Prickly Dance in Color   6 comments


Felipe del Bosque Blog December 16th 2013

Felipe-del-Bosque

Summertime

There is no longer any doubt about the fact that we are in the dry season.  We are now receiving very little rain if any at all.  It won’t be long before the dry conditions stimulate the trees into flowering.  Some of the December blooms are already starting to appear.  The distinctive yellow blossoms of the Ajo Tree, (Caryocar costaricense), are beginning to fall and cover the forest paths in various areas.  Once the Ajo trees are flowering en masse, the scent of  garlic from which they derive their name can be smelled everywhere in the forest.

Towards the end of last week more and more clouds started to gather on the horizon until one morning the sun was blotted out and the rain fell continuously till lunchtime.  The afternoon remained very dark and gloomy.  In total the amount falling didn’t amount to much but it did serve to dampen anyone out walking in it.

Prickly Pig

The female White-lipped Peccary, (Tayassu pecari), still comes around every day in front of the restaurant, generally at breakfast and lunchtimes, to feed on the fallen palm fruits.  The much larger male has wandered further afield and I have been seeing him around the area at the entrance of the Zapatero Trail.

The Titi Trail is still alive with Collared Peccary, (Tayassu tajacu), activity.  There is a large herd that can be easily seen when walking the trail.  They are no longer inclined to move too far from the path when approached.  They don’t seem to mind human presence if they can see you coming.  If they are startled then they grunt, crack their teeth and trot off into the low growing vegetation.

All the usual mammals are around the grounds but this week on the Titi Trail the cameras caught on video a Tome’s Spiny Rat, (Proechimys semispinosus).  The spiny rats are caviomorph rodents in the Family: Echimyidae and are therefore more closely related to the agoutis and pacas than to the mice and rats most visitors are familiar with, (Family: Muridae).

Tome's-Spiny-Rat

The spines that give the rat its name lie flat in amongst the fur.  Tome’s Spiny Rats also have the ability to break the tail should that be the part of the body the predator grabs.  The tail does not regenerate so more often than not spiny rats are seen with short tails or none at all.

Blurring the Lines

While out last week conducting the butterfly counts my attention was captured by some movement in amongst the vegetation of a low growing shrub.  With closer scrutiny I could see a small bird, obviously a female, hopping between the branches and plucking the snow white fruits of one of the Psychotria sp one after the other, mashing them up in her bill and swallowing the pulp.  This was the drab green female Red-capped Manakin, (Ceratopipra mentalis).  Within a few seconds she was joined by a male who ostentatiously overcompensates for his plain partner.  The male is a small jet black bird with a bright red head and fluorescent yellow legs.  It is not easy to ignore his presence.

Red-capped-Manakin         Red-capped-Manakin         Red-capped-Manakin

The manakins in general are fruit-eating birds.  Normally in terms of sexual selection with birds the female with select which male she is going to mate with depending upon the quality and quantity of food a male presents to her during the courtship period so that she can see how good of a provider he is going to be.  Being fruit-eaters if the male were to present fruit to the female she would not be particularly impressed as she is surrounded by the stuff and so it is not so hard to find.

To show off the quality of their genetic viability the male manakins, like a lot of fruit-eating birds around the world, have evolved very flamboyant plumages and very elaborate dances.  They all gather together in a lek.  Each male sets up his own dance platform.  The females sit on the ground and watch the performance.  The dance of the mle Re-capped Manakin takes place on the horizontal branch coming from the side of a trunk.  His like a tiny Michael Jackson on amphetamine sulphate moonwalking at double quick speed.  He moves very quickly backwards along the branch and then stops and throws in a little bit of Flamenco.  He raises his wings which causes a loud repeated clacking sound.  The females watching this display choose the male with the best dance moves.  They give him the nod, he jumps down mates with her and then continues to dance.

Sometimes when you are walking through the forest you will see a male manakin dancing on his own.  There is no lek, there are no females.  It is the young ones practicing their moves because if he doesn’t get the steps right he won’t score with the girls.

Sun Dancers

The clouds of Green Urania moths, (Urania fulgens) that have been prevalent over the past month have now dwindled in number.  You can still see and odd one or two which take to the air when approached, flutter around and then alight once more on a sunlit leaf.

On the sunniest of days the butterflies can be seen flying on whichever trail you are walking.  Most of the butterflies are found at the top of the canopy.  At the forest edge, essentially that area where the canopy descends to the ground, the is the opportunity to see those species that would otherwise only be seen 100 feet above your head.  There are also patches of plants around the gardens that provide an attractive supply of nectar for the butterflies.  It is not uncommon to see many individuals of many species of many families feeding from the bright orange and yellow flowers of the Lantana, (Lantana camara).  Here you will find the gaudy primary colors of the Longwings which are so visibly obvious mixed with the more subtly colored satyrs and the occasional hairstreak.  But the dry season has only just started.  By the time we get to February there will be so many butterflies to dazzle the visitors with not only a visible treat but a stunning wealth of diversity.

Anartia-fatima         Dryas-iulia         Corticea-corticea

Heliconius-erato         Marpesia-berania         Dione-juno

Pareuptychia-ocirrhoe         Marpesia-berania         Vehilius-stictomenes

True Colors

As I mentioned above many of the trees will be starting to flower soon.  Some of them already have.  There are a lot of plants around the grounds that flower year round, for this reason they are used as decorative ornamentals.  Not all of the plants in the grounds are native to Costa Rica, the gardens boast a variety of exotics from all corners of the tropical world.  Within both the native and non-native species there has been a great deal of selective breeding going on to produce hybrids that have more colorful and showy blooms than their natural counterparts.  Some of them have been manipulated to produce strangely shaped vegetative or flowering parts.

The Canna Lily, (Canna spp), is found in the flower beds bordering some of the paths in the tropical garden.  This is one of those ubiquitous hybrids found growing in gardens the length and breadth of  Costa Rica.  Its fancy flower with brown speckled yellow petals provides year round color to any flower border.

Canna-Lily

At the bottom of the tropical garden, in the vicinity of the pond there is currently a riot of red.  The Poro tree, (Erythrina lanceolata), is currently in full bloom.  The very distinctive clusters of shocking red scimitar-shaped flowers are held at the tip of the long slender branches.  Once the blooms have been pollinated then long reddish tinged pendulous pods housing the beans are produced.  The Poro trees are currently bearing both flowers and beans.  If you want to see hummingbirds this would be the place to go as there are a variety of species visiting the flowers.

Poro

Erythrina-lanceolata

Sometimes the fruit of a tree can be just as diagnostic as its flowers.  As many of the trees bloom at the top of the canopy it is not always easy to see the flowers.  There a several nutmeg producing trees in the forests of Bosque del Cabo.  They don’t have the same aroma or flavor of the Indonesian nutmegs, (Myristica fragrans) which we use it our kitchens but they do belong to the same family: Myrisicaceae.  The nutmegs of Bosque all belong to the genus: Virola.  There are lots of Virola species and each has one has a slightly different looking fruit.  The one that has been fruiting recently is Virola sebifera.  This produces clusters of green fruits which when they ripen then split apart to reveal the seed, the nutmeg.  This is surrounded by a bright red membrane called the aril.

Birds have acute color vision and the bright red color of the aril attracts the attention of fruit-eating birds like the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, (Ramphastos swainsonii).  The aril is very tasty and very nutritious.  Once the toucan has digested the aril it is left with a gut full of big heavy nutmegs which is not conducive to flight so they regurgitate them hence dispersing the seeds.

Virola-sebifera

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 0.03 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 0.19 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 0.69 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 4.85 mm

Highest Daily Temp 88°F.  Lowest Daily Temp 75°F.

Highest Daily Temp 31.2°C.  Lowest Daily Temp 25.1°C.

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Mantled Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Capuchin Monkeys
  • Greater White-lined Bat
  • Tent-making Bat
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Agouti
  • Tome’s Spiny Rat
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Collared Peccary
  • White-lipped Peccary

Birds

  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Crested Guan
  • Great Curassow
  • Crested Caracara
  • Laughing Falcon
  • Yellow-headed Caracara
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Northern Barred Woodcreeper
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Rufus Piha
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Rufus-tailed Hummingbird
  • Stripe-throated Hermit
  • Blue-crowned Manakin
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Grey-headed Tanager
  • Summer Tanager
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher
  • Golden-crowned Spadebill
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Riverside Wren
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Great Tinamou
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

  • Barred Ameiva
  • Basilisk
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Four-lined Ameiva
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Litter Skink
  • Mediterranean House Gecko
  • Terciopelo

Amphibians

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Marine Toad
  • Milky Frog
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Rough-skinned Dirt Frog
  • Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog
  • Stejneger’s Dirt Frog

Butterflies

  • Adelpha cytherea
  • Anartia fatima
  • Anartia jatrophae
  • Antirrhea philoctetes
  • Archeaoprepona demophon
  • Battus polydamus
  • Corticea corticea
  • Dryas iulia
  • Eurema albula
  • Eueides aliphera
  • Eueides lybia
  • Eurema albula
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius hecale
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapo
  • Heraclides cresphontes
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Pareuptychia ocirrhoe
  • Parides erithalion
  • Philaethria dido
  • Phoebis agarithe
  • Phoebis argante
  • Phoebis sennae
  • Pierella helvina
  • Pierella luna
  • Pyrisitia nise
  • Pyrgus oileus
  • Pyrrhogyra crameri
  • Siproeta stictomenes
  • Urbanus tanna
  • Vehilius stictomenes

Plants

  • Anthurium salvinii Flowering and Fruiting
  • Alpinia purpurata Flowering
  • Allamandra cathartica Flowering
  • Apeiba tibourbou Flowering
  • Aphelandra golfodulcensis Flowering
  • Arachis pintoi Flowering
  • Aristolochia gaudoti Flowering
  • Arundina graminifolia Flowering
  • Attalea rostrata Fruiting
  • Baltimora recta Flowering
  • Brownea macrophylla Flowering
  • Brunfelsia grandiflora Flowering
  • Calathea marantafolia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Cananga odorata Flowering
  • Canna x generalis Flowering
  • Cascabella thevetia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Chrysobalanus icaco Flowering and Fruiting
  • Citrus spp Flowering and Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering and Fruiting
  • Clusia vallerii Flowering
  • Cocos nucifera Flowering and Fruiting
  • Costus osae Flowering
  • Costus speciosus Flowering
  • Couroupita guianensis Flowering
  • Cresentia alata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Crotolaria retusa Flowering and Fruiting
  • Emilia fosbergii Flowering and Fruiting
  • Etlingera elatior Flowering
  • Ficus citrifolia Fruiting
  • Ficus insipida Fruiting
  • Guatteria amplifolia Flowering
  • Hedychium coronarium Flowering
  • Heliconia chartacea Flowering
  • Heliconius clinophylla Flowering and Fruiting
  • Heliconia latispatha Flowering
  • Heliconia longiflora Flowering
  • Heliconia pogonantha Flowering
  • Heliconia psittacorum Flowering
  • Heliconia rostrata Flowering
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Flowering
  • Hymenaea coubaril Fruiting
  • Ixora coccinea Flowering
  • Lantana camara Flowering and Flowering
  • Mimosa pudica Flowering
  • Morinda citrifolia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Musa acuminata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Pandanus sp Fruiting
  • Pleiostachya pruinosa Flowering
  • Plumeria rubra Flowering
  • Rhynchospora nervosa Flowering
  • Solanum aturense Flowering
  • Stachytarpheta sp Flowering
  • Thunbergia erecta Flowering
  • Tocoyena pittieri Fruiting
  • Virola guatemalensis Fruiting
  • Virola sebifera Fruiting
  • Zingiber spectabile Flowering

 

 

Golden Brown   Leave a comment


Felipe del Bosque Blog December 2nd 2013

Felipe_del_bosque

Dry Times

This week has been consistently dry and sunny with only the slightest of rain falling at night.  If these conditions continue then it won’t be long before the trees start to flower.  We should then start to see an increase in particularly of insect numbers.  There is already the beginnings in cicada sound.  By January and February the sound will be deafening.

