The noble sports of bug bugging and ant hunting

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The most surprising thing about La Selva was all of the wildlife you could see without stepping off of a concrete path. I did not have to even enter a forest to see peccaries and tens of birds. Perhaps the best part of this wildlife viewing was the bug bulletin. Each night a new line up of bugs showed up to the canvas with a little shelter and some lights. There were all sorts of crazy moths and megalopterans, and I could not help but poke and prod each one. I don’t know why I felt compelled to do this, but I can tell you there’s something strangely satisfying about it.

 

In a similar vein, for the last group project I was a part of I had to capture somewhere around 800 ants. I spent hours bent over in the rain picking them up one by one, and I can recommend it heartily. Capturing these small helpless creatures is satisfying in a childish and grotesque way. It’s not good, but it’s great! Part of the collection process involved digging up entire nests. For one of the nests, I think we killed the queen, because when we looked in there, there was total antnarchy. There were big ants fighting little ants and little ants dragging big ants through the street and burning little ant effigies in the ant square. It was unsettling to watch such tiny chaos. That I cannot recommend. So, if you’re trying to hunt ants, try not to create antnarchy.

 

Photos by Aviv Brokman , an enemy to hymenopterans.

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