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Tales from the Rainforest

Aaron Pomerantz

Aaron Pomerantz
Entomologist and Rainforest Expeditions brand ambassador

Recent Posts

Amazon Rainforest Fragrance Extraction

[fa icon="calendar'] May 6, 2016 10:00:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz

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Fragrance extraction refers to the extraction of aromatic compounds from raw materials, using methods such as  distillationsolvent extractionexpression, or  enfleurage. The results of the extracts are either  essential oilsabsolutesconcretes, or  butters, depending on the amount of  waxes in the extracted product.
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What's this Bizarre Katydid Parasite in Tambopata?

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 6, 2016 8:33:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz posted in katydid

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Some of my favorite hikes take place late at night in Tambopata. The rainforest bursts with wildlife activity after things cool down from the scorching hot afternoon. Nonstop mating calls pierce the air from frogs and crickets. Night also happens to be the best time to see weird stuff...

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Top Jungle Critter Encounters in 2015 - Tambopata, Peru

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 30, 2015 10:00:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz posted in Insects

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Welcome to the Amazon Rainforest

I've been fortunate this past year to log so much time in the Amazon rainforest. It can be a tough environment for extended trips; it's hot, you're in a perpetual state of sogginess from the humidity and sporadic downpours, and there are bugs constantly attempting to withdraw your blood. With that being said, the Amazon rainforest is also an unbelievably amazing place, as the jungle hosts some of the most incredible views and creatures I've ever laid eyes upon. Below you'll find a selection of my favorite jungle critter encounters from 2015, hope you enjoy!


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Mystery of the Yellow Bulbs: Discovery in the Amazon of a New Caterpillar-Ant-Parasitic Plant Relationship

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 29, 2015 10:00:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz

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“Huh, that’s weird”, I muttered as I trudged through the mud in the rainforest. Even though the sun was setting, it was still hot and steamy, and sweat was dripping into my eyes as I stared at a tree with bizarre yellow outgrowths...

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Rise of the Orb-Weaver Spiders

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 2, 2015 12:00:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz posted in spider, evolution, orb spider

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Spiders! They’re creatures you’re almost certain to see in the Peruvian Amazon, whether you like it or not.

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Look, Don't Touch. The Spiny, Bright & Venomous Caterpillars of Peru

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 23, 2015 10:00:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz posted in Caterpillars, Insects, Donald Trump

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When you think of a caterpillar, your mind usually turns to an image of a plump little grub-like insect with stubby legs, happily munching away on a leaf. But caterpillars in the jungle don't mess around. Surrounded by predatory spiders, ants, birds and lizards, it's a wonder how any caterpillar reaches its final butterfly or moth form.

While many caterpillars remain remarkably cryptic, blending in with their environment, some take the opposite approach. Evolution has carved out warrior-like caterpillars that don spiny armor plastered in bright warning colors. To pack on an extra punch, many of these caterpillars harbor venom-tipped spines that will leave the attacker, or unfortunate human, with a painful skin rash and in some caseseven death.

I'm always fascinated yet cautious when I encounter these caterpillars in the wild, so here are some of the coolest looking Lepidoptera larvae I've encountered trekking through the Peruvian Amazon.

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Putting a Foldable Microscope to the Test in the Amazon

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 7, 2015 12:25:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz posted in foldscope

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Discovering the Foldscope

A couple of months ago, I received an interesting package in the mail. It looked like a standard manila envelope, but inside was a device that could quite possibly revolutionize the way we view the microscopic world. I’m referring to the Foldscope, an origami-based optical microscope that is small enough to fit inside your pocket. The real kicker: the entire cost of the instrument is less than one dollar.

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Purple “Donald Trump” Caterpillar Spotted at the Tambopata Research Center

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 2, 2015 12:00:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz posted in caterpillar, Donald Trump, Donald trump caterpillar

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It’s not something your cat coughed up. And no, it’s not really Donald Trump’s hair. It’s actually a caterpillar that sports a toupée of highly toxic venom-tipped spines. Also known as the puss caterpillar or flannel moth, this neotropical species belongs to the family Megalopygidae. Jeff and Phil reported on an interesting yellow larva a couple of years ago near the Posada Amazonas Lodge. We spotted this furry purple beauty in December 2014 near the Tambopata Research Center on a day hike and had to stop for a mini photo shoot.

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Bioluminescence in the Peruvian Amazon - Like the Avatar Movie, but in Real Life

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 7, 2015 8:29:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz posted in Insects

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If you're familiar with the 2009 science fiction film, Avatar, you may have enjoyed the lush extraterrestrial glowing rainforest. But the glowing rainforest that I experienced was real, and it occurred in the Peruvian Amazon of Tambopata this past March.

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Journey to a Rare Harpy Eagle Nest

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 5, 2015 12:32:00 AM / by Aaron Pomerantz posted in Harpy Eagle

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Timing is everything in the Amazon rainforest. So when Jeff and I heard that there was a harpy eagle nest near the Refugio Amazonas Jungle Lodge, we knew that we had a narrow window of opportunity to see these rare birds caring for their young.

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Wired Amazon in Tambopata Peru

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