Staying at El Campanario was good vibes for everyone. The food was amazing, and Nancy (the owner of the station) was so hospitable. The project that Perri and I decided upon was on anoles (little lizards); you find them all over Central America, the Caribbean, and Florida. We looked at how the size of their dewlaps (flap of skin under their necks used for signaling) determined the number of parasites on the lizard (little mites they had). Data collection? Consisted of catching lizards all day. Can’t complain ’bout that.
Everybody loved our week at Campanario. We were all getting along, things were less stressful, and all of our projects were fun and engaging. We even had a little more free time for swimming and some siestas, unless you’re me and use the time to catch more lizards.
I’m gonna need to skim through all the cool stuff we saw, because there was so much of it. Photo gallery has pics of almost all at least.
Beth and I got to do some serious herping per usual. It’s been great having someone who has pretty much identical passions and aspirations, and we talk so much about science, our futures, our dreams, our lives, etc. A real nice break from the constant work during the day, but the group as a whole also went out for a night.
Having Matt around definitely increased our know-how of tropical taxa, especially his specialty: beetles. Speaking of which, it was great to have him around to help us with the writing of our last project from Cuerici, which we were very stuck on.
Some other night finds:
And a lucky find I stumbled upon during the day:
That eye was all that stood out in this buttress crevice. Their skin is so soft and delicate, and the toes pads are like nothing else to touch.
But def the find of the trip so far: Perri and I were on our last afternoon of collecting and measuring anoles, and the shadows were grower ever longer between the trees. Perri walked down the trail to a nearby stream to untie the end of one of our transects. When she came back: “Hey I found a snake down there, you should come see.” Yeah sure, I thought, probably another wood snake like I found next to another local stream.
We went back to the spot where she had seen it. And whatever was there appeared to be gone…no, wait a second. Is that– yeah, she had found a fer-de-lance.*
*For those of you who for some reason don’t know everything about neotropical snakes, the fer-de-lance is the most venomous snake found in the New World. Rarely seen because of its cryptic patterns that blend into leaf litter, when it is actually found the beauty of the snake is striking.
Oh and one last awesome thing. Well actually there’s a bunch I’m not covering but gotta cut myself off at some point. The last day, after straining some sugar cane to make ourselves caipirinha (rum+sugarcane water), we went to check out a bat cave that hangs over the ocean cliffs. Amazing to see hundreds of bats flooding out right as the sun set. Even saw a hawk, patiently waiting for its daily ritual, diving down and grabbing one from mid-air! Insane.
It was a sad goodbye to Campanario, but we still had plenty more to do on this trip. And so back on the boat, back on the bus, and to Las Cruces Botanical Garden.