Shortly after we moved here in December of 2011, we noticed large groups of butterflies flying southward on the beach and all over town. We learned that these butterflies migrate all the way down to Chili and we watched in fascination for a few weeks until they all passed. That migration, and a natural curiosity regarding insects, birds, and animals got us going trying to get pictures of the unique insects in our area. Many are similar to those we knew in the United States, but many are quite different. Some are desirable and others less so. Here are a few from our photo gallery.
Mary trapped this little guy under a bowl one night after it crawled over her foot while she was working on the computer! At first she thought it was a spider (heaven forbid!), but she was only somewhat relieved when she noticed it was a scorpion. We had sprayed insecticide around the baseboard and apparently drove him from his hiding spot. It waited for me to get up the next morning for me to move it outside. He still had some fight in him and I got this picture as it grabbed at the paper towel I was using to pick it up:
We have seen larger scorpions here, but we are told that the smaller scorpions have the more potent sting. I do not know who worked to become an authority on that matter, but I did not care to find out if that was true and simply removed this critter from our home.
Mary is somewhat fearful of spiders (huge understatement!) and I am often urgently summoned to remove small spiders from the house. Most of the time I just grab them in my hand and throw them outside, but even I did not want to pick this spider up. I put the pen cap in for size reference.
As long as I am showing the undesirable insects first I will show you some beetles now. In the rainy season we had some huge beetles about the size of a large toad and some snails that I mistook for small conch shells in our yard, but I did not get any pictures of them then. Now that I am a, “blogger” I will work to get pictures of them when the rains return in January or February. Anyway here is an unusually ugly beetle:
And a slightly out of focus beetle with an X on his back:
I spent many hours as a child on my hands and knees fascinated by ants and other crawling insects. They say that as one ages he or she reverts back to childhood and, at least in my case that seems to be true. Perhaps more so in my case as I never really grew out of childhood! Anyway, lately I have taken to watching the bees that come to our garden to pollinate our flowers and get drinks from our bird bath.
I will be writing more about bees and their remarkable social behavior soon and Mary wants to write about our bird bath visitors, so for now I will just note that most of the bees that come to our yard looks like these:
So, I was intrigued to see this bee with a different pattern and quickly got a picture:
Butterflies are difficult to photograph and I have missed many of the most colorful (yet active) butterflies. Here are few that sat long enough for me to catch:
And this that looks like it might have been the inspiration for the stealth bomber!
One day I saw whatever this thing is on a plant and got a picture of it on the plant and another after it moved to the ground. Notice the stripes on the antennae!
We have the occasional praying mantis and small walking stick come by to eat aphids and they are always a welcome sight.
But the following sequence of pictures shows a walking stick larger than I had ever seen before:
Do you see the insect on the upper left side of the plant?
When I first saw this guy, I thought that a stick had fallen from the tree and went to brush it off. As I looked closer I noticed it was a large walking stick (about ten inches to a foot long) and I got the following pictures as he walked away.
Well, that is enough for now. I will leave my garden under the watchful eye of my toad friends who work to keep the balance of healthy plants and destructive insects at bay!
Life is good in San Clemente, Ecuador!
Posted by John.