That is a quote from my collaborator Ignacio when he measured the levels of stress hormone in the blood samples we brought back from Hog Island boa constrictors last year. They had such low levels that many were virtually non-detectable. If you have ever spent much time on a Caribbean island, you might have low stress hormone levels, too. My lab group ventured to Honduras last week to further study this phenomenon in island boas.
Arriving in La Ceiba, bodies and luggage intact (rather a feat in itself, considering my previous experiences traveling to this particular place, which you can read about here and here):
And then it was off to Cayo Cochino Menor via boat:
As my senior colleagues told me recently while I was preparing my tenure packet, "We really just want to see what you did, don't give us too much commentary." In other words, I talk too much. I'll take that advice here, too.
I will present photos in the following order: a tour of Cayo Menor, its herps, our boa work, then invertebrates, then the three S's: snorkeling, scenery, and screwing around.
A TOUR OF CAYO COCHINO MENOR:
A view of Cayo Cochino Mayor (the other Hog Island) from our island (Menor), with some amazing reef in between:
The "lion's head," a small projection at the north end of the island:
Even though we spent most of our time searching for boas as part of our study, the other herps on the island were constantly throwing themselves at us, requiring investigation. Here are the common ones:
Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii):
We captured and processed almost 150 boas in five days. Not too shabby. Results are forthcoming, of course, but for now here are some photos of us hard at work (honestly felt like hardly working).
Here is some typical boa habitat in the forest:
When we captured a snake, we got a blood sample right away:
Then the boas were returned to their place of capture, and we went searching for more! Along the way, we encountered many cool invertebrates.
The invertebrates on the island are absolutely amazing. During the day, you mainly see hermit crabs:
Here's Amber and I next to the pier (which was guarded underneath by a barracuda):
Jess is a visiting scientist from Australia in charge of removing as many lion fish as possible. Here she is cutting out the stomach of Scott's fish to see if it had recently been sampling tasty native fishys:
Some late-night dominos: