Journal/Blog

Day 14 - Santa Rosa, Area Administrativa

posted Dec 13, 2010, 3:13 AM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 16, 2010, 11:14 AM ]

101208 - my last morning here.  Up early to finish the last mini-Winkler sampling, take down the Malaise trap and pack up. Flying out of Liberia this afternoon at 2:00pm and already looking forward to my return in February 2011!



Wandered around the Area Adminstrative looking for Pseudomyrmex ("Acacia Ants") to film.  There was a fair bit of wind, so the leaves and thorns moving in the breeze made for some difficult filming, but I did get some neat footage of the ants moving in and out of their thorns and feeding from foliar nectaries.

Santa Rosa Pseudomyrmex



Day 13 - Sampling Junquillal - 50 m

posted Dec 12, 2010, 10:31 AM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 16, 2010, 11:15 AM ]

101207 - Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, Junquillal, Estacion Junquillal, 50 m



Arrived and registered at the Station. Walked Sendero del Caro until the first small peak after the trail splits (I'd gone to the right). Wet at the start, but VERY dry where I sampled.  Windy, sunny and the temperature rose from 24 - 27C while I was sampling.  All traps down at 8:22am.  41 km from here to Rincon, 25 to Cacao, and 21 to Orosi. 360 Gigapan taken between 2 & 3. Videos taken of the dominant Pheidoles (black and yellow). Crematogaster, Pseudomyrmex and the Labidus.


101207 - 50m elevation.  A small, windy ridge just up from the Estacion Junquillal.  These large black Pheidole dominated all collection types at Junquillal today.

Junquillal Pheidole


101207 - 50m elevation.  A small, windy ridge just up from the Estacion Junquillal.  These black Crematogaster were common on many trees at Junquillal today.

Junquillal Crematogaster


101207 - 50m elevation.  A small, windy ridge just up from the Estacion Junquillal.  These small yellow Pheidole were common at Junquillal today.

Junquillal yellow Pheidole


101207 - 50m elevation.  A small, windy ridge just up from the Estacion Junquillal.  The wind made for a challenging opportunity to shoot these Pseudomyrmex harvesting Beltian bodies and from foliar nectaries from their Acacia tree.

Junquillal Pseudomyrmex


101207 - 50m elevation.  A small, windy ridge just up from the Estacion Junquillal.  These Labidus emerged from underneath the tuna bait here, and eventually drove nearly all other away.  There's an encounter one worker has with Crematogaster near the end of the video.

Junquillal Labidus


Day 12 - Sampling Volcan Rincon de la Vieja - 1200 m

posted Dec 12, 2010, 10:25 AM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 12, 2010, 6:27 PM ]

101206 - Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, Volcan Rincon de la Vieja, Estacion Pailas, 1200 m



Isidro (Cacao 2009) let me in the locked gate - though he didn't recognize me at first. Walked up from 7:45-9:00 to 1200m. Traps open and bait down at 9:33.  Very windy rain, and cloud too - 14C. Can feel ground moving as roots are shifted by the wind.  Tarp up. Very dominant/common ant was Gnaptogenys - all traps, baits, sifts, searches.  Video of Gnapto at Bait 4. 360 GigaPan (17x48) taken at ~Sift 1.  Moist.  Malaise trap erected at Santa Rosa at 6:30am. 

101206 - These small, slow moving Gnaptogenys were all over the place on Rincon de la Vieja today (in the cloud at 1200m).

Pailas Gnaptogenys



Day 11 - Sampling Volcan Orosi - 970 m

posted Dec 12, 2010, 10:22 AM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 12, 2010, 6:12 PM ]

101205 - Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, Volcan Orosi, Estacion Maritza, 970 m



1.25 hrs walk up to 970m (6:40 - 8:10). Traps out and bait down at 8:30 necessary to be back at 3:30 to leave safely and get gas in La Cruz.  Rained all night and all morning on walk up - stopped at 9:00am though cloudy for the day (with wind). Large Eciton swarm came through at 10:20 and were on site until I departed.  Filled and took over bait and traps at 2 and 3. Traps up and at 1:30.  Malaise trap taken down at 700m.  360 GigaPan taken between 2 and 3 on trail.

