Hasta luego, Honduras!

Tomorrow Sean and I will land back home in Canada (to take a strategic break from fieldwork in Honduras). While it’s unfortunate that our current trip is being cut short, the future looks bright. When we return in a couple of months, not only will we continue our study of Red-throated Caracaras, it looks like we will also be participating in some serious arachnology! No doubt lots of cool discoveries are waiting to be made, and we will continue to blog about both projects. Already during our time in Honduras we’ve found plenty of awesome spiders that will be featured in future posts. For now, please enjoy these lovely jumping spiders (all photos by Sean McCann)!

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Heading to Honduras

It’s been quiet here for the last couple of weeks because I’ve been busy wrapping up loose ends in the lab, visiting family, putting all my worldly possessions into storage, and packing, in preparation for a big field trip. Today, Sean and I will travel to Honduras (via Dallas, Houston, and Miami) to study Red-throated Caracaras (awesome raptors that are specialist predators of social wasps) in an area where they are threatened. We will do extensive surveying and hopefully radio-tracking of the birds to get some basic data to inform conservation efforts. Sean will be blogging about our efforts at ibycter.com.

This is what all the gear we’ll need for 3 months of field work looks like. (Photo: Sean McCann)

Believe it or not, all that stuff fit into our 4 bags!

Somehow, all that stuff fits into these 4 bags! (Photo: Sean McCann)

This work is the continuation of Sean’s PhD, and although it’s not spider-related, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go along and assist with field work in such an exotic location. While we’re in the field, I’ll be working on writing up my thesis on sexual communication in black widows. Of course, as we explore the department of Olancho in search of Caracaras, we will also be keeping an eye out for cool spiders (and other arthropods)! If it’s anything like our last field expedition to French Guiana, we’ll find no shortage of amazing creatures to observe and photograph. I hope to blog regularly about all the wonders Honduras has in store for us, so stay tuned for updates from the field!

Red-throated Caracaras (Ibycter americanus)

Our main goal is to find lots of these! (Photo: Sean McCann)

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But I am looking forward to seeing lots of these too! (Photo: Sean McCann)

Spider Bytes from #SpiderMonday

I participated in a ‘thesis bootcamp’ last week, which basically means I was locked in the library all day (food was brought in!) writing and attending workshops. This was great for getting lots of *serious* thesis writing done, which really needs to be happening right now, but means I haven’t had much time to write blog posts. Instead, for today, I’ve gleaned a selection of great spidery blog posts from all the awesome arachnophiles who tweeted spider and web-related stuff for #SpiderMonday last week. Enjoy!

@docdez posted spider highlights from the journal of the Entomological Society of BC. Be sure to click the links to the JESBC covers for beautiful drawings of spiders by Robb Bennett and Wayne Madison!

A very patient and creative person used red thread to repair damaged spider webs!

@LeslieBrunetta posted a collection of lovely images of spider webs from Norway

Some wonderful photographs of the amazing green lynx spider by @emckiernan13

@ibycter highlighted some of the exotic spiders we have in North America. Here’s one of them:

Sitticus fasciger (photo credit: Sean McCann)

Sitticus fasciger (photo credit: Sean McCann)

Two great posts by @AndyBugGuy: tiger beetles for lunch and an incredible many-faced spider

Beautiful photos of araneus marmoreus with information on spider gentalia and mating from @tcmacrae

The usual Monday linkfest at Expiscor by @CMBuddle was exclusively spider related stuff

Finally, try your hand at identifying which of these photos by @Myrmecos are of spider silk (I got it quite wrong), then check out the answers with full, uncropped images