Macro Photography in Panama City, Part 2

Last Friday I returned to Parque Metropolitano de Panamá to make more photos, and as usual I wasn't dissapointed. I found several especies that were willing to collaborate for pictures. I was even able to see a caterpillar I never had seen before, I had seen its "house", a cocoon made of sticks, but never before it showed up as it did this time.

I got the oportunity to observe and photograph three "trash bugs" or as I call them "basuritas"

For scale a trash bug on a closed ixora's flower known locally as "Bouquet de Novia"

A close up for details

Trash bug eating what looks like insect eggs

Green lacewings are insects in the large family Chrysopidae of the order Neuroptera. There are about 85 genera and (differing between sources) 1,300–2,000 species in this widespread group. The larvae are colloquially known as "aphid lions" or "aphid wolves" but also known as "trash bug", an unfortunate nickname. They are voracious predators, attacking most insects of suitable size, especially soft-bodied ones (aphids, caterpillars and other insect larvae, insect eggs, and at high population densities also each other). The aphid lion of some species may collect debris and food remains and stick pieces of material onto its body in an effort to create a camouflage so that it cannot be seen by its own enemies like birds. Hiding under a covering of inedible debris seems to work well for them as they move about on the surface of a plant. While the aphid lion is, in reality, quite harmless to people, it is not impossible for it to poke at someone's skin with those sharp, pointed mandibles. The result could be a slight "bite" sensation.
 The stick cocoon as previously seen, note that the caterpillar is totally hidden

 The stick cocoon as seen this time with the bagworm showing up and walking

 Details of the bagworm caterpillar

The Psychidae (bagworm moths, also simply bagworms or bagmoths) are a family of the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). The bagworm family is fairly small, with about 1350 species described. Bagworm species are found globally. The caterpillar of this family build a protective cases in which they can hide, out of silk and environmental materials such as sand, soil, lichen, or plant materials. These cases are attached to rocks, trees or fences while resting or during their pupa stage, but are otherwise mobile.

Bagworm cases range in size from less than 1 cm to 15 cm among some tropical species. Each species makes a case particular to its species, making the case more useful to identify the species than the creature itself. Cases among the more primitive species are flat. More specialized species exhibit a greater variety of case size, shape, and composition, usually narrowing on both ends. The attachment substance used to affix the bag to host plant, or structure, can be very strong, and in some case require a great deal of force given the relative size and weight of the actual "bag" structure itself.

 Other caterpillars I found

Tick waiting for a victim on a blade of grass
Ticks are small arachnids in the order Parasitiformes. Along with mites, they constitute the subclass Acarina. Ticks are ectoparasites (external parasites), living by hematophagy on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. Tick species are widely distributed around the world, but they tend to flourish more in countries like Panama with warm, humid climates, because they require a certain amount of moisture in the air to undergo metamorphosis, and because low temperatures inhibit their development from egg to larva.

Spiny orb-weavers is a common name for Gasteracantha, a genus of spiders. Although their shell is shaped like a crab shell with spikes must not be confused with a crab spider. Orb-weavers' bites are generally harmless to humans.

Jumping spiders are generally recognized by their eye pattern. All jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes with one pair being their particularly large anterior median eyes. Salticids hunt diurnally as a rule, which is consistent with their highly developed visual system.

  "Zagaño" or Stingless bee
Stingless bees, sometimes called stingless honey bees or simply meliponines, are a large group of bees (about 500 species). They belong in the family Apidae, and are closely related to common honey bees, Meliponines have stingers, but they are highly reduced and cannot be used for defense. Meliponines are not the only type of "stingless" bee; male bees and bees of several other species, also cannot sting.

The coloring of different species of grasshopper are often dependent on environment. Many species are adapted to green fields and forests, and blend in well there to avoid predators. Others have adapted to drier, sandy environments and blend in well with the colors of dry dirt and sand.

 Unknown type of insect

The Asilidae are a family in the order Diptera, the true flies. They are predators, aggressive to the point of earning the common name, in English, of "robber flies". The combination of high biodiversity and high predatory activity leads to this family playing an important role in the ecological stability of entomofauna. The Asilidae are cosmopolitan, with over 7000 described species.

About 450,000 species of beetles occur – representing about 40% of all known insects. Such a large number of species poses special problems for classification, with some families consisting of thousands of species and needing further division into subfamilies and tribes.