Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sunk cabbage

Hello, hello. This plant is called the "big ear", referring to a telephone booth. It could also be called "the butcher shop" because it eventually smells like rotten meat. Carrion plants are like that. They like to attract flies and insects normally found around smelly foods.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Longhorned beetles, continued

As Áurea and I walked towards the reception center at Bosque Santa Lúcia, we saw and heard a branch from one of the trees fall to the ground. "Another dead branch fell", Áurea said. "Nope, it was a live branch", I retorted. A long-horned beetle had just gnawed through a branch of a coração-negra tree (Chamecrista negrensis). As you can see in the attached image, the branch of the tree was quite large. I wonder how many hours it took the long-horned beetle to make the cut? I looked for some sign of the beetle, but to no avail. It probably stayed up in the tree on the other end of the limb. Nothing dumb about a beetle!

Predator and prey, continued

I nearly didn't see the predator, it was so small. Only after coming in close did I see the prey. Dinner guaranteed.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Caterpillar on the move

A lone caterpillar making its way across the forest floor.

Timbó, continued

Well, I can only speculate that the long-horned beetle(s) did know what they were doing when they "sawed" of that branch of the timbó vine, as reported on the last post. Saturday I discovered that the beetle(s) had removed four out of five branches of the plant. The one you see to the right is the only survivor and I wonder for how long. To the left you can see how neatly they "saw" the branches off. A handsaw couldn't have done better.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Timbó, continued

I wonder if the long-horned beetle knew what it was doing when it "sawed" off this branch of my timbó (Paullinia pinnata) vine. I've seen a lot of tree branches cut by the "carpenter beetle of the forest" but I've never seen one release so much resin as this one. Timbó is the original source of rotenone, a very strong industrial poison.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


This little spider seems to have found some sweets. The genus of the young tree is Miconia.

Fungi and butterfly

While walking around yesterday, I spotted another butterfly taken over by fungi. What strikes me odd is the position of the insect. I wonder why it would be stuck to the trunk of the tree? And I wonder why it's in a crucified position?

Another blooming orchid

This one is Epidendrum schomburgkii and it's been in full bloom for 2-3 weeks. It's native to Bosque Santa Lucia and the region. A real beauty!

Blooming orchid

These are some of the largest and heaviest flowers I've seen on orchids. I'm not very good at remembering names, but I think it's Catasetum galeritum. This picture was taken yesterday.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tarantula nest

Tarantulas abound in the tropics. Some live up in the trees and the ceilings of houses, but most make their home underground. Openings to their nests are partially camouflaged and it's from this hole that they hunt. They are quite quick to retreat into the nest when we pass by. They are also quite fast to catch prey passing their way.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pleased ...

When I took this picture of the butterfly I didn't see the red-headed, long-legged insect next to it. I assume it jumped into the picture just as I pushed the shutter button. Click on the image for an enlargement.


What appears to be a case of fungi parasitism, if that's the right term.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


I was driving out of the Fundação Esperança parking lot last week when I spotted this huge and beautiful iguana making its way across the sports quad. It's one of the largest I've ever seen here in the Amazon.