Costa Rica 2013, Part 6.

Guess what? I went to another rainforest! I know, I haven’t mentioned a rainforest in the last five minutes. But hey, I went to Costa Rica to hang out with plants and animals, and that’s what I did all day every day. This particular rainforest had a research center in it and it was on the side of a mountain, so I got to go to the research center and take an open-air aerial tram through the canopy. The research center was impressive. There were shadow boxes on the wall of, and I am not making this number up, the 1,000 different species of butterfly the scientists had discovered in that particular rainforest so far. That’s a lot of butterflies. I took pictures of some of them.

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And here are some giant furry moths pretending to be snakes or owls so predators won’t want to eat them.


They also had what I assume is an Orchid Bee. I’ve always wanted to see an Orchid Bee because I believe (bee-lieve! Ha ha ha!) they’re the only bees that are metallic green. On Wikipedia it says there’s another reason that the Orchid Bee is special, but I cannot figure out what it says because I do not speak science.

Euglossine bees, also called orchid bees, are the only group of corbiculate bees whose non-parasitic members do not all possess eusocial behavior.


Speaking of bugs, I saw the biggest grasshopper ever. He was like an antagonist from a 1950s drive-in movie come to life. Humongous. That’s a banana leaf it’s sitting on if you’re looking for scale.

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And I saw a millipede! Well, the back third of a millipede. The rest of him was under a log. He must have been over six inches long. I am very familiar with the African Millipede who is a shiny black tube-shaped fella with evenly distributed legs. This millipede was totally different. First of all, he was brown and matte. He looked like he was made out of one of those toys little kids play with where you can make objects longer by snapping more plastic segments onto it. But the thing he has in common with the African Millipede is that when he’s scared he can shoot burny chemicals out of his butt that taste atrocious (so I’m told, I didn’t test this out myself).


We saw a plant that supposed to be unchanged since prehistoric times. It looked so fake. It felt fake too, like vinyl. I thought it was plastic until the park ranger broke off a small corner of one leaf and I could see and smell its life-fluids.


This is a Walking Tree. It’s called that because if it decides there’s more water and nutrition on the left it will kill off its roots on the right and grow new roots on the left, shifting itself about a meter. It takes about a year to do that, but considering that most trees move nowhere in a year, that’s really impressive.


• | • | • INTERMISSION  • | • | •

Since they use a lot of well-water in Costa Rica which has not been filtered in any way, it is unwise to drink from the tap. Therefore, I purchased a big bottle of local spring water every day. I took the time to read the label on this one. I really, really hope “S.T.D.” means something different in Spanish.


• | • | • INTERMISSION OVER  • | • | •

Oh, I almost forgot to include the snakes. At the research center there were some snakes in captivity and I fell in love and ached to reach through the glass for snuggle-time. My two favorites were the green vine snake:


And a brown vine snake.


Then, to get to the other research station at the bottom of the mountain we took this open-air aerial tram. It was cool. I looked straight down at one point and was astonished by the variety of shapes in the foliage.


And we went past several towering trees that are believed to be 300 years old. It’s really hard to date them because, and I found this really interesting, since there are no seasons in the rainforest the trees don’t have rings. I never realized the rings are caused by seasonal change.


Finally, here’s a tree with roots that look like walls:


And a waterfall.

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Brace yourself because tomorrow… SLOTHS!

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