Friday, May 5, 2017

Mammals and Invertebrates From My Spring Tour to Costa Rica

I’m nearly done sharing all the fun photos from my Costa Rica tour this past March, so maybe I can start sharing photos from my recent vacation in Nepal soon. This blog will be a combination of the many wonderful mammals and several miscellaneous invertebrates that I photographed. Tomorrow I’ll post some photos of plants that were new to me.

We actually tallied 33 different species of mammals – and remember this is on a birding tour, so I consider that a pretty high number. (Our bird species total came to 486 in 13 days!) But I have photos of only seven species to share – photographing mammals just isn’t my forte. All the bats we identified were on their day roosts, making them easy to photograph, however (a dedicated mammal tour probably would have tallied 20 or more species of bats). This Saccopteryx bilineata, Greater Sac-winged Bat, was one of two or three in the rafters of Bosque del Rio Tigre Lodge.
Saccopteryx bilineata, Greater Sac-winged Bat

In front of the same lodge, tucked up in some coconut palm fronds, was this family group of Uroderma bilobatum, Common Tent-making Bat. They actually bite the base of each leaf pinna to create their tent, often using a leaf of a Panama Hat Plant (Carludovica sp.), which we did see on one of the trails.
Uroderma bilobatum, Common Tent-making Bat

This final bat was in numbers along the walkway and right in front of our rooms at Sueño Azul – Rhynchonycteris naso, Proboscis Bat. Only after I spent some time setting up my camera on the tripod to take this photo did I realize that this was a female carrying a baby.
Rhynchonycteris naso, Proboscis Bat

The next day, a few yards away, someone noticed these two, perhaps the same mother taking a break from nursing.
Rhynchonycteris naso, Proboscis Bat

Near Arenal Volcano we had one long afternoon and the next morning with a steady rain that hampered our birding a bit. But when the rain stopped and the sun came out, birding was great until we had to make the short drive for lunch at a restaurant I had eaten at before. When we arrived, I hopped out of the bus to quickly ask for a table for our group, and the greeter said, “Sí señor, no hay problema. Quieren ver un perezoso tal vez?” And he pointed to the top a medium-sized Cecropia tree on the edge of the parking lot where a Bradypus variegatus, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth was enjoying the break in the rain. During our hour or so here we came out several times to see it in all sorts of positions, one time climbing out to the end of a branch to munch on some new leaves.
Bradypus variegatus, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth

Bradypus variegatus, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth

It also took some time to scratch – their fur is full of arthropods, many of which must certainly itch. I actually saw one of the famous sloth moths crawling on the fur when I watched him in the spotting scope.

On our first morning we watched this Microsciurus alfari, Central American Dwarf Squirrel, nibbling on mossy branches in the cloud forest of Tapantí-Macizo de la Muerte National Park.
Microsciurus alfari, Central American Dwarf Squirrel

Sciurus granatensis, Red-tailed Squirrel, is much more widespread in many forest types and elevations. This was at Savegre Lodge, but we also saw them in the more tropical elevations of the Osa Peninsula.
Sciurus granatensis, Red-tailed Squirrel

The biggest mammal surprise of the tour was this Sphiggurus mexicanus, Mexican Hairy Porcupine, roosting in a mango tree where I had been carefully searching (unsuccessfully) for a Pacific Screech-Owl that frequents the grounds of Ensenada Lodge.
Sphiggurus mexicanus, Mexican Hairy Porcupine

I had more fun with the odonates, though we certainly saw a lot more that went unidentified. All but the last of these were at Bosque del Rio Tigre, which has some nice swampy areas in the forest as well as a tiny stream and the larger Tigre river.

Heteragrion erythrogastrum, Red-bellied Flatwing
Heteragrion erythrogastrum, Red-bellied Flatwing

This is either Orthemis ferruginea, Roseate Skimmer or Orthemis schmidti: I haven’t learned how to tell the two apart, and both occur in Costa Rica.
Orthemis ferruginea, Roseate Skimmer or Orthemis schmidti

Rhodopygia hinei, Tropical Amberwing
Rhodopygia hinei, Tropical Amberwing

Miathyria simplex, Red Glider
Miathyria simplex, Red Glider

I wasn’t able to get names for all. I think this is a female Micrathyria sp., tropical dasher.
Micrathyria sp., tropical dasher

This Telebasis sp., firetail, is in a genus with eight other species in Costa Rica.
Telebasis sp., firetail

I’m only fairly certain this is Argia frequentula, Purple Stream Dancer, at La Selva on the Caribbean side. There are nearly 30 species of this difficult genus in Costa Rica.
Argia frequentula, Purple Stream Dancer

It was lucky to find this group of Atta sp., leafcutter ants at work within reach of the camera; many of them are high in the trees, also often working at night.
Atta sp., leafcutter ant

This large and very attractive praying mantis was by the kitchen at Bosque del Rio Tigre. I don’t have the foggiest idea as to genus and species, but the curved legs with longitudinal stripes and the pattern on top of the head are very distinctive, unlike any I have ever seen.

I had seen this Acrocinus longimanus, Harlequin Beetle once before in Costa Rica and also in SE Peru. This is a male with the extremely long forelegs.
Acrocinus longimanus, Harlequin Beetle

This attractive beetle from Monteverde is in the family Cantharidae, the soldier beetles.
soldier beetle, Cantharidae

I love the amazing variety of shapes and colors of the fulgorid treehoppers, also called lanternbugs (for no obvious reason). This one is Diareusa annularis, from near Arenal Volcano.
Diareusa annularis

This fulgorid, unusual from the high elevations of Savegre Mountain Lodge in the Cerro de la Muerte highlands, eludes identification, though the genera Scaralis and Domitia might be close.
Scaralis sp. or  Domitia sp.?

True bugs in the family Nogodinidae, called net-winged hoppers, are close to Fulgoridae; this is a Biolleyana sp., from Bosque del Rio Tigre.
Biolleyana sp.

I didn’t see too many orthopterans, and took few photos of the ones I did. This katydid at Bosque del Rio Tigre was particularly attractive and interesting with the short body and pale band at the base of the abdomen.

This is readily identified as a monkey grasshopper in the family Eumastacidae, and is probably a Eumastax sp., based on the bright colors.
Eumastax sp.

I’m pretty certain this is Tropidacris cristata, Giant Red-winged Lubber, the same species I saw in the Yucatan just a few months ago. This was in the drier Northwest, near Ensenada Lodge.
Tropidacris cristata, Giant Red-winged Lubber

Spiders are still difficult for me, even to the point of recognizing families. My North American field guide led me to believe this might be a giant crab spider, family Sparassidae.
giant crab spider, family Sparassidae?

This harvestman or daddy longlegs at Bosque del Rio Tigre (in the lowlands of the Osa Peninsula of the Pacific slope) looks so similar in structure and pattern to my photo of Eupoecilaema magna from Rancho Naturalista (middle elevations of the Caribbean slope), that I’m fairly certain it is of the same genus – perhaps E. panamaense. I’ll add my photo of the former from last year below this year’s to show the similarity.
Eupoecilaema sp.?

Eupoecilaema magna

Next up: plants!

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