Two common, stream-side spiders at Las Cruces. Trechalea extensa is large and hangs out on boulders, dangling it’s fore-legs in the water at night to potentially attract prey, such as small fish. Patricia Esquete’s student’s, Neola and now Macy, have been studying their ecology the past couple of years.
The other spider, probably a nursery web spider (Pisauridae) like this one from Palo Verde, creates a silken tether on a branch and dangles from it, skating on the moving stream surface and likely capturing floating prey as it moves downstream.
Adrea, a recent PhD graduate from UCLA, is mentoring three students in the NAPIRE program with projects on Ithomiin butterflies—a diverse group of clear-winged, neotropical butterflies that form breeding aggregations and tend to roost together. One of Adrea’s students, Katie, is investigating predation risk of roosting butterflies using models of two species that she’s constructed. Here, Katie checks her model butterflies for damage inflicted by predation attempts on the models.
Along a thin, elevationally-restricted band on the trails of Las Alturas, dead and dying male rhinoceros beetles lie in the leaf litter. These may be the males of the species posted here,
A Tabanidae deer fly captured by a mist net (set up for bats) as it buzzed around myself and other researchers at Las Alturas field station. Several small, red and orange mites have colonized the fly, including the fly’s compound eyes. It was somehow satisfying to see these possible parasites on the flies…as they are parasites of humans and other vertebrates.