Last weekend we went for a walk to the Bosque da Ciencia. It was a short visit but we found a beautiful beetle, a blue weevil! It is a broad-nosed weevil (Curculionidae: Entiminae) with some blue on its legs and antenna.
This weekend we went for a walk to the Reserva Duke, in the northern part of Manaus. Part of the reserve is a botanical garden (Jardim Botanico) with nice trails in the forest and new exhibition areas in the forest. I really liked the little pirarucu we saw, it was just a few months old, and about 20 cm long. I will write a post about them later on. While we were looking at the exhibit about frogs and toads, I saw a beetle on the floor. I stopped paying attention to the frogs at that point. Here’s what I saw:
This long-horn beetle (Cerambycidae) was near one of the room doors of the Arawak hostel in Praia do Açutuba, Iranduba, Amazonas. The hostel was the meeting point for the Grupo de Fotografia Manaus March trip. Every month, on the first Sunday, a trip is organized, to a park, a special event or a nearby site like the beach where we went two weeks ago.
I went to spend a couple of days out in the field, that is the Amazon forest, as there was going to be a good churrasco and fishing the next day. Both were delicious meals! This beetle was floating on a little stream, we took it out and I took some pictures of it. It was complicated because of the color and it was so bright out. Different light conditions provide with a challenge when taking pictures. It was a good practice, I think it came out very nice.
One of the reasons I was so excited to come live here in Manaus was for all the insects I could encounter here. However, there are some that have given us trouble, and I’m thinking about ants. There are many species of ants in the garden and house, some are eating one of the bedroom doors, others decided that they like the dog food and sometimes the plate is covered with ants and other little ones just like sweet stuff, but those don’t bother me that much, except when my juice glass gets covered by them. Then there are many others in the garden. Those that like dog food, seem to like everything, I have seen them taking chicken feathers into their nest. but the worst are leaf-cutter ants! They have cut leaves of so many of our plants, just in one night the hibiscus were without leaves, and then they went for the nonis, and they have also gone up the mango tree. However, with so many of them I had the chance to practice taking photographs of moving insects. It has been complicated as they move so fast and so much. It’s the first time I try using a white background thanks to some macrophotography tips shared by my friend The Bug Geek.
This is a leaf-cutter ant of the Atta genus, (Hymenoptera, Myrmicinae, Attini).
A couple of pictures of blue insects that I saw while visiting some waterfalls near Presidente Figueiredo, about 100 km north of Manaus. While others were happily swimming and refreshing themselves from the tropical heat, I took some time to look around for insects (as I usually do) and was happy to found two blue ones. I like blue insects, as my blog name suggests. This photographs were taken in April last year! I finally got to upload them to the blog. I really have to keep up with this.
A few insect photos taken during my most recent visit to Bosque da Ciencia, INPA.
Algumas fotos de insetos tiradas durante a minha mais recente visita à Bosque da Ciencia, INPA.
Algunas fotos de insectos que tomé durante mi más reciente visita al Bosque de Ciencia, INPA.
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.
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).
any ideas on what this insect is?
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.
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.
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.
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 blog. Daceton 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.
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.
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: