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.
Bilaterally symmetrical circular aggrupation of larvae
The Biotopo Chocón Machacas CECON-USAC, El Golfete, Livingston, is paradise on earth for trees, vines, mosses, flowers, mushrooms, and larvae of moths and butterflies. Here is a remarkable aggrupation of large sized larvae surrounding three horizontal smaller “baby” caterpillars.
Our visit to this Biotope was arranged by Edwin Mármol Quiñonez, Coordinación de Cooperación de Livingston (Izabal, Guatemala). The flora and fauna research team from FLAAR Mesoamerica had been invited to visit the Municipio of Livingston by the new Alcalde the Municipio of Livingston, Daniel Esaú Pinto Peña. We are discussing undertaking a joint project to record the flora and fauna of the entire municipio, and to prepare educational material for the local schools, and to prepare material for the tourists so they know what photogenic waterbirds and gorgeous plants can be found in this part of Guatemala. This would be a four year project of cooperation between FLAAR Mesoamerica and the various entities of the Municipio of Livingston.
Fuzzy furry larvae (caterpillars) of butterflies and/or moths, Guatemala
Over the recent two years we have tested various mobile phone cameras, to learn which is best for panoramas, which is best for general photographs, and which is best for macro photos of flowers and insects. iPhone Xs is excellent for general photos and panoramas (even though we have a Nikon D5 and a Canon EOS 1D X Mark II and a 61 megapixel Sony Alpha a7R IV mirrorless full frame). Google Pixel 3XL and Google Pixel 3 are excellent for macro photos.
Courtesy of a donation by Scott Forsythe, we were able to acquire a Google Pixel 3XL that we could loan to one of our plant-and-animal scouts. Our “scouts” are individuals in various parts of Guatemala who search for, find, and photograph the rare endangered flora and fauna that we are recording throughout Guatemala (especially in Peten and Alta Verapaz, and now we have added Izabal).
It is not realistic for a plant scout in a remote mountain area to carry a regular camera. A mobile telephone is far more practical.
These larvae were photographed on Feb. 19, 2020 by Norma Estefany Cho Cu, a helpful Pokomchi Mayan plant-and-animal-scout in southern Alta Verapaz. She, her husband, and her father have worked with FLAAR Mesoamerica in recent years.