Invertebrate nights

The weekend is coming, so let’s have another post about nightlife in the forest. Last time I focused on vertebrates – this time, arthropods. These organisms have evolved to have hard exoskeletons.

There are many fireflies which light up the night – they seem to prefer the edges of open areas, where they position themselves on leaves. I’ve also seen some on the ground. They rarely fly. The light they emit is a pure green, with a variable intensity. The closer the camera lens comes, the dimmer they get! There is a second species of luminescent insect that also lives here, the cucubano (Pyrophorus luminosus). It is a larger click beetle which glows from both its rear and middle segments. I think I’ve seen them flying around, but they are very skittish around cameras and don’t hold still for very long – the photograph below was a fifteen second exposure!

There are also several Lepidoptera species active at night. The identification of this butterfly (?) is ambiguous, so please comment if you have any ideas!

And finally, spiders. The trees here are mostly linked by a tangle of large webs. There are several kinds (here Leucage regnyi), but they all seem to enjoy web-making at face height. Every morning we crash through several on the way to work. I think I’ve accidentally eaten one of these – mouth open at the wrong time while walking!

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