Insect behavior

If you’ll excuse the poor sharpness in the following sequence, I’d like to share some food stealing behavior I observed and captured between two juvenile hemipterans (mesovelids, I believe).

I also witness the red dragonfly mating, so I can now identify the female.  After mating, the male took up a peculiar posture 10 cm above the female, and chased away other males as they approached (mate guarding).  He continued while she deposited eggs.  Soon, however, a rush of other males came in and the female took off.  The original male remained and defended the area, although I’m not quite sure why.  Further, the male also chased off all other dragonflies, including several individual dragonflies that were completely black, which I assume are another species.

Mesovelid stealing food sequence - 10.23.2009 - 09.10.34
The straw-like mouth parts of Bug 1 are being used to suck up juices from a food source (perhaps a dead insect) as Bug 2 comes in.

Mesovelid stealing food sequence - 10.23.2009 - 09.10.37
Bug 2 approaches Bug 1 from behind.

Mesovelid stealing food sequence - 10.23.2009 - 09.10.40
Bug 1 responds by kicking Bug 2 in the head.

Mesovelid stealing food sequence - 10.23.2009 - 09.10.44
Bug 2 moves to the side and front.

Mesovelid stealing food sequence - 10.23.2009 - 09.10.42
Bug 2 persistantly approaches.

Mesovelid stealing food sequence - 10.23.2009 - 09.10.48
Bug 1 retreats, leaving Bug 2 to feed on the food source.

Mesovelid stealing food sequence - 10.23.2009 - 09.10.50
Mmm, tasty.

Mesovelid stealing food sequence - 10.23.2009 - 09.11.02
For some perspective, this water lily leaf is the size of my palm and the red circle is Bug 2.

Snail kites

Most days in the wetland, I observed three snail kites, a family actually.  There were two adults and a juvenile at the fence, and most posts were littered with a few apple snail shells.  I never though to bring my telephoto lens, so I haven’t taken any real photographs of them, but here, the juvenile is perched on a post in the center of the frame and the smaller of the two adults is flying overhead (I assume it’s the male).  While working in the fence, the kites appeared agitated that I was occupying their prime perching locations…


Solomente dos

Fed and Silvia - 10.17.2009 - 09.31.17

Only two students braved the wetland last weekend when a large group of student came to Palo Verde from UNA (Universidad Nacional).  I hope that’s not the case for the folks coming with Kent State this December…

Fed and Silvia were interested in counting ‘utriculos’ or bladders on Utricularia, but I convinced them to examine Neptunia nodules instead.

Newly filled enclosures


With much help, I’ve filled a new set of enclosures for another competition experiment.  This time, I have varied both initial density (8, 16 and 32 plants) and proportion of the two species.  I’ve also repeated decomposition bundles within the enclosures, although the picture here doesn’t include them.  The density manipulation can be seen with this photograph, though.


Hesperidae (skipper butterflies) are the Thalia herbivores, according to Tim, an IRES student currently studying termite behavior at Palo Verde.

I’ve observed both swallows (barn swallows + another I’ve yet to identify) and fly catchers (Great kiskadee and maybe another smaller species) capturing the hesperids. 

Moth on Thalia - 10.17.2009 - 10.37.11 Moth on Thalia - 10.17.2009 - 10.37.37
Moth on Thalia - 10.17.2009 - 09.25.03 Moth on Thalia - 10.17.2009 - 09.26.28