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Dictyopharid Planthopper with Dryinid Wasp Parasite

~20mm | January 7, 2012 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

When I encountered the planthopper above, I had no idea what was going on. While not entirely sure, I assumed that might be a parasite on its abdomen. I had wanted to get a closeup of just the parasite, but when I went to grab the planthopper, it jumped and flew away with little difficulty. The parasite must not have been as much of a hindrance as it would appear.

Here’s a crop of the image above showing the parasite.

Closeup of parasite

It didn’t take much searching on the internet to determine that this must be the larva of a wasp in the family Dryinidae. There are plenty of images of larvae on BugGuide. According to Wikipedia, a larva initially feeds internally on the host. Only later in its development does it protrude the host as shown here. read more

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A Couple of Dictyopharid Planthoppers

10mm long | December 30, 2011 | Quirinópolis, Goiás, Brazil

These dictyopharid planthoppers are a nice addition to my virtual collection.

It took many attempts before I got this shot where both planthoppers were in the plane of focus. That’s sometimes difficult enough with small subjects, but even more so when they are above your head. I convinced myself the Canon 60D’s flip-out view screen with live view would come in handy for situations like this. Shots like these that I’d otherwise have missed make me feel better about the expenditure. read more

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Clearwing Moth

~20mm wide | December 31, 2011 | Quirinópolis, Goiás, Brazil

This colorful moth in the family Arctiidae looks a little worse for wear. Nonetheless, it’s quite striking and I’m sure a fresh specimen must be even more so. I later saw another one of these near a porch light so it might be a common species.

While searching for a possible identification, I came across this blog posting. It describes how hundreds of caterpillars were invading people’s home in Piracicaba, São Paulo. With the help of a biologist, they found both the host plant and some pupae for rearing. What emerged looks very much like the moth above, identified as Cosmosoma teuthras, a common moth throughout Brazil. Check the site for photos of the caterpillars, pupae, and an adult. I have no idea if there are similar looking species, but it seems like a good possibility for what I found. read more

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8mm long | July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Side view

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Another Micropezid

13mm (body) | January 21, 2011 | Finca La Isla, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Here’s another micropezid, waving its front legs like they are apt to do.

Frontal view

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January 20, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Just another one of those odd looking dictyopharids.

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Colorful Jumping Spider

4mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

It’s hard to resist jumping spiders. This little one sort of has the colors of the Costa Rican flag!

Better view of abdomen

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Yellow-headed Gecko

January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

This species, Gonatodes albigularis, can usually be found on surfaces two to three meters above the ground. Not surprisingly then, I spotted this male just above eye-level on the side of a tree, shortly after dark.

Male coloration as shown here is distinctive among Costa Rican lizards. Interestingly though, coloration changes after dark. The head darkens a bit and the body lightens somewhat. Both still remain distinct from each other. What you see above then is the night color phase, or perhaps a transitional phase between the two. Males also have that white-tipped tail. read more

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Richardiid Fly

6mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

I’m pretty sure this fly is a species in the family Richardiidae.

Dorsolateral view

It was really concentrating on mopping up whatever that blob is, allowing me to get several shots from various angles.

Dorsal view


Diptera of Costa Rica and the New World tropicsby Manuel A. Zumbado and Fernando Zeledón
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Leaf Beetles and Damaged Leaves

2mm | January 17, 2011 | Cahuita National Park, Limon Province, Costa Rica

This is almost but not quite the shot I was going for. When I first saw this little beetle it was oriented toward the freshly eaten patch. With the frass strewn around, you can just imagine it chewing away at the surface in a circular pattern. I wasn’t quite stealthy enough in my approach however, and I spooked it into moving away.

Below is a similar beetle, perhaps a different sex of the same species. Note the difference between the freshly eaten patch above and the older ones below.

Showing older leaf damage

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