Throwback Thursday: Anteating Howler Butterflies

This post was originally published on August 2nd, 2011.

While walking to Morgan’s Rock’s lobby yesterday morning, Pierre heard some rustling in the bushes on our right. We looked for the source and were stunned to see an anteater standing on its hind legs, spreading its arms and swaying about like a drunkard but in fact trying to dissuade us from attacking it by trying to appear larger (it was bigger than a very fat house cat, but not by much). I immediately pulled my video camera from my pocket and started filming, and although the anteater had ceased his humorous movements and started climbing a very thin sapling, the footage was incredibly fortunate and very entertaining.

Since the tree he decided to grasp was so young, it started to bend as he climbed higher, reminding me of cartoons where characters are catapulted out of the branches after a certain point. The anteater was less than a meter away and at times looked like a teddy bear, but as a wild animal—and one with claws in full display at that—we refrained from touching him and were satisfied with a video. Eventually, the formicary raider descended the sapling and chose a better escape tree (in a pose reminiscent of the boa’s in a previous post), and we left happy with the sighting of what I thought I’d only be able to see in the summer when foliage was less dense.

Later in the day I was walking in the woods when I started to see more and more blue morpho butterflies slowly gliding and fluttering in and out of the trail, startled by my movement. I don’t have a close-up photo of the blue part of the wings, so I can’t be sure of the specific species, but the blue iridescent wings are enough for me and since seeing them on occasion in the Costa Rican rainforest, these have long been my favorite butterflies (for obvious reasons). I was very surprised to see such a dense population of them so close to the trails, and thought that it may be because there are a lot of pochote trees along the trails, since recently I started seeing patches of big caterpillars on pochotes, and I thought that they might be the morpho larvae until I Ecosia’ed the morpho caterpillar and saw that they look very different. Perhaps I’ll be able to learn more from a guidebook in the coming days. The following video, which begins with a quick sample of a howler monkey’s vocal-chord fight with another male, includes many of the blue butterflies I saw on the trail.

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