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Ecuador - March 08

Discussion in 'Field Trips (Natural Habitats)' started by barabootom, Apr 19, 2008.

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    My wife and I went on a photographic 8 day trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon last month. We started out at a cloud forest at Mindo and ended up at an eco lodge along the Napo River. We did a lot of night hiking and canoeing. Here are some of our photos of invertebrates. All the photos were taken by me with a Sony Cybershot digital camera.

    Here is a typical habitat in the cloud forest at Mindo.

    A juv T we found early one morning while hiking.

    Another juv T.

    A golofa pizzara beetle that I found.

    I couldn't pass up showing these incredible flowers that were everywhere. This photo is not touched up.

    Some large white legged millipedes.

    This is the lodge we stayed in along the Napo River. No roads, just a 3 hour boat ride. This is Sani Lodge, run by the Kichwa Indians. An absolutely beautiful place.

    Typical habitat in the Ecuadorian amazon lowland. This picture is taken from a tree tower.

    Another shot of the same.

    This avic was huge. easily 7+ inches.

    These tarantulas were very common. I found many burrows almost everywhere we hiked. The T's only came out at night though and dashed into their tunnels with lightning speed as soon as I approached. I had to mark the burrows during the day and return at night creeping up to the burrow to see the Ts. They were mostly about 6 inch size.

    I think this was a carnivorous plant. There was a lot of variety of plants.

    Another, better shot of those common T's. There's a cricket in the same photo below the T. This T is about 7 inches. Most were smaller.

    A 10 foot ant nest in a tree.

    There were lots of giant 1 inch + black ants that had nasty stingers. We found nests of these near the bases of small trees.

    Leaf cutter ants were very common. At night there paths were much busier and widened to 2 feet in some spots.

    A cool grasshopper.

    A leaf mimic grasshopper.

    A common millipede. I love these guys.

    These 8 inch millipedes were very common along paths at night. I could have collected a hundred in 5 minutes.

    A colorful beetle.

    Another interesting beetle.

    A callipogon beetle, almost 4 inches without the antennae.

    Lots of different cockroaches. This one caught my eye. It's about 3 inches.

    A nephila spider on our cabin. It had a three foot wide web.

    A land snail shell, yes, land snail.

    We saw a lot of tailless whipscorpions. Most were about 7-8 inches with the whips.

    A 3-4 inch phasmid.

    In this picture there is a huge communal spider colony. The web is in the lower left corner and was easily 5 feet wide with a ten foot webbed brace going up into the tree to the right. I got up close and saw thousands of bright red spiders each about 1/2 inch. There were several large grasshoppers caught in the web and each one had 50 spiders feeding on it.

    A sleeping butterfly. I think its a morpho.

    We canoed some small rivers, which put me in heaven.

    Some turtles along a lagoon.

    A pitviper, beautiful, but dangerous.

    We did a little piranha fishing, which was fun.

    An iguana on a tree at night.

    A dragonfly. There were lots, some others were huge, but almost impossible to photograph with my camera.

    A nice boa my wife spotted first.

    We also saw lots of birds and a few different monkeys. We saw a lot in a short time and had a great time. The rainforest is disappearing fast. I would recommend everyone try to see it. It's amazing.
  2. syndicate

    syndicate Arachnoemperor Old Timer

    wow that must of been an amazing trip!thanks for sharing photos with us.
    looks like u found some Avicularia and Pamphobetus!
  3. T Frank

    T Frank Arachnobaron

    Beautiful pictures! Looks like a dream vacation to me.
    Thanks for sharing.
  4. ChrisNCT

    ChrisNCT ChrisinTennessee Arachnosupporter

    Awe man! those pics are awesome!

    You are very lucky to have experienced some of the finest places on earth.
  5. Veneficus

    Veneficus Arachnobaron

    Thanks for sharing! Beautiful pictures! I must admit, I love to travel but never thought about going to Ecuador; however, after looking at your pictures I think I need to schedule a trip!!!
  6. EDED

    EDED Arachnobaron Old Timer

    thanks for the pics!

