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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fish Research in Laguna de Masaya





The Masaya volcanic complex, lying just north of Apoyo, also contains a lake full of fish-and very interesting fish! The FUNDECI/GAIA research team are executing a study of the Midas cichlid species complex in Lake Masaya, in search of evidence that sympatric speciation has also occurred in this lake, as has been demonstrated in Lake Apoyo.
Lake Masaya cichlids
Maarten fishing for new species. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.
Here is Maarten Hogenkamp, fishing in Laguna de Masaya. And take another look at the foreground!!!! Yes, that is trash. This lake is severely damaged by solid waste and liquid waste from the municipalities of Masaya and Masatepe. Nonetheless, the lake has fish, and very interesting ones!

Midas cichlid research in Nicaragua
Lorenzo and Jeffrey examine the catch. Photo by Marlene Kroner.
Here, Lorenzo hauls in a juvenile Midas cichlid by harpoon, and passes it off to Jeffrey McCrary of FUNDECI/GAIA while Erico from the Masaya Volcano National Park looks on.

A new species from Lake Masaya. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.
Some of the catch: a probable new species! FUNDECI/GAIA is working with Jay Stauffer from Penn State to describe new species in Lake Masaya.


fish research Nicaragua
Lorenzo and Maarten discuss the color details of the fish. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.

Amphilophus fish Nicaragua
Maarten and Elmer at work. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.
And yes, fishing also means.... repairing nets, and getting ready for the next round. 
Fish studies Nicaragua
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lepidoptera!

Morpho helenor montezumae
Yes, butterflies can really look like that! It is Morpho helenor montezuma, a common butterfly in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. We completed the first phase of our studies on the butterflies and moths (members of the order Lepidoptera) earlier this year (2010), concluding with the publication of a listing of 220 species of butterflies and moths, of which 116 are new reports for the reserve, and 25 are new reports for Nicaragua. We are continuing with special effort placed on the monitoring of moths. Little is known about most groups of tropical moths.

Lepidoptera

The above moth is a typical example of the moths we are encountering in our present phase of study. We can not yet identify it or most of the moths we are capturing, but we are developing a database and slowly identifying the species in collaboration with experts in the field. Below are photos of another "unknown" and our light trap in action.

