DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Fauna: INVERTEBRATES  

 

Here have accumulated the photos of all the creepy-crawly things photographed in the Southern Cordillera.  In Chile they are collectively referred to as 'bichos'.  Some bite, some sting, and a few are actually a bit dangerous, but many are also attractive, and others interesting for their alien appearance and life styles.  Some of the most interesting and important invertebrates are sea creatures, but these are displayed under the heading of the fishing lifestyle.

There is a book by Luis Peña called Introduccion al Estudio de los Insectos de Chile.  There is also a website with many excellent photographs at www.insectos.cl.

 

River crabs of the genus Aegla are common in some drainages, this one is in transit between the Rio Chubut, Argentina, and a cooking pot.  One might be tempted to call it a crayfish, but the local name is 'Cangrejo del Rio'. Click to see big picture (640x469 pixels; 98 KB)
Lots of Tarantulas.  The grey-legged one on the right is relatively small, and may be a male. Click to see big picture (640x340 pixels; 119 KB)
In Chile, tarantulas are commonly picked up and handled.  In fact they are often called 'pollitos' meaning little chickens.  There are some seven species in the country, however, and it seems odd that they are all so non-aggressive. rose tarantula
Being both docile and colorful, the Chilean Rose (or Rose Hair) Tarantula, Grammostola rosea, is a favorite in the pet trade.  (All photos on this page are from the wild.) pink tarantula
Unfortunately, there is a wide variation with species in the Chilean tarantulas, some other species even show pink hair.  Identification from photos is uncertain. Click to see big picture (505x480 pixels; 121 KB)
Here a female has pinned a male underneath.  I suspect that he will be a meal rather than a mate. Click to see big picture (537x480 pixels; 159 KB)
A Tarantula's silk-lined lair, and on the right a look at the undersides of one of these mega-spiders. Click to see big picture (640x340 pixels; 123 KB)
I believe that this tarantula with a reddish abodomen is Paraphysa scrofa (ex. manicata).  From south-central Chile, and betimes referred to as the Chilean Copper Tarantula. Click to see big picture (467x480 pixels; 142 KB)
While this darker one from the upper Maule drainage appears to be Paraphysa parvula, maybe.  Some P. parvula are yellowish and known as Chilean Gold tarantulas. Click to see big picture (628x480 pixels; 128 KB)
This tarantula from the Chubut Province of Patagonian Argentina is appoximately Acanthoscurria suina.
Here's something different, a white tarantula from about 4000 meters altitude in the mountains of Peru. Click to see big picture (563x480 pixels; 168 KB)
Some tarantulas prefer living indoors.  If you are not arachnophobic, they do keep the insect population down.
While tarantulas may look scary, it is the Chilean Recluse Spider or Araña del Rincon (Loxosceles laeta) which causes most grief and even deaths.  It is at home in houses and considered the most dangerous of the Recluse Spiders.  Common in Chile and widespread in South America. Click to see big picture (346x480 pixels; 65 KB)
The Vinchuca is a form of blood-sucking Assassin Bug, feared as the vector of deadly chagas disease.  This one coming for lunch out of an alpine rockpile is likely Triatoma (now Mepraia) spinolai, which in Chile can carry Chagas. Click to see big picture (377x480 pixels; 99 KB)
This Vinchuca, however, found in a town in the Norte Chico of Chile, is more likely to be Triatoma infestans which is a more widespread carrier of chagas, but no guarantees.  They are usually more colorful. Click to see big picture (342x480 pixels; 37 KB)
Vinchucas are 'True Bugs' of the order Hemiptera. Here is a more colorful bug which preferes a meal of plants to blood. Click to see big picture (567x480 pixels; 71 KB)
The infamous Tabano, green-eyed horseflies which make life miserable for man and animal alike.  They are of the family Tabanidae but there are many species.  This colorful one is from the mountains of La Rioja, Argentina. Click to see big picture (579x480 pixels; 61 KB)
A comparatively dull Tabano from patagonian chile, but an effective horsefly when it comes to biting.  This appears to be Dasybasis chilensis.
For comparison, a Tabano from the Condor Range in northern Peru.  Looks at the size of its jabber-- and they come in swarms. Click to see big picture (640x450 pixels; 73 KB)
And there are other flys which find other ways of making a niusance of themselves.  Sharing an asado in Patagonian Argentina. Click to see big picture (539x480 pixels; 76 KB)
Although there are a number of red dragonflies in Chile, this appears to be the wide-ranging Cardinal Meadowlark (Sympetrum illotum) which maybe found from here to northwestern U.S.
And this one is likely a female of the Sympetrum genus, but no guarantees.  It makes a living patrolling drainage ditches in central Chile.
A blue dragonfly that works the farm lands of Chile's central valley.  Apparently Erythrodiplax sp.
And from the same area, an unidentified species which lands with its wings straight out.
Yes we have ticks also.  This bloated one was picked off a pet dog. Click to see big picture (640x368 pixels; 66 KB)
Centipedes can pack quite a bite if molested, and can camouflage well as this photo shows.  Scalopendra sp. maybe. Click to see big picture (640x283 pixels; 108 KB)
