Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

From La Selva Ecolodge, Ecuador.

This was the back patio of our cabin at La Selva.  While we didn’t spend too much time just hanging out at the cabin, I was able to spend a few minutes occasionally observing on this porch.  I saw a group of hoatzins, a reptile I later identified as a tegu, and a group of monkeys (more “heard” than “saw”).

Just to be able to relax and watch was a wonderful part of my trip to the rainforest.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet


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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

From mainland Ecuador and the Galápagos islands.

Ecuador is such a colorful place!  Clockwise from top left:

  • Sally Lightfoot crabs are a common sight on the seaside rocks of the Galápagos islands.
  • I found many flowers in the highlands around Quito.
  • The minerals in the volcanic rocks of Bartolomé give them this cool (or should I say warm?) color.
  • Close-up in the butterfly house at La Selva lodge in the lowland rainforest.
  • I spotted these hoatzins from my cabin at La Selva; playing Amazon Trail as a kid truly prepared me for life as a biologist! 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry


From La Selva Ecolodge, Ecuador.

Butterflies, like most animals (including humans) display bilateral symmetry, i.e. their left and right sides are mirror images.

This butterfly is one of the famous Blue Morphos of the Amazon rainforest.  Morpho is actually the name of a genus of butterflies that includes up to 29 species.  The blue color comes not from pigmentation, but from iridescence of the tiny scales that cover the dorsal side of their wings (the undersides are plain brown, decorated with eyespots).

Many of the species have name related to the classics (e.g. menelaus, rhetenor, achilles), which is appropriate since “morpho” is also an epithet of Aphrodite.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

??????????From La Selva Ecolodge, Ecuador.

This agouti has a twinkle in his eye, probably because he was trying to hide in the shadows under the walkway.  Agouti are a genus (Dasyprocta) of large rodents that live in Central and South America.  They are adorable but very shy and I was thrilled to be able to glimpse one on my trip to the lowland rainforest.