LepidopteraLepidoptera

Lepidoptera

We have a reference collection of butterflies and moths on display for the public in Estacion Biologica: Our current lines of Lepidoptera study involve light traps for the moths, and fruit traps for butterflies of the family Nymphalidae (brushfoots). Would you like to work with us on butterfly and moth field studies? Please contact us! We have needs for volunteers, students, interns and collaborating scientists.
Lepidoptera
Working collection of Lepidoptera in Estacion Biologica FUNDECI/GAIA, Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua.
Achalarus toxeus
Achalarus jalapus
Cogia cajeta eluina
Typhedanus ampyx
Astraptes anaphus annetta
Astraptes fulgerator azul
Pachyneuria licisca licisca
Pellicia arina
Myrinia raymundo
Bolla eusebius
Bollacupreiceps
Phocides belus
Epargyreus exadeus cruza
Epargyreus spina spina
Elbella scylla
Gorgythion begga pyralina
Gorgythion vox
Hylephila phyleus
Pyrgus oileus
Quasimellana eulogius
Antigonus erosus
Staphylus azteca
Staphylus mazans ascalaphus
Autochton zarex
Autochton bipunctatus
Cycloglypha thrasibulus thrasibulus
Quadrus contubernalis anicius
Quadrus cerialis
Mylon pelopidas
Sostrata bifasciata nordica
Atarnes sallei
Ouleus salvina
Xenophanes tryxus
Polyctor polyctor
Carrhenes calidius
Carrhenes fuscescens
Carrhenes meridensis
Heliopetes alana
Heliopetes laviana
Lerema liris
Polites vibex praeceps
Polites subreticulata
Cabares potrillo
Urbanus dorantes dorantes
Urbanus belli
Urbanus procne
Urbanus simplicius
Urbanus pronta
Urbanus doryssus doryssus
Urbanus evona
Polythrix asine
Polygonus savigny savigny
Codatractus cyda
Codatratcus bryaxis
Codatractus alcaeus alcaeus
Niconiades merenda
Perichares deceptus deceptus
Anatrytone mella
Saliana triangularis
Saliana longirostris
Battus ingenuus
Battus lydicas
Battus polydamas polydamas
Parides montezuma
Parides erithalion sadyattes
Parides iphidamas iphidamas
Parides photinus
Mimoides ilus branchus
Eurytides epidaus epidaus
Eurytides philolaus philolaus
Papilio anchisiades idaeus
Papilio thoas autocles
Papilio polyxenes asterius
Papilio victorinus
Ascia monuste monuste
Ganyra josephina josepha
Itaballia demophile
Leptophobia aripa aripa
Melete lycimnia isandra
Appias drusilla
Pieriballia viardi viardi
Anteos maerula
Anteos clorinde
Eurema arbela boisduvaliana
Eurema daira eugenia
Eurema proterpia
Eurema xanthochlora xanthochlora
Phoebis agarithe agarithe
Phoebis argante argante
Phoebis neocypris virgo
Phoebis philea philea
Phoebis statira jada
Phoebis sennae marcellina
Colia (Zerene) cesonia cesonia
Anaea troglodyta aidea
Archaeoprepona demophon centralis
Archaeoprepona camilla camilla
Consul fabius cecrops
Memphis morvus boisduvalii
Prepona omphale octavia
Siderone marthesia marthesia
Zaretis isidora
Zaretis ellops
Zaretis itys
Asterocampa idyja argus
Doxocopa callianira
Doxocopa laure laure
Doxocopa pavon
Libytheana carinenta mexicana
Adelpha basiloides basiloides
Adelpha fessonia
Adelpha iphiclus iphicleola
Adelpha lycorias melanthe
Colobura dirce dirce
Dynamie postverta mexicana
Historis acheronta acheronta
Historis odius dious
Marpesia chiron marius
Marpesia petreus tethys
Smyrna blomfildia datis
Biblis hyperia hyperia
Callicore pitheas
Eunica sydonia caresa
Eunica mygdonia mygdonia
Eunica monima modesta
Hamadryas amphinome mexicana
Hamadryas februa ferentina
Hamadryas glauconome glauconome
Hamadryas guatemalena guatemalena
Mestra dorcas amymone
Myscelia ethusa pattenia
Myscelia cyaniris cyaniris
Nica flavilla canthara
Temenis laothoe hondurensis
Anartia fatima fatima
Anartia jatrophae luteipicta
Anthanassa drusilla lelex
Anthanassa frisia tulcis
Chlosyne hippodrome hippodrome
Chlosyne theona
Chlosyne lacinia
Chlosyne melanarge
Eresia ithomioides alsina
Junonia evarete
Microtia elva
Siproeta epaphus epaphus
Siproeta stelenes biplagiata
Actinote thalia anteas
Agraulis vanillae incarnata
Altinote ozomene nox
Dione juno juno
Dione moneta poeyii
Dryadula phaetus
Dryas iulia moderata
Euptoieta hegesia hoffmanni
Eueides isabella eva
Heliconius charitonius charitonius
Heliconius erato
Heliconius hecale zuleika
Heliconius ismenius telchinia
Greta morgane oto
Mechanitis polymnia isthmia
Tighorea tarricina pinthas
Mechanitis lysimnia utemaia
Danaus plexippus nigrippus
Danaus eresimus montezuma
Eutresis hypereia theope
Lycorea cleobaea atergatis
Morpho helenor montezuma
Caligo telamonius memnon
Dynastor darius stygianus
Narope cyllastros testacea
Opsiphanes boisduvalii
Opsiphanes cassina fabricii
Opsiphanes tamarindi tamarindi
Magneuptychia libye
Yphthimoides renata
Cissia themis
Cissia similis
Cissia pompilia
Hermeuptychia hermes
Hermeuptychia sosybius
Pierella luna pallida
Taygetic laches laches
Taygetis mermeria excavata
Taygetis rufomarginata
Juditha caucana
Thisbe lycorias lycorias
Synargis mycone
Emesis tegula
Anteros carausius
Caria rhacotis
Lasaia sula sula
Mesosemia telegone telegone
Melanis cephise cephise
Calephelis sp.
Leptotes marina
Everes comyntas texanus
Hemiargus hanno zachaeina
Parrhasius polibetes
Panthyiades bathildis
Panthiades bitias
Panthiades phaleros
Ministrymon clytie
Calycopis isobeon
Evenus regalis
Tmolus echion
Pseudolycaena marsyas damo
Ascalapha odorata
Arsenura armida armida
Dysdaemonia boreas
Automeris hamata
Rothschildia lebeau
Eumorpha fasciatus fasciatus
Eumorpha satelitia licaon
Eumorpha vitis vitis
Protambulyx strigilis

