Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Watch out for that....Tree

The last morning of my time in Mindo there were outside activities planned. I opted for the jungle hike and zipline trip. It was my best jungle experience of the trip.

The hike followed the sendero between the ridgetop lodge and the river. I had been partway down the trail a couple of times already and new that it crossed some pretty nice secondary forest. There were lots of butterflies, especially a group of brown butterflies known as satyrids.

Satyrid butterflies courting

Pedaliodes peucestas, a huge South American genus of Satyrids
with dozens of confusingly similar species

Descending lower into the forest, the canopy became more dense. Beautiful clearwing butterflies were fairly frequent. At one point, we passed a branch that had fallen from the canopy. An epiphytic orchid in full bloom was thus brought into view. We passed several orchid species. At one point the trail crossed a small stream where a helicopter damselfly had set up territory.

A clearwing butterfly

Tropical orchid (Catteleya?) on a fallen branch
A bit of canopy visible on the jungle floor

Polythore gigantea

Further down the trail, somebody had placed a dam across a small stream creating a jungle pool. Pretty, but clearly artificial. The only thing that I saw in the pool were a couple of goldfish. We did se lots of leaf beetles on this part of the trip. They included some of the most specitaular beetles that I saw on the entire trip- with the exception of the giant dynastine beetle on rotten fruit at the beginning of the sendero.

The jungle pool

Leaf beetle

More leaf beetle (Platyphora)

Still more leaf beetle (Aspicela bourcieri)

Dynastine (Rhinoceros) beetle on banana

The trail passed a rope swing that someone had set up. The entire party took turns playing George of the Jungle. Mucho fun. Most of the party continues on to the zip lines. A few of us hung back, however. Nancy, Caspar, Laurie, Eddie and I took a detour on our own and waited 45 minutes for the rest of the party to return. It was a welcome diversion. The smaller group meant that we could see a lot more stuff. We had two genuine botanists in this group- Nancy is even a tropical botanist. We spent our time botanizing and insect watching. I learned a lot, including useful information like the identity of nature’s toilet paper. I can now proceed much more fearlessly on jungle forays.

Doug of the Jungle

A hawkmoth. The gorgeous hot-pink hindwings are just barely visible in this photo. 
(Adhemarius sexoculata)

Don't touch! This tussock moth larva has urticating (stinging) hairs

Even the leafhoppers were pretty on this walk

A metallic blue staphylinid beetle

Later, back at Rio Mindo, we saw a bunch more beautiful tropical butterflies. It was a great trip. Someday I’ll return to Mindo.

Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia corinna)

Quick, what's the square root of 7921? Diaethria neglecta has the answer.

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At 14:49, Blogger Homer said...

I hope you didn't use that caterpillar for toilet paper.

At 19:13, Anonymous rcwbiologist said...

Great shots. It's amazing how colorful most of the insects there are.

At 19:34, Blogger Lemuel said...

Those caterpillars are beautiful!

At 23:07, Blogger Ur-spo said...

marvelous photos, I liked the beetles the best
but Doug of the jungle is the best of the bunch.

At 05:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like it was an excellent trip all the way around. I do hope you get to return.


At 08:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do I get the prize?

I would be the first one to touch the stinging caterpillar. How cute!

Love all the pictures as always!

At 09:22, Anonymous Jyoti said...

The Daggerwing & 89 are AWESOME! Also love the hawkmoth and tussok moth. Great set of images.

At 13:35, Blogger Doug said...

It is simply amazing what you (i.e., you specifically) see in the jungle. You get so much more out of your trip than I ever would. Stunning photos.

At 09:42, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog. I will keep reading. Please take the time to visit my blog about Orchid Care

At 05:31, Blogger Floridacracker said...

What numbskull let goldfish loose in a stream? Arrrghh!

The rope swing sounds like a blast!

It's neat to see familiar types of insects in those amazing colors.

At 23:34, Blogger rodger said...

Late to the party but It's been crazy around here lately.

I can't believe you didn't try the zip-line but it's probably old hat to a seasoned jungle trekker like you. I'd love to accompany you on a return trip...you see everything I'd step on or over. Most likely on.

At 18:23, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Doug, that clear wing butterfly and this one at the bottom (diaethria sp.)are so beautiful!


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