Call of a Fallen Star   Leave a comment

Felipe del Bosque Blog Sept 26th 2011

On the Verge

The weather continues as it has for months now with bright sunny days.  There is the ever present promise of rain in the air and on several nights over the past week we have been subject to torrential downpours.  One night the clouds delivered nearly 5 inches of rain between dusk and dawn.

Paper Stings

There are several structures around the grounds at the minute that made of paper but not manmade origami.  Just a stroll around the grounds taking a peak under some of the palm leaves will reveal small round gray papery globes with a small oval hole at the front.  They are the nests of various species of Paper Wasp.  It is best not to get too close to observe these pieces of natural artistic paper sculptures but rather admire their beauty from a distance.

Paper Wasp Nest

The wasps themselves can be anything up to 1.5 inches in length to just a few tenths of an inch.  The larger wasps such as the Drumming Wasps have large nests that attached to the underside of the tree branches.  The smaller ones, you are more likely to find closer to ground level.

Paper Wasp Nest

The wasps are carnivores and are usually out foraging for arthropod prey to feed the larvae.  Wasps of the genus Polistes make open nests usually hanging pendulously from a stalk-like structure.  These wasps belong to the genus Polybia which have their nests enclosed within the paper shell.

Fallen Star

As most of the life in a rainforest is at the top of the trees, for the most part your gaze is going to upwards.  But if you keep your eyes on the ground, there is another stratum of life at your feet.  Here some unusual things occasionally turn up but they aren’t always obvious.

Everyone is familiar with the usual form of mushrooms and toadstools, but they do take other forms.  The family Geastraceae or Earth Stars, produces some intriguing sessile fruiting bodies that split andpeel back like a banana skin producing the star shaped structure from which they obtain their name.  The globous spore sac has an opening at the top that that releases the spores into the air in small bursts when hit by a rain drop.

Earth Star Fungus

Earth stars can be found singly or in groups in temperate and tropical forests.  They are definitely worth a photograph if you should happen to come across them.

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.


Photo Feature

It Is A Mystery What Katydid

Katydids are in the same insect order as grasshoppers and crickets.  They can at least be identified as distinct from grasshoppers by their long filamentous whip-like antennae.  Katydids are generally not hard to find around the grounds of Bosque, but you need a keen eye as many of them are master mimics of the vegetation amongst which they live.  The body can be shaped like leaves and have a subtle mix of dappled greens and grays to break up the outline.  Others look exactly like dead leaves, brown in color with veining and false fungal damage spots.  Yet others are bright green with lime green edging to resemble plant shoots.


Katydids tend to be heard rather than seen.  The evening air is filled with the calls of males searching for a mate.  Some of the calls are soft and whispering whereas others can be loud and course.  The name Katydid comes from the call of the male which is apparently how it sounds to some.  Orthopterists can identify katydids in the field by their calls.  If you would like to hear some visit:

Katydid Head

The katydids in these photographs I found close by each other near to my cabin.  Out came the camera and despite the fact every time I placed myself to get the shot, the katydid moved, I still managed to get some half decent images.

Katydid Head

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Temp High 87°F.  Average Daily Temp Low 75°F.

Average Daily Rainfall 1.02 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 7.16 ins

Average Daily Temp High 30.6°C.  Average Daily Temp Low 23.5°C.

Average Daily Rainfall 23.2 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 162.1 mm

Species List for the Week


  • Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Monkey
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Agouti
  • Red-tailed Squirrel
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Common Opossum


  • Orange-chinned Parakeets
  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Great Currasow
  • Roadside Hawk
  • Yellow-headed Caracara
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Common Paureque
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • Rufus-tailed Hummingbird
  • Violet-crowned Woodnymph
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Fiery-billed Aracari
  • Streak-headed Woodcreeper
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Bananaquit
  • Cherrie’s Tanager
  • Gray-headed Tanager
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Southern Beardless Tyrannulet
  • Streaked Flycatcher
  • Tropical Kingbird
  • Mourning Warbler
  • Tennessee Warbler
  • White-shouldered Tanager
  • Yellow Warbler
  • House Wren
  • Riverside Wren
  • Masked Tityra
  • Black-thoated Trogon
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture


  • Barred Ameiva
  • Four-lined Ameiva
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Pug-nosed Anolis
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Mediterranean House Gecko
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Parrot Snake
  • Salmon-bellied Racer


  • Marine Toad
  • Parachuting Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Banana Frog
  • Small-headed Frog
  • Smokey Jungle Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Stejneger’s Dirt Frog
  • Tink Frog


  • Anartia Fatima
  • Calospila celissa
  • Dryas iulia
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapho
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Magneuptychia libye
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Phoebis sennae


  • Bamboo Orchid Flowering
  • Black Alligator Tree Fruiting
  • Calabash flowering and fruiting
  • Cannonball Tree Flowering
  • Clusia Vine Fruiting
  • Dinner on a Plate Fruiting
  • Monkey Comb Tree Flowering
  • Candlestick Plant Flowering
  • Figs Fruiting
  • Golden Trumpet Vine Flowering
  • Hog Plum Fruiting
  • Ox Eye Vine Flowers
  • Protium Fruits
  • Royal Palms flowering and fruiting
  • Santa Maria Fruiting
  • Yayito Fruiting
  • Ylang Ylang flowering

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