Not The Usual Suspect

While out on my weekly butterfly count last week I saw a small pale colored butterfly flitting slowly through the forest close to the ground.  I was pretty sure I knew what it was but there was something that was allowing a small amount of doubt to creep in.  The butterfly had settled on a leaf some distance away from the trail and amongst a tangle of vegetation the disturbance of which I am positive would have sent the creature to flight once more.  Fortunately I had a 300mm lens on the camera so I could get a shot of the butterfly for identification purposes.  Once I returned, download the image and cropped it to a reasonable size then my suspicions were confirmed.  The butterfly was Euptychia insolata and this was not a species I had recorded at Bosque before.

Euptychia_insolata

Not long before the above sighting I had just finished photographing another satyr, Cissia confusa.  Many of the butterflies found flying around the grounds of Bosque are very brightly colored to the point of garish.  You cannot fail to notice a host of different species of Longwing butterflies that can be seen flitting from flower to flower on the Lantana bush a short walk from the restaurant.  They produce a non-stop moving picture show of reds, oranges, yellows and black.  Flying along the forest paths are the spectacular and dazzling morphos.  Their brilliant iridescent blues flash in the gloomy understory of the forest like an azul strobe.

Cissia_confusa

The satyrs on the other hand are much more subtle.  The soft pastel shades of brown, tan and muted oranges serve to render them indistinquable from the leaves on the forest floor.  My preference is for the warm browns rather than the hot reds.

Little Blue

There is a small herbaceous plant that grows around Bosque that, although it doesn’t attract as many butterflies as the Lantana, is still visited by a variety of species, namely the skippers.  This is the Porterweed, Staphytarpheta frantzii.  The small lavender blue flowers are borne on green spike.  It likes more open sunny areas in which to grow.

Staphytarpheta_frantzii

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 0.06 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 0.43 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 1.56 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 10.92 mm

Highest Daily Temp 93°F.  Lowest Daily Temp 74°F.

Highest Daily Temp 34.6°C.  Lowest Daily Temp 23.5°C.

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Central American Squirrel Monkey
  • Mantled Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Capuchin Monkeys
  • Common Tent- making Bat
  • Common Opossum
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Agouti
  • Alfaro’s Pygmy Squirrel
  • Red-tailed Squirrel
  • Kinkajou
  • Northern Raccoon
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Collared Peccary
  • White-lipped Peccary

Birds

  • Mealy Amazon
  • Orange-chinned Parakeet
  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Crested Guan
  • Great Curassow
  • Crested Caracara
  • Laughing Falcon
  • Roadside Hawk
  • Yellow-headed Caracara
  • Golden-naped Woodpecker
  • Lineated Woodpecker
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Blue-crowned Motmot
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Grey-chested Dove
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Purple-crowned Fairy
  • Stripe-throated Hermit
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Fiery-billed Aracari
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
  • Green Honeycreeper
  • Summer Tanager
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher
  • Golden-crowned Spadebill
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Riverside Wren
  • Masked Tityra
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Great Tinamou
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

  • Basilisk
  • Barred Ameiva
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Central American Smooth Gecko
  • Central American Whiptail
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Common Anolis
  • Four-lined Ameiva
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Litter Skink
  • Mediterranean House Gecko
  • Salmon-bellied Racer
  • Terciopelo

Amphibians

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Golfo Dulce Poison Arrow Frog
  • Masked Smilisca
  • Marine Toad
  • Milky Frog
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Rough-skinned Dirt Frog
  • Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog
  • Stejneger’s Dirt Frog

Butterflies

  • Adelpha cytherea
  • Anartia fatima
  • Anartia jatrophae
  • Antirrhea philoctetes
  • Archaeoprepona demophon
  • Astraptes fulgerator
  • Chloreuptychia arnaca
  • Cithaeria pireta
  • Dryas iulia
  • Eueides aliphera
  • Eueides lybia
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius hecale
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapo
  • Heraclides cresphontes
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Hypna clytemnestra
  • Junonia evarete
  • Laparus doris
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Nascus paullinieae
  • Opsiphanes tamarindi
  • Parides erithalion
  • Philaethria dido
  • Phoebis argante
  • Phoebis sennae
  • Pierella helvina
  • Pierella luna
  • Pyrgus oileus
  • Pyrisitia nise
  • Pyrrhogyra crameri
  • Siproeta stelenes
  • Taygetis andromeda

Plants

  • Anthurium salvinii Flowering and Fruiting
  • Alpinia purpurata Flowering
  • Allamandra cathartica Flowering
  • Apeiba tibourbou Flowering
  • Arachis pintoi Flowering
  • Arundina graminifolia Flowering
  • Attalea rostrata Fruiting
  • Bauhinia variegata Flowering
  • Brassovola nodosa Flowering
  • Brownea macrophylla Flowering
  • Brunfelsia grandiflora Flowering
  • Cascabella thevetia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Citrus spp Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering and Fruiting
  • Cocos nucifera Flowering and Fruiting
  • Costus osae Flowering
  • Costus speciosus Flowering
  • Couroupita guianensis Fruiting
  • Cresentia alata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Etlingera elatior Flowering
  • Ficus citrifolia Fruiting
  • Ficus insipida Fruiting
  • Hedychium coronarium Flowering
  • Heliconia chartacea Flowering
  • Heliconius clinophylla Flowering and Fruiting
  • Heliconia latispatha Flowering
  • Heliconia longiflora Flowering
  • Heliconia pogonantha Flowering
  • Heliconia psittacorum Flowering
  • Heliconia rostrata Flowering
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Flowering
  • Hymenaea coubaril Fruiting
  • Ixora coccinea Flowering
  • Lantana camara Flowering and Flowering
  • Morinda citrifolia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Musa acuminata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Pandanus sp Fruiting
  • Pleiostachya pruinosa Flowering
  • Plumeria rubra Flowering
  • Rhynchospora nervosa Flowering
  • Spondias mombin Flowering
  • Stachytarpheta sp Flowering
  • Thunbergia erecta Flowering
  • Thunbergia fragrans Flowering
  • Tocoyena pittieri Fruiting
  • Zingiber spectabile Flowering

 

 

Wildlife Capital of Costa Rica   3 comments


Felipe del Bosque Blog November 25th 2013

title copy

Dry Times

It could well be the the transition is occurring.  This week began with a little rain and eventually that became less and less.  The sun was shining most days and with clear blue skies to make sure the butterflies were active.

This week I have instigated the butterfly and amphibian counts again. The project that I had been collecting data for over many years needs finishing.  Many years ago I started monitoring the dynamics of both butterfly and amphibian populations.  These were being measured against temperature and precipitation figures respectively to try and evaluate as to whether the climate of the area might be changing and if it is what affect that may have on the flora and fauna of a tropical season forest such as exists at Bosque del Cabo.

Three is the Magic Number

There have been several exciting sightings at Bosque del Cabo this week.  While conducting my butterfly counts I found a Baird’s Tapir, (Tapirus bairdii), print in the soft earth near where the trail exits onto the main driveway.  The print was very obvious due to its large size and distinctive three leaf shaped toes.  The tapir is an odd-toed ungulate an order of mammals, (Perissodactyla), that also includes horses and rhinoceroses.  There have been several records of tapirs passing through the bosque property over the years but as to where they came from or where they were going is currently unknown.

If you have been following the blog you will be aware of the fact that some months ago a small herd of White-lipped Peccaries, (Tayassu pecari), appeared in the grounds of Bosque del Cabo.  Every day they would do their rounds passing in front of the restaurant just after lunch before making their way through the mango orchard.  They could also be seen and most smelled out on the trails in close proximity to the lodge.  Progressively though the numbers dwindled.  As with the tapir we are not sure how they made it here but we were certainly glad to see them as they are normally an indicator of more pristine forest conditions.

White-lipped Peccary

Now there are two, a male and a female, who have taking a liking to the garden area in front of the restaurant.  Every day they are seen feasting on the fallen fruits of the palm trees, a variety of species which are producing small red fruits at the moment.  If approached he loudly clacks his teeth, his long shaggy hair stands on end and he runs off grunting in irritated disapproval of being disturbed.  The female is a little more relaxed and tolerates close approaches before trotting off a short way before commencing feeding.  This is one of those enigmatic animals that people hike for days through Corcovado National Park with a vain hope of seeing, along with the tapir.  Here they are in the grounds of Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge for all to see while eating their breakfast.

The reason that Bosque has acquired the reputation as the wildlife capital of Costa Rica is that the 800 acres of grounds has a huge selection of habitats within which reside a phenomenal amount of biodiversity that is not too difficult to experience.  This week a three of our guests, Courtney, Che and Jermaine arrived from Texas and Los Angeles.  The first question they asked was “where can we see a Puma”.  I related a tale of a wildlife photographer who had photographed a Puma on the steps of the cabin in which they were staying.  That particular scenario was unlikely to repeat itself.  But the next day just after breakfast one of the Che was walking across the lawn and came face to face with a beautiful female Puma that was walking between cabins Congo and Mariposa.  He returned to the lodge to inform the other two guys who immediately headed over to the area where the cat had been seen, cameras in hand.  There was the Puma lying in the shade, completely indifferent to the presence of those trying to capture its image.  Many thanks to Courtney Bennett for allowing us to use the photo.

Puma

Changing Scales

There are several species of anolis lizards to be seen around the grounds of Bosque del Cabo.  Some are literally everywhere, in the buildings, in the gardens and in the forest.  The most common is the Golfo Dulce Anolis, (Norops polylepis) which is small but quite often noticed due to the males extending the bright orange flap of skin under the chin which is known as the dewlap.  A slightly smaller anolis is the Common Anolis, (Norops limifrons).  It may be a  delicate looking lizard but nonetheless is very robust in defending its territory.  The males of this species have a small snow white dewlap.  If a rival male enters its territory it will bob its head up and down furiously and then chase the potential invader away.

Norops limifrons

While the forest trails remain damp then some of the amphibian species can be seen during the day.  The Black and Green Poison Arrow Frogs can still be found in numbers on the trails by the restaurant.  On some of the longer forest trails if you watch down by your feet you will see tiny frogs of which there are several species.  These are the dirt frogs.  There are two commonly found species, Stejneger’s Dirt Frog, (Craugastor stejnegerianus) and the Rough-skinned Dirt Frog, (Craugastor rugosus).

Stejneger's Dirt Frog

The dirt frogs and the related rain frogs are totally terrestrial frogs, they don’t return to the water to reproduce.  The male and female pair up, the female lays around 10-30 large yolk-filled eggs which the male fertilizes.  The whole process of development takes place within the egg so there is no free-swimming tadpole stage.  After 7 or 8 weeks a tiny copy of the adult emerges from the egg.

