Macro-Adventure at Parque Natural Metropolitano
In March we continue our macro-aventure posts but now we switched from night to day, and visited Parque Natural Metropolitano in Panama city.
Planthoppers (Fulgoroidea). Nymphs of many fulgoroids produce wax from special glands on the abdominal terga and other parts of the body. These are hydrophobic and help conceal the insects. Adult females of many families also produce wax which may be used to protect eggs.
Orb-weaver Spider (Eriophora). Eriophora is a genus of orb-weaver spiders that occur in the Americas, Australasia and Africa.
Grasshopper (Caelifera). Grasshoppers have a typical insect nervous system, and have an extensive set of external sense organs. On the side of the head are a pair of large compound eyes which give a broad field of vision and can detect movement, shape, colour and distance. There are also three simple eyes (ocelli) on the forehead which can detect light intensity, a pair of antennae containing olfactory (smell) and touch receptors, and mouthparts containing gustatory (taste) receptors.
Leaf-litter Toad (Rhinella alata)
Anole Lizard (Anolis sp.)
White Micrathena Spider or Spiny Orb-weaver (Micrathena sp.). The spider genus Micrathena contains more than a hundred species, most of them Neotropical woodland orb-weavers. All are orb weavers (they spin intricate, circular webs), and all have some combination of pointy, conical tubercles on their bodies. Males are small and rarely seen.
Leaf Beetle (Chrysomelidae). The family includes over 37,000 (and probably at least 50,000) species in more than 2,500 genera, making it one of the largest and most commonly encountered of all beetle families. The bodies of most species are domed, and oval in dorsal view (though some are round or elongate), and they often possess a metallic luster or multiple colors.
Ant-mimic Treehopper (Cyphonia clavata). This species keeps itself safe from predators “pretending" to be an ant. What looks like an ant here is actually extension growths on its body. Any predator looking down will only see what looks like an ant. The rest of the treehopper’s body will blend in with the foliage.
Treehoppers (Membracidae) are best known for their enlarged and ornate pronotum, which most often resembles thorns, apparently to aid camouflage. In some species, the pronotum is a horn-like extension, but can form more bizarre shapes.
Jumping Spider (Lyssomanes). This is a spider genus of the Salticidae family. About 90 species have been described, ranging from South and Central America, up to the southern United States. They are long-legged, with translucent bodies frequently green or yellow. They resemble lynx spiders, except that they have large anterior median eyes.
Jumping Spider (Salticidae)
Long-legged Fly (Dolichopodidae). The long-legged flies, are a large, cosmopolitan family of true flies with more than 7,000 described species in about 230 genera. They are generally small flies with large, prominent eyes and a metallic cast to their appearance, though there is considerable variation among the species. Most have long legs, though some do not.
Close up of the head of what looks to be a geometrid caterpillar or inchworm (Geometridae). This is the larval stage of a geometer moth. The name "Geometridae" derives from Latin geometra ("geometer, earth-measurer"). This refers to the means of locomotion of the larvae or caterpillars, which lack the full complement of prolegs seen in other lepidopteran caterpillars, with only two or three pairs at the posterior end instead of the usual five pairs. Equipped with appendages at both ends of the body, a caterpillar clasps with its front legs and draws up the hind end, then clasps with the hind end (prolegs) and reaches out for a new front attachment - creating the impression that it is measuring its journey. The caterpillars are accordingly called loopers, spanworms, or inchworms after their characteristic looping gait. They tend to be green, grey, or brownish and hide from predators by fading into the background or resembling twigs.
Treehopper Nymphs and Ant (Membracid & Formicidae). Treehoppers pierce plant stems with their beaks, and feed upon sap. The immatures can frequently be found on herbaceous shrubs and grasses. Excess sap becomes concentrated as honeydew, which often attracts ants on a well-developed mutualism. The ants provide protection from predators while they feed from honeydew.
Jewel Beetle or Metallic Wood-boring Beetle (Chrysobothris sp.). Buprestidae is a family of beetles known for their glossy iridescent colors. The family is among the largest of the beetles, with some 15,000 species known in 450 genera. Shape is generally cylindrical or elongate to ovoid. The iridescence common to these beetles is not due to pigments in the exoskeleton, but instead is caused by structural coloration, in which microscopic texture in their cuticle selectively reflects specific frequencies of light in particular directions.