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Surprise in the Forest!

Baby armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus)

By: Juan Carlos Narváez D.

A few weeks ago, while walking through the strangle vine path looking for mountain garlic (a plant used as a condiment in Mashpi), our chef, Oswaldo Araujo, chanced open three young armadillos. They were digging around the forest floor, sniffing out a scrumptious insect or succulent earth worm. In general, armadillos do not have good vision nor hearing meaning that sometimes, they walk around confidently without giving much thought to possible predators, trusting absolutely in their strong armour to protect them.

To find out more about this species, see our blog Armadillos: ready for combat. 

Rufous-tailed jacama

By: Juan Carlos Narváez D.

As we were coming into the cock-of-the-rock station on the Dragonfly, we had a lovely encounter with one of the forest’s rarest inhabitants. It was a bird with a very long beak that it uses to hunt all kinds of flying insects. It was a rufous-tailed jacama (Galbula ruficauda), the only species of Galbula that lives in the tropical forests of the Chocó.

For me, this bird has proved extremely elusive and this was my first ever sighting.

A most curious defence system

By: Augusto Rodríguez

In the afternoon, while I was going about my work in the forest, my team-mates and I caught sight of a scarab beetle larva. The curious thing about this species is that it has a strange, tail-like form on its rear that acts as a defence mechanism, alerting others to possible predators when the larva lifts it at a 90° angle.

It’s hard to believe that this huge, peculiar shape is actually part of the faecal material that is found in its abdominal zone, in such a tiny little scarab beetle larva. It is yet another example of how Mother Nature surprises us each day with new things, wilder than our wildest dreams. She shows us a natural world that deserves to be cared for and conserved.

Millipede

By: Juan Carlos Narváez D.

It was yesterday when Nixon Napa, one of our expedition assistants, spotted this millipede walking on the forest floor as he headed towards the Torrenteer Frog Waterfall.

Millipedes belong to the Diplopoda group, (from the Greek “diplóos”, double and “podos”, feet) and are a class of Miriapoda that is known for having two pairs of feet, mainly articulated in their body segments.

Their name is somewhat confusing because they would never have 1,000 feet – most have between 34 and 400.

Millipedes feed on decomposing leaves and other dead organic material (detritus), and so play a vital role in the recycling of nutrients from the forest floor.

In general, they are inoffensive, although a few species have pores along their bodies that secrete irritant and toxic substances that they use to defend themselves against predators.

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