White-tailed deer, what they eat in central Peten
We (FLAAR Mesoamerica research team) are preparing to do animated videos to help school children around the world (and their parents) learn about biodiversity in the Peten, Izabal, and Alta Verapaz areas of Guatemala. We have a research library in-house, we have an e-library (over 4,000 downloaded reports, books, theses, dissertations, etc.). Plus we have the experience of Dr Nicholas’s half-century in Guatemala (arriving here in 1963).
But, the best way to learn is to ask local people in Peten, in Izabal, and in Alta Verapaz: they know things about local flora and fauna that is not in any book. So we asked park ranger Teco (Moises Daniel Pérez Díaz) if he had some suggestions for what aspects of the forest to show surrounding the white-tailed deer and red brocket deer: both live in Tikal, Yaxha and all nearby areas from Chiapas to Belize and up in Campeche and Quintana Roo (and of course elsewhere in Mesoamerica). But their diet will be very different depending on whether the white-tailed deer lives in Virginia, Missouri, Texas, northern Mexico, Oaxaca, etc. We want to learn about the deer in Peten and Izabal areas.
You can now see a nice list of what deer eat in Peten, Guatemala, on a new web page we just posted.
Video conference on Biodiversity of Ecosystems Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala via ZOOM
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).