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Published: March 29th 2011
The main thing that kept me busy during the five weeks in the Yachana Reserve was my studying towards the qualification to be able to lead and supervise biological surveys. I chose to research amphibians and reptiles of the neotropics because they are so fascinating. It was a lot of work but I succeeded! I learned a lot in a short time and I really enjoyed every minute of it. Because the majority of these fabulous creatures are nocturnal, most of the field work was done at night in the rainforest, often requiring us to wade through streams and rivers and climb steep ravines in the rain, dodging tarantulas, scorpions and spiky plants en route.. The night VES (visual encounter survey) involved 6 people walking in a line for 500 meters over the course of 2.5 hours. The front person leads with the GPS, the next two look to the right, the next two to the left then finally the scribe at the rear records the data. It was always an exciting survey, always finding a wide variety of species, including some that had never been seen on the reserve before. Most of the frogs are very small
The gladiator tree frog.
and are found in the leaf litter on the forest floor or in the trees. The poison dart frogs (named so because the indigenous people used their powerful toxins to coat their hunting darts) are my favourite, I love the sanguine poison dart frog (Ameerega bilinguis) as it has an amazing red back and is full of energy, it always puts up a fight!
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