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The beach near Quiahuiztlan

Saturday, October 1, 2005 | 2 comments

Today we went to the beach near Quiahuiztlan (now say that fast ten times), the very beach where Hernán Cortés supposed to have landed in Mexico. Quiahuiztlan is a fortified settlement, and visiting it is highly recommended. We still haven't done so, but will do in the near future.

Tailless whip scorpion (Amblypygid)

Anyway, even though we came to relax in the sea, I couldn't resist to look under a few stones on the way to the beach. And when I looked under the first one I saw a gecko running away. Also there was a big hole, probably made by one of the huge crabs that live here. When I looked a bit better I saw a tailless whip scorpion (Amblypygid species), which is not a scorpion, nor a spider for that matter.

Tailless whip scorpion
Tailless whip scorpion

The animal tried to go down the big hole, but I could make it go out again with a small stick, and take a few nice pictures.

Tailless whip scorpion, top view
Tailless whip scorpion, top view

On our first visit to the beach, quite some time ago, we used a different route to get there, and back then I spotted my first tailless whip scorpion under a stone close to a house.

Habitat of the tailless whip scorpion
Habitat of the tailless whip scorpion

In the above picture you can see the habitat of this animal, under a big stone in a meadow. The ground under the stone was a bit damp, and the habitat is shared with a huge crab. In the background you can see the Cerro de los Metates on which Quiahuiztlan (Náhuatl for "the place of the rains") is located.

Tailless whip scorpion related

Big, big crabs

When I was looking for scorpions, other arachnids, or snakes, Esme found a big crab, dead. On our last visit, on which my mother accompanied us, Esme saw several big crabs resting in their holes at dusk. Back then, each time I tried to take a picture, they went much deeper inside, hence I couldn't take any.

A dead big crab with a huge claw
A dead big crab with a huge claw

The crab was big, but one of its claws was huge. I don't want to think about what could happen if someone puts his or her hand inside one of those holes, and a crab decides to shake hands...

Size does matter with this crab
Size does matter with this crab

I guess it died of old age, and some birds ate the meat by breaking open the top shell.

Dead crab, overview
Dead crab, overview

I also tried to take a nice overview picture, but the sun was so bright that I didn't notice the shadow I was casting in part of the scene in the LCD viewer on my camera.

The Beach

After a short walk we arrived at the beach. Like previous times, the water was warm and very nice. Later on it got a bit cloudy, and a damp haze was coming from the sea. Nevertheless the water was an excellent place to be in.

In the water one can easily find living keyhole "sand dollars" (keyhole urchin, Mellita quinquiesperforata) and when the water doesn't move too fast, the bright white skeletons (tests) can be spotted as well.

Skeleton (test) of a keyhole sand dollar (Mellita quinquiesperforata)
Skeleton (test) of a keyhole sand dollar (Mellita quinquiesperforata)

The urchin is called keyhole urchin because of the five keyhole shaped slots (lunules).

Keyhole urchin related

Esme on the beach
Esme on the beach

We stayed in the water for quite some time. When it started to become a bit dark we decided to get dressed and go back home. Esme did some creative writing in the sand (see picture below).

The beach, in the back Cerro de los Metates
The beach, in the back Cerro de los Metates

On the way back I saw a small crab with an even smaller dead crab. It almost looked like they were dancing. Those smaller crabs can be seen lot on the beach. They come out of their small holes, and when they run it's almost like debris blown away by the wind.

In the evening we rented two movies, one for tonight, and the other for Sunday night. Esme decided to rent "Joe Killionaire". And after 10 minutes we both decided that there are movies worse then Alexander (director's cut) and The Stepford Wives combined. So we stopped the DVD and decided to go to bed. I have no idea what kind of people like movies like this, a kind of parody on the worst kind of reality TV.

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