This actually would be a theme for an extra large book!!
It seems to be there are an endless amount of species in this direction. Even after years once in a while some new insects appear we never have seen before. This species really does have variants what surprises you all the time. The oldest insects known on earth date back 480 million years. So evolution had a long time in working on them. Most of the people don't know much about insects what leads to many misconceptions and sometimes fears. Looking closer into this universe of unknown a lot of interesting surprises are hidden. Many of this insects do have capabilities what goes beyond imagination and are worth exploring. Scientists and big Pharma little by little start researching this interesting part of nature to find new treatments and technologies copying there qualities. We will touch the more interesting species, with a bit of luck you might spot one of those.
Army Ants or Cleaning Ants
Army Ants by first encounter can be a quiet scary, almost like a horror movie. They are well organized and massive in number. Because when they are in the jungle it's hard to spot them, but once moving into the house swarming out, they surprise people with their quantity and speed. A bite paired with a secretion by their pygidial glands (mostlyFormic acid) makes it a painful and lasting one when you scratch it. Beside all of this and all the stories around it, this small predator is essential for the environment. Once getting over the first fears and experiences how to deal with it, this little creatures are absolutely fascinating. If
you leave them alone doing their job you will be surprised how many living creatures they take out of your house, that's why they are called cleaning ants in Costa Rica. We are always welcoming them every time they visit us and leave them the room or house the time they need to clean up(mostly not more then 1-2 hours).This Ants hunt down only living pray, mostly other insects, so no worries about your groceries. Their nest is moving with them and everything in it too.
Leaf cutting Ants
Though this two two types of Ants species look alike in size and appearance their behavior and evolution could not be more different. It's almost like in our history when humans changed from hunting to farming, only their history goes back a couple of million years!! In difference to the Army Ants Leaf Cutting Ants have a permanent nest and harvest vegetation that they use for fungus farming. Also workers don't help each other for transporting the material. Studies show that leaf-cutting ants have been cultivating the same strain of fungus for at least 23 million years. Neither the ants nor the fungus can survive without the other, and this link is perhaps the best recognized example of mutual symbiosis, the dependance of two species on each another
But the ants’ monoculture fungal garden is extremely susceptible to another type of parasitic fungus that the ants cannot ingest.
Left uncontrolled, the fungus will form a white growth over the ants’ garden, rendering it inedible and leaving the colony to starve. To combat this threat, the ants — already the world’s first farmers — became the world’s first pharmacists.
Female leaf-cutters carry a small patch on their cuticle that grows the bacteria Streptomyces. The ants spread this bacteria over leaves and fungi in the garden to kill other types of fungi. Not only does this particular bacteria ward off parasitic fungi for the leaf-cutters, but it also is found in more than half of the antibiotics in modern medicine today. Since years now they are investigating this ants to find new non-resistant antibiotics.
Scorpions and Spiders as well are Arachnids(not insects) and belong to an even bigger group called Arthopods which also include insects and crustaceans. This is the largest group – 80% of animals – in the animal kingdom. Scorpions descend from eurypterids, prehistoric animals that lived millions of years ago and could measure three meters."The "thin" species are more dangerous than the stocky species, although I have not known that there are any here capable of killing people. We have been bitten serval times of the years, it's painful in the beginning but goes away quickly. If you feel your tongue get's sleepy you might get a pill in the pharmacy.
The Scorpion venom also cut the attention of research, while some scorpion toxins show specific antiviral effects against just one type of virus, other toxins are active against several different viruses. Few antiviral vaccines and drugs are commercially available against the more than 200 viruses known to infect humans, which is a situation that has been highlighted by the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and puts an emphasis on the importance of discovery and development of new antiviral agents. Scorpion toxins have been demonstrated to possess inhibitory effects against a number of parasites. Years ago we also stumble upon an article of Cuban research, where they found that the compounds are effective against some tumors of cancer. Also the western world now have started in the same direction and the research looks promising. Since then my fear about their bites have changed and each bites counts for me as cancer prevention :) Over the years we have not seen many, but it looks like they do appear more often in the changes of the season(twice a year in the beginning of dry or rainy season).
Golden silk orb-weaver
People aren’t huge fans of spiders, but the golden orb, is the exception to the rule. After researching this spider, I can see how they would make a spiderman super hero. The golden orbs produce the largest and strongest webs. During your visit to Costa Rica, be sure to look out for the gorgeous eight-legged creatures. Not only are they impressive looking, but they produce silk that is five times stronger than steel and more flexible than nylon! The US military, civil engineers, biomedical techs, and clothing producers alike are searching for ways to mass produce their silk.
Many prejudices and myths exist about Tarantulas, guests often ask us with the fear in the eyes and horror movies in mind. These large, hairy spiders which you often see in Costa Rica. Their reputation however doesn't do them justice as they are shy animals and not at all aggressive towards humans. The view times they appear we carefully take them out with a container or the broom. We try not to harm them since they are important in pest control. In rural areas of Costa Rica tarantulas are often called "Pica Caballos" as people think that they sting horses.
Tarantulas are mostly active at night to hunt small animals like crickets, bugs and smaller spiders. Costa Rica presents some interesting tarantula species such as the Costa Rican Tiger Rump, Costa Rican Bluefront Tarantula or the Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula.