Readers’ wildlife photos

After an absence of some time, naturalist and photographer Lou Jost has returned with some gorgeous photos of Ecuadorian wildlife. His notes are indented:

Earlier this month I visited the Canande Reserve of the Jocotoco Foundation, in some of the last remnants of the lowland rain forests of northwest Ecuador, to help them look for a new species of Magnolia (Magnolia canandeana) using my drone. While driving around looking for launching sites, I found a pair of Great Jacamars (Jacamerops aureus) on the roadside constructing their nest inside a termite nest. They don’t eat the termites as far as I know; they behave like Old World bee-eaters, using their long beaks to catch bees, wasps, cicadas, and large butterflies, which they beat to death and then swallow.

After this experience with the jacamars I started paying attention to the termite nests along the road. Sue enough, a few minutes later at a big termite nest, I saw another colorful pair of birds, the Western White-tailed Trogon (Trogon chionurus) making their nest.

At night there were exciting insects. The Peanut-headed Bug (Fulgora laternaria), a gigantic treehopper, was the best. This insect, called the Machaca by the local people, is widely believed to bite people, though it doesn’t. According to local legend throughout tropical America, if you are bit by one of these, you must make love within 12-24 hours or you die.

Night walks revealed a lot of action. I saw the thousand-and-one caresses of mating millipedes, and a sinister katydid belonging to the group of cone-headed katydids, which are often predatory rather than vegetarian. The climax of our night walk was a spider sucking the life out of a female cockroach while the cockroach’s babies escaped out of her rear end…..


  1. Christopher
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    What a collection of the beautiful, the bizarre, and the creepy. A dying cockroach crapping the ghostly white soulless zombie children out of her butt while being eaten…! Actually, what a great survival attempt, although they look like they’d stand out like beacons advertising that theyre soft and edible, as white as they are, somehow long thy live after that…

    And I personally loved the millipede humping, I have always found them charming or maybe I just have a foot fetish.

  2. Posted April 1, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Absolutely awesome! The jacamars and the arthropods and all of them.
    But the scene in that last picture.. yeah I would tell that tale for a long time.

  3. Posted April 1, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    An amazing collection today!

  4. Posted April 1, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    So do the cockroach babies somehow sense that mom is being eaten and advance their schedule accordingly?

    • Posted April 1, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I don’t know. Most cockroaches hatch from egg cases, not direct live birth. But Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches give live birth:

      Babies seem always to be white like this. So maybe it is a coincidence.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted April 1, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        It could be that she was giving birth anyway, and the spider got her then.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a great series today. Every species was new to me. That peanut-head bug is one of the craziest insects I’ve seen.

  6. Posted April 1, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful pictures. I thought the peanut head was the abdomen.

  7. Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Some of that was ugly, “sucking the life out..” and beatings, but it’s life Jim and don’t we know it, thanks.

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