Tag Archive: rainforest

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Dendrobatidae

Genus/species: Phyllobates lugubris

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: P. lugubris are small frogs, less than an inch in length, with the females slightly larger than the males. The head is longer than wide with a round snout. The back is jet black with paired dorsolateral stripes, of various colors including yellow, orange, gold or turquoise. They also have a thinner lighter turquoise or white ventrolateral stripe on each side from the tip of the snout to and along the front limbs.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: This species inhabits the humid lowland and the premontane zone along the Atlantic coast of southeastern Nicaragua through Costa Rica to Central Panama. The frogs live in the leaf litter of the forest floor, near slow-moving water.

DIET IN THE WILD: Eat ants, mites, beetles, and spiders.

REPRODUCTION: Breeding occurs in the wet season. Males call to attract females, with a chortle that sounds like a hand rubbing an inflated balloon. A pair works together to create a ground nest in dry leaf litter. The female then deposits her eggs, which the male fertilizes. The male takes over and periodically moistens the eggs in the nest until the eggs hatch. He then carries 5 to 10 tadpoles at a time on his back to aquatic rearing sites. In about 2 months the tadpoles metamorphose into froglets that are about a half an inch long.

Phyllobates lugubris14933390504_dcd8c270b1_o

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Most poison dart frogs can live from 10 to 15 years in captivity. In general poison dart frogs have few predators. Their bright colors warn potential predators that they are toxic, even though in reality many of them merely taste bad because of sour but low potency toxins in their skins. Thus this group provides examples of both aposematic coloration and Batesian mimicry (an edible animal is protected by its resemblance to a noxious one that is avoided by predators).

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least concern (LC) This species is relatively safe due to its wide distribution, tolerance to modification to its habitat, and its fairly large population. Some collected specimens have been found to be infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid fungus), but the pathogenic impacts are unclear.

REMARKS: Some South American natives capture other members of this genus (Phyllobates terribilis, P. bicolor, P. aurotaenia) to poison blow-gun darts. However, Phyllobates lugubris is not as toxic as other species in its genus and has not been documented to have been hunted primarily for its poison

P. lugubris is sympatric with another species, Eleutherodactylus gaigeae, known as the “false poison-dart frog.” This species mimics the appearance of P. lugubris in order to fend off predators, by having two paired red stripes running the length of the body. However, E. gaigae is a non-toxic mimic and does not produce batrachotoxins.


California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions, Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

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Amphibiaweb  amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Phyllobates&…

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/55263/0

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1025277/details



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Family: Centrolenidae

Genus/species: Cochranella granulosa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They are usually have a dark blue-green dorsum, often with scattered black spots. with the abdominal skin transparent showing internal organs. White stripe is present on the on upper lip.

Length about one inch long, females slightly larger than males.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Granular Glass Frog is native to Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, They are found Arboreally in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, rivers, and heavily degraded former forest.

Granular Glass Frog9586409513_a9555368e5_k

REPRODUCTION: C. granulosa lays eggs on leaves above water. Upon hatching the tadpoles drop into the water then grow into adults.


Generally threatened by habitat loss resulting from deforestation, and water pollution.


California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions

Amphibiaweb www.amphibiaweb.org/cgi-bin/amphib_query?where-genus=Coch...

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/54964/0

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1047969/details

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (Moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (brush footed butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius hecale

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: All Heliconius species have long black wings bearing simple but striking patterns, typically featuring streaks or patches of red and cream, or blue and cream. Several including hecale have subspecies which mimic ‘tiger complex’ orange and black. In fact every one of the 29 hecale subspecies mimics. They are all toxic to birds. Studies have provided strong evidence that birds which eat the them suffer from nausea and vomiting.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Central America south throughout Amazonia. Habitat: Occurs from sea level to 1,400 m (4600 feet) in tall forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: they nectar at Hamelia, Lantana and Palicourea. Females feed on pollen as well as nectar.

Ventral or wing bottom

Tiger Longwing 3779879064_915dfdc8af_b

REMARKS: Heliconians are brightly colored butterflies with especially long wings, hence the common name. Tiger Longwings and many other Heliconians are communal roosters. Each night a number of butterflies, either of the same or related species, assemble for the night, often on a single branch.