    which season was it when you visited in March?
  7. Thanks everyone for your comments. March is considered early winter (more rain but plenty warm). We had some days when it rained a lot and some when it didn't rain at all. We still hiked and fished even when it rained. We hiked in one heavy downpour for a couple of hours and didn't see too much. But after a rain it was easy to find invertebrates. For me the best time was still late at night because everything that interests me the most was out and about. We had to use lots of deet though, the mosquitos at night were really bad. We also canoed around the lagoon one night and flashed for caiman. Some of the trees are huge. I chose Ecuador because it's safer than many other countries in that area and I really wanted to get quite deep into the rainforest. The Kichwa Indians have 400 people in the tribe and 90,000 acres of untouched rainforest sandwiched between two preserves. There are a bunch of lodges along the Napo River and some are quite cheap. Sani Lodge (sanilodge.com) is kind of expensive but they treat you very well. We went to Costa Rica last year (my poor wife says we only take vacations to the rainforest:) ) I'll try to post some pics from there too. That was also an amazing trip.
  8. Everyone in Ecuador was very nice. I think Quito can be dangerous but in the rainforest it's pretty safe except for the snakes.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2008
  9. ahas

    ahas Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Thanks for sharing man. Beautiful pics. Love the beetle.
  10. Tescos

    Tescos Banned

    really nice et of pics. Looks a nice place to visit.
  11. The huge avic looks like a purpurea, anyone knows the exact species?
  12. Veneficus

    Veneficus Arachnobaron

    Costa Rica is also on my list. I went to Belize and loved it; I would like to go back. Have you been there?
  13. A few people are asking about the planning of this trip so here is some more info. I don't use travel companies becuase they increase the cost. My wife and I both speak Spanish so planning isn't a problem. I looked online for places to visit and emailed ahead of time. We were picked up by the owner of Pachijal Lodge directly at the airport and started in the Mindo area. From there we went to Sani but I made our reservations with Sani directly through Sani. They handled the airfare from Quito to Coca. I like to have all my transportation planned ahead of time unless I have lots of time free. I guess there is a bus but I didn't have a lot of time off so I chose flying. Flying was 30 minutes verses 10 hours on the bus. We also stayed at a the Radisson Hotel in Quito and I made those reservations through Travelocity.com becuase they had a special and the night only cost us $80. Booking directly through the hotel would have cost $250 for the same room on the same night. I have a tip that may help you if you're interested. I opened a Citibank credit card with American Airlines and got a free plane ticket. (aa.com) It was free because we flew during the off season. We got 25,000 frequent flyer miles by charging $750. I got my miles and closed the account. Then opened one in my wife's name and did the same thing. We also had 5000 miles from a trip to Costa Rica last year. We each needed 30,000 miles to fly free to Ecuador from Chicago. So the airfare was free. Our total trip cost for both of us was about $2,200. No tour company could do that. I paid a lot of this on the credit card and earned miles towards another flight. If we would have had more time I would have checked on a tour to the Galapagos Islands but the Amazon was a higher priority. I always watch for bargains. Last year I bought roundtrip tickets to Costa Rica from Chicago on American Airlines flying Tuesdays in June for only $259 each including all taxes. So we're going back to Costa Rica this June to explore some more, and earn more miles towards another ticket. :) I hope you can plan a trip. It's well worth it.

    Check out this link...


    Then check this one. If you can be flexible the miles to redeem tickets isn't much. For example, fly to Colombia for just 22,500 miles.


    Best Wishes,
  14. Costa Rica

    Hi Veneficus,
    You would love Costa Rica. We had a great trip when we went. Here is a photo of a massive tree just to wet your appetite. :)


    We stayed at a very rustic and inexpensive place in Río Celeste (Spanish only - one of the 5 places we visited in Costa Rica) and they were super to us so I made them a business card and put this page up for them as a way to say thanks. It's focus isn't invertebrates but it will give you an idea of what there is to see.


    Costa Rica is a definite have to go also. :}
  15. josh_r

    josh_r Arachnoprince Old Timer

    your pitviper on the limb is bothriopsis billineatus! that is one of the coolest snakes! im very jealous.
  16. Randolph XX()

    Randolph XX() Arachnoprince Old Timer

    the beetle is some sorta Golofa sp, judging by the region, should be Golofa aegon
  17. wonderful shots!
    The "carnivorous plant" though looking like a Nepenthes lowii or Nepenthes ephipeatta (both only found in Borneo) is actually an Aristolochia sp.

    All the Best!

  18. arrowhd

    arrowhd Arachnolord Old Timer

    Wow, Wow, Wow. Makes my vacations look boring. Thanks for sharing.
  19. dtknow

    dtknow Arachnoking Old Timer

    Wow...I love that rainbow boa!

    An educated guess on those T's would be Pamphobetus sp.
  20. JMoran1097

    JMoran1097 Arachnoangel

    absolutely amazing pics. thanks so much for sharing!!
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