Orosi Eciton


Day 10 - Sampling Volcan Orosi - 1140 m

posted Dec 12, 2010, 10:15 AM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 13, 2010, 6:56 AM ]

101204 - Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, Volcan Orosi, Estacion Maritza, 1130 m



2.5 hrs walk up (6:40 - 9:10). Some misting rain and wind but turned clear and dry in the pm. Traps down at 9:30-9:45.  Put out almost 2/3rds of a roll of flagging tape on ascent. 2 videos taken.  First at Bait 6 was of Odontomachus, Pheidole, Pentatomidae and a worm, and 2nd video was 2 small myrmicinae drinking.  The GigaPan at 6 (top) should see Odontomachus nest and the Trap 6.

101204 - these Odontomachus and Pheidole were coming to cookie bait set at 1130m on the side of Volcan Orosi.  About as high as I can cart my gear, sample, and still get out before dark! There's a small dark Pentatomidae in there too.

Odontomachus and Pheidole



101204 - these myrmicines were coming to cookie bait set at 1130m on the side of Volcan Orosi.  About as high as I can cart my gear, sample, and still get out before dark! Very cool, you can see inside the head capsule as they drink!

Myrmicinae



Looking  back towards Volcan Orosi while still about 20min from the Estacion Maritza.  See the volcan from roughly the same perspective in a photograph from the dry season, earlier this year in January.



Day 9 - Sampling Volcan Cacao - 1460 m

posted Dec 12, 2010, 9:07 AM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 17, 2010, 10:31 AM ]



Cacao - 1440, 2-Dec-10.kml





Two poneromorphs moving away cookie bait from the 1460 m elevation Cima del Volcan site. 101202. These were the most frequently encountered ant species at this high elevation site.

[101217 - Alex Wild says, "Cool. That's a Gnamptogenys of some sort, I think."] - Thanks Alex W.!

Poneromorphs at Cima Cacao


This caterpillar was feeding at 1460m elevation, top of Volcan Cacao. I didn't collect the caterpillar (unfortunately) and learned later from Dan Janzen that there are rare Belvosia that parasitise such large, red caterpillars at this high-elevation site.  (rats!)

Red caterpillar at Cima


Day 8 - Sampling Volcan Cacao - 740 m elevation

posted Dec 12, 2010, 5:16 AM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 13, 2010, 6:37 AM ]

101201 - Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, Volcan Cacao, Estacion Cacao, 740 m



Cacao - 740, 1-Dec-10.kml



Dominant taxa here is the small yellow Myrmicinae (Wasmannia) with the black spot on the gaster. Everywhere in the hundreds and thousands. This with the unfortunate Solenopsis invicta (?) from Gongora is also here. Video of Pachycondyla apicalis, Wasmania and other insects taken. This GigaPan was taken in the middle of the stream near Bait station 6. Howler monkeys, blue morpho butterflys calling cicadeas and "leopard" frogs. Almost no rain.

Very quickly moving and I found it very hard to get this in focus. This Pachycondyla has brilliantly yellow tips to it's antennae.  Wonderful!  It is approaching one of the cookie/tuna baits set beneath Sendero Arenales at the base of Volcan Cacao ~750m elevation.

Pachycondyla apicalis


These little yellow Myrmicinae were ALL over the leaf litter at 740m elevation on Cacao.  Any leaf litter that was sifted had literally hundreds of them. Is this the widespread tramp species - or a similar looking native species?

Wasmannia


I noticed this Neuroptera larvae moving around while I was scanning a mossy rock for some Solenopsis.  Crazy!  The focus is fixed after about 15 seconds. ~740m elevation, 101201.

Neuroptera larva


These Aphaenogaster were quite common at this location.  101201 - ~720m elevation, up the road from Gongora.