California Academy of Sciences 2017

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AWD http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Heliconius_hecale/classification/

EOL http://eol.org/pages/154228/details

Butterflies of Mexico, USA and Canada. www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/North%20America%20-%20Helic…

Tree of life project www.tolweb.org/Heliconius_hecale/72904

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius sara

Sara Longwing (top wing)Heliconius sara

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Upper wing surface (dorsal) is black with large patch of metallic blue framed by two white bands. Underside (ventral) is brown-black with faded white bars above and small red spots near the body.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Widespread throughout Central America and the tropics of South America, including the Amazon Basin. Usually found  flying  slowly in the middlestory of rainforests.

REPRODUCTION: Pupal maters. Males don’t even wait until the female emerges from the pupa. Instead they physically break open her pupa and copulate as soon as her genitalia are accessible.  Larvae of sara longwing butterflies avoid harm from cyanogenic leaves by metabolizing cyanogenic glycosides enzymatically.

Sara Longwing Heliconius sara 3142858049_b1047eaf55_o

LONGEVITY: Adult life span: 2–3 months.

REMARKS: Passion flowers contain toxic compounds to which caterpillars are immune; like monarchs, the caterpillars concentrate the toxin in their tissues and pass it along to the adult during metamorphosis. Research suggests that adult Heliconian butterflies may be able to synthesize their own toxins with the amino acids they absorb through the protein-rich pollen they feed on.


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest

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EOL eol.org/pages/151535/details

Tree of Life tolweb.org/Heliconius_sara/72943

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Heliconius sapho


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: H. sapho and H. cydno are Müllerian mimics (two or more unrelated noxious, critters exhibit similar warning systems), which is exhibited in the mimetic wing pattern. NOTE: Batesian mimicry differs because one critter of two similar critters is not noxious. In this case the predators avoid all organisms with a given or similar warning, thus making the resemblance a protective mechanism for the non noxious organism.
Heliconius sapho is black and white but has a blue metallic sheen when seen under the right lighting conditions. It can be distinguished from its co-mimic H. cydno by the ventral surface of the hind wings, which exhibit basal red rays and no brown bars.

Wing span 3-3.5 inches

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Sapho longwings are found in central and northwestern South America to the west of the Andes in dense rainforests.

DIET IN THE WILD:  H. sapho  have a complex coevolved relationship with only one host plant, Passiflora pitteri.  Heliconius spp. caterpillars eat the plants that making their tissues poisonous. The butterflies are usually unpalatable to predators.

Wing bottom


REPRODUCTION: Also a pupal-mater (see Zebra Longwing)

LONGEVITY: Relatively long-lived


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

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Tree of Life Project http://www.tolweb.org/Heliconius_sapho/72940

EOL http://eol.org/pages/153873/details

Missouri Botanical Garden http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/visit/family-of-attractions/butterfly-house/butterflies-and-plants/our-butterfly-collection/butterfly-collection-article/article/250/iheliconius-saphoi.aspx

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae

Genus/species: Pachliopta kotzebuea

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Pink Rose’s color is velvet-black dorsally with scarlet red dots ventrally on the tailed wing.



California Academy of Sciences 2017

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Insecta insecta.pro/taxonomy/16366

EOL  http://eol.org/pages/130755/overview

ADW  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pachliopta_kotzebuea/classif…

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves (Feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrates)
Order: Passeriformes (passerines or perching birds) Toes; three pointing forward and one back.
Family: Thraupidae (Tanagers).

Genus/species: Tangara cayana

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Males of the cayana group (our group) have an orange-rufous crown, black mask, and cream underparts distinctly tinged blue on the throat and chest. Wings and tail are turquoise. Females are duller than the males, and have black restricted to a poorly demarcated “shadow” of a mask.

Length 13-14 cm (5.1-5.5 inches)

Tangara cayana 3192755611_63af368705_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical to sub-tropical areas of South America. Favors tropical moist lowland forests, but also found in open terrain with scattered trees and cultivated areas.

Tangara cayana 3258665043_d18c0223fe_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Mainly fruit.

VOCALIZATIONS:  http://www.xeno-canto.org/explore?query=tangara+cayana

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern due to an extremely large range.


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

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Cornell Ornithology http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/identification?p_p_spp=607916

Cornell (map) https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/nb/species/bubtan2/overview

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1052896/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1u3


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Caligo atreus 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Caligo atreus is much more colorful than its peers—its dorsal side has deep blue striping on the top part of the wing and bright yellow on the bottom half of the wing. (see Chicago Botanical garden in references)
The underside is a rich chocolate color with eye spots and a prominent grey-yellow vertical stripe on the ventral surface.

Wing top, (dorsal side below)

C atreus20026840583_be349c9b4f_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are found in Mexico south to Northern South America, Found in dense rainforest but occasionally they visit banana plantations to lay their eggs on leaves.

