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Tropical surprise

Posted on 16-10-2015 by Koos Biesmeijer

It had been long coming, but there it is. The torrential rain makes our return from the rainforest into a helter skelter ride and converts the road into a white-water river. 

This afternoon will be lab-time. Lots to do of course: sorting samples, identifying plants and installing the traps to sort the litter samples.

Not too bad in fact to be locked inside after days of running up and down hills to and from the sample plots. The harvest from the pitfall traps, sophisticated term for yoghurtpots dug into the soil and filled with car antifreeze fluid. Crickets, ants fell into the traps, but this time also hermit crabs, baby Anolis lizards and scorpions.

 


Scorpions are virtually invisible on the forest floor. They are as brown as the litter. However, shine a UV-light on them and they become funky glow-in-the-dark critters. Why? No idea. Why do we have a UV-light with us? Because flowers also have special patterns in ultraviolet. Bees use those patterns to find the nectar hidden in the flowers.