Undergraduate student projects in our reserves: Alex Bentley studying the pit viper Bothrocophias micropthalmus


Every semester for many years, we have hosted undergraduate students doing independent study projects for a study-abroad program run by the School for International Training in Quito. This year we had six students, each doing independent study projects lasting about two weeks. They are assisted in the field by our reserve guards Santiago, Luis, Fausto, and Jesus Recalde, and they usually stay with families in the commmunities around our reserves. It is a nice way to integrate the reserves with the surrounding communities. Students really enjoy the experience, and their studies are often useful to us for conservation planning. Sometimes they even discover new things!

This semester’s students are finishing up their reports now. I will post excerpts from a few of the more photogenic projects here in the following weeks (and I hope to go back and write about some of the nice projects of past students as well, as time permits).

Alex Bentley is intensely interested in herpetology, so he chose to study our impressive pit viper, Bothrocophias micropthalmus. I’ve written about this snake previously here, here, and here. Alex told me that as he looked for internet data on this snake, my blog posts were almost the only field observations he could find. So clearly there was a need to do more.

Alex spent his time in the Rio Anzu area, where we have a reserve at 1100m-1200m. He stayed much of the time at a nearby Rio Anzu reserve, Sumak Causay, which has a cooperative agreement with us. He found plenty of Bothrocophias in his two weeks. I’ll wait for his paper to write more about his actual study, but for now I just want to put up some of his beautiful photos of our area’s reptiles and amphibians.

Today will be Lizard Day.

Enyalioides praestabilis near the Rio Anzu. Photo: Santiago Recalde/EcoMinga.

Enyalioides praestabilis near the Rio Anzu. Photo: Santiago Recalde/EcoMinga.


Enyalioides praestabilis again. Photo: Alex Bentley.

Enyalioides praestabilis again. Photo: Alex Bentley.


Lizard near Rio Anzu. Photo: Alex Bentley.

Lizard near Rio Anzu. Photo: Alex Bentley.


Closer view of the previous lizard. Photo: Alex Bentley.

Closer view of the previous lizard. Photo: Alex Bentley.


Sleeping lizard near Rio Anzu. Photo: Alex Bentley.

Sleeping lizard near Rio Anzu. Photo: Alex Bentley.


Potamites ecleopus near the Rio Anzu. Photo: Alex Bentley.

Potamites ecleopus near the Rio Anzu. Photo: Alex Bentley.

2 thoughts on “Undergraduate student projects in our reserves: Alex Bentley studying the pit viper Bothrocophias micropthalmus

  1. Nice photos, Lou! Common name of these lizards? Glad students are studying biology in such special places! I saw a special on an Ecuadorean swordbill hummingbird, do you have these?
    Amazing!
    Julie

  2. Julie, yes, I even have Swordbill Hummingbirds in my yard sometimes! I plant special long-tubed flowers that attract them.

    About common names, there are rarely any true common names for these creatures in English. Most are just artificially named by translating their Latin names into English, and these often sound very silly.

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