DIET IN THE WILD: The larvae feed on Musa and Heliconia species and can be a pest for banana cultivation. Adults feed on juices of rotting fruit.

Wing bottomside (ventral side below)Owl Butterfliy4185273802_a8ebe26468_b

Remarks: Color communicates; deimatic behavior describes actions by an organism to startle a potential predator, thereby allowing the would-be prey to escape. An organism may display “eye spots”, which are often found on non-vital body parts like wings, flash bright colors, or arrange their body in an aggressive manner. Ref. California Academy of Sciences Docent training for Color of Life Exhibit May 2015


California Academy of Sciences  Rainforest 2017

Chicago Botanical Garden my.chicagobotanic.org/tag/caligo-atreus/

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/149494/overview

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed or four-footed butterflies) The first pair of legs are small or reduced, giving the family the other names of four-footed or brush-footed butterflies.
Subfamily: Heliconiinae (passion-vine butterflies)

Genus/species: Dryadula phaetusa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Males are bright orange with heavy black stripes dorsally (above); striking and quite different brown, orange, and white pattern below. Females somewhat duller with blurred black stripes.

Dryadula phaetusa 3129818320_9e962aa397_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Banded Orange Heliconian is native throughout the continental Neotropics, from central Mexico to Brazil; summer migrant in U.S. north to Kansas. It is usually found in disturbed lowland areas. Adults roost in small groups on grass.

DIET IN THE WILD: Caterpillars feed on various host passion-flower vine species; adults feed primarily on nectar and bird droppings.

REPRODUCTION: Eggs are laid singly on stems and leaves of host plants. Larvae of all heliconiines are spiny, have two spines on the head capsule. The inactive pupae are suspended with the body held either horizontal or vertical to the substrate and metamorphose into adults.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: They are long lived for butterflies. Heliconius spp. are among the Methuselahs of the butterfly world. Most butterflies live only days; some Heliconians in the adult (butterfly) stage, including the Heliconius melpomene, live for as long as 8 months. 

Banded Orange Heliconian aka Orange Tiger (wing bottom)Dryadula phaetusa Dryadula phaetusa

REMARKS: The Banded Orange is the sole member of its genus. The genus is distinguished by having shorter, broader wings and shorter antennae than others in the heliconiine subfamily.


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Butterflies and Moths of North America www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Dryadula-phaetusa

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute biogeodb.stri.si.edu/bocas_database/search/species/1110

Tree of Life tolweb.org/Heliconiini/

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes  (psittacines or parrots, cockatoos, and relatives)
Family: Psittacidae (parrots)

Genus/species: Ara ararauna

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: A large parrot ultramarine blue color on their backs and wings, yellow under parts, green forehead feathers, and green tips on the end of their wings. Their under-wing coverts and breast are yellow-orange and they have black beaks, throat, and legs. Their eyes are yellow and their facial area consists of bare white skin with several black feather lines around their eyes.

Length 32-36 inches with a wing span of 41 to 45 inches.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Eastern Panama in Central America south across northern South America, extending to Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. Can be found throughout subtropical and tropical forests, woodlands, and savannas nesting high in trees to avoid predation.


DIET IN THE WILD: Mostly fruits and seeds. They use their strong beaks they break open nut shells and seeds. Consuming riverbank clay detoxifies unripe seed toxins. Dispersing seeds is important to the rainforest.

REPRODUCTION: Blue and Gold Macaws are monogamous mating for life. Females lay 2 to 3 eggs and incubate them for 24 to 28 days, after which the young hatch blind and featherless. Fledglings become independent in 3 months.

LONGEVITY Up to 50 years while their breeding age ranges from 30 to 35 years.

PREDATORS: A. ararauna are attacked while in flight by harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja), hawk eagles (Nisaetus cirrhatus) and orange-breasted falcons (Falco deiroleucus).

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Least Concern (LC) due to their large geographic range.

REMARKS: Their beaks are extremely powerful with a bite force  up to 200 lbs per square inch. Beaks are used as ‘third foot’. Feet are “Zygodactyl”  (2 toes oriented forward, 2 toes oriented backward) are used for climbing, holding food.

 Ara ararauna4039106324_204cd8fb42_b-2

These birds are in the parrot family, and are referred to as Psittacines. They are known for their extraordinary coloration, intelligence, social behavior as well as being very vocal.


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Ara_ararauna/

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1177961/details

IUCN Red List animaldiversity.org/accounts/Ara_ararauna/

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608454346681/with/3776086742/

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