It’s been about a month since I got back from Belize, so a quick summary of my fieldwork in Belize is long overdue!
I was there for three weeks this time (the longest stint I’ve done on Carrie Bow). I must admit, after three weeks I was ready to head home. It’s tiring doing the same thing over and over again with only a few people to talk to and only a quarter acre to walk around on. But! That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself and remain excited about the data I was collecting!
During the three weeks I caught 130 stomatopods – about 70 females and 60 males. It’s pretty common to catch more females than males because males will leave their burrows in search of females. After mating with a female (in her burrow) she will kick him out and he then needs to search for another burrow. All this searching leaves him vulnerable to predation. The result? Males will get eaten more often than females.
Types of habitat where I caught the stomatopods
I caught these stomatopods from seagrass, rubble and patchy habitats. I had the most luck finding stomatopods in the patchy habitat. I’m not sure why this is the case – could be something to do with the suitability of the environment or my ability to find them in each of these habitats. Interestingly, I noticed that the stomatopods from seagrass habitats tended to be more ‘skittish’ than those from other habitats.
Whilst I was there I wanted to perform 40 trials (10 in each treatment group) which I was extremely happy to achieve. I’ve started analysing the data and hopefully soon I’ll have some cool results to share with you! Stay tuned.
Pelicans still feeding despite the incoming storm. Photo: Amanda Franklin.
On the non-research side of things, I was very happy to see some cool stuff. I loved watching the pelicans fishing each day, especially the young pelican that seemed to be copying its mum (it was successful sometimes!). I also saw a stingray feeding by digging into the sand and lots of fish following it to scavenge anything it missed, and the nurse sharks were regulars swimming around the island (much to my pleasure).
Selfie with the nurse shark.
As always, I’m looking forward to next time and hopefully having another highly successful research trip! Can’t wait to update you on the results. And, lastly, thanks to all the staff and volunteers who make my time at Carrie Bow so enjoyable and run smoothly!
A stomatopod performing the meral spread display (right) and another in a defensive posture known as a curl (left). Photo: Amanda Franklin