Which animals can be seen during the Lost City trek? (2nd part – Insects)

Insects !? Who wants to talk about mosquitoes and sandflies? I feel itchy just thinking about it! Please, do not be so quick to think the only insects along the trail are those annoying blood-sucking bugs. (Here you can read the first part of this article about birds in the Lost City trail)

Without any doubt the animals you will see most often will be butterflies

The “Yellow butterflies”, Tailed sulphur (Phoebis neocypris)

This butterfly that you could also find in other regions of Central and South America is characterized by being found in parts of the road near a river or stream. Because they suck up minerals from the wet soil and their courtship dances are performed in large groups, you will most likely find them doing a humble and delicate aerial show somewhere along the trail.

88 Butterfly88 Butterfly (Diaethria clymena)

This zebra-like butterfly has a black and white pattern in the shape of the numbers 8 or 9 on their underwings and a red “stain” over the stripes as they were painted to make that monochromatic pattern more appealing.

Seen from above their upperwings are black crossed by a thick iridescent stripe and a fine line of the same color on the distal margin. Doing the math, you have an 88% of probabilities to see it at rest and admire its particular pattern.

Blue Morpho (Morpho helenor)

It is a large butterfly easily distinguished by its bright blue wings. Although it makes its appearances by flapping its wings in some corner of the forest, it disappears quickly which makes it difficult to capture in a photo.

Owl Butterfly (Caligo telamonius)

Owl butterfly at Paraíso camp near Lost City
This owl butterfly was “looking at us” at Paraíso Camp.

This butterfly takes its name from the particular fake eyes that can be seen in its wings. These eyes are surrounded by textures in brown shades. Curiously when seen from above, their wings have a beautiful striking blue. In spite of this, you will most likely find it at rest, letting you see the patterns on her wings that give it its curious name. These eyes serve to confuse its predators by making them believe that a larger animal is watching them.

Ants, many ants

Leafcutter ants

The leafcutter ants belong to the genus Atta and are widespread throughout America, that means a visitor to our continent can find this workaholic bugs very interesting.

The first time you see these tiny leafcutting machines you can think immediately they eat leaves (it looks obvious), but the real thing is, they depend mostly on a kind of fungus that thrives on a substrate of the leaves the are cutting all day long. So, they have cultivated even before humans learned how to do it.

These ants are strong biters but fortunately they inject no venom nor toxins and as we can expect, based on the forementioned info, they are not going to eat anybody alive, nor are any other species of ants of the trail… We hope this does not ruin your expectations of living an Indiana Jones experience to the Lost City of the Tayronas.

Leafcutter ants

For a good reason these bugs can catch your attention during the tour to the Lost City, so remember not all the insects you find along the trail are undesirable vermins. Nonetheless, bring a powerful mosquito repellent to keep the unpleasant ones far from you.

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Ivan

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