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Peruvian Amazon: Understory Part III

 
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pbertner



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 956
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:40 am    Post subject: Peruvian Amazon: Understory Part III Reply with quote

Ferns festoon a tree trunk, and gather the precious little light which filters to the forest floor:



Most travellers to the tropics will have encountered the ubiquitous leafcutter ants, less common however, are the leafcutter bees (Megachilidae). Despite a convergence of behaviour, the bees use the leaves for an altogether different purpose, not to feed a fungus garden, but rather as nesting material for their eggs.



A crested toad (Rhinella cf. margaritifera) rests on a dried palm leaf:



Leaf-mimicking katydid in B+W, faint horizontal shadow is the wings underneath the leaf-like casing:



Army ants shape the understory, their marauding colonies constantly on the move can contain up to a million ants. Within that multitude however are a menagerie of mimics and parasites which have co-evolved to take advantage of the plentiful food scared up by their unwitting host. Sophisticated biochemical, physiological and behavioural mimicry ensures deception. A rove beetle (Vatesus sp.) runs within the ant column, cloaked in the colony pheromone.



Parental care isn't often associated with arachnids, but depending on the species, juveniles may live within the burrows of female tarantulas beyond their first molt until they are not quite so vulnerable.



A frog falls prey to a ctenid spider:



An ichneumonid wasp un-sheaths her ovipositor in order to drill into the a fallen tree trunk in search of beetle larvae in which to lay her eggs. Beetle grubs feeding on the rotting wood will emit a specific bio-acoustic signature picked up by wasps, which palpate fallen logs with their antennae, searching for the tell-tale sounds:



Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps curculionidae), an entomopathogenic fungus takes another life. The spores once they land on the surface of an insect or arachnid will grow through the exoskeleton, ultimately taking control of the host's behaviour in order to facilitate its own reproductive ends:



Thanks for looking and commenting,
Paul
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TheDocAUS



Joined: 19 Jul 2018
Posts: 87
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great set. Thanks.

Not sure I want to spend a night there. I am happy with all the snakes and other deadly critters in Australia.
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Yawns



Joined: 20 Dec 2015
Posts: 383
Location: Benavente, Portugal

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has to be a wonderful feeling when you get a shot like the bee transporting the leaf...
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Troels



Joined: 15 Feb 2016
Posts: 472
Location: Denmark, Engesvang

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating and intersting as always.
Thanks for sharing!
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Lou Jost



Joined: 04 Sep 2015
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Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Evocative, beautiful, and informative, as always.
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pbertner



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
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Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Troels, Lou, Yawns, and TheDocAus, most appreciated.
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MarkSturtevant



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
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Location: Michigan, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you for sharing!
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SteveB



Joined: 25 Nov 2017
Posts: 60
Location: Pretoria South Africa

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always get a feeling of excitement when I see that you have posted a new set of pictures. It's rare to find such knowledge of the natural world portrayed in such a sensitive and respectful way, and the pictures are simply beautiful.
My favorite of this set is the wasp. It's one of those stranger than fiction facts presented in a beautiful dreamy picture.
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santiago



Joined: 25 Sep 2018
Posts: 108
Location: Nijmegen, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beautiful pictures
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow I missed these. Fascinating Amazon eco-culture you portray with your exceptional images and storyline.

Thanks for sharing,

Best,
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