The Night Tour

It would be impossible to truly decide, but The Night Tour in Drake Bay may have been the most memorable experience of the expedition. I have certainly seen plenty of nocturnal critters, but the combination of the biodiversity of the Osa Peninsula and the knowledge of Tracie and Gian made it a revelatory experience.

In a nutshell, Tracie covered the invertebrates (largely spiders, but there were some fascinating insects as well) while Gian covered the vertebrates (many frogs, but also a snake and two kinds of sloth). They were very knowledgable about the local wildlife and explained plenty of other eccentricities of the natural world, like wasps controlling the minds of spiders biochemically. There was also plenty of danger, including the constant possibility that we would encounter the deadly fer-de-lance viper or get bitten by a wandering spider.

There were many highlights. Amongst the insects, the leaf-mimic katydid and enormous walking stick were standouts. The most interesting spiders were the trap door spider and burrowing tarantula. Here Tracie’s skill and knowledge was very valuable as it is almost impossible to find a trap door spider unless you already know where its door is. We also saw the smoky jungle frog (which I kept trying to call the misty mountain frog) and the red-eyed tree frog, which is probably the most photographed frog of all time, but deserves the honor.

It was a little bit sad when we had to give back the headlamps.

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