Day 8 - 20 March - Topes
My 'traveling' moth trap comprises a cardboard box (kindly given to me by Chris Manley) that folds up into the bottom of my suitcase. The bulb is an energy-saving bulb that I brought from Canada as it operates on 110v and doesn't need a heavy choke. It is mounted on a wooden bar with a rainguard. Inside I put a few egg cartons or large dry leaves. There were about a dozen species in the trap this morning which we spent time photographing before releasing. I haven't yet managed to identify any of them! One of them is a Eublemma unless I'm very much mistaken. There are three species on the Cuban list - cinnamomeum, minima and rectum (recta?) and it isn't any of these as far as I can make out.
After breakfast we were collected by Rafael Giraldo and transferred to the main hotel as promised. Rafael is the Sales Manager at the hotel and organises the tours so we arranged to have a jeep trip tomorrow with a guide to go to Sierra de Codina. Douglas then found a larva of Cuban Rhinthon Rhinthon cubana on the Hedychium plants growing just behind our rooms. An excellent find this as it is a rare skipper that we had looked for before but not found. It has been recorded here just once before.
There are quite a few roads and trails around the hotel so we set off to explore.
The colour of the dewlap is an important identification feature for anoles. Both of these two are quite common but its always useful to see the dewlap to clinch the id as body colour is very variable on these two and Cuban Coast Anole Anolis jubar which you can see on the reptiles page.
At the bottom of the hill is a small stream where we disturbed a Little Blue Heron and just above that was a patch of Lablab purpureus, a type of bean, which Doug explained was the foodplant of Caribbean Yellow-tipped Flasher Astraptes anausis. We searched the leaves and found a larval shelter but unfortunately it was empty. Close - but no cigar.
We searched the Costus spiralis plants for larvae but only found a pupal exuvia of Perching Saliana Saliana esperi. As we left the restaurant after supper a group of people were photographing a Cuban Tree Frog Osteopilus septentrionalis high up on the wall. These are large frogs and it's amazing how they cling on to a vertical surface with their suckered feet. The other frog we have seen before but still not sure of the id.
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