On the first night in the field, while out hiking, we managed to awake a slumbering bee, which became enraged by our headlamps, which then stung me in the eye. It hurt like the dickens, and then it started raining torrentially. Seriously, hardest rain/thunder/lightening I've ever been out in. The picture above was taken on day 2, which was worse than day 1. I also have a raging case of poison oak/ivy from our last trip (below). It has since spread to cover my entire kneecap, but at least its now on its way out (I hope).
Our latest trip was to the Chimalapas, one of the two least populated and most remote regions in all of Mexico. It is the mountain range to the east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which divides North America and Central America. So its an interesting region biologically and we were on the hunt of a potentially very unique salamander (maybe new genus) that a student had collected several years ago. The specimens were preserved poorly with no way to properly analyse them, hence the reason for the trip.
We drove about 14 hours from DF and stayed in a village called Forteleza, just across the Veracruz border into Oaxaca. The people were very friendly (this is apparently not usually the case in Oaxaca) and let us stay in their salon (community meeting room), use the outhouse, bathe in the river, etc. We also hired a local guide, Lorenzo - here with his two kids- for the 4 days we were in the field.
It was hot, humid, buggy (tiny black flies were the worst), extremely rainy, with very rough terrain much of it very disturbed. And with 6 people looking night and day for 4 days we only found 2 salamanders, neither of them the one we were looking for. But we had a very fun trip and got to see a place that few people go to with very nice people, and we found some very unique animals, just not what we were after. TD was able to collect several specimens for his projects here, so it was a success for him. Here are some more highlights.
We didn't climb up this one - but it was STEEP!
Lots of interest in what we were doing...
The community in Forteleza was established in 1984 when the road was opened, before that it was just rain forest. Most people raise cows, chickens, pigs, and have gardens. Also lots of hunting in the forest.
We worked very hard to find this salamander!
Now that we are done with the field for a while, we'll be getting settled here, and then I leave on Saturday for a week in Brazil and a month in the US.