Sunday, October 2, 2011

Costa Rica - A mixed bag

This post is a bit of everything - no particular theme just various species we have encountered and photographed over the last couple of weeks.

An adult male Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus).  These lizards can run across the surface of water on their hind legs. We see them do this across our local river, the Rio Tigre.  This is incredible to witness.

A Costa Rican huntsman, possibly from the genus Olios. We have recently observed two leaf-nests of juveniles (up to 4th instar)  residing together without an adult present. They were clearly foraging around the nest and a number of individuals returned to the nest once they were disturbed. This is very unusual behaviour for this group of spiders.

A cicada. One of several large species that we have seen on the Osa .

A predatory 'orange-faced katydid'. We have yet to identify this species.

A very large and spectacular reduviid. This assassin bug seems to specialise upon hymenopteran prey. We found one feeding on a wasp twice its size. This individual is feeding on a Golden carpenter ant (Camponotus sericeiventris). This is another species we have not been able to identify. Too many invertebrates, too little information!

Golden carpenter ant (Camponotus sericeiventris)

A juvenile Terciopelo or Fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper), Costa Rica's most feared snake. I have found eight of them so far - they are very common in this region.  Despite their reputation for aggression, most of the individuals have been quite tolerant of our presence, and timid rather than agressive.

The same  juvenile Terciopelo. Juveniles will often sit up a metre or so off the ground. This one was perched on a pineapple plant about a metre off the ground.

A large ant which the locals call a 'bala' ant due to the bullet like nature of the sting - most likely in the genus Dinoponera. The true bala ant (Paraponera clavata) reputedly has the most painful sting of all ants. It is found on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.  

A Blunt-headed tree snake (Imantodes cenchoa)

Disc-winged bats (Thyroptera tricolor) within an unfurled Helconia leaf. This species lives in small groups and  moves to a new roosting site every night. This is because they growing leaves unfurl so quickly that within 24 hours they are no longer suitable. They use the suction discs to grip onto the leaves - you can see a number of the bats' discs in this image.

A close-up of the disc on the wing of Thyroptera tricolor. This one gripped onto my finger nail and had incredible holding power.

A iridescent Euglossine bee (orchid bee)
 bee visiting a flower.

A black and white Carabid beetle, a scavenger found on leaves at night.

Wet forest toad (Bufo melanochloris). We have many Giant (Cane) toads here too. It is a bit strange coming  from north Queensland to Costa Rica and seeing Cane toads in their native habitat.

Wet forest toad (Bufo melanochloris)

A close-up of Bufo melanochloris


  1. Stunning as always. Very interested to hear more of your huntsman observations. Fascinating.

  2. I believe your red-flag assassin bug is Apiomerus vexillarius (Assassin Bug Bee Killer).