Hamanasi Happenings

Hamanasi Guest Captures Big Beauty in Small Packages

06-11-2017 - Posted in: Belize Vacation Stories
Tags: butterfliescaterpillarsgeckosguestshowler monkeysiguanasnature

Last year in November 2016 we had the pleasure of hosting Frank Haluska and his wife Lindsey on their honeymoon. Frank is a wonderful photographer and naturalist who likes to focus on the smaller bits of nature that others might miss. While with us, they went on a number of our adventures, including the Magical Mayan History Tour, Cave tubing, Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve tour and Barrier Reef diving. Even if you’ve been on the exact same tours, you may not have noticed the beauty of the many small creatures that Frank found and captured, with the help of Hamanasi guides. He shared some of his amazing photos on Instagram, and a few of our favorites are embedded below, along with Frank’s descriptions.  I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we have. Many thanks to Frank for sharing both his photos and his knowledge!

Frank Haluska: Just got back from a spectacular honeymoon trip to Belize! What an amazing country of wilderness, wildlife, and culture. Thank you to my amazing wife and #Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort for making it a special trip!

Here is a pair of mating Cracker butterflies (either Hamadryas feronia or guatemalena) that we found immediately upon arriving. I love both the complex pattern on the wings, and the graphic hourglass shape made by the pair. The wings are so intricate and intertwined, it’s difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. A beautiful symbolic start to a honeymoon trip!

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Frank Haluska: At one point we stumbled upon a flowering bush FULL of these caterpillars! They were large and voraciously munching on any foliage or flowers that remained. While there were no adult butterflies around to help me identify them, they look similar to some of the Heliconidae caterpillars that I’ve found.

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Frank Haluska: A Black Spiny-Tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura similis) poses for me while basking in the morning sun at Xunantunch. Being endothermic, in the morning, these large lizards need to bask to warm up before the day’s activities. Iguanas, and particularly this species have always looked quite prehistoric and powerful to me, but they are actually typically herbivorous, feeding mostly on leaves, fruit, and flowers, but occasionally (juveniles especially) will feed on small prey.

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Frank Haluska: A Julia Butterfly (Drydas iulia) feeds from a flower. Like many of the longwing butterflies in the Heliconian family, its caterpillars primarily feed on passionflower leaves. As adults, they will drink nectar (as shown here), but have also been observed drinking the tears from basking turtles and caiman!! Definitely something I’d love to see, and by far the most incredible butterfly feeding strategy I’ve come across!!!

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Frank Haluska: While visiting the Mayan archaeological site of Xunantunich, we happened upon a troop of Yucatan Black Howler Monkeys (Alouatta pigris). These are among largest of the howler species and New World monkeys. Known for their ear splitting howl (which sounds more like a roar than anything else), at dawn and dusk large males can be heard for miles away.

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Frank Haluska: A Yucatan Banded Gecko (Coleonyx elegans) found while on a night hike in the forest. This large gecko, at up to 6 inches long, it typically nocturnal, hinting for small insects and other small prey. I was surprised to learn that unlike most geckos that are renowned for their climbing ability, these guys are mostly terrestrial. True to form, we found this one in the leaf litter just off our trail. The blotchy banding that decorates the gecko may look striking and colorful, but in context on the forest floor, it definitely breaks up the lizard’s outline and makes it much harder to spot.

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Thanks again Frank for sharing! We are so happy you enjoyed your honeymoon at Hamanasi – we’d love to host you again in the future!