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Complex Natural History: Stories

Tropical biology is complex and interwoven. Here are two stories – among literally thousands – that demonstrate the biological complexity that exists in ACG. Many more such stories can be told. Enjoy these windows into the diversity of ACG’s biology (and, in these cases, unique but “un-charismatic” fauna) from our two senior scientists, Dan Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs.

Butterfly of fermenting sap in tree canopies, Archaeoprepona demophoon (Nymphalidae)

There are two ways for a momma butterfly or moth to raise a family in ACG – dump a huge number of eggs, fast, sloppy, and then dead and gone in a few days, or live months while being very careful about where you put each kid, and each fending for itself. And even then, she only wins sometimes. Archaeoprepona demophoon is careful, very careful.


A dry forest pocket mouse, Liomys salvini

A species account for the ACG dry forest pocket mouse, Liomys salvini, a champion seed hoarder, a champion seed predator, and well into the night, a champion hamburger for the owls, snakes, cats, coyotes, and about anyone else on the prowl. For the ecologist, he may yield the answer to just how can a population survive at extremely low density. And with his pouches full of seeds, he is like you trying to survive a trip across the Interstate at rush hour with two watermelons tied around your neck.