictured in the previous post. You'll remember that I had a question about the portals, which seemed to be sealed off from tachi ant movement. A closer look proved that to be the case. Nearly all of them were closed in a rustic cauterizing fashion. But there were lots of ants moving about, so they were using other entrances. Sure enough, on the other side of the tree, I found one of the gates to the castle. I didn't succeed in getting a good pictures, but you can see one of the little buggers coming out of the hole. I never touched the tree, but in act of taking pictures, I felt one bite into my right arm. In no time at all that area of skin turned a blushing red. These ants are known for their painful bites. I remember an entomologist from the Goeldi Museum in Belem once telling me that some people with rheumatism actually consider the bites to be a form of treatment. Hum.


ted c. macrae said...

Steven -- I remember getting bit by an ant on the Amazon side of Ecuador. A very large black ant - our guide had warned us about them and called them "congas". I had found a fallen tree and was crawling through it collecting woodboring beetles attracted to the dead wood, lost my concentration, and braced my arm against a branch. Instantly I felt a searing pain and looked down to see one of these guys latched onto my arm. I popped the little bugger into my kill jar, but for the next two days my arm hurt like the dickens and I suffered terrible flu-like symptoms. It didn't stop me from collecting (I don't think Moses could've stopped me from collecting), but I sure suffered for it.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Interesting story about the ants. I didn't know ants would bite.

Steven Alexander said...

@ Ted, I've had the experience of being bitten or stung by something invisible. Touch something like a gate and wham, knock you off your feet. I make it a habit to always (almost always) to look before touching anything. No, didn't see anything there! Smile.