February 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

We went to Fort Louis for a third time with Bridgitte and Alex. In addition to enjoying the updated signage at the fort, we admired the blossoming century plants and captured a tetrio sphinx caterpillar that was trekking up to the fort in search of food.

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February 27th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Here are a few photos from our new apartment. The brown pelican resting on the Seadog seems more proportionate than the heron in the dinghy. Unknown neighbors have a rooftop herb garden and their only crop is, um, Jamaican Oregano. Madam J found a very small beetle in the bathroom and trapped it under her contact lens solution lid while I went to get my camera.

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February 27th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

We held the second annual Tacousteau on the roof deck of our new apartment and it was a great success. We enjoyed the delicious Mexican food, tacos, and watched two episodes of the first Jacques Cousteau series. Fish were trapped in plastic bubbles, sea turtles were saved by Falco and much, much more. Everyone wore red hats, including our video projector. Special thanks to Big B for taking the photos!

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February 27th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Pic Paradis is the tallest point on St. Martin, and both varieties of anole lizard are present there. Anolis pogus, which prefers higher-altitude woodlands seems very common in the forested areas, and Anolis gingivinus is common on the fences and trees surrounding Loterie Farm.

I noticed a couple variations in the coloration of these lizards from others I have seen. Gingivinus seemed to have a greener tail than in most areas, while pogus specimens often had more light orange markings. One pogus even had a clearly defined ridge from its head all the way down its back. As a special treat, we also found a gingivinus with two tails, the result of regeneration gone wild.

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February 26th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

I didn’t just look for very tiny lizards on Pinel Island the other day. I also found a variety of other interesting creatures, including a wasp with brilliant blue eyes that bobbed its thread-waisted abdomen up and down as it walked our table. I also found more vinegaroons, a very interesting spider and some termites that I’m guessing may be an important source of food for the various dwarf geckos.

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February 25th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

When I returned to the little wooded spot on Pinel Island where I found dwarf geckos previously, I was able to find a number that correspond to a couple images of Sphaerodactylus macrolepis that I found online. In fact, all the geckos that I was able to photograph well seem to share the same characteristic double white dot patch on the back of the neck. These very small lizards will need further study, and I may need to have less Rosé before exploring my little forest next time. Bonus fact: apparently the common name for this species is the cotton ginner.

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February 24th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Below is a continuation of the last series of butterflies in flight. The flash serves as a powerful tool to capture the acrobatics of these animals that would otherwise be impossible to see. Even frozen in a thousandth of a second, however, the typical result is still a blur of motion.

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February 23rd, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Madam J noticed these small insects that had been trapped in rainwater on the table on our balcony. They look a little like the insects that were trapped in amber and preserved for hundreds or thousands of years, but these were only there for a couple hours.

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February 22nd, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Formerly called Sec de Grand Case, Turtle Reef is a nice reef in Grand Case Bay that reaches up to 4 feet below the surface of the water. True to its name, I was able to photograph a couple turtles on the dive. The hawksbill is more common and more tolerant of divers, while the green turtle is more wary. Often, as you can see on this specimen, the green turtles have tumor-like growths that I believe are caused by some sort of infectious disease. As they get larger, they can completely cover one or both of the turtle’s eyes, which is presumably fatal as the turtle could no longer find food or escape predators.

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February 21st, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Below are a few shots from a recent dive at Creole Rock in Grand Case Bay. One of our local dive sites, it is part of the nature reserve. Highlights for me were the common octopus and atlantic spadefish. These shots were taken with my 85mm macro lens, which on the cropped sensor is equivalent to about 125mm lens on a 35mm film camera. It’s perfect for really small stuff, but is also great for getting detail on larger subjects, like the nassau grouper.

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