Something Old, Something New

The clouds of Green Urania Moths continue to increase in number on a daily basis.  Wherever you walk numbers beyond counting take to the air.  At eye level the metallic green bars on the velvet black wings glint and shimmer as they fly from shade to sunlight and back again.  Look up above your head into the sky at tree level and you will see endless black silhouettes lazily drifting to and fro.

The continuous sunshine is bringing more and more butterflies out.  The brightly colored Heliconiids or longwing butterflies gaudily dressed in contrasting primary colors of red, orange and yellow can be seen rapidly fluttering from flower to flower.  The shocking electric blue of the Morphos easily catches the eye as they drift down forest rides and stream beds.  In the adult stage the morphos feeding on fallen and fermenting fruit.  If you should find, for example, a lot of figs that have dropped from the tree tops and are covering the ground, you will invariably find several individuals of Morpho menelaus and Morpho helenor imbibing the liquid fruit cocktail.  If they scatter upon your approach they will merely circle and alight again in the same position.

Morpho_helenor_FDB0003 copy

The morphos aren’t the only butterfly to indulge in this sylvian liquor.  Some of the satyrs will join them.  The satyrs are normally brown butterflies with wing patterns that create the illusion of dead leaves.  To this effect they fly close to the forest floor which means when they land their image is absorbed into the background and they essentially disappear from in front of the eye.  Two species seen seasonally throughout the year are Pierella luna and Pierella helvina.

Pierella luna

Metamophosis

This year I have decided to take up the data collection again regarding the project I had started some years ago.  For many years I had been monitoring butterfly and amphibian populations and trying to correlate dynamic changes in their abundance against the prevailing weather conditions in an attempt to evaluate if there is a recordable change in the climate how is it affecting the flora and fauna of a tropical lowland seasonal forest.  I started up the counts again last week.  The butterfly count takes place every Wednesday along the course of a 5 kilometer transect which is divided up into 15 habitat sub zones and is conducted once in the morning and again in the afternoon.

After observing and identifying butterflies for so long I know when I am seeing a species I have not previously recorded.  So it was last week.  A small brown object flitted from up in front of me and landed on the underside of a leaf of a low growing plant.  It would, of course, be in the muddiest part of the trail.  I sank to my knees in a in puddle of brown gooey mud and tried to lower the camera to a point where I could see the specimen which fortunately was sitting still.  I took a shot to get the all important image then slowly eased the tripod forward, shuffling along on my knees.  I progressively managed to get closer and closer each time clicking the shutter.  Due to the low aspect, dark conditions and shooting up into the light the best of the images wasn’t that brilliant but at least it gave me something to work with.

Nascus paulliniae

The butterfly could be recognized as a skipper which in themselves can be notoriously difficult to identify.  The Family is Hesperidae and this was a spreadwing skipper of the Subfamily: Pyrginae.  Now comes the difficult part, genus and species.  Not having the butterfly in my hand I have to rely on photographic comparisons in reference books.  There are lots of skippers and so many of them look the same with only minute differences in coloration or markings.  Eventually I settled on the identity of  this one being the Least Scarlet-eye, (Nascus paulliniae).  That is another new record for the lodge.

Another skipper that turned up amongst the more brightly colored butterflies at the Lantana was a Perching Saliana, (Saliana esperi).  These are small delicate looking butterflies with handsome two-tone wings.  The leading front half of the underside of the hindwing has a rich cream color with a diffuse curved border blending into the soft warm brown of the trailing half.

Saliana esperi

Trampled Underfoot

Every day I while walking around the trials or the gardens I make notes of everything I see and hear which leads to the production of the species lists below.  These are all casual observations, there is no scientific methodology as there is with the above project.  You tend to encounter the larger, louder, brighter and more obvious species more than those that don’t advertise themselves as readily.  To that end I went out to photograph some of the plants that we have around the grounds that most people would walk by and not even notice.

When it is fruiting the Monkey-comb Tree, (Apeiba tibourbou) produces the very distinctive spiny globular fruits that many people make comment upon when they find them on the forest floor.  This time of year all you will find are the old spineless shells.  But you know the new fruits will soon be appearing as the trees are bearing flowers.  The petals are a bright yellow with very hairy sepals.

Apeiba tibourbou         Crotalaria retusa         Gallinita

Another yellow flower is that borne by the Gallinita, (Crotalaria retusa). It is very reminiscent of the Lupins found in English country gardens and in fact belongs to the same family: Fabaceae.  This is normally a plant you would find in open sunny situations.  The pods look like small fat peapods.

There are several purple flowered plants in bloom around the grounds at the minute.  Brunfelsia grandiflora is a small shrubby bush native to South America that is planted in gardens throughout Costa Rica.  When they open the flowers are at first purple but these then fade and eventually end up as white.  It flowers all year long which is why it is a garden favorite.

Finally there are the sedges and grasses which are very difficult to identify to species level unless you can find a good key.  The only one that I photographed that was easy happened to be a sedge with distinct white bases to the bracts which give it the name Little Star, (Rhynchospora nervosa).

Unidentified Sedge         Rhynchospora nervosa         Unidentified Sedge

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

 

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 0.48 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 3.38 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 12.3 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 85.9 mm

Highest Daily Temp 92°F.  Lowest Daily Temp 74°F.

Highest Daily Temp 33.3°C.  Lowest Daily Temp 23.1°C.

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Central American Squirrel Monkey
  • Mantled Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Capuchin Monkeys
  • Common Tent- making Bat
  • Common Opossum
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Agouti
  • Alfaro’s Pygmy Squirrel
  • Northern Raccoon
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Collared Peccary
  • White-lipped Peccary
  • Baird’s Tapir
  • Puma

 

Birds

 

  • Mealy Amazon
  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Great Curassow
  • Roadside Hawk
  • Yellow-headed Caracara
  • Golden-naped Woodpecker
  • Lineated Woodpecker
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Stripe-throated Hermit
  • Blue-crowned Manakin
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Fiery-billed Aracari
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Green Honeycreeper
  • Summer Tanager
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher
  • Golden-crowned Spadebill
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Great Tinamou
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

 

Reptiles

 

  • Basilisk
  • Barred Ameiva
  • Boa Constrictor
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Central American Smooth Gecko
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Common Anolis
  • Four-lined Ameiva
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Litter Skink
  • Mediterranean House Gecko

 

Amphibians

 

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Golfo Dulce Poison Arrow Frog
  • Masked Smilisca
  • Marine Toad
  • Milky Frog
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Rough-skinned Dirt Frog
  • Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog
  • Stejneger’s Dirt Frog
  • Tink Frog

 

Butterflies

 

 

  • Adelpha cytherea
  • Anartia fatima
  • Anartia jatrophae
  • Antirrhea philoctetes
  • Archaeoprepona demophon
  • Astraptes fulgerator
  • Chloreuptychia arnaca
  • Cithaeria pireta
  • Dryas iulia
  • Eueides aliphera
  • Eueides lybia
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius hecale
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapo
  • Heraclides cresphontes
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Hypna clytemnestra
  • Junonia evarete
  • Laparus doris
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Nascus paullinieae
  • Opsiphanes tamarindi
  • Parides erithalion
  • Philaethria dido
  • Phoebis argante
  • Phoebis sennae
  • Pierella helvina
  • Pierella luna
  • Pyrgus oileus
  • Pyrisitia nise
  • Pyrrhogyra crameri
  • Siproeta stelenes
  • Taygetis andromeda

 

Plants

 

  • Anthurium salvinii Flowering and Fruiting
  • Alpinia purpurata Flowering
  • Allamandra cathartica Flowering
  • Apeiba tibourbou Flowering
  • Arachis pintoi Flowering
  • Arundina graminifolia Flowering
  • Attalea rostrata Fruiting
  • Bauhinia variegata Flowering
  • Brassovola nodosa Flowering
  • Brownea macrophylla Flowering
  • Brunfelsia grandiflora Flowering
  • Cascabella thevetia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Citrus spp Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering and Fruiting
  • Cocos nucifera Flowering and Fruiting
  • Costus osae Flowering
  • Costus speciosus Flowering
  • Couroupita guianensis Fruiting
  • Cresentia alata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Etlingera elatior Flowering
  • Ficus citrifolia Fruiting
  • Ficus insipida Fruiting
  • Hedychium coronarium Flowering
  • Heliconia chartacea Flowering
  • Heliconius clinophylla Flowering and Fruiting
  • Heliconia latispatha Flowering
  • Heliconia longiflora Flowering
  • Heliconia pogonantha Flowering
  • Heliconia psittacorum Flowering
  • Heliconia rostrata Flowering
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Flowering
  • Hymenaea coubaril Fruiting
  • Ixora coccinea Flowering
  • Lantana camara Flowering and Flowering
  • Morinda citrifolia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Musa acuminata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Pandanus sp Fruiting
  • Pleiostachya pruinosa Flowering
  • Plumeria rubra Flowering
  • Rhynchospora nervosa Flowering
  • Spondias mombin Flowering
  • Stachytarpheta sp Flowering
  • Thunbergia erecta Flowering
  • Thunbergia fragrans Flowering
  • Tocoyena pittieri Fruiting
  • Zingiber spectabile Flowering

 

 

Hovering Over Sensitive Changes   Leave a comment


Felipe del Bosque Blog November 18th 2013

title copy

Trying Times

This week started as the last week ended with lots of rain.  Previously the rain had been falling at night but over the first few day of this week it started pouring day and night.  Then a profound change occurred the sun came out and continued to return every morning to give us three days of beautiful dry conditions.

The transitional period between wet and dry season certainly make predictions difficult.  Many aspects of plant and animal behavior rely on abiotic  or environmental cues.  Once we move into the dry season those changes will stimulate many of the plants to flower.  Consequently there will be a lot of hummingbird, bat and insect activity around the nectar producing blooms.  But as yet we are waiting for that change to occur.

Present and Correct

It has been quite a quiet week as far as mammal sightings are concerned.  All the four species of monkey were spotted at many points around the grounds.  Agoutis, (Dasyprocta punctata), can be seen on a daily basis near the Bosque restaurant.  One was seen with a baby this week.  Red-tailed Squirrels, (Sciurus granatensis), can be seen around the open areas of the lodge while Alfaro’s Pygmy Squirrel, (Microsciurus alfari), can be found without too much searching in the forest.  These plain brown, sparse tailed, small chipmunk sized squirrels hop around at low levels of the forest and more often than not will cling head down on the side of a tree trunk and chatter ferociously at you.

Sing For Your Supper

The migrant birds, many of which are tanagers and warblers are still arriving.  Summer Tanagers, (Piranga rubra), have set themselves territories in the gardens in front of the restaurant.  Here they are joined by Cherrie’s Tanagers, (Ramphocelus costaricensus), males with their bright scarlet rumps being followed by harems of orange-brown females.  Up in the branches of the trees are noisy flocks of Golden-hooded Tanagers, (Tangara larvata).

The army ant swarms continue their relentless marches through the forest at several locations on the property.  They attract a lot of attendant bird life, many species of woodcreeper, trogons and of course the ever present Grey-headed Tanagers, (Eucometis penicillata).

