Parting Pictures

It has now been more than a week since the conclusion of our field course and many of us are transitioning into carrying out our own research projects. I am overwhelmed to think about how little I knew about ecology and tropical environments at the beginning of the course and how much I have still yet to learn. I will leave with a few more insect pictures that I have taken since the end of the course.

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A treehopper of the genus Ischnocentrus. I found multiple adults of this species living in close proximity to one another and to nymphs that are likely the same species. The nymphs were attended by ants, which eat the honeydew they secrete. 

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A treehopper of another genus (not yet determined). This is a female guarding her eggs, which are the white mass underneath her. Although many membracid treehoppers have mutualistic associations with ants, this one did not appreciate this ant’s presence and shook her legs and body until it went away. 

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A planthopper nymph, possibly from the family Flatidae. The waxy secretions it carries on its back may help protect it from predation. We saw several members of this species, but this individual had a particularly impressive waxy backpack. 

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A treehopper nymph blending effortlessly into the plant upon it was discovered. Although this hopper apparently relies on camouflage, other treehopper nymphs are brightly colored and may be aposematic. In the future, I would like to test that hypothesis and look at differences in chemical composition between cryptic and aposematic nymphs.  

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An assassin bug from Gamboa. A remarkably pretty specimen.

 

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