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, September 26, 2011

Butterfly Bonanza!

One sunny day in the Amazon Rainforest a young lady called Pip was leading a butterfly survey for her BTEC qualification. Pip gave a textbook briefing and made the right decision to go back to base when 10 minutes into the walk one of the other volunteers realized they had ran out of water. It looked like it was going to be a slow afternoon after only finding one butterfly (Nessea hewitsoni) in eight traps on the first transect. The second transect was a lot harder to navigate due to some trees which had recently been felled along the road which were blocking the entrance to and first 100m of the transect. Despite its proximity to the road and the recent road works, this transect turned out a great haul of butterflies, catching four in the ground trap at 160m. A Morpho helanor, Tigridia acesta and Chloreuptychia berseis were already in the trap as I approached and sat on the fermented banana and wine bait was a huge Caligo teucer. I didn’t want to let this one get away, two weeks previously there was one sat on the edge on the bait tray which flew away as I approached. I wasn’t going to let the same thing happen again… I crept up to the trap, lifted the bait tray up to the netting forming a seal so the Caligo could not get out and Pip then instructed the team and delegated jobs for the processing of the butterflies. Catching four individuals in one trap is good going for any survey, however as two of them (the Caligo and Morpho) are the biggest and most beautiful butterflies found on the reserve, this was even more special and numerous photos were taken. Both butterflies had blue and black patterning on their dorsal side and the Caligo has one big imitation owl eye on either wing on the ventral side while the Morpho has lots of smaller colourful eyes and circles. After checking the next traps at 240m along the transect and finding another Chloreuptychia berseis we turned around to head back to base. When we went back past the 160m ground transect we found another butterfly, this time a Bio-actorian rebeli, this guy isn’t quite as big but equally as pretty with iridescent blue and orange on the upper wings.

So all in all a very good survey, a fun afternoon, a plethora of butterflies at 160m on transect BB4 in the Yachana Reserve, oh and...Pip passed her BTEC practical -- congratulations!

Phil Brown, GVI Amazon Field Staff