Well, a Black Witch Moth I discovered on the inside of my dark brown shower curtain (thus camouflaged) when I showered late morning after my itchy haircut. In my Butterfly & Moth Gallery (and below) you will see 3 others photographed in other parts of my house earlier. Note that their dark colors make all 4 of them look different in different light. I had to use the flash on my cell phone camera for above shot. Just another one of the colorful surprises almost every day in Costa Rica. 🙂
Other Common Names
In Spanish the name is Mariposa de la Muerte, “Butterfly of Death”
The Mayan people call the moth Mah-Ha-Na, “May I borrow your house?” An allusion to the moths frequently entering people’s houses. 🙂 Like mine!
The Black Witch has a fascinating cultural as well as natural history. Known in Mexicoby the Indians since Aztec times as mariposa de la muerte (butterfly of death). When there is sickness in a house and this moth enters, the sick person dies. (Hoffmann 1918) A variation on this theme heard in the lower Rio Grande Valley (Southmost Texas) is that death only occurs if the moth flies in and visits all four corners of one’s house.
Merlin & Vasquez (2002) point out that the number four is important in Mesoamericabecause of its relationship with the four cardinal directions (east, west, north and south). The moth was known among the Mexicans as Mic Papalotl, the butterfly of death. In Mesoamerica, from the pre hispanic erauntil the present time nocturnal butterflies have been associated with death and the number four.
In some parts of Mexico, people joke that if one flies over someone’s head, the person will lose his hair. Still another myth: seeing one means that someone has put a curse on you!
In Hawaii, Black Witch mythology, though associated with death, has a happier note in that if a loved one has just died, the moth is an embodiment of the person’s soul returning to say goodbye.
One favorite photo from each month of 2018 – And I had trouble picking just one! Thus the header photo above is an extra one from October and the only one here from Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park, my #1 lodge this year.
Wow! This was too hard to do! My very best photos were probably all in 3 or 4 months, so I will try something different next year, like maybe my top 5 or so favorite photos. I think I will also try to rank the hotels/lodges/parks I visited this year.
Ranking My Top 7 Lodges in 2018
I rank for all aspects of the lodge for a birder and/or nature lover, not necessarily in this order: number of birds and other wildlife seen, quality of guides, quality of overall service, restfulness of room, quality meals, overall ecology consciousness and sometimes the extra services, depending on the place and situation. My 2018 Top 7 lodges and hotels in order of my preference or enjoyment:
This was last night’s hike at Si Como No Greentique Wildlife Refuge and as with all night hikes, photography was difficult and our conscientious guide would not let us shine lights on sleeping birds or a couple of other animals. I would loved to have gotten a photo of the sleeping Kingfisher and the sleeping Gray-necked Wood Rail. We saw but could not photo a sloth and a Kinkajou (too high in tree & moving). None of these pix are particularly good, but they give an idea of what you see on night hikes all over Costa Rica. Though I think my Red-eyed Tree Frog, Glass Frog, & Bullfrog are pretty good. There were also a lot of insects, especially spiders & scorpions of which I got no useable photos.
There is plenty to see and photograph on the 5,000+ acres of Rancho Humo, birds, other wildlife, and scenery! But across the river from the ranch is another wonderful and large Costa Rica park: Palo Verde National Park.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) I float down the river for a different experience in the park. But here are 3 slideshows for what was seen on Tuesday on a 6 km hike and posting here on Wednesday. Will post boat trip later today or tomorrow.
The slideshow photos are in no particular order, just shots from my walk around the campus this morning with no rain! And almost no birds! There were a lot more birds on the rainy days! And now at about 3 in the afternoon the rain is starting for the first time today, so maybe the birds will return. Ahhhh! I just saw two Euphonias but not where I could photograph. Tonight is my last night here and near the end of the most wonderful food that someone else prepares for me. Its been a great week!
Morning Walk Photo Slideshow
“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.”
And I am just now starting the “trip gallery” for this trip at 2018 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge — but soon that will be the place to see all my best photos from this week. I have gotten 10 new “lifers” or first-time seen birds this week! That is incredible! Possibly more than on any other trip at least recently.
Everywhere I go in Costa Rica I find birds and other animals to photograph and this trip was no exception. No new animal sightings here this time for me unless that purple grasshopper is truly different from the other “Giant Grasshoppers” I’ve seen and photographed. But there are some different kinds of shots this time and 11 to 13 different species. Enjoy the brief slideshow:
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
See my TRIP Photo Gallery: 2018 Caribe South, Puerto Viejofor many other kinds of photos from this fun trip and for more on the South Caribe see these other trip galleries:
And oh yes, today is 15 Sept–Independence Day–and I made photos of the parade, but need to process and want to finish my Caribe visit posts first with one or two more. So the parade is coming here soon! 🙂
Here they call all of these large grasshoppers “Giant Grasshopper” and most are a variety of the officially named Giant Grasshopper. See the other one I photographed on my 2010 Caravan Tour while in Guanacaste, which was actually larger and all green and beige/brown. This yellowish one I photographed the other day going in Linea Vital for my physical therapy. You never know where you will see cool creatures! 🙂
Here’s a bigger one on someone else’s blog called Beach Life.
I can’t find a scientific article online. ¡Pura Vida!
I continue to see more butterflies which is part of June & July here and want to keep my nature theme even on posts about the website.
Today was the day for my online video visit with a specialist or “concierge” who was Nancy and very helpful, answering all my questions and giving me a boost forward in my understanding of technical things that can be frustrating. And one of the best things she did was recommend WP101 help videos online. I have already watched 6 of them and again got another boost forward making me more hopeful that this site will be successful eventually. She claims that moving my blog from Blogger to WP is “pretty straightforward.” But I will get the site working a little smoother before I try that.
It is June and the butterflies are filling my gardens! I like that. I have one other photo of this particular species, but not as good as this, so pleased to get it today. Plus I am still experimenting with my new website and want to see if adding the category of WILDLIFE to the tags on this post will place it on my WILDLIFE page like I think it is supposed to do. So here goes.