This is a Tarantula Wasp or Avispa Caza Tarantulas near Curacavi, Chile.  They are also known as Tarantula Hawks and the female with paralyize a spider and lay an egg on the body as food for its young.  Pepsis sp., there are several species in Chile.
A closer look at this large, black Tarantula Wasp.  It was continually on the move looking for a suitable spider.  Although not aggressive, these can deliver a sting in self defence which is considered more painful than any other except for that of the bullet ant.
This lovely metallic blue Tarantula Wasp would be Pepsis limbata, found mainly in Chile. Click to see big picture (453x480 pixels; 66 KB)
This giant wasp from the deserts of northwestern Argentina is locally called Caballo del Diablo (Devil's Horse), but that name is more widely applied to a dragonfly.  It looks fierce, but seems addicted to the flowers of a passion-fruit vine. cabdab
Bumble Bees are common, here in the high cordillera working of Autumn flowers.  The one on the left is likely Megabombas dahlbomi, while I don't have a handle on the blonde on the right.
And then there are the Scorpions, called Alacran in Spanish.  The mounted one is included for a better look. Click to see big picture (640x435 pixels; 137 KB)
More often smelled than seen, the oderous Chinchemolle lives under rocks at altitude.  Widely feared by locals in the central Argentine Andes, "one bite (sting?) can kill a horse", these lethargic species can well depend on their horrendous smell as a defense, no need of venom. Click to see big picture (640x397 pixels; 111 KB)
This specimen (on my arm) from La Rioja Province of Argentina is probably Agathemera maculafulgens.  If the smell doesn't choke you, pronouncing that name might do the trick. Click to see big picture (640x430 pixels; 86 KB)
And this more dowdy case from the Andes of San Juan Province is more likely Agathemera crassa.  Crass indeed. Click to see big picture (640x410 pixels; 111 KB)
This more colorful oddball from Chile looks a tad similar, but I have no idea what it is. Click to see big picture (585x480 pixels; 174 KB)
The male Ciervo Volante.  A flying deer?-- this takes some flight of imagination.  Also known as Cantabria (Chiasognathus granti).  A citizen of southern Chile. Click to see big picture (640x412 pixels; 52 KB)
In the heavy-weight division, the Madre de la Culebra.  Translates as the "snake's mother"-- what sort of chicha were these Chileans into? Click to see big picture (632x480 pixels; 110 KB)
The Madre de la Culebra (Acanthinodera cummingii) is big, females can go to 8 cm.  They live in rotting logs in south-central Chile.  The males go by the name of Llico. Click to see big picture (640x406 pixels; 106 KB)
A red-head at the other end of the beetle size scale.  This is Elater ruficollis, which is accused of moonlighting as a firefly, Luciernaga in Spanish.
This red-rumped beetle from Argentina is Micropsalis (now Apterocaulus) heterogama.  Chubut Prov., Argentina. Click to see big picture (573x480 pixels; 122 KB)
These rounded beetles of the Chilean desert would probably answer to the name of Gyriosomus batesi, or at least Gyriosomus sp. desert beetle
A striking metallic beetle (Ceroglossus chilensis) approx. Click to see big picture (460x480 pixels; 136 KB)
Beetles are everywhere.  This big, red one with a segmented appearance is surviving at over 4000 meters in the Yauyos Range of Peru. alpbeetle
This pollen-distributing beetle is called a Pololo (Astylus gayi).  The term pololo is slang in Chile for a boy-friend.  Perhaps this comes from the beetle's habit of landing on bright clothing, mistaking it for a flower. Click to see big picture (467x480 pixels; 68 KB)
Leaf cutter ants are common on the steppes of Patagonia, presumably one of the subspecies of Acromyrmex lobicornis.  Somewhat smaller than their jungle cousins, but look at the relative size of their burdens, carried through rough terrain and Patagonian winds. cutter ants
On the left is the top of one of their nests, beneath which their fungal farming is carried out.  Nearby there will be a refuse pile as on the right. cutter nest
A Cuncuna Amarilla.  That happens to be the title of a hit song by the Chilean group Mazapan. Click to see big picture (640x237 pixels; 55 KB)
In their song, the Cuncuna Amarilla was to be found under a mushroom.  In this case it was found biting my neck. Click to see big picture (640x406 pixels; 111 KB)
Another spiny caterpillar in Patagonia.  This one is not so large, but it has a name, Adetomeris erythrops.  With luck it will turn into a night moth with large "eye spots".
The Four-eyed Lady (Vanessa carye), one of the most common butterflies in the area, but locally just passed off as Mariposa Colorada. Click to see big picture (640x450 pixels; 124 KB)
Papillo Negro (Battus polydamus) or one of the subspecies of the Polydamus Swallowtail on a Tupa Flower. Click to see big picture (478x480 pixels; 73 KB)
Near Mendoza, Argentina, two other species of butterfly show different styles of tackling an aster flower.  The sulphur butterfly is known as Mariposa limonera locally (Phoebis sennae, approx.)  On the right is a Skipper, locally a Hesperia.
And less friendly looking insects also drop by for a feed.  Hopefully that proboscis is only used for sucking nectar.
Here is a strange one.  A fleshy "gall" that houses the nymphs for some form of insect, in a sticky matrix, likely tree sap.   Near Curico, Chile.
And here is a surprise, some sort of a Death's Head Moth in eastern Bolivia.  The real death's head moth isn't supposed to be on this side of the Pacific Ocean. Click to see big picture (640x435 pixels; 144 KB)