On a very large Passiflora vine, caterpillars of the Scarce Silver-spotted Fambeau (Dione juno) were quickly defoliating the leaves. The hundreds of caterpillars clustered together looked much like hanging fruit. I soon realized the “fruits” were alive when I noticed they were wiggling! The unison of munching caterpillars gave away their identity.
This skipper butterfly I saw in Costa Rica has extremely long tails protruding from its wings. This is my first time seeing this particular butterfly species and I am trying to learn its identity. It looks like a White-striped longtail (Chioides catillus). Its flight was rapid and it appeared to skip as it flew. It was particularly interested in some chili spices that had fallen on the ground at the jungle community my mom and I were staying with.
Explorations in the Rain Forest
To prepare for the tour of the surrounding rain forests, everyone first checked their boots for scorpions. One of the lady’s discovered this scorpion in her boots!
The owners of the jungle community my mom and I stayed with, showed us their land that they are reforesting. It was great to see the planted trees that are restoring the land that was cleared for cattle raising. The native wildlife is beginning to repopulate the land that is being replanted.
Along the path we saw fallen branches with bromeliads still attached. The Bromeliads do not extract nutrients from the plant they grow upon instead they use the strong tree as a support. The extra weight from the bromeliads growing on the branch caused it to eventually fall.
One of the plants I saw growing on the ground is commonly known as the Sensitive Plant (mimosa pudica). It earned this name because of its sensitive leaves which close and droop when touched. I had a lot of fun with this particular plant! The small fluffy flowers attract pollinating insects. The leaves serve as food for the caterpillars of the Barred Yellow butterfly.
During the expedition I got to see the community chicken coop. My new friend Kaileah was brave enough to enter the chicken’s home and show me the brown eggs the chickens had laid. I learned that each chicken lays one egg daily and the brown eggs are healthier than the white eggs. The chicken droppings are recycled as a fertilizer for plants.
I also got to see the pond where the Tilapia fish and ducks reside. In the VerdEnergia jungle community they have learned how to raise their own food sustainably. In the jungles it is important to minimize the impact on the environment so your natural resources do not become scarce.
Papaya trees and pineapples are common fruits grown in Costa Rica. Papaya fruit is good for digestion. I also learned that Costa Rica is the worlds largest producer of pineapples!
After a journey out in the heat, I got to enjoy the waterfall. Climbing it was an adventure. I did slip a couple of times, but I made it to the top! My boots became full of water after walking through the river. It was my first time climbing a waterfall! I will always remember the experience.
Elizabeth’s Travel Tips: Bring natural herbal bug repellant for your journey through forested areas. Wear long jeans and tuck the pants into your boots to keep out biting critters!