The Virtual Rainforest
A Neotropical Rainforest
Rainforest Research


Tree Seedlings

Forest Flowers



Army Ants

Bullet Ants
Leafcutter Ants

Rhinoceros Beetle

Swallowtail Butterfly



Keel-billed Toucan

Howler Monkeys

White-faced Monkeys

Three-toed Sloth
Baird's Tapir
White-lipped Peccary
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Poison Dart Frog
Helmeted Iguana
Eyelash Viper
Terciopelo Viper
Spectacled Caiman
American Crocodile
Human Systems:
Rainforest Boy
Rainforest Girl
Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Rainforest Research

About the Authors





Jaguar (Panthera onca)
The King of the Neotropical Rainforest

Jaguar in NicaraguaThe Jaguar is the top predator of the Neotropical rainforest, and the third largest cat species in the world. They are a "flagship species" around which many conservation efforts are focused.

These large carnivores must have an ample supply of prey species, including agoutis, peccaries, and even three-toed sloths. Because of these needs, jaguars are typically only found in areas where humans have not damaged the forest ecoystem.

Our research in Nicaragua is trying to determine how many Jaguars still live in the forests of the Caribbean Coast. We receive lots of reports from local hunters and farmers of Jaguars (mostly from track sightings).

We place small camera traps in the rainforest to take photos of Jaguars and other animals. A camera trap has an infrared sensor that detects when an something moves in front of it. If an animal walks by, it takes a photo.

Each Jaguar has a distinctive spot pattern. The size, shape, and spacing of each spot creates an overall pattern that is unique to each animal. Check out the jaguars in the video below.



The Virtual Rainforest

Back to the Rainforest

Copyright Gerald R. Urquhart
Michigan State University

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Virtual Rainforest development supported by grant #0815966 from the
National Science Foundation

Center for Global Change and Earth Observation

Michigan State University