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Birdwatching at Summit Hotel

Some time ago our photographer Miguel “Siu” spent a weekend at Summit Hotel & Club Golf (http://www.summithotelgolfpanama.com), and of course, instead of spending time with clubs and balls, he took his tripod and camera and went searching birds on the trails and forested areas surrounding the facilities.
Suddenly, Siu heard a raptor whistle call that he immediately recognized as a Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus). He had heard it so many times while watching this bird soaring high, but to his surprise this time it was perched on a cecropia dead branch, just looking to the golf course. It only took seconds to draw this large bird’s attention and get a decent shot before it decided to soar to a farthest perch.

The Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus) is a large, black raptor of Neotropical forests. It has a prominent crest, is blackish with narrow white barring below, and broad gray bars on the tail. This hawk-eagle occurs in both open and dense forests. Individuals often soa…

Nocturnal Macro-Adventure - Featured species: Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria boliviensis)

As we continued with our macro-adventures, Julio Gonzalez joined and we went to Gamboa to El Dique trail and the Pipeline Road, were we found very interesting species.


Brown Setwing dragonfly (Dythemis sterilis). Dythemis is a Neotropical genus of dragonflies in the Libellulidae family, commonly known as Setwings. There are seven species


Leaf Beetle (Chrysomelidae)

Katydid (Tettigoniidae)


Harvestman or Daddy Longlegs (Opiliones)


Brazilian Wandering Spiders (Phoneutria), Armed Spiders (armadeiras, as they are known in Brazilian Portuguese), or Banana Spiders (a name shared with several others), are a genus of aggressive and venomous spiders of potential medical significance to humans. They are mainly found in tropical South America, with one species in Central America (Phoneutria boliviensis). These spiders are members of the family Ctenidae of wandering spiders.

Wandering spiders are so-called because they wander the jungle floor and vegetation at night, rather than residing in a lair or maintaining a web. During the day they hide inside termite mounds, under fallen logs and rocks, and in banana plants (hence the "banana spider" nickname) and bromeliads.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider's prey includes crickets, scarabs, cockroaches, katydids, mantids, and other larger animals, including tree frogs and lizards.

The Brazilian wandering spiders appear in Guinness World Records from 2010 as the world's most venomous spider. Guinness World Records states that although the Brazilian wandering spider venom is the most toxic, an effective antivenom is available and few fatalities occur. P. fera and P. nigriventer are widely considered the most venomous species of spider. Their venom contains a potent neurotoxin. At deadly concentrations, this neurotoxin causes loss of muscle control and breathing problems, resulting in paralysis and eventual asphyxiation. In addition, the venom causes intense pain and inflammation

Aside from causing intense pain, the venom of the spider can also cause priapism in humans. Erections resulting from the bite are uncomfortable, can last for many hours and can lead to impotence. A component of the venom is being studied for use in erectile dysfunction treatments.

In Panama the only species present is P. boliviensis, although it's supposedly not as toxic as their congeneric P. fera and P. nigriventer, it’s still considered the most dangerous spider in Panama, due to its potent neurotoxin, its size (males: 34mm [1.33 in], females: 40mm [1.57 inch] not counting the legspans), aggressiveness, and the frequency it gets inside houses.


Spider (Araneomorphae)


Dragonfly (Anisoptera)


Leaf Beetle (Chrysomelidae)