And so there we were. Five brave souls who should be at home watching TV or swapping stories over hot coffee but instead opted to set off into the night to search for entities who shun daylight. But we weren't disappointed.
We were actually prioritizing reptiles and amphibians, but welcome any other creature that comes along. As it turned out, the most ubiquitous were the insects from the Order Phasmatodea, which includes the leaf and stick insects; the Order name was derived from the Greek fántasma, which means 'ghost'- a reference to these insects incredible camouflage which makes them appear and disappear to the casual observer.
First off, a harvestman. Despite its resemblance to spiders, these animals belong to a totally different Order- Opiliones.
And then the 'twigs' began moving...
A huntsman spider:
A Tiger Beetle, so named for their ferocity in bringing down prey.
Update: Estan Conrad Cabigas placed this animal under the genus Thopeutica.
Update: Penthicodes astraea, a member of Fulgorid Planthoppers. Paul Engler provided the name to one of my companions, Tony Gerard.
A seriously bizarre snail- it does NOT have a shell. I believe I have seen a similar aberration of nature in Puerto Galera not too long ago.
Update: Striped Ringlet (Ragadia luzonica). Thanks to Herman Nuytemans for providing methe name of this butterfly.
Now this is another weird snail, with those filaments sticking out from its shell. Or maybe those are algae or some sort of fungi?
No, I don't think they fretted over my incursions...
I love roaches! This one has sumptuous coloration.
This huntsman appears to be stalking the katydid below it.
What's that spider doing with those web strands? Your guess is probably as good as mine.
Edit: According to Wilhelm Tan it is an ogre-faced spider and that yes, it indeed uses its web to snatch prey. Spider specialist Aimee Lynn confirmed it's a Deinopis and the specimen possibly represents a "new local record or a new species". Pretty exciting isn't it?
Ants doing their business amongst chayote tendrils:
A spider having a crunchy midnight snack:
This colorful creature is an Ophicrania.
Delias henningii. Looks dead though.
This heavily-built stick insect is a member of the genus Sungaya.
This one's got soft, plush hairs. I should know, I touched it.
A lacewing, I reckon.
No, they're not wrestling...
Update: This beetle is from the genus Metapocyrtus, according to Estan Conrad Cabigas.
Cute spider, terrible photo.
Individuals of the same species.
A saturniid moth.
Platymantis dorsalis, a common and widespread species.
Update: Common Jester (Symbrenthia hippoclus). Again, Herman Nuytemans provided the identification.
Perhaps from the genus Arachnura- the tailed spiders.
Update: This has been identified by Alexis Bourgeois as belonging from the genus Eriovixia.
I stumbled on a plastic bottle filled with amphibians, including this one. We had no idea who did it and why the animals were caught.
Another Platymantis dorsalis looks to the stars above.
A spectacular stick insect from the genus Trachyaretaon. Just gotta love those jutting spines and that mossy, cryptic appearance.
A leaf insect; Paulo suggested it could be Phyllium bonifacioi.
Update: Paulo, after getting some egg on his face (hah!), now thinks it's P. philippinicum, although the experts he consulted with are baffled because, according to them, the male does not look like that species.
It is of utmost regret that I cannot supply the names for all the creatures portrayed here. Nevertheless, I gotta thank my companions Tony and Berna Gerard, Paulo Ortega, and my girlfriend Carol-Ann Germino for a fruitful 'ghost' hunt. Can't wait for the next excursion into the night!