Tapanti National Park
At first you won’t see many beetles…” a piece of advice given to me regarding collecting in the tropics. I thought that was a lie. I’ve seen the photos of brightly colored scarabs and blacklight sheets full of insects. This advice echoed in my head today as I entered the Costa Rican rainforest for the first time today. Sure enough, beetles did not throw themselves at me! I had to seek them out as I would in any other place. The beetles that I study for my dissertation research are known as riffle beetles, and they live in fast-flowing streams throughout the world. The first stop on the hunt for riffle beetles was a relatively small stream (or Quebrada as they are known in Spanish) draped in mosses and mist, close to the Lodge. I collected with the help of Frazier and the students from UCR. It took a few tries, but before long, we had collected a diverse batch of elmids. It looks like this is going to be a good trip after all!
I had my first in-the-field birthday today. Monica, a curator and professor at the University of Costa Rica whom has joined us this trip into Tapanti National Park, graciously baked us a b-day cake. I’m not big on celebrating birthdays, and I had in fact forgotten about today, so if it weren’t for, I’m assuming Andrew’s insistent pursuit, my birthday would have gone un-noticed/-celebrated.
Crystal couldn’t finish her dinner today, so I had both our dinners. Two fish heads were also consumed and on another note still no sign of an army ant emigration column. Unfortunate, considering I’ve seen more species, and genera, than last year’s trip in March.
Today’s agenda, for those that are keeping track was sifting, sifting, sifting.
I thought I knew what to expect on my first jungle excursion; however, I didn’t. I was overwhelmed by everything. As I was born and raised in western Kansas. Here, the amount of water, trees, and all manner of green vegetation was enough to make my head spin. I felt like I was trapped in “Jurassic Park” and I kept expecting for some sort of dinosaur to coming crashing towards us through the undergrowth, as we set up the FITs (flight intercept traps). However, I did manage to escape the forest without being eviscerated by a velociraptor and I live to blog another day.
Yesterday Taro, Crystal, and the Delaware people arrived and today we met up with the Costa Rica people and traveled to Tapanti Nat. Park. It is beautiful up here, and for $15 a day I think I could move here and live comfortably. I did get nauseous on the car ride here because the driver kept slamming on the breaks then going then slamming on the breaks. Yuck. Once we got here and unloaded everything Andrew, Taro, Clay, and I went into the park and set up FITs. That was an adventure for sure. Trecking through secondary forest and getting our boots suction cupped into the mud was fun. So was trying to keep our balance on the uneven terrain. I look forward to more of that. Maybe we’ll see a sloth or a tapir. One can always hope. Jeremy signing off.