Trap-jaw ants (Odontomachus bauri) patrol a bed of moss and detritus on a tree trunk, jaws wide open. Disruptions to hairs on the inner side of their jaw trigger an explosively fast and powerful closure—check out the size of their head, which houses the muscles responsible for clamping their mandibles inward.
The closure is so powerful that the ant itself is sometimes launched off of the ground. In fact, they use the launch to escape predators.
I’ve made many treefernpostsbecause they are bizarre (at least as someone who grew up in the Neartic) and fantastic. While there is one on the Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus, it dies back in the winter and February 2018 was particularly harsh—I haven’t seen it return.
One of my favorite streams within the Las Cruces preserve is Quebrada Cerro, which drains nearly exclusively primary forest. The water is clear and filled with tadpoles and belostomatids, but surprisingly few crabs, to Kainalu’s disappointment.
This summer, I found a tile hot glued to a PVC pipe within the stream—a remnant of a 2015 primary productivity study one of Frank Camacho’s students was performing that was washed out in most sites.