Eye of caiman (Gamboa, Panama) - This was a particularly friendly caiman who liked to visit our experimental pond. In 2016 I transported our lab’s canoe out to the Chagres River for a night-time paddle. I was shocked at how many glints of caiman eye-shine I saw along the water. It is no wonder we are advised against swimming in this river.
Summit of Mount Vallunaraju (Elevation: 18,655 ft, Cordillera Blanca, Andes of Peru) - In May 2016 I flew to Peru and scaled my first 5000m+ peak! In retrospect we did not do nearly enough acclimatization and should have spent many more days in Hatun Machay. It was a technical route and I definitely cried from fear and exhaustion along the way, but I will probably remember that sunrise for the rest of my life.
Túngara frog (Gamboa, Panama) - These adorable fellers are dubbed the potato chips of the rainforest because everything likes to eat them. Every year following a field season in Panama, I would have trouble falling asleep without the familiar chorus of whine-chucks outside my window.
A child dips his toes in the water on another misty morning in the tropics (Gamboa, Panama).
Leptophis (Gamboa, Panama) - A local parrot snake discovered at the canopy tower in typical defense posture. The bark is far worse than the bite. While helping with a project where we had to handle them, I got nibbled and was very grateful that they are only mildly venomous.
Hyla rosenbergi (Gamboa, Panama) - It is still a dream of mine to spot a potoo in the wild. I spent five field seasons in Panama searching and still haven’t seen one. I guess this friendly gladiator treefrog will have to do :) These guys are aptly named - males use sharp thumb spines to defend territories.
I was lucky enough to spend five days slipping & sliding in the mud & muck in beautiful Cerro Chucantí (Darién, Panama) searching for new species. Muchísimas gracias a ADOPTA for taking care of all the logistics of getting to the cloud forest and generally making this expedition possible. More than 35 endemic species have been discovered here in recent years! Grateful to have played a small role in this international conservation effort.
Cochranella granulosa (Soberanía National Park, Panama) - Truly one of my favorite things to do in the world is frogging for glassfrogs. I have such fond memories of entire nights spent wading waist-deep in flowing streams searching for glassfrogs (little treasures) and trying my hardest not to drop my camera in the water.
Tailless whip scorpion (Cerro Chucantí, Darién, Panama) - This was the biggest Amblypygid I had ever seen. Apparently this family of animals is what the spider in Harry Potter was based from, but they are not technically spiders and are actually harmless to humans!