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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spiny Devil!

Left for Ecuador in the early hours of the morning after only two hours sleep and feeling slightly apprehensive after reading about all the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the tropics. Once I arrived and caught up on some sleep the feeling of apprehension began to lift and be replaced by a real sense of adventure and excitement.

I’ve been on the Yachana Reserve now for a couple of weeks and have really been enjoying my time here. It has been a fantastic learning experience. The staff have something knowledgeable to say about everything we come across along the trails. Their enthusiasm while out on surveys and walks is catching. The night walk was great craic once the fear of the unknown dissipated. We spotted lots of weird and wonderful creatures. My most feared was the wandering spider, he had to have been the size of a grown man’s hand!

My favourite however was the Spiny Devil Katydid (Panacanthus cuspidatus). This crazy lookin creature belongs to the subfamily of coneheads (Copipharinae) which are identified by a spike coming from the top of their head. In this species, the Spiny Devil has a huge three-pointed red horn that sticks straight up. The face and body is covered with spines. It has a powerful jaw and therefore can penetrate the skin of humans. I thought best not to provoke it!

There is so much to see and learn here; each trail walk or survey is like a mini adventure. Roll on the next 3 weeks!

Rachel Boyle – GVI Amazon volunteer, Aug-Sept 2010