On my recent travels through the Peruvian Amazon, I came upon the craziest caterpillar that I have ever seen, and subsequently yelled at it for hours.
As biologists and general biodiversity enthusiasts, coming across something as impressive as a Wandering Spider for the first time was quite an experience. It can be mildly alarming how abundant Wandering Spiders (Phoneutria spp.) are in the lowland Amazon, seemingly perched on every other leaf along the trail.
Things aren't always as they seem in the jungle. As the sun was setting and we were heading back to the Tambopata Research Center, Chris Johns made a very cool spot. At first it appeared as if two ants were stuck together on a branch...but upon closer inspection we realized that we were dealing with an ant-mimicking spider feasting on its ant prey.
Every year, people from all over the world venture to the Southeastern corner of Peru. And it’s not hard to understand why; the Tambopata National Reserve lies in the Amazon Basin and boasts some of the most spectacular rainforest and wildlife this world has to offer. Jaguars, Macaws, Monkeys, Capybara, Giant river otters, and Harpy eagles are some of the notable megafauna that can be observed in their natural habitat here. But not all of the impressive wildlife in the Amazon is large in size. In fact, the little creatures can be just as fascinating, if not more so. Most of the planet’s biodiversity comes in the form of insects, worms, and other miniature living organisms, and new species are being discovered each day. Some of our top stories this past year included coverage of unknown species of insects and spiders that were found in close proximity to the Rainforest Expeditions jungle lodges in Tambopata recently!
For most people seeking a secluded part of the Amazon to spend their time, there are few places better than the Tambopata Research Center. And our team did stop at the TRC, but only to briefly charge up our electrical equipment before heading out…further and further on the rivers until we found ourselves deep in the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, which is one of the most remote parts of the Peruvian Amazon, and therefore one of the most remote places on Earth.