Saturday, March 6, 2010

Costa Rica: Bugs and Such

By popular demand, here's the post about the creepy crawlies that we saw in Costa Rica. Now, let me preface this by saying that I find all these creatures fascinating. In fact, I wanted to go along on a night-time bug walk to see all the action at night. Unfortunately, the stars did not align for that to happen. (I guess I'm just going to have to go back some day to do it!)

At any rate, there are so many spiders, bugs, lizards, reptiles.... you name it, they've got it in the jungle. Here's just a sampling of what we saw. There were many missed opportunities -- like the 4" long scorpion in the bathroom that we didn't stop to take pictures of and the leaf cutter ants that kept coming out blurry-- and a lot I'm sure I didn't even see. Most of these pictures were taken around our inn, just walking about. I am bummed I missed a picture of the crocodiles that were in the river by the inn, but that's probably a good thing; I was kayaking at the time and needed to pay attention.

Let's start with lizards. Most of them scampered about quickly, but every once in a while we got lucky. This ground lizard let me get very close to him; I think it's because I had just watched him eat a cicada and he was too full to flee.

This is a saddled anole. The area beneath his neck swells up like a bright orange balloon when he's defending his territory or courting. I only managed a fuzzy picture of one with his dewlap all expanded, but here's a nice close up. Did you know that the saddled anole is the largest in the family and that it's tail is twice as long as its body?

We saw this female black iguana, resting on a tree by the bay. She had come out to gather up some sunshine for the day at her gorgeous seaside address. According to some sources, they are the fastest of the ctenosuara family. The males can grow to almost five feet in length.

Have you ever gone on the Jungle Cruise in Disney World? For years I always thought that the bug noises they piped in were a bit excessive. Well, I stand corrected; the locusts / cicadas are positively noisy at night! And man, they make a major thunk when they run into things. So, I was not too distressed as this wolf spider captured one and carried it off. It was actually pretty cool.

Doesn't this one look like a yellow pin cushion? Actually, it's a yellow crab spider. These wee little spiders spin webs that are more than a foot across. And, just because they're small doesn't make them harmless. They're actually poisonous and can cause problems for humans unlucky enough to be bitten.

Crabs, by the way, seem to be everywhere. I got a kick out of these who looked so menacing but were actually tiny little fellows living in the puddles within flowers and on the ground.

Because it rained so much while we were there, some creatures were more visible than usual. I almost stepped on this pile of mud -- only it was actually a giant marine toad. These toads are predators and come out more frequently in wet weather. This guy was one big lump.

One morning at breakfast we spied this gorgeous praying mantis lurking about. I have lots of pictures that show how big he was (he was very grand) but I like his smile best on this picture.

And now, lest you think all I'm doing is recounting my vacation, I thought I'd also let you know that I've finally spent a little time in the studio. I painted some fabric,

I drew a pattern for a new newspaper hand piece I'd like to make, and

I experimented with charcoal on fabric. I sealed the charcoal with a fixative and now I'm seeing how well it holds up to water spritzing -- I blended some water soluble crayons around the girl. I'm excited about this and, as soon as I'm done here, I'm going to color all around her and see what happens.


Judy Alexander said...

Love all your creepy crawlies! We went to Costa Rica in the 80's and it is such a beautiful place. Can't wait to see where you go with you drawing.

norma said...

Love, love, love everything I see here and in your last post. What incredible pictures! Will there be a creepy, crawly quilt?

Natalya Aikens said...

nice gal and printed fabric!

Vivian said...

Love the little wildlife ... a whole world onto itself!