Thursday, February 25, 2010

Belizian bark!

Honestly cannot remember if this was in Belize or Guatemala, but I suspect Guatemala. I LOVE the patterns of lichen on the bark, there. No such thing as simple, in the tropics, including "bark" which, on the surface, is closer to a crazy conglomeration of living things, fighting for space.

Kind of like the "surface" of a boulder in the rocky intertidal (marine) zone--very little rock to be seen, often, especially if it's a place where people are not allowed to climb all over and pry things off. Instead it's covered in species of algae, barnacles, muscles, limpets, and populated with crabs, and other animals skittering to and fro. It's amazing what you'll see if you take the time.

My charming assistant pointing to two goodies we found on Guatemalan bark. Click on it to see what looks like eggs up top vs. the sealed thingy below where, perchance, they were still brewing? 

Guatemala is SO crazy diverse re: species, that even our VERY experienced guide, who grew up in the forest, an amazing naturalist, saw two things that day he said he'd never seen. This is a man who spent months on end, as a child, camping deep in the forest to harvest gum from trees, so he knows his stuff. 

One of the new-to-him things was what looked like a trap-door spider, along the lines of a tarantula; we found it under a rock a herpetologist (part of our gang) had lifted in his perpetual search for herps. The other newbie were these crazy ant-like-things (no pics, darn it) with huge, oddly shaped heads, marching down a tree (bark!).

Leaf-cutter ants (I presume...) marching down yet more, amazing, beautiful "bark." Charming little movers.

So, next time you're out and about, take a close look at the bark near you. Perchance I will take some pics of bark around here, to share and acknowledge the diversity right under our noses.

Thus ends today's bark-tastic tour of Belize and Guatemala.

the biobabbler

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