Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pitfall trap surprises

After three weeks on the forestry project you soon realise that there is always something new and exciting to be discovered whilst walking through the local forest. Today was no exception.
After walking for less than an hour we arrived at the site of the pitfall traps which are designed to harmlessly trap small mammals and insects. The simple bucket in the ground traps had been removed previously and it was our job to re-dig the holes, clear out the buckets and replace them properly in the ground again.
Inhabitant of the forest soil
 The first task was to clear out the mud and any small insects trapped in the buckets already. As we did this we discovered a scorpion in the first bucket. This was the first scorpion that our staff member Kerry had seen in the four and a half months that she had been on the project, so to see one within the first three weeks of being here was lucky! After we’d spent enough time studying and taking photos of the scorpion we continued to look through the buckets. Amongst other little creatures was a family of dung beetles, and a millipede living inside one of the dung beetles hollowed out dirt balls. After taking photos of and releasing these out of the bucket we dug the holes again in the ground and secured the buckets into the ground ready to be left and checked in the following days.
Jumping spider

Even after our main task had been completed for the day we continued to find plenty to write about. Firstly we found an almost jelly looking pink spider with black fangs which we all agreed was a very effeminate spider! And soon after that we discovered a spider which even the most fearful arachnophobe would agree was cute! We collected plenty of photos of the spiders and scorpion to identify them and add them to the arachnids database that is currently being developed, and we headed home for the day.
Huge predator among the dead leaves: a scorpion