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Tales from the Rainforest

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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Gateway into the Amazon by Nicole Lizares

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 2, 2015 12:00:00 AM / by RainforestExpeditions.com

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Nicole Lizares works for conservation organizations in the Philippines and recently joined us for an expedition to the Tambopata Research Center. Below is an article published by Nicole in the February/March 2015 issue of 'Explore Philippines'. 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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Epic Camera Trap Photos From The Peruvian Amazon + Termites Attack!

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 14, 2015 10:00:00 AM / by Jeff Cremer posted in photography, wildlife photography, Amazon, Peru, rainforest, camera trap

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TAMBOPATA, PERU 

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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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Photographing A Harpy Eagle + Canon 800mm f/5.6 lens review and Live View Focusing Technique

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 18, 2015 12:06:00 AM / by Jeff Cremer posted in wildlife photography

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Harpy Eagles are the AH-64 Apache gunship helicopters of the jungle:
  • Stalking the Shadows - Harpy eagles fly below the canopy in the dense shadowy forest hunting for sloths and monkeys.
  • High Speed Flight - A harpy eagle can reach speeds of over 50mph while attacking prey in a dive.
  • Vertical Flight Capabilities - They have short, broad wings and can fly almost straight up, too, so it can attack prey from below as well as above.
  • Advanced Target Acquisition - A Harpy eagle can turn its head upside down to get a better look at its potential meal. They also have excellent vision and can see something less than 1 inch (2 centimeters) in size from almost 220 yards (200 meters) away.
  • Serious Weapons – Harpy Eagles have huge talons. Their rear talons can reach over 5 inches long – the same size as a grizzly bear’s claws!
  • How rare are harpy eagles? I don't really know but they are pretty damn rare and seeing a chick in the wild is almost impossible.

 

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Capuchin Monkey Economics

[fa icon="calendar'] May 22, 2015 12:00:00 AM / by Geoff Gallice posted in capuchin monkey

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That human intelligence is superior among the living world is almost a truism. Great intelligence—and a unique ability to reason, to experience emotion, to communicate using complex language and to understand and employ symbolism—are the criteria by which humans are set apart from the rest of the Earth’s creatures. By our own admission, we are the world’s greatest thinkers, and profoundly so.

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Wired Amazon in Tambopata Peru

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