Happy New Macro-Year!! (Macro photography in El Espino, San Carlos, Panama Oeste)
During the 2016 New Year's holidays we spent some time in our beloved "El Siu Mae" trail located in El Espino of San Carlos, Panama Oeste province, doing some macro shots. As usual, lots of spiders were hanging around but also other insect life forms were caught in very interesting situations.
Frigga is a genus of the jumping spiders family Salticidae
The Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans) is a bright-green lynx spider usually found on green plants. It is the largest North American species in the family Oxyopidae.
Lynx spiders (Oxyopidae) in general rely on keen eyesight in stalking, chasing, or ambushing prey, and also in avoiding enemies.
Most jumping spiders (Salticidae) can jump several times the length of their bodies. When a jumping spider is moving from place to place, and especially just before it jumps, it tethers a filament of silk (or 'dragline') to whatever it is standing on to protect itself if the jump should fail.
A silky Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea).
Adult Thorn Bug (Membracidae)
Treehoppers / Thorn bugs (Membracidae) at different stages of maturity. The growing young, or nymphs, go through a series of five moults (shedding their exoskeletons) prior to reaching the adult stage.
Mating Humpbacked Flies (Curtonotidae). When flies mate, the male initially flies on top of the female, facing in the same direction, but then turns around to face in the opposite direction.
Owlflies (Ascalaphidae) are dragonfly-like insects with large bulging eyes and strongly knobbed antennae. They are neuropterans in the family Ascalaphidae; they are only distantly related to the true flies, and even more distant from the dragonflies and damselflies. They are readily distinguished from dragonflies because the latter have short bristle-like antennae.
Green Jumping Spider (Salticidae, Lyssomanes)
Freya is a genus of the Jumping Spider family Salticidae
Shield bug (Pentatomoidea) carrying mites (Acari)
Robber Fly (Asilidae)
Mantis (Mantodea). Mantises have large, triangular heads with a beak-like snout and mandibles. They have two bulbous compound eyes, three small simple eyes, and a pair of antennae.
Ants (Formicidae) nesting inside a dead branch in a tree. Not to be confused with termites.
Conehead Tree Termite (Nasutitermes corninger), locally known as "comején de árbol", is a species of arboreal termite that is endemic to the neotropics. The species has been studied relatively intensively, particularly on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. These studies and others have shown that the termite interacts with many different organisms including a bat that roosts in its nest and various species of ants that cohabit with the termite. In the picture above we can see the soldiers (pointy heads) protecting a breach in a tunnel, while workers (larger bodied) repair the damage.
The common name Conehead is due to the soldiers' head shape. The soldier caste has had their heads modified to spew a noxious, sticky liquid when under attack from Tamandua anteaters. The secretion contains compounds that deter the anteater from returning. The termites then remain on guard near the breach for several minutes.
The jackpot of the macro aventure was when we observed the back of a stink bug sticking out below a leaf, we carefully removed the leaf to discover the scene below. A stink bug protecting its eggs and new borns. After a couple of shots I noticed that what I thought was a speck of dust was actually a lacewing larva predating the eggs.
Stink bug (Pentatomidae) trying to protect its offspring
Lacewing larva aka "Aphid lion" or trash bug (Chrysopidae) snatching the stink bug eggs
Lacewing larva (Chrysopidae)
Lacewing larvae have long bristles jutting out from the sides. These bristles will collect debris and food remains – the empty integuments of aphids, most notably – that provide camouflage from birds. 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)