Over 150 years ago, in the steamy jungle of the Amazon Rainforest, the explorer and naturalist Henry Walter Bates was watching two different butterflies fly side-by-side. He had discovered that one was poisonous, which would make any predator sick if it was eaten. He also knew that the other lacked any poison defense.
By studying these populations, their breeding, and their genetics, researchers can arm themselves with the knowledge necessary to keep populations from going extinct. The information gathered here in non-threatenedTambopata- for example, successful artificial nest designs- can be used in areas where macaws are endangered, like Costa Rica and Mexico.
The 'decoys' were built with a variety of forms and numbers of legs. Image by Jeff Cremer.
Come to Peru and Visit This Spider!
From afar, it appears to be a medium sized spider about an inch across, possibly dead and dried out, hanging in the center of a spider web along the side of the trail. Nothing too out of the ordinary for the Amazon. As you approach, the spider starts to wobble quickly forward and back, letting you know this spider is, in fact, alive.
Step in even closer and things start to get weird- that spider form you were looking at is actually made up of tiny bits of leaf, debris, and dead insects. The confusion sets in. How can something be constructed to look like a spider, how is it moving, and what kind of creature made this!?
It turns out the master designer behind this somewhat creepy form is in fact a tiny spider, only about 5mm in body length, that is hiding behind or above that false, bigger spider made up of debris. After discussing with several spider experts, we've determined it is quite probable that this spider is a never-before-seen species in the genus Cyclosa.
This genus is known for having spiders that put debris in their webs to either attract prey or, as in this case, confuse anything trying to eat them.
I've been working in theTambopata rainforest for almost a year now and I'm still continually impressed by the quantity of wildlife you can see over the course of several hours. Yesterday a bunch of tourists and I left Refugio Amazonas, took a 4.5 hour canoe ride upriver, and ended up in the Tambopata Research Center.
Just this week we saw a record THREE jaguars on one boat ride on the Tambopata!
During a photo tour we saw these awesome jaguars, part of the amazon rainforest wildlife. To not disappoint, the next day a big group of travelers saw two along the shore. This is a record for the area, while two have been seen on one trip more often, three have only been seen once before years ago. Check out the images below: