I hope you enjoy taking a closer look at some of the things I find interesting.
- North America (155)
- South America (171)
- Amphibians (10)
- Frogs and Toads (10)
- Arachnids (41)
- Fungi (3)
- Insects (215)
- Ants, Bees, Wasps and Relatives (44)
- Barklice (1)
- Beetles (27)
- Butterflies and Moths (55)
- Cockroaches (2)
- Dragonflies (1)
- Earwigs (1)
- Flies (20)
- Grasshoppers and Relatives (9)
- Mantids (3)
- Net-winged Insects (7)
- Termites (5)
- Thrips (1)
- True Bugs (57)
- Walkingsticks (1)
- Webspinners (1)
- Mammals (2)
- Millipedes (1)
- Polyxenids (1)
- Plants (3)
- Reptiles (13)
- Velvet Worms (3)
- Amphibians (10)
This wandering spider in the family Ctenidae was spotted at the base of a large tree.
The large palps leave no doubt that this is a male.
The eye arrangement was my first clue to the family. They also have a deep groove along the mid-line of the carapace, called a fovea, just barely visible in these photos.
I wasn’t able to identify this one any further than family. It’s quite a large spider though. The body measured 25mm (~1″) and with legs it was around 80mm (~3″).
Some species of Ctenidae have a nasty reputation. Suspecting at the time that this was a Ctenid, I kept a respectful distance.
I thought it would be difficult to identify this skink, but it turns out there are only three skinks in Costa Rica. Only two of those occur in the area I was in. And only one, Mabuya unimarginata, is bronzed like this one.
Chiefly arboreal, this one was nonetheless basking on a log near the ground.
See more images of this species here.
I photographed this slender anole, Norops limifrons, not long after sunset. This species is common and abundant in Costa Rica. It ranges from Mexico to Panama.
According to Leenders, observations suggest that this species mates for life, a rare behavior for a lizard. Energy otherwise spent by the male on defending a territory against other males is instead spent on maintaining the relationship with the female. The male and female stick together, usually never more than a few meters apart.Â If I’d known this at the time, I’d have looked around for this one’s mate.
I thought this was perhaps an Eleutherodactylus species in the family Leptodactylidae. That determination was based mainly on the pads visible on the undersides of the hands and feet.
I asked Brian Kubicki for his opinion, and he said this is Craugastor polyptychus. That last link notes that this species was recently split fromÂ Eleutherodactylus bransfordii, so I guess was on the right track.
Looking around on the internet, it looks like the two species are separated by elevation, with this species occurring at lower elevations.
I have no idea what kind of moth this is, but I like its attempt to look very unlike a moth.
This true bug in the family Coreidae is probably Leptoscelis tricolor. It’s #5 on this plate from the electronic Biologia Centrali-Americana. It also matches these photos from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Bocas del Toro Species Database (Bocas del Toro is only 30 miles or so from where I took this photo). Finally, the Costa Rica Biodiversity Portal only shows two species for this genus. These photos from STRI eliminate the other species, Leptoscelis quadrisignata.
This coreid is commonly known as the heliconia bug simply because it’s often found feeding on heliconias.
What do you make of this exuvia? I found it just like this, sticking out of a large downed tree spanning a small creek.
Not sure if you can tell, but there’s a few small horns on the side and then one larger forked horn extending out from the bottom. Whatever left it squeezed out through a split on the top.
It measured 10mm in diameter, and there’s about 18mm extended out of the tree. I carefully pulled the rest out, and it measured 45mm long overall.
Even the rear end is somewhat bizarre looking.
Underneath that elaborate waxy shelter lies a planthopper nymph.
Both commenters on the last identification challenge correctly identified the critter above as a planthopper in the family Derbidae.
At a glance, you might mistake these hemipterans for lepidopterans. The first thing you might notice as being a bit off are those antennae. If you look closely enough, you’ll see the typical hemipteran rostrum.
Here’s another one, with what appears to be an abdominal injury.
I noticed a plant whose large leaves had been eaten right down to the leaf ribs. Curiously, portions near the tips had been folded over. I couldn’t resist opening one of those up.
The pupa shown above is what I found inside. The caterpillar’s last head capsule is still attached.Â The pupa is flipped in the photo above because I opened up the leaf. Normally it would be suspended inside by that thread.
For some reason, the head end of the pupa reminds me of a walrus’s head.
There were quite a few other folded-over leaves, but I was too late to find a caterpillar still fattening itself up.