Ancient Egyptian Uprising in Costa Rican Forests   3 comments

Felipe del Bosque Blog Nov 28th 2011

Coming to the End

This week started with a difference to last week.  There was a little light drizzle in the morning but the sun managed to break through in the afternoon.  Then, the wet season ended, albeit stutteringly.  We have had lots of sun, little rain and increasing temperatures.

Significantly, the butterflies responded by appearing in greater numbers.  First there were several individuals of a few species but as the sun shone for longer hours and the temperatures went up so did the number of butterfly species and subsequently the number of individuals.

It has not stopped raining entirely though.  Throughout the week there have been periods of light rain, sometimes in the evening and sometimes in the morning but enough to say we are now in that transitional period between wet and dry.

As You Were

There has not been anything out of the ordinary happening this week in terms of wildlife.  The migrants are with us until next March or April and the residents are here in normal numbers.  On one of the night tours this week we were graced by the presence of a Crested Owl, (Lophostrix cristata), which sat and looked at us from a good vantage point, both for it and for us.

The visitors were also lucky enough to see a large female Parachuting Red-eyed Green Tree Frog, (Agalychnis spurelli), down by the pond.  They are normally found once or twice a year in huge numbers following torrential rain but this was a lone individual that had made its way down from the top of the trees.

I did happen to find a Rough-skinned Rain Frog, (Craugastor rugosus), with a different skin pattern to that which I am accustomed to seeing that I managed to photograph.

Craugastor rugosus

The Laughing Falcon, (Herpetotheres cachinnans), has been making itself heard if not seen over the past couple of days.  The call is that seemingly never ending “He Haw, He Haw” which becomes slower in tempo the longer it continues.

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

One morning when I went over to the restaurant I found a large moth resting on the wooden rail surrounding the deck.  The characteristic shape of its wings gave away its identity immediately as one of the Hawk or Sphinx Moths, (Sphingidae).  The wings of all sphinx moths tend to be long and narrow with an almost triangular form to them.  In color they can be gaudy or subtle.  This individual had the more cryptically blended shades of grey.

Pluto Sphinx Moth

Sphinx moths are very important pollinators of many plants in the forest.  Just like nectar feeding bats which serve as effective pollinators, the plants that they visit have evolved flowers that specifically select to attract the moths.  Nectar feeding bats have a long tongue with a bristly tip to soak up nectar, the sphinx moths have a long proboscis and have the ability to do what hummingbirds do, they can hover.  While both bat and moth pollinated flowers tend to be long and tubular, down into which the tongue or proboscis extends, the difference lies in the way that they are lured to the plant.  Bats prefer musky scents while moths are attracted to sweet scents.  Unlike hummingbirds which visit flowers during the day, the bats and moths are nocturnal and so plants pollinated by these agents issue their odors once the sun has set.  A sphinx moth pollinated plant commonly found around the grounds of Bosque del Cabo is the Lady of the Night Orchid, (Brassavola nodosa).  It has a long, white, trumpet shaped flower and gives off a sweet perfume just after dusk.

Lady of the Night Orchid

The name sphinx moth refers to the habits of the caterpillars which can grow to a large size.  When disturbed, perhaps by a potential predator, the caterpillar lifts up the front end with the head tucked down and appears, at least to our eyes, to resemble the Egyptian Sphinx.  To the predator it probably increases the apparent size of the caterpillar which also sports at the rear end a long fleshy spine which could give the appearance of a lethal stinging organ.

Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

Due to limited reference material, which is the bane of my life in trying to identify many of the creatures I find here, I think, but would stand to be corrected, that this particular moth is Madoryx plutonius.

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 83°F.  Average Daily Temp Low 72°F.

Average Daily Rainfall 0.17 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 1.21 ins

Average Daily Temp High 27.8°C.  Average Daily Temp Low 22.3°C.

Average Daily Rainfall 4.4 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 30.7 mm

Species List for the Week


  • Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Monkey
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Agouti
  • Collared Peccary


  • Orange-chinned Parakeets
  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Gray-necked Woodrail
  • Lineated Woodpecker
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Bat Falcon
  • Roadside Hawk
  • Laughing Falcon
  • White Hawk
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Rufus-tailed Hummingbird
  • Common Paureque
  • Crested Owl
  • Spectacled Owl
  • Mangrove Swallow
  • White-collared Swifts
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Golden-hooded Tanager
  • Summer Tanager
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Tropical Kingbird
  • Tennessee Warbler
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • House Wren
  • Riverside Wren
  • Masked Tityra
  • Rufus Piha
  • Great Tinamou
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture


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


  • Marine Toad
  • Parachuting Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Rough-skinned Dirt Frog
  • Tink Frog


  • Anartia Fatima
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius cydno
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapho
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Opsiphanes tamarindi


  • Bamboo Orchid Flowering
  • Black Alligator Tree Fruiting
  • Calabash flowering and fruiting
  • Cannonball Tree Flowering and Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering
  • Golden Trumpet Vine Flowering
  • Inga Flowering
  • Monkey Comb Tree Flowering
  • Figs Fruiting
  • Mountain Rose Flowering
  • Ox Eye Vine Fruit
  • Stinky Toe Fruiting

3 responses to “Ancient Egyptian Uprising in Costa Rican Forests

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  1. Philip – do you ever see Turquoise Cotinga in your area ? Ron


    Ron Wilson - Canada
  2. Hi Ron
    We do indeed get the Turquoise Cotinga at Bosque, sometimes in the trees in front of the restaurant. Unfortunately, given the beauty of the bird, it is very rarely seen. They do not tend to stay in any one area for a great length of time. You never know, you may get lucky. But there are so many other birds on the grounds you won’t be disappointed.


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