When I explore the rain forest, I become a little kid in a candy store. The astonishing biodiversity found in rain forest is to me "mind candy". This tiny object (photographed with a dissecting microscope) was my mind candy one day. What could it be? Answering that question is one of my favourite pastimes. Eventually I figured it out. It's a fecal shield! Made by a tiny beetle larva to protect itself, the beetle uses its own feces to construct this object it then carries around on its back. Eventually it pupates inside the basket-like base. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador (family Chrysomelidae: genus "Spathiella").
spathiellafecal shieldchrysomelidaebeetlelarvacoleopterainsectyasuni biosphere reserveecuadorbiodiversityrain forestamazon river systemamazoniaamazon lowlandssouth america