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Whistling in the night

Posted on 15-10-2015 by Roland Bûtot

In addition to finishing the official program of collecting specimens, there was time also for spontaneous activities mapping the diversity of Sint Eustatius.

On the way to the Botanical Garden of St. Eustatius we passed close to "Knippenga Estate" to search for iguanas. We had heard from the people of RAVON (research and knowledge organization for amphibians, reptiles and fish) that they had observed iguanas there. Thanks to the sharp eye of John, the Iguana Iguana delicatissima (Lesser Antillean Iguana) was quickly found. The one-meter Iguana was still well hidden in a tree.

 Iguana delicatissima

After emptying the "Pitfalls" and "Malaise traps," the official part of the field work, we joined the “Mammals Team” in the Botanical Garden putting up so-called mist nets in order to catch bats. The first "victim", which was caught in the mist net at twilight was a "banana quit" Coereba flaveola.

Coereba flaveola

 As twilight turned to night, we heard the Johnstone's Whistling Tree Frog Eleutherodactylus johnstonei very well. This barely 2 cm brown frog makes an enormous noise. Soon, hundreds of other whistling frogs close by were doing the same thing. At the morning trip with the “Bird Team” to the crater (The Quill National Park), the whistling frogs were also pretty noisy, so that the bird squeaking was hardly heard. At about 7 o'clock in the morning most of the whistling frogs probably had enough and were silent.

The large gecko Thecadactylus rapicauda (Giant Wood Slave), which I saw when I was looking for the well-camouflaged whistling frog, made no sound.

Eleutherodactylus johnstonei