Leaving Vallarta, satisfied

Our plane flight was to leave Puerto Vallarta yesterday evening, and yet by yesterday morning we still hadn’t achieved one of the big goals of the trip: to get enough Habronattus aztecanus to do good behavioural observations. This had worried me the whole time we were in Chamela. On our last morning we had planned therefore to go back to the beach in Puerto Vallarta where we had found our lone adult male. However, the evening before, plans changed: we found out that, while we were in Chamela, Isabel Navarro had found H. aztecanus by the CUC* basketball courts in Vallarta. She led us to the spot, and there we found them hopping like popcorn. We got about 20 adults, enough to do what we wanted. What a delight to see this beautiful species abundantly. It was quite a feeling of satisfaction to have found all of our major targets.
Here are a male and female of H. aztecanus. The photo of the female on the right has the focal plane intentionally away from the face, to show the tiger stripes on the femur of the third legs. This is a modest version of the more powerful striping on males. Often, females show faint ghosts of the courtship ornaments of males. In this case, I think it would be a good way to recognize H. aztecanus females. Otherwise, they can be hard to tell from other female Habronattus in the area.

*Centro Universitario de la Costa.


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