The insects of the cloud forest of La Florida are found in astounding diversity. Our beetles (order Coleoptera) are especially numerous and beautiful.
Some of our more spectacular insects include the brilliant, metallic-green, scarab beetles (family Scarabaeidae), which are often to be seen zooming over the farm like flying jewels. Apparently beauty and intelligence aren’t always a pair in the insect world, for these beetles frequently crash into windows, walls, and people. One rare but unforgettable species of cricket (order Orthoptera) successfully hides itself among the lichen and moss filled trees of the forest using the light-green protuberance that sprout from odd places on its body, the effect is simultaneously beautiful and slightly ridiculous.
One of our many many weevils (family Curculionidae) also uses lichen as a hiding place; it is the small but exquisite Lamprocyphus augustus. A common sight are the iridescent Sphecid wasps, alertly flicking their antenna to and fro as the scamper over mossy boulders, their dark blue wings vibrate almost imperceptibly in the sun. But don’t let the harmless beauty of their appearance fool you, for these small wasps are in search of spiders, which they will paralyze, lay eggs in, and imprison in a mud dungeon where they will be eaten alive by the wasps larvae! At night the visitor can lie back in his or her hammock and watch a dazzling display put on by La Florida’s firefly community, and listen to the crickets sing the night away.
If requested we can set up a night-light that will attract many beautiful moths and other night insects.
Frequent visitors to the night tent include Spider mimic moths, wasp mimic moths, Geometridae, Noctuidae, Notodontidae, Pyralidae, Saturnidae, and Sphingidae moths, as well as numerous families of crickets, beetles, and other insects.
Though a little high in elevation for them, we also have a thriving colony of the wondrous leafcutter ants, here seen taking a minim for a ride (Minims are the smallest workers, and tend to the growing brood or care for the fungus gardens. Head width is less than 1 mm)