Flying in the Face of Confusion

The migratory Green Urania, (Urania fulgens), moths are continuing to build in numbers.  Butterfly numbers increase when the sun is shining but it will be several months before they hit their peak.  Around the pond the dragonflies are starting to be seen more frequently, the bright blues and reds of these agile aerial hunters dart to and fro before settling momentarily of a leaf.  Their heads turn this way and that, the acute vision with which they are gifted allows them to see predator, prey, mates and rivals, the presence of which causes the observer to react very quickly.  Predators they avoid, prey they will catch, mates and rivals they will chase.

Within the darker confines of the forest flies an insect that both mesmerizes and inspires awe in those seeing it for the first time.  Damselflies would be considered by most as being the smaller, more delicate relatives of the dragonflies.  Here in the forests surrounding Bosque del Cabo  flies the largest damselfly on the planet, the Helicopter Damselfly, (Megaloprepus caerulatus).

Megaloprepus caerulatus

The first words used by guests upon returning from the forest where they have witnessed this spectacular creature for the first time are “I saw something flying like a helicopter”, or there were two large insects flying round each other.

The body is long and needle-shaped.with a broad tip.  The wings are heavily veined and made of thin transparent tissue like clear cellophane.  As the creature flies the wings catch the light and glint in the sun.  But the confusing part about what is being seen is in no small part due to the bluey-black and silver-tips to the end of all four wings.  When in flight they give the impression that the wings are moving in the same fashion as the rotor blades of a helicopter, hence the name.

The Helicopter Damselflies are spider-eating specialists.  They have the ability to fly vertically up and down as well as horizontally in and out which you will see them do in front of a series of spider webs.  When they find the silk spinner, they grab it in their legs, reverse backwards, nip of the head and legs then proceed to devour the softer body parts.

It is not uncommon to see the Helicopter Damselflies along the trails but it is not the easiest insect to photograph.  When at rest they fold their wings back and over the body.  This is your opportunity as it was mine.  There is a smaller species, Mecisogaster ornata, which is also frequently seen and has yellow tips to the wings.

Little Flower

This week I decided to take a look at and photograph some of the plants that grow next to the roadside and are so often ignored.  They are there every day and most flower continuously year round but everyone just walks by and doesn’t notice.  But if you sink to your knees and go down to their level then you will see that they are just as pretty as the large showy blooms sported by many of the shrubs and trees..

One low growing herbaceous plant with deep green foliage offsetting its tiny yellow flowers is the Florecilla, (Baltimora recta).  It belongs in the daisy family (Asteraceae).  Another plant is the same family is the Dandelion, (Emilia fosbergii).  It is not a plant native to the Americas, its origins belong in the Old World, but now its delicate pink and purple flowers can be seen decorating any sunny roadside throughout the country.

Baltimora recta         Emilia fosbergii         Sida rhombifolia

There are several sprawling ground huggers to be found everywhere on the Bosque verges.  One has small yellow cup shaped flowers, Escobilla, (Sida rhombifolia).  This plant is found all over the planet in tropical and subtropical open areas.  Being so common you would think it would be familiar to a lot of people but probably only the discerning botanist would notice it.  In many situations growing beside the Escobilla is a plant with small pink pom-poms as flowers.  It is not the flowers that normally catch the attention with this plant but rather the leaves.  When touched, the leaves instantly fold up and the stem droops.  The reason for this is not entirely understood but there are several theories.  It could be to escaped grazers but I can’t see why a folded leaf would not be consumed over an open leaf.  When it rains the pounding of the droplets may damage the leaf so again it folds.  Finally at night the leaves close.  This may aid in reducing transpiration but once more in the evening when the temperature drops, the relative humidity of the air increases so I am not sure about that one either.  Nonetheless it certainly remains a feature that in particular fascinates children.

Mimosa pudica

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 0.37 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 2.61 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 9.50 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 66.3 mm

Highest Daily Temp 89°F.  Lowest Daily Temp 74°F.

Highest Daily Temp 32.2°C.  Lowest Daily Temp 23.7°C.

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Central American Squirrel Monkey
  • Mantled Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Capuchin Monkey
  • Common Tent-making Bat
  • Central American Woolly Opossum
  • Agouti
  • Red-tailed Squirrel
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Collared Peccary

Birds

  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Great Curassow
  • Black Hawk
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-back Antbird
  • Common Paureque
  • Lineated Woodpecker
  • Pale-Billed Woodpecker
  • Blue-crowned Motmot
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Purple-crowned Fairy
  • Stripe-throated Hermit
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Streak-headed Woodcreeper
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
  • Fiery-billed Aracari
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Summer Tanager
  • White-shouldered Tanager
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher
  • Golden-crowned Spadebill
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Great Tinamou
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

  • Basilisk
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Central American Smooth Gecko
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Common Anolis
  • Four-lined Ameiva
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Mediterranean House Gecko
  • Terciopelo

Amphibians

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Masked Smilisca
  • Marine Toad
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog
  • Stejneger’s Dirt Frog
  • Tink Frog

Butterflies

  • Anartia fatima
  • Anartia jatrophae
  • Cithaeria pireta
  • Dione juno
  • Dryas iulia
  • Eueides aliphera
  • Eueides lybia
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapho
  • Heraclides cresphontes
  • Junonia evarete
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Parides erithalion
  • Perophthalma lassus
  • Pierella luna
  • Pyrgus oileus
  • Pyrisitia nise
  • Saliana esperi
  • Urbanus simplicius

Plants

  • Acmella oppositifolia Flowering
  • Allamandra cathartica Flowering
  • Alpinia purpurata Flowering
  • Anthurium salvinii Flowering
  • Apeiba tibourbou Flowering and Fruiting
  • Aphelandra golfodulcensis Flowering
  • Arachis pintoi Flowering
  • Arundina graminifolia Flowering
  • Attalea rostrata Fruiting
  • Baltimora recta Flowering
  • Bauhinia variegata Flowering
  • Brunfelsia grandiflora Flowering
  • Calathea marantifolia Flowering
  • Cananga odorata Flowering
  • Canna sp Flowering
  • Cascabella thevetia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Castilla tunu Flowering
  • Chrysobalanus icaco Fruiting
  • Citrus spp Flowering and Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering and Fruiting
  • Clusia valerii Flowering
  • Cocos nucifera Flowering and Fruiting
  • Costus speciosus Flowering
  • Couroupita guianensis Fruiting
  • Cresentia alata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Crotalaria retusa Flowering
  • Cyclanthus bipartitus Flowering
  • Emilia fosbergii Flowering
  • Etlingera elatior Flowering
  • Guaterria amplifolia Fruiting
  • Hedychium coronarium Flowering
  • Heisteria accuminata Fruiting
  • Heliconia chartacea Flowering
  • Heliconius clinophylla Flowering and Fruiting
  • Heliconia latispatha Flowering
  • Heliconia longiflora Flowering
  • Heliconia pogonantha Flowering
  • Heliconia psittacorum Flowering
  • Heliconia rostrata Flowering
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Flowering
  • Hymenaea coubaril Fruiting
  • Ixora coccinea Flowering
  • Lantana camara Flowering and Flowering
  • Mimosa pudica Flowering
  • Morinda citrifolia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Musa acuminata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Pandanus sp Fruiting
  • Piper hispidum Flowering and Fruiting
  • Pleiostachya pruinosa Flowering
  • Plumeria rubra Flowering
  • Psychotria solitudinum Fruiting
  • Sida rhombifolia Flowering
  • Spathodea campanulata Flowering
  • Spondias mombin Flowering
  • Stachytarpheta sp Flowering
  • Thunbergia erecta Flowering
  • Thunbergia fragrans Flowering
  • Tocoyena pittieri Fruiting
  • Virola sebifera Fruiting
  • Zingiber spectabile Flowering

Elevating Green Numbers   2 comments


Felipe del Bosque Blog November 11th 2013

title copy

Dry Times

October is normally the wettest month of the year at Bosque del Cabo.  There are not many visitors to the lodge and the grounds tend to be sodden.  It is a good time to take a vacation.  It is always interesting to return after a month away as many changes may have occurred that may not have been noticeable on a daily basis but with a gap of 30 days or more are immediately apparent.  The amazing rate of vegetative growth is not least amongst these changes.  Over the course of a month plants can produce a tremendous amount of new tissue.  That which was a neatly trimmed garden will have become an overgrown entwined mass of green stems, vines and creepers in ones absence.  But not to worry as vegetative mess generally equates to greater species diversity of both flora and fauna.

It is not just the open spaces that have seen a surge in vegetative growth, the ponds that have been untended for a month became choked with Water Hyacinth, (Eichhornia crassipes), and Water Lettuce.  It did not take long to remove the floating mass of choking foliage and open up a little free surface water.  This in turn encourages the dragonflies to spend more time around the pond which they use as a feeding and reproducing area.

October may have been drier than usual but November has started wet.  To begin with the rain was falling overnight but progressively through the week the rains became more intense and prolonged to the point where we started to receive downpours that continued for 24 hour periods. The creek running through the grounds of Bosque del Cabo which supplies water to the lodge has water running but is at a lower level than it should be.  With a bit of luck if the rains continue then within a short space of time the volume flowing will be as it should before the dry season begins.

Spotting a Cat

The cameras on the Titi Trail had been left to continually record animal activity on the trail while I was away.  I knew upon my return I would have a lot of material to work through.  The first task would be to change the memory cards in the cameras, download the videos to the laptop and then take a quick look at each one to see if there was anything special and also delete the blanks.

The first scan through over 300 separate videos revealed some exciting footage with an Ocelot, (Leopardus pardalis) caught several times at different locations on the trail.  The remaining footage was largely made up of Agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata), White-nosed Coatis, (Nasua narica), and Collared Peccaries, (Tayassu tajacu).  These three species seem  to be prevalent and active most of the time, both day and night along this particular trail.  But occasionally something else is captured, there is a lot of other wildlife here.  Over the past month there were Red-tailed Squirrels, (Sciurus granatensis), Striped Hog-nosed Skunk, (Conepatus semistriatus), Pacas, (Agouti paca), Tamandua, (Tamandua mexicana), and Nine-banded Armadillo, (Dasypus novemcinctus), walking by the cameras as well as the large ground living birds, the Great Tinamou, (Tinamus major), and the Great Curassow, (Crax rubra).

The Ocelot is caught more frequently now on the trail at night.  Anyone who has been watching the daily video updates from the Titi Trail will realize that there is no shortage of food up there for cats of most sizes.  The one thing that the cats have to watch out for is the heavy presence of Collared Peccaries which are more than capable of aggressively defending themselves.

In general the peccaries would be way out of the Ocelots league in terms of prey size although they have been known to take an occasional individual.  Rodents are the more likely preferred prey item.  Unlike many other cats which stalk their prey, the Ocelot tends to patrol and pounce on anything that crosses its path.  Studies have shown that their feeding strategy is moonlight depended.  They are more hunt away from the trails over the course of a full moon as the rodents, although active, shun open areas on moonlit nights to avoid the attention of owls, (or Ocelots) in places lit up by moonshine.

A New Song

One of the most noticeable changes after returning following a period away this time of year is the fact that the migrant birds will have started to return.  The first bird I expect to hear is the Summer Tanager, (Piranga rubra), and sure enough on the second day back I could its distinctive call close to my cabin early in the morning.  I caught a fleeting glimpse of a Prothonotary Warbler, (Protonotaria citrea), its unmistakable vivid yellow plumage contrasting with the green foliage in front of the restaurant.

