Revisiting Río Bella Vista

Río Bella Vista remains stunning and quite unchanged since my first visit in 2013.

Darko, a coordinator for the REU, and Cristian are seen in the background of a few images.

Including a couple of short videos of the river’s flow.

Initial dissection of crabs

The first project ideas Gabby and Juliet found interesting involved dissecting the pseudothelphusid crabs found in the streams in Las Cruces. While Gabby’s project has since changed dramatically from diet composition of the crabs to testing sex and heterochelae effects on agonistic behavior, Juliet is exploring trematode (Paragonomus spp.) parasite prevalence in the hepatopancreas (the yellowish tissue) in the crabs.

Parasitoid pupae from a caterpillar

Parasitoid larvae, probably from a wasp, have emerged from the black wounds of this caterpillar, perhaps a hesperidae butterfly, and pupated.

Check out the trachea (the branching gas exchange organs observed through the skin of the caterpillar) and the punctures from the larval exits!

Common basilisk

Macy, an REU student this summer (not pictured), discovered a large male Common Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus – aka Jesus Christ Lizard) under a rock while surveying for spiders. They get their name from “running” on water to escape, but this individual seemed to be too cold and wedged in hiding. I pulled it from the rock and we took some photos—only Juliet, my student, and another research mentor, Patricia, braved holding it.

 

Nonsense.