“Counting precious rainforest reptiles and amphibians by night”

The Field Museum team is taking inventory of a vast roadless area in Peru’s northern Amazon to explore conservation opportunities with local communities. Here is an excerpt written by Nigel Pitman of their important adventure into the Amazonian rainforest

“Up in the canopy the leaves and branches are black against a night sky that is almost blue. In the upper strata of the forest legions of stridulating insects are making a scritch-scritching chorus; to the right a far-off frog croaks once and falls silent; from the left comes an anxious-sounding hooting; a bat flutters past almost noiselessly, raising a tiny breeze; and ahead on the trail comes the rustling sound of the herpetologists searching through dry leaf litter…

When you see their yellow and the white light intersect and pause, they have found something maybe another amphibian or critter… Tonight the herpetologists end up recording 13 amphibians, three by song alone, as well as three reptiles: two geckos and a harmless, wiry little snake that for reasons of its own is dressed in the tan and brown patterns of a pit viper. The most entertaining moment of the night is when Jonh reaches into a small bromeliad on a fallen tree and plucks out three blue and yellow poison dart frogs, one after another, like clowns from a car.

Jonh Mueses-Cisneros and Rudolf von May herpetologists search during a nighttime survey along the Rio Cotuhe.

About every 10 minutes tonight they find some creature to log.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/a-hundred-ways-to-be-a-frog

Image courtesy of http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/a-hundred-ways-to-be-a-frog

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