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View from American AIrlines 727 in landing approach over Managua.2001 Odonata Collecting Trip to Nicaragua - Page 1 of 3

A Web page by Roy J. Beckemeyer
Last updated: 6 February 2003

Photo at right: View from 727 approaching Managua for landing, August, 2001.  John Abbott, Roy Beckemeyer, Nick Donnelly, Enrique Gonzalez-Soriano, and George Harp, all members of The Dragonfly Society of the Americas, visited Nicaragua to collect Odonata at the invitation of Jean-Michel Maes of the Museo Entomologia in Leon.



Map of Nicaragua marked with our routes of travel

Right: A map of Nicaragua showing our trip in green (road from Managua to Wiwili).  I have added in dark green the location of the village of Maleconcito and the mountain Cerro Kilambe.  Click on the map to see a full-screen version.

The northern portion of Nicaragua near the Honduras border is mountainous and forested.

For additional maps showing the location of our collecting sites see the following PAGE OF ARC VIEW-GENERATED MAPS OF NICARAGUA.

 



Enrique Gonzalez and John Abbott at Managua, August 2001Left: Enrique Gonzalez (Left) and John Abbott (Right) in the garden at the Best Western Las Mercedes Hotel in Managua. Jean-Michel Maes in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, August 2001

Right: Jean-Michel Maes, our host in Nicaragua.  Photo taken in the town of  Matagalpa, on our trip to Wiwili and Cerro Kilambe.

 

 

 
Entomologists gather outside the hotel in Wiwili, NIcaragua, August 2001Left to right: Javier Sunyer and Blas Hernandez (students at the University in Leon and assistants to Jean-Michel), Jean-Michel (back to camera), John (background, back to camera), Nick Donnelly and Maria Lourdes Chamorro (background, a Nicaraguan student at the University of Minnesota who is studying the Trichoptera of Nicaragua).


Waterproofing supplies and gear before loading the mules.  Maleconcito, Nicaragua, Aug. 2001

Packing our gear in plastic to keep it dry on the trip up the mountain.  Photo taken in the village of Maleconcito.  Left to right:  Enrique (with net), John (white hat), Lourdes (bending over), Blas (back to camera), Jean-Michel, and George Harp (back to camera).

 


Mules being packed with our gear for the trip up Cerro KilameOur hired crew of Nicaraguan mule skinners loading the pack animals.  Clothes, collecting gear, hammocks, plastic sheeting for tarps, food, generators and gasoline for running black lights (we had folks interested in collecting beetles, Trichoptera, Saturniidae and Sphingidae as well as Odonata), and the nine entomologists all went up the mountain by horse or mule.  We had a total of about 20 pack animals.


George Harp on muleback, August 2001, Maleconcito, Nicaragua

George Harp ready to catch dragonflies from horseback.  The fellow standing to George's left is Guatamala, who was renowned even among the rest of the Nicaraguan crew for his ability to haul great loads up onto his back and trot up the steep, muddy mountain trails with them.  Note that this is not the trail - it is the road near Maleconcito.  The trails were not this wide and were steeper.


Heteragrion eboratum photographed in hand on Cerro Kilambe, Nicaragua Heteragrion eboratum specimen scanned on flatbed scanner

 

 

 

 

 

A Megapodagrionidae damselfly, Heteragrion eboratum Donnelly, 1965, was described based on specimens from Guatamala.  This male specimen was captured on the stream that flowed near our campsite on Cerro Kilambe.  I had watched two males flying in circles around one another over a pool below a small cascade, and almost all one could see were the two spots of color - the white frons and the golden abdomen tip.  One of the very first odonates caught as we began our trip up the mountain was another Megapodagrionid, Heteragrion albifrons.  

 

Enrique Gonzalez riding up Cerro Kilambe in the rain, August 2001Climbing the Cerro Kilambe trail in the rain.  Enrique in his red slicker brightened up the scene.  Photo taken by Roy Beckemeyer from muleback.  As the rain fell and the day went on, the trail became quite treacherous, slick with clay and full of holes.  The mules eventually became so tired that we ended up walking much of the time, slogging through the mud and up and down steep trails.  The mules had ruined the trail in places, and one was sinking in sticky mud up to mid-calf or knee level at times.  A very difficult bit of work for all of us.  It was after dark before we all struggled into camp to set up our hammocks in the rain, washed the mud off in the stream, ate a meal of rice and beans and hot, sweet coffee, and collapsed into a well-deserved sleep interrupted only by occasional muscle cramps.


 

John Abbott and Nick Donnelly on a wet morning in camp.  Cerro Kilambe, Nicaragua, August 2001Right: John Abbott (left) and Nick Donnelly (right) looking out on our rainy, muddy campsite.  The plastic tarps are slung above hammocks and provide a nice, dry shelter from the rain.  The ground under the hammock is covered with palm fronds to keep some of the mud out of one's sleeping area.  Not a great deal of odonate diversity up here, but some really neat species, including a Paraphlebia species (Megapodagrionidae), Argia medullaris, and Epigomphus westfalli.  


Megaloprepus caerulatus, a Pseudostigmatidae, one of the "helicopteros" damselflies

A female of the giant Pseudostigmatidae, Megaloprepus coerulatus.  Our expedition took a total of three of this species and Enrique also took a Mecistogaster.  These beasts are wonderful things to see in flight in the dark forest, with the bright tips of their wings nearly all you can see in the gloom.  Below is a scanned image of the same specimen that is seen live in this photo.


A scanned image of Megaloprepus caerulatus


 

A view from the trail on Cerro Kilambe, Nicaragua, August 2001

Left - a view from the trail on Cerro Kilambe at about 1000 m elevation.  August, 2001.

Below: A damselfly from the family Platystictidae: Palaemnema nathalia (female specimen).  Taken from a stream about 6 km South of Wiwili.  These damselflies perch quietly in shady root tangles along stream banks and are best caught by crawling into the vegetation and picking them off their perches with one's fingers.  John Abbott, Roy Beckemeyer and Nick Donnelly spent 45 minutes or so working through a small area capturing specimens.  It was tricky work, as every move seemed to end up shaking the entire tangle, causing the insects to move to another perch.  Also took an owlfly (Ascalaphidae: Ululodes subripiens) from the same place.

A Platystictidae: Palaemnema nathalia from Jinotega District, near the town of Wiwili, Nicaragua

 


One of the prettiest Argia's - A. oenea, perched alongside a stream in Nicaragua's Jinotega District

Left - A damselfly from the most common genus of the family Coenagrionidae found in the Neotropics - Argia oenea.  The brilliant red eyes and thorax of the males make this a memorable damselfly. 



To Download Higher Resolution Scans of the Photos on this page click to this index: NICINDEX


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