Like all the other nights, this one also feels like a warm blanket around me. There has been little rain lately, so it’s not clammy. With my big backpack filled with field equipment I walk over the path, carefully holding my two speakers in my hands. The slope is steep, will I get my speakers down in one go? Carefully I balance, and then a small jump. I look back: how I’ll get them back up is a care for later.

I set up my new experiment (read here about my previous one). Speaker on one side, speaker on the other side. In this new experiment we investigate the influence of habitat on the predation preference of bats. Does vegetation affect the echolocation of bats? Aside from that, there is the suspicion that vegetation influences the amount of flies bothering the frogs. The speakers play the sound of the tùngara frogs (listen here), sometimes with vegetation on top of the speakers and other times without. With this experiment, we hope to see an interaction between vegetation and predation risk by bats or parasitic load by the bloodsucking flies. I put the cameras in their place, so they can be the silent witnesses of the visiting bats. The fly traps are ready to catch ignorant flies with their stickiness. Infrared lights, cameras, action! Continue reading

Work ethics and tropical farmers

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8, NIV

Leafcutter antsAnts and their sophisticated habits have intrigued people for ages. The above noted passage in the Bible proves that: the book of Proverbs was written in the 2nd century before Christ. Here in the tropics I’m also confronted with the never-ending motivation of ants. While I’m continuing my path up a hill, sighing and groaning, I see leafcutter ants carrying their load with indefatigable strength. A continuous line of moving green leaves shows me the way to the top, while the setting sun frames the rocking leaves and their carriers. Continue reading