Ant mutualism with Costus flowers in Guatemala
We have found and photographed Costus in full flower in
- Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo, Peten
- Along road from Plan Grande Tatin to Livingston, Izabal
- Near Q’eqchi’ Mayan Aldea Rio Tzetoc, Muni Coban, Alta Verapaz
- Arroyo Petexbatun area, Sayaxche, Peten
These are all areas that are seasonally wet.
On most of the Costus flowers in most of these areas there were ants happily wandering around the flowers. So if you are a biologist, botanist or entomologist, this is a great ant-plant mutualistic relationship to learn about.
There are Costus flowers in many of the biodiverse ecosystems of the Municipio de Livingston, Departamento de Izabal, Guatemala, Central America. This is a friendly area: we come and stay an entire week each time.
As soon as the Coronavirus pandemic around the world clears up, we look forward to returning to Rio Dulce, El Golfete, Lake Izabal, and Amatique Bay to see, photograph, learn about, and publish more flora and fauna.
Butterflies waiting for you in Municipio de Livingston, Izabal
Butterfly in Biotope Chocon Machacas, north side of El Golfete, Rio Dulce, Municipio de Livingston, Departamento de Izabal, Guatemala, Central America. Photograph by David Arrivilaga, FLAAR Mesoamerica, March 2020.
Guatemala has butterflies everywhere. Most butterflies are hard-working pollinators, so it is helpful NOT to use pesticides and herbicides all over your garden and agricultural fields.
A great place to see butterflies are nature reserves since here you can find all the original native tropical rain forest plants. So you can see, photograph, and learn about lots of butterflies.
The Municipio de Livingston is where we are doing flora and fauna research since February 2020. There are so many different biodiverse ecosystems that you can find whatever kind of flowering plants or butterflies or moths that you are interested in.
We will be showing some busy bee pollinators in a subsequent post. But today we show this handsome butterfly, just waiting for you to photograph it.
Keep in mind that there are a lot more pollinators than just bees, birds, butterflies and bats. We will discuss this in future posts.
Most photogenic crab I have experienced in 50+ years in Guatemala
I have enjoyed finding and photographing crabs along rivers and lakes of Peten, Guatemala and rivers, lakes, and mangrove swamps of Canal de Chiquimulilla and nearby the Pacific Ocean coast of Central America. The ocean front town of Hawaii is a great place to find beach crabs. Hawaii here is a town on the Pacific beach downstream from Monterrico, Guatemala. But the bright orange crab here is from Biotopo Chocon Machacas, north side of El Golfete (Rio Dulce), Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala.
An aquatic biology specialist at USAC (Lic. Jose Ortiz, acuicultor de la Universidad de San Carlos) kindly provided our URL university biology student Victor Mendoza (FLAAR Mesoamerica) with an identification: a pregnant female of Metasesarma aubryi. Notice that this colorful crab has no dark brown and no black top whatsoever (90% of the photos of Metasesarma aubryi on the Internet show this species with dark coloration on top of its head and back).
We will first do an entire web page on this crab and UVG university biology student Ericka Garcia (FLAAR Mesoamerica) is preparing a full report.
Juana Lourdes Wallace Ramírez, the pleasant team member of the Alcalde’s office, found the Calathea crotalifera flowers (relative of Heliconia) that the crab was perched on. This photograph is by David Arrivillaga. We have more than 50 photos of this crab by David and by Nicholas Hellmuth: front, side, back, etc. that we will show in the full report by Ericka Garcia.
You can see more of the flowers of this Calathea crotalifera on the home page of our www.maya-ethnobotany.org
I am curious why this crab is over 150 meters from the shore of El Goltete?
Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, El Golfete, Municipio de Livingston
If you are an ornithologist, lots of birds of every size and kind here. If you are a birder: birds you will not see at landlocked areas elsewhere. Here in the Municipio of Livingston, Departamento of Izabal, Guatemala, Central America you have Lago Izabal, Rio Dulce, El Golfete, Rio Dulce Canyon, and then Amatique Bay. So a helpful diversity of ecosystems: mangrove swamps to canyons to lagoons, rivers, creeks.
Lots of hotels everywhere: Rio Dulce, along both sides of El Golfete, and in the peaceful town of Livingston. Every hotel offers boat service and there are local guides who know the birds. If you are an ornithologist or a bird watching club, we can recommend local specialists.
Lots of species of birds have their nests on the same “bird islands” here. So if you have prime telephoto lens you can get great photographs. Plus you can study these birds up-close, since the nests are in trees not far from the shore.
I have studied waterbirds in rivers and lakes and Pacific Ocean shores for decades. But be sure you include Municipio de Livingston in your travel plans if you want to see lots of waterbirds. The Caribbean is at the east end; Lake Izabal is at the western end. So you get “seabirds” and waterbirds of freshwater areas. We hope to return soon (we did initial exploration in February and mid-March 2020).
Beautiful Butterflies on Neotropical Flowers Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala
While hiking several hours from Plan Grande Tatin to Cueva del Jaguar (Cave of the Jaguar) I had pure luck to find a butterfly sucking nectar from a flower along the trail.
We will identify the butterfly and flowers as soon as we have strong Internet available.
Our goal in the Municipio of Livingston is to find and photograph as many native flowers and native butterflies (and other insects) as possible, and indicate where botanists, entomologists, students, and visitors can find the remarkable flora and fauna of the diverse ecosystems of this Caribbean corner of Guatemala, Central America.
Lots of Photogenic Water Birds in Municipio de Livingston: Lake Izabal, Rio Dulce, El Golfete, Amatique Bay, Izabal, Guatemala
During 59 years of visiting different areas of Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize, the areas where I have seen the largest mass of birds are in coastal lakes and swamps of the Yucatan Peninsula and in the lakes, rivers, and bay of Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala. I would rate Lake Izabal, Rio Dulce, and especially the El Golfete area, as having “more water birds per square meter than anywhere else in this part of Mesoamerica.” Amatique Bay would be included in the Rio Dulce water bird area.
So if you are interested in seaside, riverside, lakeside hotel relaxation, plus experiencing many species of friendly pelicans, cormorants, and lots of other energetic water birds, plan a trip to the Rio Dulce-Livingston part of Central America.
We (FLAAR in USA and FLAAR Mesoamerica in Guatemala) have undertaken field trips to photograph water birds during February and then during April of 2018 and again in February 2020. We return to the Municipio of Livingston with our 200mm, 300mm, 400mm, 600mm, and 800mm prime telephoto lenses (plus zoom telephoto lenses) the second week of March.
About 80 species just of water-related birds have been noted here by the helpful work of FUNDAECO by Cerezo, Ramirez, Lopez, Javierm, and Barrientos (2012). On our field trips we photographed 12 species of water birds (and in our previous field trips we found two water birds not in their list). Our goal is accomplish high-resolution photography of all 80 species. If you would like to help fund our field trips, please contact us.
More Fuzzy-Furry Caterpillars, Larvae of a Moth of Butterfly
Pokomchi Mayan plant scout Norma Estefany Cho Cu not only is helping us find wild Coyo, Persea schiedeana, a wild Mayan avocado species, but she is also very adept at finding and photographing larvae of moths and butterflies.
We at FLAAR (USA) and FLAAR Mesoamerica (Guatemala) are dedicated to accomplishing research on all pollinators. It is crucial to create educational material in the local Mayan, Garifuna, Xinca and Spanish (and English) to explain to school children the importance of not killing potential future pollinators.