Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Life as something else: BACALAR

Well, continuing our trip, we stayed in Chetumal, a city whit a beautiful seashore and nothing else. I expected to see a friend there but couldn't reach her. (Bety? tuve allá y no te localicé)

We sampled in Laguna Bacalar, one of the very few permanent surface water systems in the Peninsula. With shallow waters and muddy bottoms, it is supposed to have seven diferent colours, each from a different cenote whose waters fed the lagoon. Place is just great. Period.We also sampled the (one and only) Cenote Azul, whose mouth is communicated with Bacalar. The colour is fantastic and it's more than 40 mts deep.
Some samples of what the team found: aquatic mites (I shall post on them somewhen), this is something like a huge Eylais,
we also found an amplypygii, an order of arachnids also known as "tailless whip scorpions" by anglophonics, and as "heart-spiders" or "tendarapos" by us.

and finally... an onychophor!!! from phylum Onychophora (bearing nails), also knwon as "velvet worms" or "spitting worms" because they secrete a glue from a specialized gland close to their heads. They're very rare to find and extremely poorly studied (nobody would accept a thesis on them here) this is my second most favorite animal in the world... from a time between annelids and arthropods. I'm so excited about this! I'll post a video soon. In the meantime, a link to wikipedia

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My life as something else... CALAKMUL

Se murió La Suzy.
La perra más educada que he conocido, iba a la universidad y esperaba afuera. Un abrazo, Conz...

Report log from expedition to Mayan world: we made our first official stop in Calakmul (two close bumps), (More info here). I'm with the acarii team (in image from left to right): Gris, in charge of the National Colection of Acarii in the Biology Institute of UNAM; me; Marcia who was Gerardo's student at reproductive biology of Arrenuridae; and Ric who's looking for ectoparasites of scorpions and reptiles. Two more are missing: Dr. Rivas (latin expert on water mites) who did not climbed the pyramid and baby boy David, who took the picture.

The road was dominated by yellow butterflies in reproductive period (over 50 km!)... des papillon de fleur en fleur, d'amour... we crossed a basilisc (even when I find them adorable, I do not trust those biped reptiles) and some blue turkeys. We saw an encounter between a pack of spider-monkeys and wailing-monkeys... and a female wailer put her baby wailer on her back to protect him!!! I also saw an "ocofaisán" but were unable to photograph it. The natural protected area is just great, a paradise for any biologist!!!

Calakmul is one of the biggest mesoamerican ancient cities and nowadays it is also the name of a natural protected area. It's located right on the border between the northern and southern mayan zones. The city has been devoured by the forest, and the canopy is wonderfully appreciated from one of the buildings. The server is not allowing me to upload any more photos, but as soon as I get a chance I'll post them. We also went to Chetumal, Bacalar Lagoon, Tulum, Akumal, Puerto Aventuras, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and the botanical garden of ECOSUR, where we'll be doing a nocturn sampling visit tonight... I gotta run!!!

ulk isnt api issing er beloved... and thanks for the hat!!!