Documenting nature in the Amazon through photographs and sketches

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Argiope sp.

Jardim Paulista, Manaus

 

I saw this spider outside, next to the chicken enclosure. I think it is from the genus Argiope.  After I saw several smaller ones on the fence.


dragonfly

dragonfly emerging in our little pond in the garden


Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

I made this sketch while visiting the zoo at the Tropical Hotel in Manaus.  I really like macaws, sometimes I see scarlet macaws flying by, usually I see a couple of them.  Blue-and-Yellow Macaws are not considered endangered, however, as with other macaws and parrots, their numbers are diminishing gradually.  The main reasons are habitat loss and the capture for use as pets.


dancing jumping spider

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

The courtship behavior of jumping spiders is amazing, the male dances and produces noises to impress the female. The male in this photograph is dancing in front of the female, he extends his legs, moves them quite rapidly, tiptoes to one side and the other.  These spiders are in the subfamily Lyssomaninae and are usually found on the underside of leaves, where they blend with the surroundings.

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus


just emerged

Just emerging after developing on the little pond in the garden.

I think it’s a species of Orthemis, in the Libellulidae family. The males are very territorial and usually red or purple colored, whereas the females are dark brown.  I’ve seen females laying eggs in the pond, and the male looking over his territory from some branches nearby.  This dragonfly was seen on Eichhornia, the water hyacinths we have on the pond, Saturday October 15, 2011.


a few sketches

I’ve started sketching insects from the garden, here are a few.



We have a few floating plants in the garden pond.  The flowers only last for a day; they are pretty purple with a yellow spot in the middle (I will try to do a sketch with color next time there is a flower).



holding on

any ideas on what this insect is?

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

IT’S A BEE! It belongs to the tribe Ericrocidini.  It was suggested that it can be a specimen of Mesocheira bicolor. However, I am not sure of the species yet.  These bees are parasitic of other bees, they lay their eggs on the nest of other bees.  They wait near the entrance to the nest on the ground, and when they see the adults leave the nest, the female goes in and lays her eggs in there.

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

The males have this behavior of hanging on vegetation for the night, they release pheromones and usually other males come and they spend the night in groups protected by the vegetation.  I was told that the males come back to the same area to spend the night, so I will try to look for it or more around the garden tonight, I might have luck and find it again.

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

ants!

On the last visit to the Bosque da Ciencia of INPA (about a month ago), I saw some ants new to me. I think one belongs to the genus Dolichoderus, which are usually associated with honeydew producing insects and, based on a post on the Myrmecos blog, I believe it is the “long-necked ant of the Amazon” Dolichoderus attelaboides.

Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus
Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus
Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus

And when we were heading out, I saw another interesting ant, also new to me.  Daceton armigerum, classified as one of the most beautiful ants in the Myrmecos blogDaceton armigerum has a nice honey coloration and a heart-shaped head with large jaws which caught my attention. Although I didn’t find them in the canopy where they are known to be found, they were in the ground with other species of ant, much smaller, which I still haven’t been able to identify.

Daceton armigerum
Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus

Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus

Daceton armigerum

Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus

Daceton & little ant

Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus

Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus


Mantid!

While I was out in the garden trying to get some practice photographing insects, I saw a few carpenter bees getting nectar. I took a few shoots but with all the buzzing and flying around it was complicated.

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

My husband comes to see what’s going on and decides he likes those flowers, and since we are working in the garden he decides he’s going to try putting some branches into the soil and hope it will grow into some nice flowery bushes. While he was at that, he found a nice little mantid! so I forget about the bumblebees and run over to take a look and practice with the mantid. I really like mantids!!! (bumblebees too but it’s harder to photograph them as they fly so much). so for my purpose of practicing insect photography, finding the mantid gave me a great opportunity. Here is my favourite photo of the session:

Mantids can be hard to find out in the field, they can camouflage themselves with their surroundings, some can look like live leaves, dead leaves, twigs, flowers, grass or even ants! But two characteristics can give them away. Their head, triangular shaped, with two large compound eyes, that can rotate up to 180 degrees, so they can follow you (or their prey) around without making much of a move, just looking over their shoulder. They also have three simple eyes in the centre of the head, between the big compound eyes. The other characteristic that makes mantids quite unique is their front pair of legs. They are modified for grabbing and holding on to prey and have strong spikes to keep hold. They use these legs to catch their prey and hold it while they eat their live prey. Mantids are commonly found on plants where other insects come to feed, like these flowers where ants and flies were running and flying around. And here are other photos I liked:


broken tunnel

Jardim Botanico, Reserva Ducke, Manaus


now, how to take this to the nest…

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus


a bug!

Jardim Botanico, Reserva Ducke, Manaus


who’s there?

Jardim Botanico, Reserva Ducke, Manaus


purple dots!

Jardim Botanico, Reserva Ducke, Manaus


stripes

Bosque da ciencia, INPA, Manaus


spots

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus


so many legs!

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus


my first amazon tiger beetle

Bosque da ciencia, INPA, Manaus


lunch time

Bosque da Ciencia, INPA, Manaus


jumping stick

Bosque da ciencia, INPA, Manaus


Hello hola óla hallo!

¡Hola! I want to share some of the nature around me through photographs and sketches. I’m currently living in Manaus Brazil (in the middle of the Amazon!!!) I will focus mostly on insects (as I’m an entomologist) but will include other organisms as well (as there are so many here!).  I will try to document the nature around where I am and will also use this as a means to learn more about it, hoping others will learn and appreciate it as well.

You might have noticed the name of the blog is in Spanish, and the website is in English, although I the blog will be mostly images there might be some writing in either language.  This is part of my personal background and I seem to be in a need to learn more languages (Portuguese and German at the moment) and French a little while ago in Quebec.

Saludos,

Alida