Lepidoptera
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Gecko whoopee






The Asian house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) is a recently introduced species in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguans call it perrozompopo, along with the native gecko species. It is now found in practically every house in the country, including in Estacion Biologica in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. This nocturnal species gives hours of fun just watching them under lights as they dart after insects on the ceiling, sticking to practically any surface with their paws. The following pictures suggest just how they got to be so numerous in Nicaragua, so quickly.
Asian House Gecko Nicaragua
Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.
Geckos Nicaragua
Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.
At Estacion Biologica, we work with locals, the government, and the scientific community to promote the protection of natural areas like the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. If you would like to work with us, please contact us for more information.
reptiles mating Nicaragua
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another species discovery in Lake Apoyo

Lake Apoyo now officially contains six endemic species of fishes, all close relatives of the Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus). The most recent two discoveries were published in the August edition of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. The two new species are Amphilophus globosus and Amphilophus supercilius. The first discovered in Lake Apoyo in this group was the arrow cichlid, Amphilophus zaliosus, discovered by George W. Barlow, in 1976. The arrow cichlid was recently categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. We expect that most of the other five species in this lake face equal or greater extinction threats as the arrow cichlid, according to the results to date from population monitoring conducted by FUNDECI/GAIA in Lake Apoyo.

Here is a picture of Jay R. Stauffer, Jr., holding a copy of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, in which the descriptions of the latest two species to be discovered were published. The journal graced its cover with photos of all six known species found in Lake Apoyo.
fish research Jay Stauffer Nicaragua



Apoyo Spanish School Nicaragua

Photos on the cover of this journal were provided by Ad Konings, Topi Lehtonen, and Matthias Geiger.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Improvements and repairs in the local rural school


Escuela Luis Alfonso Velasquez School Improvement Project 2010

The Laguna de Apoyo Biological Research Station "Estacion Biologica" coordinated and financed repairs and improvements in the Escuela Luis Alfonso Velasquez. This school attends the educational needs of 50 children who live in Laguna de Apoyo. Thanks especially to Christine Bruxer for her fundraising for this worthy project!!! The project budget ran just under US$1000.00. Not bad for a year of financial crisis.

volunteer opportunities Nicaragua

This was the letrine. A three-seater. The termites had destroyed the wood structure, and the paint, well, you can see for yourself. The doors would no longer work at all. We adjusted the doors, changed the structural beams, applied anti-termite treatment, and painted the entire thing.
volunteering in Nicaragua
Parents of Escuela Luis Alfonso Velasquez help prepare a wall for painting. Photo by Pablo Somarriba.

Almost the entire school interior and all of the exterior was painted with an oil-based paint. There is a well on the property which had long ago gone dry. We dug it an additional 4 meters and then placed a submersible pump in it, and sealed the top with a large reinforced concrete top with a heavy duty padlock.

volunteer Nicaragua

Believe it or not, someone is down there!!! What a job. The parents, CPC, and other members of the community did an awesome job. The result of all this well rehabilitation:
volunteering in Nicaragua

We are happy to help to improve the lives of the poor children in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve! Every child deserves a good education and a happy childhood.
rural development volunteer Nicaragua
The children of Laguna de Apoyo deserve a great childhood including a good education. Photo by Pablo Somarriba.
FUNDECI/GAIA has performed several projects with the Escuela Luis Alfonso Velasquez, including a donation of a library for the children. Would you like to volunteer with FUNDECI/GAIA? Please contact us! 
volunteer
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