Montane savannas and gallery forests
Dry montane forest
Treeline elfin forest
High Andean eastern puna
Lower foothill forest (Alto Madidi)
Lower foothill forest (Hondo river)
Upper foothill forest
Seasonally inundated Amazonian grasslands
Lower montane forest
Upper montane cloud forest
Montane cloud forest
High Andean western puna
Morning brings news of the first bats for this expedition leg - ten species are registered on the first night. Later in the day the small mammal team also bring news of at least five species of small marsupials and rodents. The list for the site begins to increase with almost 200 vertebrate species confirmed at the site by the end of the day.
Some of the team continue setting up camp and cleaning equipment ready for work. Others begin to explore the river and the escarpment. The ichthyologists return to camp registering ten species on their first afternoon foray including a fantastic unidentified Loricariinae catfish with a tail longer that its body found near a waterfall. Others return with news that we were expecting - the escarpment is home to spider monkeys (Ateles chamek). News that the flotilla of five boats has safely arrived in Rurrenabaque ends the day.
Everyone is out and about and two groups return to camp with tales about close encounters with tapir (Tapirus terrestris), including film footage which we will share as soon as our internet connection permits. A close encounter with a red brocket deer (Mazama americana) and a series of encounters with spider monkeys suggests the wildlife here is naive and not frightened of people. Another amphibian audio-experience occurs in the evening as a number of toads (Rhinella poeppigi and Rhinella veraguensis) sing on the river bank.
The harsh reality of a south front in the humidity hits the team as a couple of people go down with bad colds. After one more hour on the Hondo the team reaches the intended study site at the base of the magnificent Chepite escarpment. Immediately people begin cleaning sandy tents after three nights on beaches and/or drying tents or sleeping gear. Then a human chain is formed to unload eight boats and begin setting up camp. The cold is staved off with a hot Bolivian corn-based drink made from called api, a tradition in tropical research camps during a south wind. Five of the boats head back to Rurrenabaque in the afternoon.
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The groundbreaking Bolivian scientific expedition, Identidad Madidi, announced today the discovery of a new species of big-headed or robber frog (Oreobates sp. nov.) from the Craugastoridae family in Madidi National Park.