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.
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.
A few years ago I featured some Bird’s Nest Fungus – a basidiomycete that looks a bit like a bird’s nest with eggs. Here are a few images with a different camera and macro ratio.
A few more images of the tiger beetle (Carabidae, Cicindelinae, Pseudoxycheila tarsalis) commonly found in Las Cruces.
Cristian braves handling it—the serrated jaws pierce his skin. There is a horn extending from the labrum that is also serrated.