Many of the palm species around the Bosque restaurant are currently fruiting in profusion which is supplying a copious and readily available food supply for the Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, (Ramphastos swainsonii).  They are present in large noisy flocks which makes for an easy subject for any photographers visiting the lodge.  The Golden-naped Woodpeckers, (Melanerpes chrysauchen), have also been taking advantage of the fact that the fruit is attracting insects which they fly in and pick off.

Golden-naped Woodpecker

On several occasions over the past week the Army Ants, (Eciton spp), have been on the move.  When in the feeding phase of their cyclic behavior their insatiable ravenous hordes move through the forest in vast numbers in a wave of death that is the final doom of any small creature unable to get out of their way quickly enough.  The location of these terrestrial killer swarms is normally announced by the presence of so many excited birds which pick off those creatures fortunate enough to avoid the ants but not so lucky to end up as a tit bit for an avian poacher.  Not least amongst these are the woodcreepers which are arrive on the scene in sizeable numbers of different species.  One of the species I found at one swarm this week was the Long-tailed Woodcreeper, (Deconychura longicauda), which is by no means common.  Woodcreepers typically fly to the base of a tree trunk and then make their way up before flying down to the base of another.  In this instance they were just waiting for scattered insect prey to land in front of them.

Green Invasion

The relatively dry conditions prevalent in October made for a pleasant surprise upon my return.  The butterflies were out in larger than normal numbers for his time of year.  The gardens have been particularly full of the brightly colored longwings.  Flying among them there have been several nymphalids and pierids while in the forest it has been possible to see a small variety of satyrs.  The Lantana camara bush flowers continually throughout the year and provides a constant nectar source for the butterflies.

Anartia fatima         Dione_juno_FDB_6516 copy         Philaethria dido

Eueides aliphera         Pompeius pompeius         Eueides aliphera

Yet another obvious difference that has occurred over a month away is that an invasion of stunningly colored black and metallic green day flying moths, the Green Urania, (Urania fulgens), has taken place.  Wherever you walk around the grounds of Bosque at the moment you will find clouds of these elegant moths fluttering at all levels like green tin foil confetti.  They will be flying overhead in the gardens or light gaps in the forest canopy.  The slightest disturbance will have them take off from their resting spots, they flit and spiral up, flutter and circle back down then land on the leaves bathed in sunlight, initially head up but then turn 180º to face down.  If you wait a moment until they settle then with patience you should be able to get a photograph.  Many people return to the lodge, head up into the library and endeavor to find the identity of such a fabulously colored winged jewel in the guide to butterflies of Costa Rica only to be flummoxed by the lack of its inclusion.  The reason is simple the creature is a moth.

Urania_fulgens         Green Urania         Urania fulgens

The Green Urania is a migratory moth.  The moth migration is driven by the larval foodplant, Omphalea Vine which is a particularly abundant on the Osa Peninsula growing in large patches at the top of trees.  When the moths move into an area to reproduce, the eggs are laid on the vine leaves.  When the larvae hatch the stress on the plant resulting from having a huge number of gregarious moth caterpillars devouring its leaves is to produce defensive toxins.    Over the course of three generations, when the larvae pupate and the third generation of adult moths emerge the toxins will have become so concentrated that they cannot feed on the vines in that area.  The female moths can discriminate between the toxic and non toxic vine leaves.  They consequently have to migrate to an area where they have not visited for some time and so the vines are once again palatable.  These migrations pass up and down throughout Central America over the course of several years.  Right now it is the turn of the Osa Peninsula to host these beautiful scintillatingly iridescent insects.

Green Urania

Stilt Walker

While returning from a walk to photograph one of the vines I noticed a small spider-like animal sitting in the fork of a tree fairly low down.  The animal in question originally had eight legs but some of them were missing so we know it is an arachnid.  The legs are exceptionally long in comparison with the small oval body that they support.  This is one of the Harvestmen, (Order: Opiliones).  Many visitors to the lodge repeat the same story that these are the most venomous creatures on the planet but the mouthparts are too small to inject the venom through human skin.  In point of fact Opilionids do not possess venom glands.  They also lack silk glands but do possess odiferous glands which in some species create a stench that is vile to anyone with a half decent sense of smell.

Harvestman

Although most people know what a Harvestmen or Daddy Long Legs looks like they are largely overlooked which is a shame as there are somewhat more than 6400 globally distributed species which vary in shape, size and color.  As with many other forms of animal life the greatest expression of diversity is found in the humid tropics.

The legs of most Opilionids are the most striking and distinctive feature although I hasten to add that there are many species that do not possess outrageously long limbs.  Quite often each pair of the eight legs is different lengths.  The second pair of legs do tend to be long and are used in a way not dissimilar to antennae as sensory apparatus.  The legs can be easily shed off if the harvestman is caught but they do not have the ability to regenerate lost legs.

Opilionids are omnivores and can quite often be seen scavenging on dead animals.  They will also take fruit, vegetative material and fungi.  Those species inclined to a more carnivorous diet are generally nocturnal ambush predators taking small invertebrate prey that have reasonably thin exoskeletons.  There are those that play a very dangerous game as kleptoparasites, stealing the freshly caught prey of spiders.  As they don’t have venom glands the prey is eaten alive, being torn up by the chelicerae.

Unlike many arachnids the harvestmen can be quite social with large numbers of unrelated individuals of the same species being found in groups.  This may be a defensive measure to reduce the chances of any one individual being lost to a predator.  A peculiar habit found within these large groups is the response upon being disturbed to bounce rapidly up and down.  There is a body of opinion that suggests the rapidly moving body becomes a blur thereby lessening the accuracy of a deadly attack by a predator.

Blooming Color

It was not just the butterflies bringing color to the unseasonably dry gardens and forests of Bosque del Cabo, there have been a lot of flowers in bloom too.  Just looking out from the deck of the Bosque restaurant and letting your eye sweep the garden there will be a blaze of color greeting you.  Some of the plants are large and showy with bright gaudy flowers while others are more subtle.

Aphelandra golfodulcensis         Erythrina gibbosa         Etlingera elatior

The heliconias are very noticeable plants with their abundant displays of red, orange or yellow flowers.  The colors are designed to attract hummingbirds which are the main pollinators of many heliconia species.  They can be found growing in large groups at most points around the garden and along the pathways.

More plants with bright red flowers are the gingers and the related costas.  You will find clusters of low growing Beehive Ginger, (Zingiber spectabile), Red Ginger, (Alpinia purpurata), and the Torch Gingers, (Etlingera elatior), scattered all around the grounds.  The bright showy red flowers of the Hibiscus, (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) are also to be seen at every twist and turn on the garden paths.

At the other end of the spectrum you can find small bushes of King’s Mantle, (Thunbergia erecta), around the edges of the gardens and on the paths leading to the cabins.  The flowers look like those of Morning Glory but they are not related.  Like so many other plants growing in the grounds of Bosque this is a non-native species, its origins being in West Africa.

Thunbergia erecta         Psychotria solitudinum         Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Once you enter within the forest you will find the monotony of green is regularly punctuated by the occasional flash of red.  At the moment there are two plants that immediately catch the eye, Aphelandra golfodulcensis which is endemic to the south west of Costa Rica and the very distictive Poro, (Erythrina gibbosa).  Slightly less obvious is the deep purple fruit of the Cafecillo, (Psychotria solitudinum).

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

 

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 1.04 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 7.272.82 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 26.4 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 184.6 mm

Highest Daily Temp 90°F.  Lowest Daily Temp 73°F.

Highest Daily Temp 32.5°C.  Lowest Daily Temp 22.8°C.

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Mantled Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Capuchin Monkeys
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Agouti
  • Alfaro’s Pygmy Squirrel
  • Common Tent-making Bat
  • Kinkajou
  • Northern Raccoon
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Collared Peccary
  • White-lipped Peccary

 

Birds

 

  • Mealy Amazons
  • Red-lored Amazons
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Great Curassow
  • Great Black Hawk
  • Roadside Hawk
  • Yellow-headed Caracara
  • Golden-naped Woodpecker
  • Lineated Woodpecker
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Dusky Antbird
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Purple-crowned Fairy
  • Rufus-tailed Hummingbird
  • Blue-crowned Manakin
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Fiery-billed Aracari
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Long-tailed Woodcreeper
  • Ruddy Woodcreeper
  • Tawny-winged Woodcreeper
  • Golden-hooded Tanager
  • Green Honeycreeper
  • Palm Tanager
  • Summer Tanager
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher
  • Golden-crowned Spadebill
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Violaceous Trogon
  • Great Tinamou
  • Little Tinamou
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

 

Reptiles

 

  • Barred Ameiva
  • Four-lined Ameiva
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Central American Smooth Gecko
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Common Basilisk
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Green Iguana
  • Litter Skink
  • Mediterranean House Gecko
  • Terciopelo

 

Amphibians

 

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Golfo Dulce Poison Arrow Frog
  • Masked Smilisca
  • Marine Toad
  • Parachuting Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog
  • Stejneger’s Dirt Frog

 

Butterflies

 

 

  • Anartia fatima
  • Anartia jatrophae
  • Archaeoprepona demophon
  • Astraptes fulgerator
  • Caligo eurilochus
  • Calycopis isobeon
  • Dione juno
  • Dryas iulia
  • Eueides aliphera
  • Eueides lybia
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius hecale
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapo
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Heraclides cresphontes
  • Magneuptychia libye
  • Mechanitis polymnia
  • Mesosemia zonalis
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Pareuptychia ocirrhoe
  • Philaethria dido
  • Phoebis agarithe
  • Phoebis argante
  • Pierlla helvina
  • Pierella luna
  • Pompeius pompeius
  • Pyrgus oileus
  • Pyrrhogyra crameri
  • Quadrus cerialis
  • Urbanus tanna

 

Plants

 

  • Anthurium schlechtendalii Flowering
  • Alpinia purpurata Flowering
  • Allamandra cathartica Flowering
  • Apeiba tibourbou Flowering
  • Aphelandra golfodulcensis Flowering
  • Arachis pintoi Flowering
  • Arundina graminifolia Flowering
  • Attalea rostrata Fruiting
  • Bauhinia variegata Flowering
  • Brownea macrophylla Flowering
  • Brunfelsia grandiflora Flowering
  • Calathea marantifolia Flowering
  • Canna sp Flowering
  • Cascabella thevetia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Castilla tunu Flowering
  • Citrus spp Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering and Fruiting
  • Clusia vallerii Flowering
  • Cocos nucifera Flowering and Fruiting
  • Costus laevis Flowering
  • Costus speciosus Flowering
  • Couroupita guianensis Fruiting
  • Cresentia alata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Cyclanthus bipartitus Flowering
  • Erythrina gibbosa Flowering
  • Etlingera elatior Flowering
  • Fius citrifolia Fruiting
  • Ficus inspida Fruiting
  • Guaterria amplifolia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Genipa americanum Flowering
  • Hedychium coronarium Flowering
  • Heisteria accuminata Fruiting
  • Heliconia chartacea Flowering
  • Heliconius clinophylla Flowering and Fruiting
  • Heliconia latispatha Flowering
  • Heliconia longiflora Flowering
  • Heliconia pogonantha Flowering
  • Heliconia psittacorum Flowering
  • Heliconia rostrata Flowering
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Flowering
  • Hymenaea coubaril Fruiting
  • Ixora coccinea Flowering
  • Lacmellea panamensis Fruiting
  • Lantana camara Flowering and Flowering
  • Morinda citrifolia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Musa acuminata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Naucleopsis ulei Fruiting
  • Ochroma pyramidale Flowering
  • Pandanus sp Fruiting
  • Piper hispidum Flowering and Fruiting
  • Piper nigrum Fruiting
  • Pleiostachya pruinosa Flowering
  • Plumeria rubra Flowering
  • Psychotria solitudinum Fruiting
  • Spathodea campanulata Flowering
  • Spondias mombin Flowering
  • Stachytarpheta sp Flowering
  • Thunbergia erecta Flowering
  • Thunbergia fragrans Flowering
  • Tocoyena pittieri Fruiting
  • Virola sebifera Fruiting
  • Zingiber spectabile Flowering

