BEHIND THE SCENES

SOUTH AMERICA GALLERY
Arrowhead Micrathena

Arrowhead Micrathena 

Arrowhead Micrathena spider is named for the arrow shaped abdomen.  Females are 9 - 10mm twice the size of male, have spines and are more colorful.  They are found in forested areas in Eastern United States and Central America and prefer outdoor habitat to hide themselves.   

 

Location: Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica

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Zebra Worm

Zebra worm is the largest and most abundant marine ribbon worm in Eastern Pacific Ocean but can also be found in Atlantic, the South Pacific and the Western Pacific.  They are found under rocks in intertidal zones and can reach up to 2 feet 6 inches when resting.  However, during hunting at night they can expand to 25 feet and their body can  contract to 1/10 of their length when threatened.  Their diet consists of annelid worms and small crustaceans.

 

Location: Pan Dulce, Costa Rica

Gladiator Tree Frog

Gladiator Tree Frog

Gladiator Tree Frogs are one of the largest tree frogs measuring 70-90mm found in Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica, Panama to northwest Colombia and Ecuador.  They feed on arthropods, particularly spiders and crickets and easily identified by the thin black line on top of their head. Named for the deadly battles that ensue during mating season, the male will defend his nest aggressively from other males with the help of a dagger - like bony spine next to his thumb gouging out their opponents eyes or break their eardrum.  

 

Location: Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica

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Spider Monkey

Spider monkeys are named for their resemblance to a spider in a web when they hang from the trees. Despite the lack of a thumb, they maintain a firm grip of tree branches with their curved fingers resembling a hook and their very long tail which acts as a 5th limb.  Often seen swaying gracefully from tree to tree, they are omnivores and live in tropical rainforests of Central and South America. 

Location: Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica

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Argiope Savignyi

Argiope Savignyi are orb weaver spiders found from Mexico to Boliva.  They are  capable of capturing proboscis bats in their web and wrapping it with silk in the course of a day.  There web is either silk disc or with a cruciate pattern, and sometimes combines both types. 

 

Location: Pan Dulce, Costa Rica

Elysia Diomedea sea slug - Nature Treasure Hunter

Elysia Diomedea sea slug

Elysia Diomedea sea slug feeds on algae and retain some of the chloroplasts in its tissue so it can absorb some of the energy it produces while it continues to photosynthesize.  To maximize the benefits, they are often seen in sunlit shallow waters in intertidal zones in eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Central America including the Gulf of Panama and the Gulf of California, where it is common. 

 

Location: Pan Dulce, Costa Rica

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Juvenile Atlantic Ghost Crab

Atlantic ghost crab are common in coastal beaches.  They are semi-terrestrial and dig 4 feet deep burrows in the sand hundreds of feet from the water's edge where they shelter from the sun and "hibernate" during the winter.  Younger ghost crabs burrow closer to the water and have the ability to change their colors to match their background. Their stalked compound eyes can swivel to give 360 degrees vision.  They are nocturnal omnivores that feed on clams, other crabs, detritus, insects, loggerhead turtle eggs and plant materials.

 

Location: Pan Dulce, Costa Rica

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Masked Tree Frog

New Granada cross-banded tree frog, also known as,  Masked Tree Frog derived their name from the black marking along their face extending from their nostril. The mask is a way of camouflage hiding the shape of their eyes from predator. They are usually tan during the day and will switch to green at night.  They are arboreal amphibian that lives in the Central American rainforest of Costa Rica, Panama, Equador, and Nicaragua.

 

Location: Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica

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Black Spiny Brittle Star

The Black Spiny Brittle Star found in intertidal zones of rocky shores in Eastern Pacific is the largest brittle star with maximum arm length of 17 inches.  Brittle stars are closely related to starfish and generally have five long, slender, whip-like arms that can regenerate.   During the day, they will hide under rocks but at night, they awake to feed on decaying matter and planktons on the sea floor.  . 

 

Location: Pan Dulce, Costa Rica

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Arboreal Termite

Arboreal Termite Nest is larger then a basketball with 5 to 6 thousand termites found on trees along the lowlands of most of Central America from rainforest to savanna to mangrove forest.  The nest is made of carton, a mixture of digested wood and termite feces that hardens into a strong, protective material.  They built tunnels from their nest tree to rotting trees to feed on the decaying wood material.

 

Location: Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica

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Macrodontia Batesi

Male Macrodontia Batesi has extra long mandible and is one of the largest long horned beetle occasionally reaching 11 cm.  Found in rainforest of Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and here in Osa Peninsula.  

 

Location: Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica

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Cicada

Cicada can be found living in trees all around the world in temperate to tropical climates.  Of the 4000 species, 23 live in Costa Rica.  Annual cicada lives 2 - 9 years underground as larva feeding on tree sap in the roots, while periodic species stay under for 13 - 17 years and emerge above ground at night to shed their exoskeleton and transform into an adult.  The male's loud buzzing sound is often heard late summer when they live above ground for several weeks mating and laying eggs.  

 

Location: Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica

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