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Leafcutter Ants

Leafcutter Ants are any of the forty seven species of ants belonging to the genera Atta and Acromyrmex that chew leaves. They are tropical ants that grow fungi that inhabit the southern United States, Central America and South America. The crops are grown in underground gardens that can be enormous. The cultivated fungus is completely dependent on the care of the ant and is the food of all the members of the colony, being the only food of the queen, the larvae and other members of the colony that remain in the nest; what turns the relationship into an obligated mutualism. The workers who cut leaves, in addition, ingest sap from the plants while cutting their segments.

The cutters go up in mass to the trees and they kneel their jaws on the leaves and cut sections. The columns of haulers can be seen with large pieces of vegetation raised high. They can attack many plants but constantly change the plant, apparently preventing the total removal of leaves and the death of trees, thus avoi…

Wildlife photos at Heliconia B&B’s gardens. Featured species: Chirique-Flusse Treefrog (Hypsiboas pugnax)

Chirique-Flusse Treefrog (Hypsiboas pugnax)

Chirique-Flusse Treefrog (Hypsiboas pugnax)

Chirique-Flusse Treefrog (Hypsiboas pugnax) is a species of frog in the Hylidae family that lives in Panama, northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela. Its natural habitats include dry and wet savannas, rivers, intermittent streams of water, freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, springs, river deltas, arable land, pastures, plantations, rural gardens, urban areas, previously heavily degraded forested areas , water storage areas such as ponds and aquaculture deposits, irrigation lands and flooded agricultural areas. The specific name “pugnax" refers to their pugnacious or combative habits; males fight each other using a spine they have on the thumbs, like their related species H. gladiator.

Adults are large with males reaching 78 mm (3 in), and females 80 mm (3.1 in). The dorsum is light brown, with some darker brown markings. The sides are pale with brown vertical bars. The arms and legs are barred. The iris is pale green or blue. The feet are extensively webbed with brown webbing.

Population is stable, it is an adaptable species that is not facing any known threats.

Cicada (Cicadidae)

Cicada (Cicadidae)

During our night walk through Heliconia B&B's gardens we found several arthropods too, and armadillos excavating for prey. Several pictures cannot be shared here because they are of exclusive use in a publication (Criaturas Milimétricas de Panamá). Even the cover of the book was made at Heliconia B&B.

Criaturas Milimétricas de Panamá - Amaral Editores (2018)

Flame-bellied Orb-weaver Spider - (Eriphora sp.)

Fly (Diptera)

Caterpillar (Lepidoptera)

Planthopper (Fulgoroidea)