 

 

I’ll Be Back in The Evening   3 comments


La Tarde, Osa Peninsula, September 2013

 title copy

A Path Well Travelled

It had been exactly one year since I last visited La Tarde with my friend and fellow biologist Mike Boston.  Last year’s visit had resulted in a day trip to La Tarde included in the list of excursions offered by Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge.  A certain percentage of the visitors to Bosque have an interest in the reptiles and amphibians of the area.  Bosque has a rich herpetofauna which can be experienced without too much searching.  But one thing that becomes apparent is that once you start to search further afield you will find that there seems to be pockets of isolated populations of certain species in different locations.  It might well be that you get a species of frog which occurs in large numbers in one locality and then there may be a gap of several miles or more before you encounter another population of the same species.  The reason for my first trip to La Tarde, apart from the excellent reviews I was hearing, was that the area contained a diversity of amphibian and reptile species not found at Bosque.  On my visit a year ago I was not disappointed.  But there were one or two things that I had taken photos of where the resulting images had not been great.

La_Tarde_FDB_6348 copy

So last week the weather had been perfect each day with clear blue skies and warming sun.  Each night experienced a little rain just to keep things damp and the creeks flowing.  The lodge was quiet so it seemed like an opportunity was being offered that shouldn’t be ignored.  I phoned Mike and he too seemed keen to go, despite the fact that he already spends a lot of time there.  With camera equipment packed and rubber boots at the ready off we went in the hope of capturing the images that eluded me one year earlier.

Nature Boys

It has been said before but it bears repeating that Mike and I have been friends for a long time, 37 years in fact.  We met within the first few days of starting university and found we had the same interests and passions in life, the foremost of which was natural sciences in general and herpetology in particular.  Mike had been raised in the tropics and always dreamt of returning.  I had never been but the concept of going and living in a tropical rainforest with its inherent high biodiversiy is one that continually played on my mind.  It should therefore come as no surprise that nearly 40 years after our first meeting and for the past 13 years we have lived only a few miles apart on one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Mike has been taking guided tours into the National Park for the past 15 years.  He has a reputation as one the most respected and knowledgeable guides on the peninsula.  He should be, he has spent the majority of his life studying tropical ecosystems.  He has many more feathers in his cap though.  A certain proportion of his work is tropical field studies with High School students as well as undergraduates from North America and Europe.  He has worked as a consultant in the production of many television documentaries for companies all around the world.

Change of Plan

Several years ago, rather than take people on day trips into the National Park where time and wildlife viewing were limited he changed his itinerary and started to visit La Tarde instead.  Mike has always been keen on helping to develop local small sustainable business ventures.  He feels it is important to help the people of the area to make a living from tourism without overly exploiting the area.  La Tarde was started as an ecotourism project by Eduardo Castro, a man who had formerly farmed the area but lost most of his livestock to the larger predators that live here.  Rather than fight the situation, hunting and killing the large cats, he decided to go with the natural course of events and bring in people to see just how wonderful the rich diversity of his land was.  Being such a short distance from the main town on the peninsula, Puerto Jimenez, and with stunning views as you rise up into the hills above Corcovado National Park it became the natural destination of choice for Mike and subsequently for many of the other guides in the area.

A Venomous Beginning

We arrived for a late breakfast and as we sat chatting, readying ourselves for a walk through the forest, the sky turned from bright blue to dark grey and then black.  We though it prudent of hang on for a while to see what would transpire.  In front of the restaurant area, there is a valley.  It seemed like all of that darkness sank down into the valley.  We could hear the torrential rain pummeling the vegetation below our dry vantage point.  It descended deeper and further down the valley then within 15 minutes it had rained itself out, all that was left were a few wisps of cloud that floated in the air, dissipated and disappeared.  We were good to go.

Bothriechis schlegelii

We were going to start easy.  Last year in the vegetation by the side of the restaurant there resided a small bright yellow Oropel, (Bothriechis schlegelii), the Eyelash Viper.  This snake comes in an unbelievable variety of color forms.  Today in a bush close to the ground were two more individuals but both sporting totally different base colors and patterns.  In this phase the Eyelash Viper is known as the Bocaraca.  They were both small.  The smaller of the two had a rich reddy brown base with darker brown blotches.  The other was an overall greeny blue with orange patches and rings edged in black.  They sat motionless as I set up the camera and took the shots.  Female Eyelash Vipers give birth to live young and the offspring can exhibit any one of the color variations and patterns.

Bothriechis_schlegelli_FDB_6292 copy

Eyelash Vipers are arboreal and can be found everywhere from low down to higher up in the vegetation.  They tend to be nocturnal in habits which is probably why these ones were not inclined to move.  The cryptic coloration camouflages them perfectly against the background trunks and branches of trees so they hunt by ambush.  Any unsuspecting small lizard, frog, rodent, bat or bird stimulates the snake to strike.  As they live in trees they have to hold on to the prey so that the quick acting venom doesn’t result in it falling dead to the ground as a lost meal.  It is not always easy to find Eyelash Vipers so to have two in the first few minutes of the day out was something of a luxury, especially in color variations I had not seen before.

Bocaraca

Why Eyelash Vipers?  Above each eye are two distinctive raised scales.  It is not known why they have these adornments but one theory suggests it helps keep vegetation scraping against the eye as the snake makes its way through its leafy environment.

The Poison Path

With that momentary distraction over Mike and I headed off down the trail.  In the section of path before you enter the forest you transect a Granuliferous Poison Arrow Frog, (Dendrobates granuliferus), communal territory.  Mike drew my attention to their sporadic calls, a high pitched cricket-like buzz, and it wasn’t long before he had located one.  This particular individual was rather nervous and kept disappearing under the dead leaves covering the fallen log upon which it was sitting.  The height was perfect for a photograph but every time I moved the camera it would disappear again.  When it finally did emerge into the open it was sitting with its body in half bright sun and half dark shade, the contrasting conditions of which made it hard to get a well exposed shot.  I took one but then it turned its back so I took another and then it jumped off the log and was gone.

Dendrobates granuliferus

The Poison Arrow Frogs are named after the toxic skin secretions that they possess and were widely thought to be used by the native peoples of Central and South America to coat darts and arrows which would then be fired into prey mammals such as monkeys.  You might expect that the toxins used by Poison Arrow Frogs would be fairly uniform in chemical composition and physiological effects.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The toxins are as varied and complex as the number of species producing them.  So far over 100 different types of toxin have been identified from Poison Arrow Frogs.  Most are lipophilic alkaloids but some are neurotransmitter blockers.  Within a population of the same species the toxin can be weaker or stronger. Toxins acting as a neurotransmitter blocker affects the nerves to the diaphragm.  The diaphragm stops working, the prey asphyxiates and drops dead to the ground.  Truth to tell though, none of the Costa Rican Poison Arrow Frogs are that poisonous.  They are generically named after a Colombian Poison Arrow Frog, Phyllobates terribilis, which is a bright lemon yellow in color.  The native peoples of Colombia will not handle this species as the toxin can be absorbed through the skin.  Instead they pick the frogs up in a leaf which is held over a naked flame, stressing the unfortunate amphibian and causing it to release the toxin from the skin.

Granular Poison Arrow Frog

Interestingly the frogs diet is the key to its toxic abilities.  In the wild the frogs eat amongst other things, small ants.  If kept in captivity and denied a diet of ants the frogs no longer have toxic skin secretions.  There is much scientific study being carried out at the moment to discover why this is.  It is not entirely certain whether the frogs directly sequester the toxins from the dietary prey or whether they metabolize the toxins from the digestion of certain species.

As opposed to many amphibians which are nocturnal, the Poison Arrow Frogs are diurnal.  A frog hopping around on the forest floor during the day is a pretty easy target.  That is why they have evolved those toxic skin secretions.  But there is no point having a toxic skin secretion if the predators don’t know about it, hence the bright spectrum of glowing colors exhibited by different species. Anything glowing on the forest floor is not inviting itself as a meal, it is warning potential predators to stay away.  The bright warning coloration is known as aposomatic coloration.  Each individual species is highly variable in its coloration.  The Granuliferus Poison Arrow Frogs at La Tarde are this beautiful dichromatic red and blue.

This frog also has another fascinating aspect to its natural history.  During reproduction the male and female sit on the forest floor facing in opposite directions.  The female spawns, the male then fertilizes the egg mass.  Once the tadpoles develop the female frog carries them on her back up into the tree tops where she deposits them in the water-filled centres of bromeliads.  The female then returns with a regularity to lay an unfertilized egg in each of the aqueous incubators which serves a food supplement for the developing tadpoles.

Bats Intent

With the photos captured it was time to leave the trail and head off down into the forested valley.  Carrying a loaded camera bag and tripod I gingerly followed Mike down the steeply descending muddy path.  It wasn’t long before his eagle eyes had spotted a couple bats roosting beneath a broad bent over leaf.  These were Common Tent-making Bats, (Uroderma bilobatum), of the family: Phyllostomidae or Tailless Fruit Bats and they were culpable for the state of the leaf.  The bats create the tents by ripping through the midrib of the leaf causing it to bend over.  Having done as much the result is to have created a refuge from both the elements and predators.  Any movement along the length of the leaf stalk is amplified towards the tip alerting the bats to the presence of a predator and off they fly.  As the family name suggests they are largely fruit eaters.  Quite often they will have two sets of roosts, day and night.  During the day it is not unusual to find up to 40 bats in a roost.  Early evening as the sun starts to set the bats leave the night roosts and head off to the night roosts.  Here they wait until it is dark and then they fly out in search of whatever small fruit is in season, generally figs.  The night roosts tend to be located no more than 100 meters from the fruiting trees.  Both fruit and nectar feeding bats generally have a reduced sense of echolocation but a heightened sense of sight and scent at night.  The bats don’t feed in the trees where the find the fruit, they carry it back to the night roosts in their mouths and then hold it between the wings while eating.  Just before the sun comes up they leave the night roosts and return to where they are going to be roosting during the day.

Tent-making Bats

The Tent-making Bats have two white lines down through the face.  If during the course of the day a predator on the ground should glance up, the white lines serve to break up the outline of a clump of bats and giving the effect of dappled light being passed through the leaf.  I tried not to disturb this pair of individuals and even though they knew I was there they obliged by remaining stationary while I took their picture.

