A 13-hour drive to La Paz from Apolo for #IDMadidi dominates the day. As thoughts focus on family and home, there is also a satisfaction with the job done and the knowledge gathered and shared. Across the first two study sites at least 60 new vertebrate species have been confirmed for the park and we will be on the road again in mid-August.
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The last camera traps are collected from the dry montane forest. Meanwhile camp is cleaned up again leaving no lasting trace of our presence. As the sun goes down on this beautiful and unique forest the team bids farewell to our local guides from the communities of Sipia and Suyo Suyo and drives back to Apolo crossing for one last time the Machariapo River, a constant of both our first #IDMadidi survey sites.
More snakes and amphibians are registered following the rain of the day before. The mussurana snake (Clelia clelia) and the brown sipo (Dipsas catesbyi) are photographed, as well as the two-colored oval frog (Elachistocleis bicolor).
Another species of knife fish, but this time without the nose! The longtail knifefish (Sternopygus cf. macrurus) is the thirty-third species of fish recorded at this site.
For two days the ichthyologists and photographer have been engaged in a marathon session to photograph the diversity of fish species captured in the Ubito and Tuichi Rivers over the last couple of days. Quality photographs of each species are an important contribution to the knowledge of fish diversity in Madidi.
In the early morning in a break between significant rain showers a flowering shrub draws the attention of the team as hummingbirds gather in a feeding frenzy including the striking rufous-crested coquette (Lophornis delattrei). In the evening another incredible new record for Madidi as a tube-lipped nectar bat (Anoura fistulata) is captured, only the fourth record anywhere following this species description in Ecuador in 2005. This species of bat has the longest tongue proportional to its body of any mammal, which it extends 8.5 cm to feed on nectar from the deepest flowers.
The small mammal team traps a handsome brown four-eyed opossum (Metachirus nudicaudatus), which everyone falls in love with before his release into the forest night. Another strikingly good-looking species to be registered is the Aesculapian false coral snake (Erythrolamprus aesculapii) and the ichthyologists have a stellar day with at least ten fish species added to the site list including two larger species and Bolivian classics, the wolf fish (Hoplias malabaricus) and the sabalo (Prochilodus nigricans).