Thursday, May 5, 2011

A multitude of small things

Sometimes small things distract us from birdwatching. On a recent day in San Luis we kept finding interesting little animals. Insects are more noticeable when they clump together.
Each of these fascinating small creatures has a place in the ecology of the cloud forest; perhaps some of our favorite birds depend on them. Because of the vast number of insects in a cloud forest, each time we see a particular species it might be the first and last time we ever see it. (The number of insects species in Costa Rica is estimated to be about 365,000!)  Irridescent beetles are especially attractive, even when tiny. This one, found dead and missing an antenna, was collected and taken to join the study collection at the University of Georgia Costa Rica campus.
 These insects made me want to use their colors in some knitting or other craft project.
Tip for insect watching: if you stand back a bit and use your binoculars you might be able to see more details than if you just look at them. Most modern binoculars have excellent close-focusing. We also use our spotting scope to look at them.
This insect looks like it's had a paint job.
Even a toad, if small enough, is cute.


Anonymous said...

I am equally fascinated by your photographs!

Carolina said...

Thank you!