Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

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From La Selva Ecolodge, Ecuador.

I had to get in close to see these leafcutter ants carrying their plunder across the forest trail back to their nest.  There were plenty of gross/scary bugs in the rainforest, but these guys were actually really cool to see.  They chew off pieces of leaves, but they don’t actually eat them; they carry them back to their nest where they chew them up and use them as nutritional substrate for a fungus that they cultivate.  It’s basically ant agriculture!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half

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From La Selva Ecolodge, Ecuador.

The butterfly house at La Selva was beautiful.  They house many different native species through their whole life cycle.  These four are clustered on a sponge feeder; butterflies drink all their food, mostly nectar.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

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Near Coca, Ecuador.

This white-throated toucan (Ramphastos tucanus) greeted us on our journey to La Selva Lodge in Ecuador’s Amazon river basin.  His vivid colors were an exciting introduction to the rainforest wildlife we were about to experience.

The white-throated toucan has two subspecies which have been known to interbreed; I think this is the Cuvier’s subspecies (R. t. cuvieri) because the bill looks completely black, not reddish.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way

From the Pacific Ocean around the Galápagos.

The Ecuadorian flag flies as we hang out on the deck of the Coral I.  We spent a lot of time traveling between islands, but the ship and crew were very nice and we had a great time.  From the deck we could watch for sea birds and mammals, and at night we stargazed.  The waters were pretty calm, too, so no problems with seasickness.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way