During spring 2003 I was able to spend some four months in Belize, Central America. I was actually there to perform some work for my traineeship along the coast of Belize, but luckily it was also possible for me to abandon the coast line every now and then. This is when I was searching for plants and plant galls. The nature of Belize is very rich and diverse and it would take a long time to get familiar with all the groups of species. In the forests I found the most fantastic kinds of plant galls. Many different species and many wonderful shapes. The areas where I made these pictures of plant galls were: Chiquibul Forest, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Blue Hole National Park, Belize Zoo, St.Herman's Cave and several locations in Guatemala.
I was only able to determine a very small part of the plant species and for the plant galls it was total horror! I owe many thanks to Dr Jon Martin of the Natural History Museum London, for his kindness to help me out with some species. I also want to thank Raphael Manzanero and his friends Theresa, Lenny en Derric of Youth Environmental Action Group and Centre for Tropical Conservation for taking me along to Chiquibul Forest and experiencing the wildlife of Belize in a very special manner. Then, last but not least, I want to thank the people of Las Cuevas Research Centre, for letting me stay and use their facilities, so in this way I was able to learn a lot more about the animal species and families of plants. And most of this only happened in a short week time!
If anyone recognizes a gall, or the host plant species, please let me know. Most of them are a big mystery to me.
|Pink leaf-margin curl gall made by the psyllid Syntomoza lebesion on the shrub Calyptranthes bartletti, Belize Zoo.|
|On Lonchocarpus rugosus there are several species of Euphalerus to be found, a genera of phyllids, like Euphalerus magnus on these pictures. The galls were commonly found by me on L. rugosus. Under the leaves you can see triangle shaped cones, flattened and with some vertical ribs along these sides. On the upper part of the leaves you can see the leave being pinced together a bit and some small elevations sticking out.|
|On Lonchocarpus rugosus I also found huge enlargements of the upper part of the branches. The larvae are 2 mm long and are white and have black mouth parts. Just before they emerge they are far more dark in colour and three times as large and have a somewhat caterpillar kind of appaerance. Perhaps it is some species of butterfly. I found these galls in Belize Zoo and in Chiquibul Forest.|