Aphaenogaster



Day 7 - Sampling Volcan Cacao - 1050 m - Arenales

posted Dec 11, 2010, 4:30 PM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 13, 2010, 6:49 AM ]

101130 - Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, Volcan Cacao, Estacion Cacao, 1050 m



Cacao - 1044, 30-Nov-10.kmz



Another slow-ish start in the morning with the transfer in Quebrada Grande. Traps etc. out and open at 9:00am. Heavy rain all morning with very strong gusting wind. Sifted fallen logs (Hypoponera-oids) and fallen canopy log for some "new" Doliochoderinae. Video taken of the dominant Aphaenogaster taken at bait 4. It was about 18.5C.



Aphaenogaster and a caterpillar in the Bosque Arenales downhill from the Estacion at Cacao.

Arenales Aphaenogaster



Day 6 - Sampling Volcan Cacao - 618 m elevation - Gongora

posted Dec 11, 2010, 4:12 PM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 13, 2010, 6:48 AM ]

101129 - Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, Volcan Cacao, Estacion Cacao, 618 m


Cacao - 618, 29-Nov-10.kmz



Drove to the near side of the bridge just before Estacion Gongora, left car there and walked up (~1/2 hr). Can hear construction below - not sure what it is. Traps and bait out at 8:30am. Many, many stout, red-haired gastered ponerines.



These stout ponerines were ALL over the ground near Estacion Gongora today (101129).  Very timid when disturbed, but they didn't appear to be too bothered by the lights of the microscope.  My pitfall traps were literally full of them.  ~620 m elevation.  Thanks to Jack Longino, these are Pachycondyla either P. impressa or P. purpurascens.

Gongora predominant Ponerinae



This little dacetine (Strumigenys) is in my Davis Sifter. The video might induce some motion sickness as I try to follow her around.  The leaf litter sifting was done on November 29 2010, at the base of Volcan Cacao, Estacion Gongora.

Strumigenys in Davis Sifter



These Ectatomma were resting on these leaves about chest high off the forest floor.  Active searching on Nov 29, 2010 at the base of Volcan Cacao, Estacion Gongora, ~620m. Thanks to Jack Longino who identified them as E. tuberculatum.

Gongora Ectatomma





Day 5 - Sampling Volcan Cacao - 1200 m elevation

posted Dec 11, 2010, 5:13 AM by Alex Smith   [ updated Dec 11, 2010, 5:31 AM ]

101128 - Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, Volcan Cacao, Estacion Cacao 1200m

Bit of a late start with trading vehicles in Quebrada Grande - and driving up to the bottom of the Bosque Arenales - but after hiking up from there to just above the station, the traps were out by 9:45. This site is adjacent to the Malaise trap labelled, "Sendero Circular". It was raining and cold until 12:00 noon. Then windy but no rain. Ground here is very torn up.



Used the microscope to video two ant species and a red-eyed tree frog.  You can hear the wind and rain in the background!

ACG - Volcan Cacao Tree Frog, Sendero Circular


You can hear the rain in the background along with at least one species of bird.

ACG - Volcan Cacao, Sendero Circular - Myrmicinae


The sound in the background is rain and an unhappy capuchin (white-faced) monkey.  The material the ants are crawling through is a decaying log on the forest floor.  Very wet.

Pheidole - ACG Volcan Cacao, Sendero Circular - Pheidole


Very small dark Pheidole - I was fighting the focus here, but did catch a soldier briefly. These have come to a cookie bait.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vq3ujLIpY8 Nov 28 -Cacao - Sendero Circular - Pheidole
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX_uF9oYrKQ Nov 28 -Cacao - Sendero Circular - Tree frog
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sPsF_dwlI4 Nov 28 -Cacao - Sendero Circular - Stenamma

The GigaPan is set up on a very short tripod and you can really appreciate this perspective with the embedded GoogleEarth viewer: http://bit.ly/dPEFaQ



10.92765 -85.46679

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