Urine and Fungus

Day 12 was great! We got to sleep in a little (6:30 haha). During breakfast, Scott handed each of us two 50 mL vials and said “go to the bathroom and fill these halfway up”. That was very awkward at first, but we needed the nitrogen to run today’s experiment.
We went off into the trails and left our vials along with two water vials in the trees and on the ground to test if arthropods (insects/spiders/etc) prefer 1) nitrogen or water and 2) the trees or the ground. We’ll collect and analyze that data tomorrow.
In the afternoon, Scott took us out to dig into several leaf cutter ant colonies. We were looking at the colony structure at various ages of maturation. It was pretty cool! We were very grateful for our rubber boots.
Fungus Farm from a Leafcutter Ant Colony
As wonderful as skipping lecture was last night, today we had to make them up, so we had seven lectures to listen to! It was a lot, but they were all very interesting.
After lecture, a few of us put our boots back on and went searching for tarantulas! We found a few small ones on our own (and a very surprising bird!). On our way back to the station, we ran into the arachnid specialist who is staying here as well, and she helped us find many more tarantulas, including two very large ones! She even let us “help” her look for jumping spider samples.
Today’s last treat appeared as we were heading back to our rooms for bed. I looked down and spotted a Black Orchid! Otherwise known as Prosthechea cochleata, it is the national flower of Belize! I was very eager to see one, and Adrienne told us to report back if we see one. Hopefully she continues to read the blogs!
Prosthechea cochleata
The lights just turned out for the night, signaling that it is time for me to go to sleep. Tomorrow we are picking up our urine experiment and hopefully hiking to see the cave entrance. Our time in Belize needs to slow down!

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