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May, 2000
Our second trip to Central America for this Biotic Surveys and Inventory project (NSF/DEB 9870202) took place from 3-21 May. Brett Ratcliffe (co-PI) and graduate students Federico Ocampo and Andrew Smith collaborated with Ron Cave (co-PI in Honduras) and Roberto Cordero and Julio Torres (Field Assistants) to curate collections, gather data, and identify material at the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana in Zamorano (Honduras), the Museo de Historia Natural in San Salvador (El Salvador), and the Museo Entomológico in León (Nicaragua) as well as to collect in all three countries.

Possibly the best collecting of the trip was at Parque Nacional Pico Pijol in Honduras where we set up the light traps on a soccer field totally surrounded by rain forest. Most of the heavy rain that night went into our tents.

Eunice Echeverria, Director of the natural history museum in El Salvador, organized a collecting trip to Parque Nacional El Imposible near the Guatemalan border. We set the lights up on a soccer field, and most of the rain that first night also went into our tents . . . until they blew away. A pattern had been established.

Collecting in Nicaragua was at Selva Negra in cloud forest near Matagalpa and at Volcán Mombacho south of Managua. Afraid of the pattern, wooden walls surrounded us at these places.

All photos were taken by Federico Ocampo except where noted.
The study area: Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
Field crew at EAP, Zamorano. Top row (L-R), Roberto Cordero, Julio Torres, Andrew Smith, Brett Ratcliffe. Bottom row (L-R), Ron Cave, Federico Ocampo.
Collecting site at Parque Nacional Pico Bonito, Honduras, on the Atlantic coast near La Ceiba.
Buenas noches, señor! An unlikely greeting from Heterogomphus chevrolati Burmeister.
...... Data was gathered from numerous specimens from the Lehman Insect Museum in La Ceiba. L-R, Ron Cave, Brett Ratcliffe, Andrew Smith, Robert Lehman, and Roberto Cordero.
The only overland access to the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Cuero y Salado was by this ancient, narrow-gauge "railroad" formerly used to haul coconuts and plantation workers. Dengue and malaria are prevalent here. Prior to our trip, we never dreamed we would be taking a train to a collecting site in Central America!
Hand-pushing an empty flat car back down the tracks from the biological station for a couple of kilometers worked well for getting the light traps and gear to a good collecting spot. Clickety clackiting along in pitch blackness with no lights at 25 km/h was a bit of a rush . . . but then, there was no on-coming trains to worry about.
Federico off to set dung traps in the surrounding forest of Cuero y Salado.
Ron Cave proudly displaying the Team Scarab decal on his field vehicle. We shall have to get a bigger one for "official" field vehicles.
The final resting place of the "la ambulancia" when it no longer had traction for the steep, slippery slope up to Pico Pijol National Park, Honduras. The loss of one of our vehicles resulted in a forced march with gear and pack mules after dark. Photo by B. Ratcliffe.
  A prime collecting site at 1,450 m on a soccer field at Parque Nacional Pico Pijol. Collecting was excellent here, but the tents leaked BADLY and we were forced to swim out of our sodden sleeping bags before dawn. Kinda like adult dragonflies emerging from their nymphal cases underwater.
Brett Ratcliffe and Ron Cave approaching nirvana at Pico Pijol, Honduras.   Plusiotis strasseni Ohaus at Pico Pijol. All that glitters is not gold.
Mesosternus halffteri Morón occurs from Mexico to Honduras. The specimen was collected at Parque Nacional Pico Pijol.   Male of Strategus aloeus (L.) at Parque Nacional Pico Pijol.
Entrance to Parque Nacional El Imposible, El Salvador.
  Andrew Smith with one night's catch from El Imposible, El Salvador. Preparation of the specimens occurs when we return to the lab.
Team Scarab is hard on its field vehicles, especially those larger ones needed for dynastines. Entrance to Hotel de Montaña Selva Negra near Matagalpa, Nicaragua where there was excellent cloud forests at 1,300 meters. L-R, Roberto Cordero, Ronald Cave, Andrew Smith, and Federico Ocampo. Photo by "La Ambulancia."   The "wedding carriage" at the Hotel de Montaña doubling as a drying platform for the light trap sheets. As for Andrew, Ron, and Federcio, well . . . . they have probably been in the field too long. Photo by Roberto Cordero.
A large saturniid moth, Eacles imperialis decoris, at Selva Negra.
October 1999
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Authors: Brett Ratcliffe, Federico C. Ocampo and Andrew Smith
Generated on: 01/JAN/1998.....Last modified: 20/APR/2006
University of Nebraska-Lincoln State Museum - Division of Entomology

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