COSTA RICAN INSECT HIGHLIGHTS CONTINUED…
In the rainforest we heard lots of cicadas but, much like when you hear them in European holiday destinations, they were almost always heard but not seen! We did however find this one as it was in the process of moulting at the base of a tree trunk late one night.
Its freshly-emerged body & wings were amazing colours and stunningly beautiful as you can see!
Usually the only evidence of the presence of cicadas (other than their characteristic loud noise) was finding empty moulted exoskeletons (exuviae) on tree trunks or under overhanging branches, like this one:
Another group of insects which would have been all around us in the rainforests but which also remained invisible were the termites. Nick showed us a fantastic trick to expose them though! Termites create trails which take them from the forest floor to high up in the trees but these trails need to be covered, as termites are small relatively fragile creatures at high risk of predation and vulnerable to extremes of weather. They create hollow tubes to cover their trails using a mixture of dead leaves, soil, saliva and faeces! If there is any damage to these tubes they flock to the damage site to repair it and Nick showed us this by simply scraping a few millimetres of one of these tubes away, in the grounds of Maquenque Eco-Lodge:
The picture above was taken within a couple of seconds of the tube being scratched away and the one below about ten seconds later, you can see the termites have flocked to the area to attend to the damage! Unfortunately I failed to make a note of where the tree was so when we returned from our walk into the rainforest I couldn’t find the same tree again to see if the repair had been completed!
One last group of insects we saw plenty of were wasps, with nests like these ones being very common in the rainforests.
Thankfully the wasps, despite being plentiful, did not cause us any issues at all. In fact the only insects which caused us problems were the only insects of which I am not particularly fond, namely the mosquitoes! Other than the mosquitoes I absolutely loved all of the insects we encountered and I hope the small selection of photos I’ve shared here will have given you at least a tiny flavour of the amazing diversity of insect species in the Costa Rican rainforests.