La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

Today after breakfast we all lingered on the bridge feeding the Machaca the last of our breakfast. The Machaca are big, acrobatic river fish (Brycon guatemalensis) that feed mainly on fruits and other vegetation that fall into the water. After the first couple of pieces of banana come their way, they see the food coming and jump for it, forming momentary piles of fish on the surface. I don’t want to know what the staff think of us for feeding perfectly good frutas to the river.

La Machaca is also the word for a type of lantern fly. According to local lore, if it bites you, you have to have sex within 24 hours or you’ll die. This is possibly the worst pickup line I’ve ever heard, although the name of the bar down the road (La Machaca, of course) makes a lot more sense now. I’d better keep a sharp eye out for these buggers, seeing as my guy is somewhere in the Drake Passage and unavailable for lifesaving sex emergencies.

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