October 2010

Now imagine that you are born to be covered in spines. How cool will that be? You will not have to think about what to be for Halloween. You can either be an Astrocaryum warrior or an Astrocaryum princess!

Now imagine, that the big tree in the BCI forests decided to hold a costume party in honor of Halloween.

Who do you think will win?

Will it be the elegant male red-capped manakin with a black cloak draped over its body and a vibrant red paint on its face, or will it be the katydid who is dressed in shades of green just like the leaves in trees that we have seen!

Or will it be the giant tarantulas who are myth by day and emerge out of their tiny brick homes in the darkness of night.

Or will it be the liana whose bodies twist and turn and curve and creates a roller coaster for ants and termites and ant birds alike!

And how about the strangler figs,

 who wraps its arms and legs around a tree that has healthy trunks and twigs!

Eight eyes of the wolf spider make it scary enough, so scary that you can’t imagine it crawling on your scruff!

Now you would think that the forest is the only place where scary creatures roam, wait till you meet the residents who are dressed as frightening gnomes!

October 3, 2010. Ben Hirsch, the post-doc on the major seed dispersal project bid his farewell to the island residents and flew to Washington D.C. where he lives currently.

Although his love for coatis knows no bounds, for he studied this mammal species in Argentina for his PhD, when it comes to agoutis, he cannot hide his emotions. In fact, he is ready to give one a jolly ride on his shoulders!

Apart from his work talents, his immense knowledge on a wide variety of wines and good restaurants in Panama make him a popular individual. He is a go to person for information after the weekly Tupper seminars in Panama City.

In order to keep his spirit and talents around after his leave, we embarked on a scientific journey to clone Dr. Hirsch. But the results were not as we had expected. We didn’t acquire his charisma and talents. But we were happy to have acquired his facial features!