Saturday, February 6, 2010

Insects of Costa Rica, January 14, 2010, Part 2

 stink bug

In Costa Rica are an amazing variety of colorful insects. The bug above is a species of Flag Footed bugs. The reason for its name is easy to understand. On its legs are brightly colored extensions which look much like flags!


I noticed that several of the Flag Footed bugs would gather on the flowers of Passiflora edulis. It seemed that they were sucking juices out of the large flowers.

flag footed bug bug 1

The Passion fruit plant above hosted many different insects. These two strange insects I saw climbing among the leaves.

clustered caterpillars

I also saw huge clusters of caterpillars which belong to the Dione juno butterfly. They worked together to quickly consume leaves.

Perennial Peanut

This tiny yellow flower is called a Perennial Peanut (Arachis pintoi). It is used in Costa Rica as a ground cover in agricultural areas.

Sulphur butterfly

The Perennial Peanut flowers attracted several small butterflies to feed.

bristled caterpillar 

This strange caterpillar has fascinating bristles, but touching them is not advised! Many caterpillars of Costa Rica can inflict a painful sting so it is best just to observe and not touch.

Cracker butterfly

This Gray Cracker butterfly (Hamadryas februa) has amazing patterns on its wings which become camouflaged when it rests on trees.

leaf bug 

This small leaf mimicking insect was only about 4 cm in length. It did not have any antennae, but did have two small pink eyes. Its color and shape provides great camouflage among leaves. This insect is interesting, but is nothing compared to the next giant bug I saw!


This is a giant leaf mimicking Katydid! It was resting peacefully up in a tree, until Carlos brought it down for everyone to see. Katydids are mostly nocturnal, but their presence becomes known when they start singing in the evening. The shape, color, and even texture of their bodies blends in with leaves. I learned from experience that Katydids are capable of flying. Hiding near a Katydid’s body are large wings that can become extended and lift its large body. It was quite a surprise for me to see a large Katydid fly!


I even got to hold this giant Katydid! You have to grab it at just the right spot because they can bite. As I held it, the Katydid jabbed its sharp legs into my fingers! It was not thrilled with being held.

Katydid head

Most Katydids are herbivorous (eats plants). As I observed this Katydid, I noticed a pair of flexible mandibles moving near its mouth. Mandibles are a device used to grasp and cut food like a knife. They looked like tiny fingers as they moved around the Katydid’s mouth.   I also noticed the Katydid using its mandibles like a cleaning utensil. It would put one of its legs near its mouth and wipe its mandibles over the leg.

Stayed tuned for my next posting which will include my journey to the river. Not a tranquil river, but a wild one which I will be swimming in!


  1. Wow! Great bug photos! The bristly caterpillar is so cool, and I love the flag-footed bugs.

  2. I too am very impressed by that flag-footed bug. God must have one heck of a sense of humor to create such comical insects.

  3. I really love the pictures of the Katydid...of course that could be because my daughter's name is Katie! Not really, it's just a beautiful and totally cool green bug!

  4. I saw one of these today while I was in line for lunch (in Costa Rica). Super pretty!