Bosque del Cabo June 2011 Nature Review   1 comment

Felipe del Bosque Blog June 2011 Review

June produced some really heavy rain.  The precipitation was not consistent but rather dry periods interspersed with some very heavy overnight downpours.  Two storms in particular were responsible for bringing down a lot of trees and branches this month.

One morning a huge Milky Tree, (Brosimum utile), fell on the far side of the suspension bridge.  The tree had fallen across the path and therefore required the trail maintenance team’s attention.  As they cut through the fallen  trunk to open access once again, the freshly fallen tree bled out copious amounts of the white latex sap that gives the tree its name.

Section through fallen Milky Tree

The wood of the Milky Tree is unusually soft for a tropical hardwood tree.  That fact combined with the freely flowing sap produces a frenzy of insect activity.  Many beetles have larvae that live and grow in dead wood.  Along with termites, bacteria and fungi, the beetle larvae are one the major agents in the rapid decay of a dead tree.

Once the tree had been cut and the middle section moved from the path, within a 24 hour period a whole regime of creatures arrived.  Many of the hymenopterans use plant resins to construct structures within their nests and some almost completely so.  A variety of orchid bee species arrived post-haste, each one desperate to gather up as much of the milky white sticky latex as quickly as possible before the temporarily bounteous supply ran dry.

Orchid Bee

Beetles, most numerously the weevils, arrived too.  One large and impressive species of beetle, the Harlequin Beetle, (Acrocinus longimanus), turned up in very large numbers.  Along with the weevils, if you stood still and watched for a short time you would see them pair up, mate and the females lay eggs in holes excavated in the now dead wood.

Weevil        Weevil        Weevil

Acocinus longimanus

June provided a fair share of exotic grasshoppers, crickets and katydids.  Grasshoppers tend to be diurnal with short antennae whereas crickets and katydids tend to be nocturnal and have long filamentous antennae.

Unidentified Grasshopper        Unidentified Cricket        Unidentified Katydid

Spiders too could be found around the grounds without too much effort.  Although they do exist here, tarantulas are rarely seen.  Maybe if you venture out at night and search the holes in the banking to the roads or walk the forest trails you will be lucky enough to see one.

Unidentified Orb Spider        Micrathena sp        Orchard Spider


The Tendril Stanhopea Orchid, (Stanhopea cirrhata), despite being epiphytic, grows quite low to the ground, in cooler, damper areas and near to streams.  That is exactly where I found this individual which obliged me with the opportunity to photograph it by flowering several times during the course of June and July.

Stanhopea cirrhata

A lot more trees are coming into fruit this time of year which is a boon when it comes to finding help to identify the trees.  The leaves, bark and buttressed roots do not tend to be good diagnostic features as most of the trees look very similar and there are hundreds of species on the grounds.  The fruits however are generally very characteristic, if not to species, then certainly to genus.

Lacmellea panamensis                Ficus sp

Protium sp                Vochisia ferruginea

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming books:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

The Small World of Bosque del Cabo

The Colors of Bosque del Cabo

A Children’s Guide to Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge

Temperature and Rainfall

Average M Temp High 84°F.  Average Daily Temp Low 74°F.

Average Daily Rainfall 0.85 ins.  Total Monthly Rainfall 25.35 ins

Average Daily Temp High 28.8°C.  Average Daily Temp Low 23.2°C.

Average Daily Rainfall 21.5 mm.  Total Monthly Rainfall 644.6 mm


One response to “Bosque del Cabo June 2011 Nature Review

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  1. Your sighting of female orchid bee collecting tree latex in a very interesting observation, because floral resins of Clusia and Dalechampia flowers are more frequently used as a resin source by these bees.


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