Dominican Republic 2009

Junxia Zhang’s project to review the systematics of the enormous group Euophryinae required field work in Asia, Papua New Guinea, South America and the Caribbean. The last of these for us was the Caribbean, in 2009, for which we chose the Dominican Republic. As Junxia eventually found, the great diversity of euophryines there represents a few primarily-endemic radiations. The paper describing many of our new species is here [pdf].

Gustavo Ruiz, Junxia Zhang and Wayne Maddison in Vancouver airport
At the airport, excited about the trip:  Gustavo Ruiz, Junxia Zhang, and Wayne Maddison

 

Jorge & GB in Paso de la Perra
Our two other expedition members, Jorge Brocca and G.B. Edwards. Jorge orchestrated the logistics of the trip and was a capable salticid collector, despite being an ornithologist at heart! G.B. Edwards, one of the most knowledgeable salticid experts in the world, joined us from Florida.

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Junxia and G.B. processing specimens at night.

The pine forest resembles some in Canada except for the bromeliads!
The high elevation pine forests were almost like those home in Canada — except for the bromeliads!

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One of our targets was the unusual Dinattus. We weren’t sure where to look for them, but we told our guide Nicolas Corona about their unusual features (especially, the swollen projections on the sides of the heads of males). He told us he might have seen them in the past in a certain river valley, but we were skeptical, as he was a general naturalist, and most people who don’t work on spiders don’t really notice them well. He took us there, and within 10 minutes he proudly brought one over to Junxia. She was thrilled.

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A male Dinattus (now, actually, called Corythalia).

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The scary karst desert of the Pedernales area. The ground consists of limestone blades pointing upward. It’s very difficult to walk on.

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A tangled and coiled liana in the forest.

The very cloudy Cachote.
There are many contrasts in the Dominican Republic, with deserts, pine forests, and here, a wet cloud forest.

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