25th- Finally, we caught one of the butterflies we need. After about 4 hours of collecting, we hadn’t seen any and were ready to head back, but one fluttered by, I caught it, and now we at least know that there are a few of the around this time of year. Also, we saw a massive iguana crossing the road. The rest of the day was spent working on various small projects in the insectaries.
26th- We got off to an early start again, and were unsuccessful all morning looking for the proper butterflies. Two other researchers had come with us, and we all stopped for lunch at a cafe 15 minutes outside of Gamboa, called Pan y Canela (Bread and Cinnamon). We consoled ourselves with coffee, pastries, and batidos - fruit juice mixed with milk. I had mine with lulo juice, which was excellent. Lulo is a tropical fruit I’d never heard of before, more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_quitoense. After lunch we stopped at another site along the road, and were rewarded with three of the butterflies we need. Unfortunately, they were all males (we need some of each), but we were happy to have made some more progress. After we got back to Gamboa I fed some butterfly larvae (a.k.a. caterpillars), then went for a run (very humid, but the heat isn’t terrible if you wait til sunset) and had dinner.
27th- We had another long morning of searching for butterflies, and unfortunately we came up empty handed, though we did find one butterfly egg, which seems to be from the right species and hopefully will grow into a happy, healthy adult. We also saw a family of howler monkeys. I think I got a decent video of them and their howling, and once I get better internet access I’ll try to upload it and some other pictures. For lunch we ate at the fondo, which is basically a food truck in town. There are three or four of these about, and the one we picked today was serving a big portion of rice, lentils, and macaroni, plus a sweet juice drink with a name I can’t remember, for $2. It was a nice, cheap, and easy break from the PB&Js I’d been eating for lunch for the past week. After lunch I fed larvae, ant-proofed some tables (which consists of putting a band of petroleum grease on all the legs), then came to the computer labs to upload this blog entry.