Monkeys, Birds and OMG, what is That
One of the many awesome things about living in Tulum, is the many different types of animal life and insects. Since I have been living here, I have seen things that I didn’t even know existed. I live in Los Arboles Tulum. It is located about 12.6 kilometers out of Tulum. I am going to share with you some pictures that I and some of the other residence out here have taken. These are just a few of the many little creatures that live amongst us.
One of the things that never gets old, is waking up to monkeys in the trees in our yard. Some are in groups of many or there could be just a few. A bonus is when we see a baby hanging onto its mothers back or just sitting in her lap, getting a bath and groomed.
Out here in the jungle, we have Spider monkeys and Howler monkeys. Not so many Howlers though. This little guy was hanging out in our yard eating fruit.
There is also a large variety of birds here. Mexico is a great place for bird watching. It has more bird species than the United States and it has double the amount of species found in Canada. On of the best bird watching spots in the Americas is the Yucatan Peninsula and thanks to its subtropical location, bird aficionados can find over 500 species year-round; during winter the Peninsula has even more species because of migration patterns. Popular birding sites can be found along the Riviera Maya and include Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which is in Tulum.
Pictured above is a Toucan and a Motmot. The Toucans are all over out here. Including its bill, the keel-billed toucan ranges in length from around 42 to 55 cm (17 to 22 in). Their large and colorful bill averages around 12–15 cm (4.7–5.9 in), about one-third of its length. While the bill seems large and cumbersome, it is in fact a spongy, hollow bone covered in keratin, a very light and hard protein. The plumage of the keel-billed toucan is mainly black with a yellow neck and chest. Molting occurs once per year. Keel-billed toucans have zygodactyl feet (or feet with toes facing in different directions) – two toes face forward and two face back. Because toucans spend a large portion of time in the trees, this helps the birds to stay on the branches of the trees and jump from one branch to another.
The Motmot is such a beautiful bird. I haven’t seen as many of them as the Toucan, but they have a unique tail. Motmots often move their tails back and forth in a wag-display that commonly draws attention to an otherwise hidden bird. Research indicates that motmots perform the wag-display when they detect predators (based on studies on turquoise-browed motmot) and that the display is likely to communicate that the motmot is aware of the predator and is prepared to escape. This form of interspecific pursuit-deterrent signal provides a benefit to both the motmot and the predator: the display prevents the motmot from wasting time and energy fleeing, and the predator avoids a costly pursuit that is unlikely to result in capture.
There is also evidence that the male tail, which is slightly larger than the female tail, functions as a sexual signal in the turquoise-browed motmot.
Now for the, OMG, what is that!!! Living here is an adventure, for sure. When you see those things that you have never seen before and did not even know existed, is one of those life experiences that you will never forget.
The Dead Leaf Mantis. The Dead Leaf Mantis, or Deroplatys desiccata, is a large mantis from that is camouflaged as a dead leaf. It looks amazing! This species of praying mantis is always brown, but the shade of brown may vary between individuals. Their brown color is not solid all over, but it has dark and light spots to mimic a dead leaf. On their back they have a huge shield (prothorax), making it look even more like a dead leaf.
The Stick Bug. As its name suggests, the stick insect resembles the twigs among which it lives, providing it with one of the most efficient natural camouflages on Earth. It and the equally inconspicuous leaf insect comprise the Phasmatodea order, of which there are approximately 3,000 species. Phasmids generally mimic their surroundings in color, normally green or brown, although some species are brilliantly colored and others conspicuously striped. Many stick insects have wings, some spectacularly beautiful, while others resemble little more than a stump. A number of species have spines and tubercles on their bodies.
The Arrow Spider. Micrathena sagittata, also known as the arrow-shaped micrathena is a species of spider belonging to the family Araneidae. It is found in the eastern United States and throughout Central America.
This is a striking spider with a distinctive arrow-shaped abdomen which is largely yellow, with black depressions above and variable red and black patterning below. Males are up to 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in length (excluding legs), but females are much larger at around 9 millimetres (0.35 in). The males lack spines.
The Star Spider. The star spider is a colorful species found across the southern part of the United States, from California to Florida, as well as in Central America, Jamaica, and Cuba. Also known as spiny backed orb weaver. The species is commonly found in trees or around trees in shrubs. The species has been extensively studied in citrus groves in Florida, where they are known as crab spiders.
Star spiders exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning that there are obvious differences between the male and female of the species.
Females are 5 to 9 mm in length and 10 to 13 mm in width. They are easily identified by their six-pointed abdominal projections, frequently referred to as “spines.”. Both the color and shape of these spines shows great geographic variation. Most individuals have white spots on the underside of the abdomen. The color of the upper abdomen and spines varies and may be red, orange, yellow or white with black spots. Most star spiders have black legs although some individuals have colored legs. Similarly, to most other spiders, males are much smaller, 2 to 3 mm long and a bit shorter in width. Their color is like females, except that their abdomen is gray with white spots. Males don’t have abdominal spines, although they do have four or five posterior small humps.
Star spiders have a relatively short life. Their lifespan only lasts until reproduction, which usually takes place the spring that follows the winter when they hatched. Females die after producing an egg mass, and males die six days after a complete cycle of sperm induction to the female. Their maximum lifespan in the wild is estimated to be around 1 year. Both male and female hatchlings reach maturity after to 2 to 5 weeks.
I hope you enjoyed this read and look forward to sharing many more experiences of Living in Tulu