Today’s batch of photos come from Costa Rica, and were taken by Fred Dyer. His notes and captions are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them:
Some Photos from Costa Rica 10-20 July 2022
I recently traveled around Costa Rica with my family for about 10 days prior to a conference. Our itinerary included a day in the capital city of San Jose, a couple of days in the mountainous/volcanic region northwest of San Jose, and then several days along the central Pacific coast. Costa Rica is an amazing place, geologically, biologically, and culturally. Almost everything you see is beautiful. These photographs are a grab bag that don’t have much in common except that they were the ones that came out looking pretty good.
First, a few photos from near the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal volcano, including from a guided walk through a private rainforest reserve. On the walk we saw toucans, howler monkeys, army ants, leaf cutter ants and morpho butterflies, plus these (I welcome corrections on the species identifications):
Python Millipede (Nyssodesmus python). This one was about 8 cm long.
Eyelash pit viper (Bothriechis schlegelii), which gets its common name from the hairlike scales protruding over each eye. It is a small snake, but one of the most dangerous in Costa Rica.
Stingless bees (Apidae : Apinae : Meloponini: Perhaps Tetragonisca sp?) guarding their nest entrance tube. There are something like 60 species of stingless bees in Costa Rica. These guard bees were 4-5 mm in length. The colony is enclosed in a cavity so its size is hard to know, but some species have several thousand workers in each colony.
View of the Arenal Volcano from the north. This volcano began erupting violently in 1968 and continued until 2010. Vapors still issue from the peak, although this picture shows only clouds:
Golden-bellied Flycatchers (Myiodynastes hemichrysus) perching behind our rental house in El Castillo (south of Arenal):
From La Fortuna/Arenal we drove toward the Pacific coast, and stopped at a wildlife rescue center (Santuario Las Palmas) near the town of Cañas in Guanacaste province. The enclosures held rescued jaguars, pumas, ocelots, monkeys and several species of parrots. We also spotted some wildlife outside the enclosures:
Automeris metzli caterpillar (larva of a Saturniid moth—in the same genus as the North American Io moth). This beauty was about 10 cm long
Same caterpillar after it moved onto a twig. The urticating spines supposedly produce a nasty venom. Here is what an adult Automeris metzli looks like. Whereas the larva relies upon aposematic signals and spines to deter potential predators from attacking, the adult is cryptic in the resting position, and exposes eyespots as a startle cue.
You can read more on Automeris here.
Black Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), also known as the black spiny-tailed iguana, grazing at Las Palmas. These large lizards are extremely common along the Pacific slope:
On the coast our home base was the resort town of Manuel Antonio, which is next to the wonderful Manuel Antonio National Park.
Ponies for the tourists:
In Manuel Antonio National Park, stingless bees (species unknown) on a Heliconia sp.:
Also in the park, Panamanian white-faced capuchins (Capuchin imitator) engaged in a groomfest, while baby looks on. These were part of a larger group of a dozen or so monkeys in a grove of trees about 3 meters above the ground:
Same monkeys, still grooming.
Back in town, a Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) with some insect yumminess for its nestling(s). These are large birds (a bit bigger than a grackle) in the cuckoo family. They often nest communally but this seemed to be a single mated pair. The nest was in a tree across the street from our rental house in Manuel Antonio. Pictures of the nestling(s) and the other parent didn’t come out so great.
Playa Hermosa, a black-sand beach about an hour north of Manuel Antonio. This is a destination for expert surfers, and the surf was really intense the day we were there.
American Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) basking next to the Tárcoles River below the “Crocodile Bridge.” This is a tourist attraction on the main coastal highway (Route 34). The travel guidebook said that there is a population of 2000 or more crocs in this river and the nearby Carara National Park. Crocodiles often rest with their mouths open to dissipate heat.