The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Monday, August 9, 2010

Is it a lizard? Is it a worm? No... It’s a Worm Lizard!

Lizard, snake or worm? All these possibilities ran though my head whilst taking a swim in the River Napo, when my colleague, Olly ‘Beargrills’ Burdekin, found a reptile swimming right next to him. When the mysterious creature eventually hit land, it became apparent that is wasn’t one of your run-of-the-mill snake sightings. It was an Amphisbaenian!

Amphisbaenians, or Worm Lizards to you and me, are effectively blind. They lack functional
eyes and limbs, leading to them being easily confused with worms or snakes. Owing to their fossorial lifestyle (living under ground) they are very rarely encountered. The best chance you have of seeing on is after heavy rain or on a warm wet night... we found ours swimming in the River Napo at mid-day in full hot sunlight! Mother Nature rarely obeys the identification books!

After 5-10 minutes sun
ning itself on the river bank, the Amphisbaenia fuliginosa burrowed down into the soft silt and disappeared from sight. It was a truly magical encounter!

Christopher Beirne - GVI Amazon Base Manager