Costa Rica 2020 - Wildlife other than birds

Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus), Frio River in Caño Negro



Costa Rica has a rich biodiversity not only of birds. This page shows some photos of other wildlife I came across during my 14 days in Costa Rica. I saw the Spectacled Caiman and the American Crocodile, in addition to some species of turtles and lizards, but only one type of snake (the Eyelash Palm Pit Viper). Of mammals, I saw three species of monkeys, the two species of sloth (two-toed and three-toed), and the White-nosed Coati.

Frog photography is popular among tourists going to Costa Rica. In particular, the very beautiful Red-eyed Tree Frog is sought-after. I saw this species in Tortuguero and in the Sarapiqui area and managed to get some nice images of it. Also displayed are some other frog species, and some lizard species. I am not sure about the exact ID of many of these species but have attempted to name most of them (many are obviously wrongly named). This page also shows some photos of invertebrates such as damselflies, dragonflies, and butterflies. The ID of many of the invertebrates are at best only suggestions.

A thank to Hans A. Olsvik for help suggesting family/name of the damselflies and dragonflies. Please keep in mind, some of these species are also probably wrongly named.


Spectacled Caiman, Frio River in Caño Negro


Spectacled Caiman, Frio River in Caño Negro

American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), Tarcoles River


American Crocodile, Tarcoles River

American Crocodile, Tarcoles River


Black Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys funerea), La Fortuna

Black Wood Turtle, Tortuguero


Meso-American Slider (Trachemys venusta), Sarapiqui River

Male Green Iguana (Iguana iguana), Tortuguero


Green Iguana, San Jose

Brown Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus), Tortuguero


Brown Basilisk, Tortuguero

Emerald Basilisk, also called Plumed Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons), Tortuguero. Often called the Jesus Christ Lizard because it appears to run on water


Emerald Basilisk, Tortuguero


A young Emerald Basilisk, Tortuguero


Lizard, maybe a Many-scaled Anole (Anolis polylepis)? Cerro Lodge

Spiny Green Lizard (Sceloporus malachiticus), San Jose


Probably a young Brown Basilisk, La Fortuna

Maybe a Black Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura similis), Cerro Lodge


Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, Cerro Lodge

Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, Cerro Lodge


Maybe a pale Ghost Anole (Anolis lemurinus)? Tortuguero

Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris), Mawamba Lodge



Mourning Gecko, Tortuguero. Gecko ID is based on reptile forum feedback

Eyelash Palm Pit Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii), Selva Verde Nature Reserve


The Eyelash Palm Pit Viper has a strong poison, but is not very aggressive

Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), Tortuguero


Red-eyed Tree Frog, Selva Verde Nature Reserve

A pair of Red-eyed Tree Frog, Selva Verde Nature Reserve


With the yellow spots on the hind legs, this could be the Warszewitsch's Frog (Lithobates warszewitschii), Selva Verde Nature Reserve

Maybe the Common Tink Frog (Diasporus diastema), or perhaps a glass frog? Tirimbina Nature Reserve


Maybe the Fitzinger's Robber Frog (Craugastor fitzingeri)? Selva Verde Nature Reserve

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio), Tortuguero. Not easy to photograph these guys without flash


Strawberry Poison Dart Frog, also called Blue-Jeans frog, Selva Verde Nature Reserve

Forrer's Gras Frog (Lithobates forreri), San Jose


Probably a Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii), Tortuguero

Brown-throated Sloth (Bradypus variegatus), La Fortuna


Brown-throated Sloth, Tortuguero

Brown-throated Sloth (Bradypus variegatus), is a three-toed sloth species, Tortuguero


This is the Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni), La Fortuna. Unfortunately, got no good photos of this species

Golden-mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata palliata), Sarapiqui River


Golden-mantled Howler Monkey, Tortuguero

White-faced Capuchin Monkey (Cebus imitator), Frio River in Caño Negro


White-faced Capuchin Monkey with a cashew fruit, Cerro Lodge

The Ornate Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi ornatus), is a subspecies of Geoffroy's Spider Monkey, Tortuguero


