April and Kevin in Kuna Yala, the northeast coast of Panamá

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beautiful Bugs

Well, it has been a while since my last post showing some of Panama's wonderful insect population...but I haven't stopped taking photos. Kevin helps me with holding a flashlight for lighting while I take close ups of bugs at night, that is true love for you! So I hope that you enjoy them like we did. You can click on the photo to see it bigger...if you care to.
This bright white bug was very patient with his photo shoot and even chose our blue dish rack for a striking background.

This cockroach was truly about 3/4 the size of our cell phone before he lost his head. He was still moving a bit in the morning.

This blade of grass is COVERED in ticks...tiny and medium ticks. This photo gives me the crawly skin feeling. On this walk I once stopped to pick ticks off of my leg to see 8 more starting to crawl up my feet in the time it took me to take off 3. In the cool air of the morning and evening the ticks crawl to the top of a blade of grass, as in the picture in the hopes that someone will brush by and give them a ride and a meal. In the hottest part of the day they crawl down and hide from the heat. They can be the size of the inside of this o or smaller than this period.

The good news is that ticks in Panama are easier to kill than their relatives in the USA...you can do it with your fingernail. They also do not carry Lymes disease...so if you don't find them you just get an itch spot at the site of the bite...not a lingering illness.

A tiny spider on our water filter.

This was just a really big spider. Very pretty. I don't know if this type of spider qualifies as a tarantula or not...I usually think of trantulas as having stocky legs (we have the type in Panama too) but this is the biggest type of spider I have seen on the island.

At our house we have a live alongside the spiders policy...we don't kill them. The theory is that they are less likely to bite than their competition for food is to sting...see below.

A mother scorpion with her young on her back. Scorpions give birth to live young and them protect them for a little while by carring them around. The young are about 3/4 inch long tip to tail when first out. This photo was taken outside a friend's house when we were moving a pile of cement block. Mother and babies did not survive long after the photo shoot.
I have decided that compared to scorpions, (who's first line of defense is to sting and our closest medical center is 2 hours away, not that most stings are hospital worth...but some are) spiders who run away from me are not as scary. They seem to hunt the same foods, so the spiders live and scorpions die in our house.

These leaf hoppers sometimes visit at night attracted to the candleight. There is nothing to quite give you a scare like a large leaf hopper or grass hopper smacking into your chest as they arrive to the circle of candlelight where you are cooking or reading. Just to give you a sense of scale...here is the same leafhopper with my friend Kori's hand.

I have also had the good timing to see some of our local insects as they start to hatch. Below is a newly hatch beetle on a tomato leaf. The eggs that they hatched from are to the left.

Kevin says I should go back to school for a degree in entomology...but I am just having fun. Maybe when I retire. OH! Just wait...I saved the best bug for next week!!! This bug makes me wiggle with nerdiness, giggle like a geek....don't miss out on next week's blog about a UFO in Panama!!!


Kristin said...

Oh, you are nerdier than you look! sometimes you have me fooled!

Kristin said...

nice photos, by the way!

Carol said...

Hello - this may seem kind of weird, but I am helping a family memeber try to locate someone that is in a hospital in Panama. He is in the peace corp and I guess they usually send the volunteers to the same hospital? On a side note, I have been to Panama 3 times (summers of 99-2001) - sure miss it!

Anonymous said...

Hi there--we live in Panama and know a few of the Cuerpo de Paz: Maggie, Teri, etc. Are you still here? We are retired, live in Chorrera.
I am interested in the white bug--I took a photo today of one. Did you get an identification?

Jennifer Wolcott jwolcott@eldil.com