Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Costa Rica - Day 2-3

While we are still getting set-up and sorting out logistics such as phone and internet, we have been getting out into the field a little more. Here’s a selection of encounters we have made over the last couple of days, all within 500 metres of our house.

While we try to have cameras at the ready all the time, there have been a few significant encounters we haven’t captured. Yesterday we stopped on the rainforest track that leads into town as we could see a Green Iguana sitting in the middle, about twenty metres further on. When I approached, at least 10 of them suddenly began moving from all around the visible one. They were juveniles of various sizes, and one by one disappeared into the undergrowth. It was reminiscent of a scene from Jurassic Park with the tiny Compsognathus dinosaurs moving in groups.

We also had a reasonably sized mammalian predator in the back yard called a Tayra. This is an arboreal weasel-like animal which is about the size of a cat. We both managed to startle each other quite effectively as I was looking for scorpions at the base of a large tree.

Over the next two weeks we will be investigating more and more sites in order to collect the various species of predatory invertebrates required for the TV series we are working on.

A tiny grasshopper with spectacular colours

Early morning breakfast; a rainforest fly feeds upon a fresh bird dropping, sunny side up.

A dead wasp covered in fungus; a common killer of insects in the tropics.

An large katydid about the size of the Australian Segestidea  queenslandica

Harvestmen are very common at night; there are many species and some are quite large.

There are many species of katydids in Costa Rica that mimic leaves. This one has an amazing shape and detail, but we easily spotted sitting on the larger leaf in our torchlight. 

A heavily armoured iridescent beetle, but unfortunately it was already dead.

A large gecko around 170mm long.

A leaf-hopper sucking bug, with a long extension on its head.

I was lucky enough to spot this tiny Opossum which froze long enough for me to get a few snaps. It looked very similar to our pygmy possums in Australia.

Sibon nebulatus, a snail-eating snake

Our first wild tarantula in Costa Rica. Not sure what species this one is yet, but I did manage to get a good look at when I tickled the edge of the burrow with a fine grass stem – she shot out and tried to catch what she thought was an insect passing by. 

A tiny predatory katydid; the front legs are armed with spines to capture prey.

The Amblypygids here are about the size of huntsman spiders. We have seen quite a few so far and are one of the species we will by using in the TV series.


  1. Wonderful again. Thank you for sharing so much - especially the spiders (two of which could do with a comment). And strange to see you photograph without the ability to name almost everything on sight. For a naturalist, that must be exciting.

  2. I guess Costa Rica is a good enough reason to miss the Invertebrate Conference in Melbourne... But do you have to rub it in LOL?!