Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sapito del día

We keep a towel under the front of the fridge to soak up the water that seeps out of parts unknown. I grabbed it today to wipe up another spill and to then wash it. But inside a fold in the towel I found one of those little sapitos. It jumped when touched, but then died. I tossed it outside.

My roommate showed me a weird blob on her bathroom window that was about 4 cm across. A wasp about 2 cm long showed up with a blob of something in its mouth, attached it to the bigger blob, and rubbed it onto the window by vibrating its forehead at a speed that made a high-pitched sound -- based on the tone and my friendly tone generator I'm guessing its head was moving around 600 times a second. I knocked down the blob and found it was made entirely of clay. OK not entirely. Inside you could see little holes into chambers, apparently filled with eggs. I broke it open. They weren't eggs -- a bunch of spiders fell out! About 20 dead spiders in 4 chambers.

I didn't post on Thursday or Friday because I was off in the city of Puerto Ordaz, on the Orinoco River. They grow cashews near there. I bought a bag of them and left them in my backpack when I got home yesterday. Today I remembered them and went to the backpack. There was a line of pale powder across the outside of the pack. Uh-oh, I thought. Inside I found that sure enough, ants had gotten into the cashews. Tiny ants, never more than 2 mm long and maybe .3 mm across. I used a colander to shake them, and the mass of powder they had chewed off the cashews, out of the bag. They must have taken away several nuts worth of food by the time I caught them.

Speaking of ants, the cleaning lady followed a trail of ants to my old Mac. Found that it was filled with ants. Which explains why the motherboard died. And here I was thinking it was the result of a lightning strike.


stfrisco said...

This post is an instructive antidote for arachnophobes who think living in a tropical climate would make their life worry-free. At least snow is benign, and it melts if you give it enough time.

Katie said...

They have those wasps in Ecuador, too. At one time, I counted 4 different nests in the cabin where I slept. I was never bothered by them so I waited about a week before I knocked them down. As I was using a broom to knock them off the walls (I admit there was some screaming because I am not a huge fan of bugs), Don Pancho walked by. Don Pancho was about 80 years old and had lived his whole life in the jungle. He was a pretty skinny man, but he had to constantly wait for the gringos to catch up with him in the jungle. To complete this picture, he would be carrying about double the load as compared to everyone else. Did I mention he was about 80. I asked him if they bite. I was told yes, but it is only a little bit of pain. It might have been a joke but from then on, I knocked them down immediately because I decided that my pain threshold would be a lot lower than his.

Hedgehog said...

An anecdotal antidote! The tropics have their points, but I've yet to understand why no one here seems to use screens on the windows.