July 28, 2006

7-27 Pin-up Bugs: Wing Command

By request, more bugs …

Red and brown moth, side. Costa Rica, 7-16 natashaRed and brown moth, top. Costa Rica, 7-16 natasha
Red and brown moth, wings extended. Costa Rica, 7-21 natashaRed and brown moth, underside. Costa Rica, 7-21 natasha

This moth looks warm and velvety as anything when it’s sitting still with its wings folded down, while its fiery underside makes it quite the eye-catcher in flight. After one of them ended up stuck in my room for two days and spent at least an hour every night trying to noisily beat itself to death against my walls, it lost a little of its appeal. But I thought you might like the pictures anyway.

Clear-winged butterfly. Costa Rica, 7-21-06. - natashaI don’t know what it is about this one curtain in the kitchen that seems to draw the interesting flying bugs, but it could just be observer bias. Given the universal trend of people to cluster together in the room where the food is being made, someone is more likely than not to be standing in there twiddling around to notice. And I don't think that for these last two insects that it has anything to do with the proximity of the food, or at least, I've certainly never had to fight one of them for my dinner. This one was pretty still and I couldn’t resist putting my hand on the other side to look at my fingers through its wings. I could see them, just as well as you can see the curtain fabric through them in this photo, but it turned out not to make as good a picture as I would have guessed.

The next two were both photographed in a coffee field I cut through some days on my way to water the plants. I’d noticed this type of butterfly around before yesterday, but they’re usually too skittish to let me get a picture. I had to stand still near a spot where they seemed to keep coming back to land, even after they would get riled up and fly away for a while. After about five minutes, one finally did come back and after a couple resettlings, landed on this tree. I think it may have thought there was a predator very nearby at that point because it stayed still for a couple more snaps than I would have thought, only to be gone in a flash once I started moving away instead of steadily closer. There are some with yellow marks instead of white and while I wouldn’t know for sure if that’s variation within the species or a gender differentiation, I’d guess the latter. Fresh from finally capturing the butterfly on pixels, this dragonfly caught my eye as it crossed the path at the edge of the field. Even under the shade of the trees, its bright carapace was easy to spot.

Brown, white and red butterfly. Costa Rica, 7-27-06. - natashaBlue dragonfly. Costa Rica, 7-27-06. - natasha

Lightning bug. Costa Rica, 7-15-06. - natashaThis lightning bug doesn’t look very exciting under the glare of a flashlight, but coming home in the dark, I mistook one on the underside of the porch roof for an alarm light. Then I wondered, ‘when did they get a fire alarm,’ and pointed my light upwards to find this little guy. Anyway, this region is wet enough that one resident told me that people here had a hard time understanding the dynamics of forest fires in the U.S., not completely believing that living, green trees could be made to burn like that. But then, they also think that 60 degree weather is really, really cold. So the next night after I took this photo, the slow flash of the green LED standby light on my computer seemed to have developed an echo. At first, I thought it was a reflection off something else in the room, because the color was such a close match. But no, one of the lightning bugs had found its way onto the ceiling and may have thought that it had a friend nearby.

Chessboard butterfly. Costa Rica, 7-15-06. - natashaLooking for all the world like some sort of artistic watermark, this butterfly landed on a brown and cream chessboard a couple friends were playing on during an evening of conversation on the porch. I must confess that it held my interest a little better than the game, which was clearly going to be a slaughter, predetermined before the landing of the critter. The television and radio are pretty much all in Spanish, which is great for practicing listening comprehension but doesn’t always feel like entertainment. Telephones are scarce and take a long time to get. Therefore, the boardgames and cards come very much in handy.

If you can believe it, I didn’t know how to play backgammon before I got here. Now if I could figure out a way to get academic credit for that, I’d be set.

Posted by natasha at July 28, 2006 10:16 AM | Costa Rica | Technorati links |