Giant green larva looks like an alien
Larvae of butterflies and moths come in amazing different sizes, shapes, and coloration. Yesterday Victor Mendoza found the green larva we show here. It is the largest I have seen in many decades of photographing larva in the rain forests of Guatemala.
We found this along the trail from Plan Grande Tatin toward the Cueva del Tigre, Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala.
We will do a photo essay showing all our macro photographs by Nicholas Hellmuth and by David Arrivillaga (FLAAR Mesoamerica). But to start here are photographs with an iPhone 13 Pro Max, held within a few centimeters of this creature to get these views. Since most larvae are dangerous to touch, we did not touch it. And we left it in the same place that we found it (on the ground).
We now initiate library research to figure out what family and what genus this creature is.
If you want to study insects, Guatemala is a great place.
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) sighting in Livingston
Watching dolphins in the sea is an incredible spectacle, something beautifully unmatched. It makes you feel peace, excitement and joy at the same time.
On April 7, the FLAAR Mesoamerica team made an express fieldtrip to Livingston. It was on this trip where we had the opportunity to watch this incredible moment, we were heading to Tapón Creek crossing Amatique Bay when suddenly we observed that the dolphins jumped next to our boat, they could be seen to the right and to the left.
The species that we observed in Amatique Bay is Tursiops truncatus, commonly called bottlenose dolphins or locally called “Toninas” in Livingston. Dolphins belong to the order CETACEO of the mammalia taxonomic class, this means that dolphins are certainly marine mammals.
Video by Victor Mendoza. April 7th 2022. iPhone 11. Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) sighting in Livingston.
Bottlenose dolphins are social animals known for their playful behavior. Many times, they are found living in groups called pods. These groups can contain just a couple of members, or hundreds of members when different pods join. Bottlenose dolphins hunt in groups, taking turns chasing schools of fish or catching fish against mud or sand banks (NCEAS, 2004).
FLAAR Mesoamerica has had the opportunity to document several sightings of these amazing marine mammals. This time it was possible to observe them on the coast of Punta de Cocolí around 10 in the morning. Regarding their physical appearance, they were approximately 8 feet long, so we deduced that it was a pod of adult dolphins. Alexander Cuz, our boat captain told us that they were feeding according to their behavior. They were light gray in color and we could see how one dolphin jumped on its back and we appreciated its white chest.
If you are very lucky you can live this incredible experience if you visit Livingston, Izabal!
- Delfín Nariz de Botella. Mamíferos merinos del Proyecto: Kids Do Ecology
Written by Lic. Roxana Leal & Ing. Victor Mendoza
Video by Ing. Victor Mendoza
Introduction to Mammals and the 5 Felines of Guatemala
Do you want to know more about the mammals and the five felines of Guatemala? These conferences are what you were looking for.
Sign up here to receive the ZOOM link:
We are waiting for you on Wednesday May 25th and Thursday May 26th via Facebook Live or ZOOM at 6:00 pm (Guatemala Time). *CONFERENCE FOR ALL PUBLIC.
- MSc. Pilar Negreros - Knowing the Mammals
- Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth - The five felines of the Mayan Culture: Attributes and physical differences.
- Vivian Hurtado
- Victor Mendoza
Organized by: FLAAR Mesoamerica, MayanToons and FLAAR USA
Black insect focuses on flowers of Vanilla insignis, Peten, Guatemala
During May 2022 field trip in Peten, Guatemala, we found a black insect wandering around the fresh open flower of a wild Vanilla insignis orchid vine. This insect was not a bee. Since wild vanilla orchid flowers bloom only 3 hours once a year, to have an orchidologist or entomologist in front of the flower and see this insect is statistically unlikely.
We are preparing FLAAR Report on this orchid where the insect can be seen on the outside and on the inside of the open flower. By late June the report should be ready.
What species of owl is this?
I saw this “owl face” while hiking along a dirt trail through the seasonally inundated bajos that surround the tasistal savannas we are searching for. Fortunately seasonally inundated also means seasonally bone dry, so hiking these many kilometers was realistic in late March this year. FLAAR has a 5-year project of cooperation and coordination with CONAP to study flora, fauna and ecosystems of the entire Reserva de la Biosfera Maya. We are focusing on studying all the varieties of savanna: low grass savanna, high sawgrass savanna (cibal), and tasiste palm savannas (tasistal). Also are making lists of all of the wild plants in these habitats that are edible (which means the Classic Maya had these plants available as food thousands of years ago).
Is this a buho or lechuza or tecolote? Those are the words in Spanish to distinguish between kinds of owls. Tecolote is derived from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Lots of towns including in Guatemala are named Teculutan (which I assume means place of the tecolotes). I drive through the town of Teculutan (Zacapa, along CA-9) a dozen times each year to reach where we are doing field trip research to find interesting flora and fauna. (ps, the shape of the area around the eyes is more like that of a buho than a lechuza).
Next step is to learn what causes these tumor-like growths to form on this particular tree. I usually see galls on trees in the Maya Highlands. On this trail we are in the Maya Lowlands. Hope this “owl face” was entertaining for you.
Written by Nicholas Hellmuth