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Top 10 Craziest Insect Discoveries in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest

Aaron Pomerantz

The Amazon Basin is home to the largest rainforest on our planet. So perhaps it’s not entirely surprising that this rainforest hosts the most diverse range of species on Earth. While many people venture into the Amazon jungle in order to catch a glimpse of charismatic wildlife, such as Macaws and Jaguars, there are countless small organisms, like insects, that are incredibly fascinating if you stop to take a closer look. Therefore, this post is dedicated to a collection of some of the most fascinating insect and spider discoveries over the years spotted by guests and scientists near the Rainforest Expeditions lodges in Tambopata, Peru. 

So first up, here are my Top 10 Craziest Insect Discoveries in the Amazon 

  1. We have “Wiggling as One”, a peculiar group of insects called Sawfly larvae spotted in a tree next to the Refugio Amazonas lodge. Why do they cluster together and perform this odd wiggling behavior? Find out in the National Geographic feature These Small Animals Wiggle As One—Here's Why 

    Sawfly Larvae at Refugio Amazonas Lodge
  2. The next discovery involves a published research paper by entomologists Aaron Pomerantz and Phil Torres who discovered a butterfly that lives with and potentially mimics ants at the Tambopata Research Center, featured in a recent PBS documentary.

    articular species of butterfly that lives with ants in Tambopata Research Center
  3. Speaking of ants, YouTuber Joe Hanson and host of ‘It’s Okay to Be Smart’ during his tour to the Amazon Jungle Lodges with Rainforest Expeditions was fascinated by ants that form a symbiotic relationship with plants: check out We've Got Ants In Our Plants! While exploring Tambopata, Joe and the team also describe a potentially new “Hermit Crab” Caterpillar

    Joe Hanson and his fascination with Amazon Ants. Hermit Crab Caterpillar.

  4. Just in case you couldn’t get enough bizarre ant symbiotic relationships, here entomologist Aaron Pomerantz presents the “Mystery of the yellow bulbs”, a peculiar discovery of a butterfly life history with a parasitic plant and ants: Scientists Uncover Strange Secret Life of a Jungle Butterfly

    A butterfly life history with a parasitic plant and ants at Tambopata, Peru.

  5. If you’ve ever wanted to make a discovery of your own, now is the perfect chance! At the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, guests can go out at night to collect tiger moths at light traps. Scientist then look at the samples and use cutting-edge DNA sequencing technology to identify them to species, and surprisingly have found dozens of moths that are new to science! Check out the new species of tiger moths collected thus far and come capture your own new species: http://info.perunature.com/discover-a-new-species-barcode-tambop

    New discovered species of tiger moths, titled: "Hampson" in Refugio Amazonas Lodge

  6. During your visit, also be sure to keep an eye out for crazy caterpillars while exploring the jungle. You may even get a surprise by yelling at one! Watch: Bizarre Caterpillar With Erupting Tentacles Filmed

    Crazy Tentacled Caterpillar in Tambopata

  7. One of the big discoveries at the Tambopata Research Center was the Decoy spider, a small spider which performs an incredible behavior by building a fake larger spider in its web using plant and insect material. This undescribed species was later found to have relatives in the Philippines in This Spider Makes Fake Spiders. But Why?

    Decoy Spider discovered in Tambopata Research Center

  8. Another major finding was the mysterious “Silkhenge spider” an unusual structure built by an unidentified species of spider. It was first spotted by a volunteer macaw researcher, Troy Alexander, and subsequently investigated by photographers and visiting scientists at the Tambopata Research Center and still remains a mystery to this day.

    The mysterious structure Silkhenge Spider discovered in Tambopata Research Center

  9. Night is a great time to explore with a guide in search of animals like caiman and snakes, but night is also a perfect opportunity to discover animals that can create their own light, known as bioluminescence. Check out These Glow-In-The-Dark Critters Will Blow Your Mind

    Bioluminous worm
  10. Last but not least, a recent video by Phil Torres documented an amazing anomaly that occurs in the Peruvian Amazon: Butterflies drinking turtle tears! Butterflies Sip Turtle Tears in Stunning Video

    Peruvian Amazon: Butterflies drinking turtle tears

 While these cases represent some fascinating insect and spider stories, there are countless discoveries left to be made in the Amazon rainforest. Will the next discovery be made by you?

Tour Tambopata and visit the Amazon jungle lodges of Rainforest Expeditions.
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