Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ecuadorian wildlife

From my recent trip to Ecuador: There are lots of animals in the cloud forests of Ecuador. Big ones like the spectacle bear and jaguars, but we didn't see those. Small ones are more common. Here is a basilisk lizard, also called Jesus lizard, that is hanging out on a branch above the river. It was in the same place each morning. They are called Jesus lizards because they can run on top of the water.

More hummingbirds than you can count! There are at least 10 species at the Maquipucuna Reserve, and here is one. I didn't have the right camera to take closeups, unfortunately. They were bright, fast, and feriocious, fighting about territory with each other all the time.

This cool praying mantis showed up one morning, and it imitates two fresh green leaves. Mimicry is really common here.

Hanging insects: A wasp is building a nest under a large orchid leaf, and a butterfly is imitating a dead leaf.

Scorpions are strange animals. This I didn't touch, and it was about 4 cm long. I was surprised it was so think and fat - all other ones I have seen are slender and thin.

Leaf cutter ants are common but oh so hard to photograph. They are very fast and very small. They cut leaves and carry the leaves into their nests. They chew the leaves and then put the mush on special chambers in their nests were fungi grow on the chewed leaves. Then they eat the fungi. It is a remarkable symbiosis of three species and real fungal gardens down there underground.

1 comment:

EH said...

Nature is so wonderful in its variety and specialisation!