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The descent into the barranca

Monday, June 26, 2006 | 0 comments

Read the previous part of this blog entry in: The walk to the barranca.

The way down into the barranca started first with walking down a slope with coffee plants and here and there mango trees. After a few minutes we came upon the zigzag track that would take us more and more down into the barranca.

A butterfly resting on a leaf.
A butterfly resting on a leaf.

After some time Esme spotted a butterfly. When it landed on a leaf for a rest I tried to make a photo without disturbing the resting insect. Since it was in a spot that was hard to take a picture, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S600 has a fixed LCD viewer which only showed a vague shape because of the weird angle, the above photo was quite a lucky shot.

A fern enjoying some direct sun light.
A fern enjoying some direct sun light.

We kept following the zigzag path down, and down. We both had the idea that the path hadn't been used for quite some time by humans since it was quite overgrown here and there compared to our last visit.

Clover (or "clover") with 4-foliate leaves.
Clover (or "clover") with 4-foliate leaves.

Suddenly Esme noticed a plant that resembled clover (or maybe it is even a clover species) with 4-foliate leaves amongst the several trifoliate leaves. Would this bring us luck?

Near to her find I looked under a stone, and saw a scorpion! The first one we saw that day. It looked like a juvenile Diplocentrus sp. but since I was not sure it was a juvenile of the species (tentative id Diplocentrus melici) we had seen on our previous visit I decided to capture the little scorpion.

John capturing a juvenile Diplocentrus sp. (scorpion).
John capturing a juvenile Diplocentrus sp. (scorpion).

At first I let it walk on my hand, but somehow it fell of my fingers, on my hand palm, and the scorpion stung me. It was the second time I got stung that way by a scorpion; the first time was by a female Diplocentrus bereai. On that occasion it hurt for several minutes, but this time only the entering of the stinger was what I felt for about second or 3, and then nothing, no pain and not even any itching. It might have been a dry sting meaning no venom released by the scorpion. Like I said to Esme: "A cactus spine can hurt much more".

Diplocentrus habitat, to the right the stone I found the scorpion under.
Diplocentrus habitat, to the right the stone I found the scorpion under.
Pictures of the habitat of Diplocentrus melici. Click a thumbnail to see the entire and larger image.

Very close to where I found and captured the little scorpion I found a small tarantula spider hiding under a stone. On our previous visit we had found no tarantulas at all in the barranca, and this was the only one we saw that day.

A juvenile tarantula.
A juvenile tarantula.

And just a minute or two later I found our second juvenile Diplocentrus melici of the day. This time I took also a photo of the scorpion together with a caliper as a reference for size.

Juvenile Diplocentrus melici.
Juvenile Diplocentrus melici.

Again, shortly after the second scorpion, I found another Diplocentrus melici, hiding under a stone. By now we had encountered as many scorpions as on our first visit to this barranca, in a much shorter time. After a few photos the scorpion tried to hide under dead leaves on the track we were following.

Diplocentrus melici (scorpion) (flash on).
Diplocentrus melici (scorpion) (flash on).

After a few photos I tried one with flash, because their was little light under the dense foliage.

Diplocentrus melici (scorpion) (flash off).
Diplocentrus melici (scorpion) (flash off).

The scorpion in the above picture measures from the curve in the tail to the tip of the pedipalps (pincers, or claws) 4.5 cm.

To be continued...

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