Ornate Spider Monkey, Frio River in Caño Negro

White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica), Maquenque Ecolodge


White-nosed Coati, Maquenque Ecolodge

Variegated Squirrel (Sciurus variegatoides), La Fortuna


Variegated Squirrel, Cerro Lodge Entrance Road

Jumping squirrel, Cerro Lodge


Not very sharp image, but still :)

Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) seen in the Tortuguero canal which is mainly freshwater


Long-nosed Proboscis Bat (Rhynchonycteris naso floridanus), Caño Negro

Sky-blue Dancer (Argia medullaris), San Jose


Damselfly mating, Cerulean Dancer (Argia anceps), San Jose

Great Spreadwing (Archilestes grandis), San Jose


Dusky Dancer (Argia translata), Sarapiqui River

Caribbean Yellowface (Neoerythromma cultellatum), Maquenque Ecolodge


Maybe River Rubyspot (Hetaerina caja)? Caño Negro

Plain Amberwing (Perithemis mooma), Maquenque Ecolodge


Maybe a Regal Skimmer (Orthemis schmidti)? Tortuguero

Maybe a Spot-tailed Dasher (Micrathyria aequalis)? Maquenque Ecolodge


Maybe Red-faced Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax fusca)? Maquenque Ecolodge

Malachite (Siproeta stelenes), San Jose



Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia) on a Common Lantana (Lantana camara), San Jose


Could be a Small Postman (Heliconius erato), Tortuguero

Maybe a Ruby-spotted Swallowtail (Papilio anchisiades), San Jose


Monarch (Danaus plexippus) on a Common Lantana, San Jose

Blue Morpho (Morpho sp.), Tortuguero


Blue Morpho (Morpho sp.), Monteverde

King Swallowtail (Papilio thoas), Tortuguero


Julia (Dryas iulia), Tortuguero

The most common butterfly in Costa Rica, the Banded Peacock (Anartia fatima), Tortuguero


Common Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides), La Fortuna

Longwing Butterfly (Heliconius sp.), Looks like a Heliconius heurippa or a Heliconius cydno hybrid? Heliconius heurippa is originally from the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in Colombia. Maybe they breed them at the Ecocentro Danaus in La Fortuna?

Update 2023, from iNaturalist experts: "This is a H. cydno chioneus x H. melpomene rosina hybrid." "The colour pattern you show is quite easy to produce in captivity, by back-crossing male cydno x melpomene hybrids to female cydno (you can't do it with female hybrids because they are usually sterile) and some of the offspring will look like this. There are cases of this in the wild too."


Longwing Butterfly, probably the same hybrid as seen to the left, La Fortuna

Longwing Butterfly, Heliconius cydno ssp. galanthus, La Fortuna

Update 2023 from iNaturalist experts: "A very unusual specimen - the fuzzy distal margin of the FW and the broad yellow band on the HW are not typical features. This is possibly some sort of hybrid backcross among cydno races or with H. melpomene rosina, and possibly from a butterfly house."


Orange-barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea), Cerro Lodge

Pale Owl-Butterfly (Caligo telamonius ssp. menus), La Fortuna


Hecale Longwing (Heliconius hecale ssp. zuleika), La Fortuna

Banana Spider (Trichonephila clavipes), Tortuguero


Polymnia Tigerwing (Mechanitis polymnia ssp. isthmia), Tirimbina

Leafcutter Ant, La Fortuna


Leaf Katydid insect? Tirimbina night walk

Leaf Katydid, Selva Verde Nature Reserve


A Costa Rican Redleg tarantula (Megaphobema mesomelas) in its hole, Monteverde Cloud Forest

Scorpion in UV light, Monteverde night walk


Walking Stick insect, Selva Verde Nature Reserve

Spider net, Tirimbina Nature Reserve


Spider, Tirimbina Nature Reserve

Spider, Tirimbina Nature Reserve


A cricket, Selva Verde Nature Reserve

Ant nest, Selva Verde Nature Reserve


The Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata) has a nasty sting, Tirimbina Nature Reserve