Documenting nature in the Amazon through photographs and sketches

insects

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