Day 6 began by collecting pitfall traps that we set out yesterday. The traps consisted of either water or urine and we’re placed in trees and on the ground. Insects either are attracted to the traps or fall into them and then are stuck. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of our traps had caught insects in the 16-ish hours that they had been set up. We spent the morning analyzing the number of insects we caught. We looked at where they were caught and what morphospecies they were in order to determine the species richness and abundance of the samples. We then spent some time going over our data. It was difficult to determine exactly how we should summarize the data. We ended up coming up with one conclusion but completely reversing it after we talked to Adrienne and Scott. In the end, we found that insects in the canopy had a greater need for nitrogen and were more attracted to the urine traps.
In the evening we went on our first official night hike. Near the beginning of the hike we found an Acacia tree right on the trail that had two stick insects hanging off of it. The green stick insect was around a foot long and was hanging upside down with its front two legs extended above its head. The other stick insect was smaller and brown. Soon after we began observing them, the brown insect started climbing pretty quickly up the tree and away from our light.
Acacias are special because they have a mutualism with ants, like Cecropia. The ant species is different and more aggressive. The tree that we observed didn’t appear to have an active ant colony, but we didn’t look very hard for it.
We also saw a lot of spiders and roaches. We saw two tarantulas on a huge tree, which was different because all of the other tarantulas that we’ve seen have been on the ground. There were a lot of other large spiders and roaches that we would be much less likely to see during the day. It was good to be able to experience the forest at night, when so many new creatures can be seen.