Planted To The Spot

The descent became steeper and the mud became stickier.  The forest on either side of the path was quite dense and in some places there were thick stands of heliconias growing.  The animal biomass of a tropical rainforest may only be 0.02% which is another way of saying that just about all of the forest is vegetative tissue.  But strangely enough the plants are quite often overlooked.  A frequently heard comment is “I went for a walk in the woods today but I did not see anything”.  The plant life is far more diverse than the animal life.  The Neotropical forests are home to approximately 90,000 species of flowering plants.  The whole of the North American continent, the United States and Canada combined have less than 700 species of tree.  Costa Rica, the size of West Virginia has 2,600 species of tree.  The Osa Peninsula, this tiny piece of land on the South West coast of Costa Rica has 800 species of tree, more than the whole of continental North America.

I do have a tendency to fall into the blinkered situation of only trying to photograph the wildlife and not the wild vegetation.  One of the reasons is that plant identification is not always easy.  As there were two species of flowering heliconias here I thought it might be an idea to add them to my limited collection of plant images.

Heliconias are that archetypal tropical garden plant.  Although members of the family Heliconiaceae are pantropical in distribution, the majority of species belong in the New World.  Costa Rica boasts 43 species of Heliconia, 18 of which are found on the Osa Peninsula.  The leaves are both long and broad, they bear a resemblance to banana leaves. The flowers are the distinguishing feature.  For the most part they come in shades of red, orange or yellow.  These colors attract in hummingbirds, so the heliconias are hummingbird pollinated.  Many species of heliconias have different shaped flowers  and these correlate to the different types of hummingbird that feed from them.  The reason the hummingbirds come to the heliconia is to obtain a feed of nectar.  Hummingbirds require up to eight times their own bodyweight in nectar every day just to keep themselves flying.

Heliconius imbricata

The shape of the heliconia flower dictates the species of hummingbirds that can visit them.  Different species of hummingbirds have different shaped bills and when visiting a variety of heliconia species get pollen dusted on different parts of the bill.  Theoretically one species of hummingbird could therefore pollinate several species of heliconia.  Heliconias with long flowers will be visited by hummingbirds that have correspondingly longer bills such as the hermits.  The hermits are trapliners and during the course of the morning will visit several different patches of heliconia.  Heliconias with shorter flowers will attract hummingbirds with shorter bills.  These hummingbirds tend to be very aggressive and stay in one small area defending a patch of heliconias from all comers.

Each morning a new bract opens to reveal a fresh batch of flowers which will only last one day.  Nectar not only attracts hummingbirds but also bees. The bees have a tendency to bite through the base of the flower and rob the plant of its nectar supply without carrying out its part of the relationship in terms of pollination.  To avoid this situation, the heliconias produce their nectar first thing in the morning.  That is when the hummingbirds but not the bees are active.  Also the bract fills with water, drowning the base of the flower so keeping the bees out.  If the bees do persist, they have to spend a lot of time and energy munching their way through the tough fibrous bract to get to the food supply inside.

Heliconius irrasa

Both of the species of heliconia I was looking at here had totally different shaped flowers.  The short compact flowers are Heliconia imbricata.  This species secretes a lot of liquid into the bracts rather than have them fill with rainwater.  This liquid is acidic by nature and can support its own little ecosystem of creatures living within it.  The other heliconia with the much longer, fewer and seperated flowers is Heliconia irrasa.

Death To Trees

A little  way further down the path will have any visitor to La Tarde stop in his tracks and gaze in wonder at the sight in front of him.  Encompassing the trail while towering above it is one of the largest Matapalos on the peninsula.  It stands like a giant Triffid, so living, so organic, with its giant roots descending from a location seemingly hidden in the sky.

The Matapola is otherwise known as the Strangler Fig and along with their awesome aspect they have a fascinating life history.  The Matapalo is a fig tree of the family: Moraceae.  Like any other fig it produces a copious amount of fruit.  If anything, a monkey or a bird, should consume one of those fruits and defecate at the top of a tree, that is where the Matapalo seed will germinate.  So unlike most trees which germinate in the ground and grow up, the Matapalo germinates at the top and grows down.

Ficus zarazalensis

The first thing it does upon germination is send long thin roots which grow descend like wooden plumlines to the ground.  Within a short space of time they anchor and start to take up water and nutrients.  Once this situation has been established from the point of germination at the top of the tree, the Matapalo sends out more tendrils but this time up and above the host tree.  These produce leaf which subsequently shadow the host tree and inhibit its ability to photosynthesize.   This is where this particular species of Matapalo finishes its takeover.  Those roots that came to the ground divide and subdivide spreading the alien-like trees weight over a wider surface area.  This particular species is Ficus zarazalensis.  It is an endemic found nowhere else except the Osa Peninsular.

Other species of Matapalo send the roots down the host tree’s trunk.  Here they anastomose and fuse eventually forming a huge shell around the host tree.  The host tree can no longer grow and at the top can no longer photosynthesize.  It dies and decomposes which then provides a huge amount of nutrients for the rapidly growing Matapalo  which will eventually stand a massive but hollow tree in its own right. The name Matapalo comes from two Spanish words, matar – to kill and palo which is colloquial Spanish for a tree, so roughly translated Matapalo means “Tree Killer”.  They will take over and kill any other tree except for other Matapalos.  Matapalo seeds will not germinate on Matapalo bark, the exact inhibiting factor has not as yet been identified.

Raining Frogs

We continued our trek down the trail, our goal being the creek and whatever treasure it may hold.  On the path sitting atop a small pinnacle of soil Mike noticed a tiny rain frog.  This small individual was totally unconcerned by my presence as I lowered the camera  equipment down to his level, sitting patiently while I took a few shots.  At first sight I couldn’t make out which species it was, the markings bore no resemblance to any of the species of rain frog I had seen in the area.  However with closer scrutiny I could see it was a Rough-skinned Dirt Frog, (Craugastor rugosus).

Craugastor rugosus

The Rain Frogs are totally terrestrial, they don’t need to return to water to reproduce in the manner of so many other amphibians.  The male and female pair up in the leaf litter on the forest floor which is where the female will lay her eggs.  There are only about 20-30 large, (in comparison with the adult), yolk-filled eggs.  The whole process of development takes place within the egg, there is no free swimming tadpole stage.  After 7 or 8 weeks a tiny frog, an exact replica of the adult, emerges from the egg.

Rough-skinned Dirt Frog

Water World

We were almost at the bottom of the path now.  A few more steps and we were in the stream.  The last time I visited La Tarde I photographed some Water Anoles, (Norops aquaticus), that we don’t find at Bosque.  Unfortunately I was photographing under a waterfall in very dark, wet conditions that the photos didn’t turn out too well.  I wanted to correct that situation.

Walking along the creek we came to an overhang where Mike knew there was a good probability of finding the sought after lizards.  Sure enough within moments of arriving at an overhang he pointed one out sitting on a small outcrop, its form all but indistinct from the dark, damp rock wall.  I was faced with the same problem as last time, low light and water falling from above.  But with a little perseverance and an umbrella held overhead aided by the fact that the subject was quite happy not moving I managed to get the shots.

Norops aquaticus

There are seven species of anoles on the Osa Peninsula, five of which can be found at Bosque but as already mentioned not Norops aquaticus.  Given the amount of water and perfect habitat conditions that is surprising but just as with localized populations of the poison arrow frogs that is probably the same situation with the anoles.  Norops aquaticus, apart from its obvious partiality for wet habitats, is easily distinguished from other anoles by the broad brown transverse bands across its body and a  pale band running along  the length of its body on either side.

The anoles were not the only creatures inhabiting this dark dank area.  On the dripping wall, facing head down was a large spider.  This was one a water spiders of the genus: Trechalea.  The body of a water spider is covered in water resistant hairs which not only keep them dry but also allow them to walk over the surface of the water. As might be expected the water spiders don’t make a web, they have a very specific way of hunting depending on species.

Trechalea sp

Some cling to the rock surfaces as this one was doing and catch prey passing by.  The spiders body is covered in various types of hair or setae which can be sensitive to odor, movement or touch.  Other species sit at the edge of the water anchored by the hind legs while the other legs are placed on the surface of the water.  Any prey item in the water causes vibrations which are recognized by the spider.  If it approaches too close the spider pounces and envenomates it.

A little further down the creek nestled into a drier nook, were a roost of bats.  Our activity initially spooked them and they flew off  but it did not take long before they returned and settled back into position.  They were in an even less convenient position to photograph than the anole or the spider.  They were hanging from the rock wall beneath the overhang, looking up into the falling water.  They still had not settled and nervously moving from one spot to another not so far away but far enough to have to reposition the camera.  Eventually I did manage to get a few shots.

Carollia sp

It is sometimes very difficult to identify bats to species level unless you have them in your hand.  Unless the bat has some very distinctive morphological features then quite often you need to be looking at the depth of greying down through the fur, counting warts on the lips and counting cusps on the teeth amongst other things.  As far as we could tell these were more Short-tailed Fruit Bats of Family: Phyllostomidae related to the tent-making bats we has seen earlier.  These were of a different Subfamily: Carollinae.  This is where the identification ends, as even if you have the bat in hand the four species that inhabit Costa Rica are notoriously difficult to tell apart.  All we can say is that they belong to the Genus: Carollia.  Just like the Tent-making Bats, these are for the most part fruit eaters.  But when fruit is out of season they are not adverse to feeding on insects too.

Short-tailed Fruit Bat

The time was getting on and we were getting hungry so it was time to return.  I had obtained that for which I had primarily returned but I can’t imagine it will be my last trip to La Tarde.  There are a host of other plants and creatures that I am sure are waiting to be discovered.

Driving back down the road there was one more stop we had to make.  There is another heliconia Mike has seen on the way up, another endemic plant to the area.  The flower was past its best but nonetheless it deserved a photo.  This species in Heliconia danielsiana. It prefers wet but open situations which is why it was growing at the side of the road and not in the forest.  It can be recognized by its rusty colored, hairy pendent inflorescence.

Heliconia danielsiana

If you visiting the area and have a desire to visit La Tarde, then you experience will be enhanced many fold by going with Mike Boston.  Take a look at his website and then contact him directly.

Website:
http://www.osaaventura.com

e-mail:

mike@osaaventura.com

Telephone:

(00 506)  2735 5670

 

Snaking Through Colorful Shrubs   2 comments


Felipe del Bosque Blog September 9nd 2013

title copy

Light and Dark and Wet and Dry

The weather seems to be holding out.  As yet the really torrential rain has not arrived.  Normally by mid September the rains starts to fall continuously.  Up to, and including this week, we have had a continuation of that same pattern of nice bright sunny days and a small amount of rain falling at night.  The end of the week was particularly good for visitors with clear blue skies and bright sun which warmed things up and made for good hiking conditions.

Catastrophe

Once again the cats have refused to bless us with their presence this week.  In fact it appears to have been a relatively quiet week on the Titi Trail, with only the Collared Peccaries, (Tayassu tajacu), and Agoutis, (Dasyprocta punctata), making their daily appearances.  The occasional Paca, (Agouti paca), Nine-banded Armadillo, (Dasypus novencinctus), and Common Opossum, (Didelphis marsupialis), wandered by but that was about all.

