Saturday, March 14, 2020

January 4, 2020 at Cristalino Jungle Lodge

Just three days until the big day, and I’m actually getting nervous. I’ve been planning my 50th birthday celebration for six years, and so many things could go wrong, especially with missed flight connections. I’m talking about 33 people trying to all arrive at the same place multiple flights away from homes that span the US and Europe.

Oh, well, nothing I can do now, so Susanne and I had a wonderful morning alone on the new Correcão trail – actually an old loop trail that existed even before I first came here in 2004 and recently reopened. It’s across the stream that flows into the old Saleiro and goes a bit up the slopes of the hill to the southwest of the lodge. My best find of the morning was a cordyceps on a cicada nymph, a first for either of us. Actually, Susanne admits they saw one of these fruiting bodies a few days earlier on the opposite side of the Teles Pires river, and they collected it, not knowing what it was. I just noticed in the middle of the trail this small cluster of pinkish blobs in what looked like a tiny cauliflower head.
Ophiocordyceps araracuraensis

I had a suspicion, so I started digging widely around it with my pocket knife. Finally, maybe three inches down, I found where the stalk led – to a dead, very large cicada nymph. I’m left wondering when and how the first fungal spores find their host and the same time don’t really wonder why it is so rare. An expert in the group has suggested that it may be Ophiocordyceps araracuraensis.
Ophiocordyceps araracuraensis

I found yet another spiny orbweaver. Every time I find one it’s a new species for me. This one is Micrathena pungens.
Micrathena pungens

I couldn’t see much detail on this tiny moth when it landed on my trousers, but my macro reveals a surprising design and beauty. It is Tortyra hyalozona.
Tortyra hyalozona

The last photo is from the afternoon, when we took a relaxing boat ride to the mouth of the Cristalino River and checked out an orchid that Gilmar had spotted a few days earlier. We followed his perfect directions and found it high in a nearly dead tree next to the river, and my photos reveal that is Cattleya violacea, not previously found at Cristalino.
Cattleya violacea

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