Nine-banded Armadillo

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes are never the easiest things to find.  That may come as good news to many people but there are those who come to the tropics with the sole purpose of seeing snakes.  They have read the guide books that are lavishly illustrated with photographs of many exotic serpentine forms.  There are stories of huge man-eating constrictors, of deadly venomous snakes, the bite of any one species spelling instant death for the unfortunate victim.  They come brandishing grab sticks and snake hooks ready to participate in a luxury of dream fulfillment.  Off they go into the forest grinning from ear to ear in eager anticipation of a day crammed with new discovery only to return with the setting sun deflated and disenchanted.  Maybe after sunset when the forests are dark the snakes will come out.  Hopes renewed, vigor restored off they go again but arrive back some hours later with the same loss of optimism.  Truth to tell there are snakes during the day, there are snakes at night, there are snakes in the trees, there are snakes on the ground, in fact there are snakes everywhere all the time, it is finding them that can be such a thankless task.

Boa constrictor

Two of the commonly encountered snakes around the lodge are the boas, (Boa constrictor), and Cat-eyed Snakes, (Leptodeira septentrionalis).  The boas generally are found in very close proximity to the kitchen/restaurant area.  Wherever there are people there is food.  Wherever there is food there are rodents.  Wherever there are rodents there are snakes.  Most the boas that turn up in the restaurant area are smallish, about 3 feet or so in length.  They sometimes insert themselves in the thatched roofing for a period of several days.  Occasionally they can be found in the lawns or the bushes and trees in the garden at the front of the restaurant.  That is what happened this week, this particular individual was seen at different locations at different times around the garden.  It first turned up in the bar, then it was found at the base of a tree behind the bar.  A few nights later it was encountered after dinner crossing the lawn in front of the bar and finally it settled into one of the bushes at the side of a path between the bar and the cabins.

Boa constrictor

As I have already stated, finding snakes is never an easy task but there are occasionally those who throughout their travels in Costa Rica haven’t come across one but would like to see one.  In that case I always suggest going out with me at night because as much of a guarantee as I can offer I do generally find snakes in a certain location once the sun has gone down.

The Bosque pond for many years has been the breeding area for many amphibians.  The pond is manmade and was originally put in as a decorative feature.  Initially it only had one plant of any size growing behind it but over the years, with the exclusion of the over enthusiastic gardening team, a lot of vegetation has proliferated forming a green wall around the back and to the two sides of the pond.  This in turn has resulted in the arrival and building of amphibian populations that require still water to reproduce.  In the beginning a few individuals of a few species arrived to take advantage of the newly formed habitat.  Progressively this was added to as more and more species arrived and their numbers began to build.

Cat-eyed Snake

Frogs and frogs eggs in abundance, particularly during the main amphibian breeding season of June, July and August would naturally attract the attention of those creatures that feed on such things.  That is exactly what happened.  One of the principal predators of frogs and their eggs are Cat-eyed Snakes.  During the amphibian breeding season they can sometimes be seen in numbers of up to 50 individuals cruising over the vegetation with their heads underneath the leaves assiduously searching in particular for the eggs of the Red-eyed Green Tree Frog, (Agalychnis callidryas).

Red-eyed Green Tree Frog Eggs

Red-eyed Green Tree Frogs lay a gelatinous mass of approximately 50 eggs on the underside of the leaves overhanging the water.  The eggs develop until about 7-8 days, the egg mass then liquidizes and the now developed tadpoles wriggle free and drop into the water where they will develop and grow before emerging as tiny froglets some 6 weeks later.

For a snake feeding on frogs eggs this represents the perfect food package, a high protein diet that neither fights back nor runs away.  At the height of the amphibian breeding season the vegetation around the pond can sometimes seem to be a living sea of snakes.  Even during the dry season when the amphibian numbers have reduced to only 1 or 2 a night, the snakes can still be found searching for a meal.  At that time of year they are normally found around the pond edge waiting patiently for the froglets to emerge or even with their heads beneath the surface of the water fishing for the tadpoles.

The Cat-eyed Snakes are venomous but rear fanged which means they have to hold and chew the venom into the prey.  The venom is about as toxic as required to subdue a frog.  Also they are not inclined to bite so they pose no danger to anyone getting close to take a photo.

Occasionally one of the less frequently seen snakes will turn up.  This week I had a Barred Forest Racer, (Dendrophidion percarinatum), cross my path.  These are active non-venomous diurnal hunters and as the common name suggests they move very quickly.  They have large eyes and hunt with the head held high above the ground.  Any lizard or frog that makes a movement close to them has usually guaranteed its own demise. In a flash the snake will have caught and constricted its prey.  With the frogs, they quite often consume the unfortunate individual alive.

Barred Forest Racer

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer as well as the onsite naturalist guide at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

Photo Feature

Little and Large

The grounds of Bosque del Cabo are not only filled with exotic tropical trees and palms but they also contain a rich variety of shrubby plants too.  Many of them are grown for their decorative foliage rather than their showy blooms.  A lot of the plants will be familiar to our guests as they are also commonly kept indoors as house plants at higher latitudes.

One plant that can be seen growing in forms both native and exotic is the Dumb Cane, (Dieffenbachia spp).  The plant with the uniform green leaves seen growing in the forest is Dieffenbachia oerstedii.  It can be found the tropical forests of Central and South America.  The variegated leaf variety seen in the grounds is a cultivated form.  The plant is deadly poisonous.  The leaves contain crystals of calcium oxalate which certainly don’t do your kidneys any good.  It is called Dumb Cane because if ingested any part of the plant will cause the tongue and mucous membranes to swell stopping you from talking, (hence Dumb Cane), and sometimes choking and killing the unfortunate consumer.  It is therefore not the best plant to have in your house if you have pets or young children that like to chew on leaves.  But you can walk into most of your high street plant stores and then out through the check-out with something in your hands that won’t do you a great deal of good.

Dieffenbachia cultivar

There are very few animals that will eat Dumb Cane.  There is one  though that does relish its fleshy leaves and stalks, the peccaries.  Somehow the peccaries have evolved a metabolism that  detoxifies the plant.  In the forests of Bosque you will quite often see the leaves shredded and torn, the ground around the plants well churned up by peccary activity.  As the plant can regenerate and grow from stem cuttings, this activity propagates yet more Dumb Cane growth.

The plant is which the Boa constrictor took refuge was another that is not so hard to identify.  The leaves are long, thin and pointed like a stiletto.  The plant has an overall warm tinge to it as each of the leaves are edged in red.  These are the Dracaena plants.

Dracaeana variegata tricolor

One of the plants found lining the paths at the lodge as well as forming hedges and also easy to distinguish due to the various colors and spotty patterns to the leaves are the Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum).  They are not native to Costa Rica, their origins being in South East Asia.  Again they are a commonly available house plant.  They should not be confused with a whole collection of plants of the genus Croton which are native to Central America but bear little resemblance to the Codiaeum despite the fact that both genera belong in the same family: Euphorbiaceae.

Codiaeum variegatum         Croton         Codiaeum variegatum

One of the reasons that the Crotons are so popular is the huge variety of colors and patterns produced by the decorative leaves.  There are over 100 different recognized cultivars.  Reds, yellows and greens in patches, splotches or spots create colorful hedges.  One of the commoner plant diseases is chlorosis whereby the leaves loose the chlorophyll and end up with lots of yellow spots.  It is thought that the Crotons mimic this with their coloration thereby looking diseased and consequently less appetizing to a herbivore.  If the mimicking of plant disease does not put off an animal from eating the plant then it has a backup plan, it contains a toxic sap which is poisonous if ingested and can also cause eczema if it comes in contact with the skin.

Not far from the Bosque restaurant, on the main driveway, is a huge vine climbing a beautiful big Guapinol Tree.  The vines leaves are enormous in size and a deep glossy green in color.  But the most distinguishing feature of these leaves are the characteristic perforations.

Monstera deliciosa

The vine is another commonly grown houseplant.  Most people would be familiar with it under a variety of names; Split-leaf Philodendron, Swiss Cheese Plant and Monstera.  This is Monstera deliciosa, Family: Araceae, the same family as the philodendrons.  The beautiful big split leaves are a typical feature of many an office environment.  It is a plant native to Costa Rica, growing as an epiphyte on the trunks of rainforest trees.  The leaves start off in low light conditions at the base of the trees as small overlapping shingles.   As the plant winds its way up into the canopy where the light levels increase the leaves take on the long stalked, broad form.

Swiss Cheese Plant

Why are they full of splits and holes?  The theory is that the plant is mimicking plant damage.  Any herbivore would not select to feed on a leaf that is smashed, bashed and has all the appearance of having already been eaten when there is so much young fresh leaf available in the near vicinity.  If that doesn’t work, like so many plants in the same family the leaves contain more of those toxic crystals of Calcium Oxalate.

The name deliciosa derives from the fact that the fruit of the plant, which takes up to a year to ripen is just that, having the delicious flavor of mixed banana and pineapple.  But beware, the unripe fruits are as toxic as the leaves and even the ripe fruit can cause a reaction in certain people.

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 0.40 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 2.82 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 10.2 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 71.6 mm

Highest Daily Temp 89°F.  Lowest Daily Temp 73°F.

Highest Daily Temp 31.7°C.  Lowest Daily Temp 22.8°C.

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Central American Squirrel Monkey
  • Mantled Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Capuchin Monkey
  • Common Tent-making Bat
  • Western Red Bat
  • Northern Raccoon
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Agouti
  • Paca
  • Vesper Rat
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Common Opossum
  • Collared Peccary

Birds

  • Mealy Amazon
  • Orange-chinned Parakeets
  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Grey-necked WoodRail
  • Great Curassow
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Crested Owl
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Great Tinamou
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

  • Barred Forest Racer
  • Basilisk
  • Boa Constrictor
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Central America Smooth Gecko
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Litter Skink
  • Mediterranean House Gecko
  • Pug-nosed Anole
  • Tropical Bird-eating Snake

Amphibians

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Gladiator Frog
  • Marine Toad
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog
  • Small-headed Frog
  • Tink Frog

Butterflies

  • Anartia fatima
  • Dione juno
  • Eueides lybia
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius hecale
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapo
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Mechanitis polymnia
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Phoebis sennae
  • Pierella helvina
  • Pierella luna
  • Polites vibex
  • Pyrgus oileus
  • Urbanus simplicius

Plants

  • Alamandra  cathartica Flowering
  • Alpinia purpurata Flowering
  • Apeiba tibourbou Flowering
  • Arachis pintoi Flowering
  • Cascabella thevetia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Citrus spp  Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering
  • Cocos nucifera Flowering and Fruiting
  • Costus speciosus Flowering
  • Cresentia alata Flowering and Fruitin
  • Dypsis lutescens Flowering and Fruiting
  • Fius citrifolia Fruiting
  • Ficus insipida Fruiting
  • Guaterria amplifolia Flowering
  • Heliconia chartacea Flowering
  • Heliconia latispatha Flowering
  • Heliconia pogonantha Flowering
  • Heliconia psittacorum Flowering
  • Heliconia rostrata Flowering
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Flowering
  • Hymenaea coubaril Fruiting
  • Hymenocallis littoralis Flowering
  • Heisteria acuminata Flowering
  • Ixora coccinea Flowering
  • Lantana camara Flowering and Flowering
  • Musa acuminata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Plumeria rubra Flowering
  • Psychotria sp Fruiting
  • Spondias mombin Fruiting
  • Symphonia globulifera Fruiting
  • Zammia sp Flowering
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93 other followers