Encountering humans

Being at a field station offers the biologist a chance to be embedded in a natural setting, to do studies in a relatively pristine habitat. But, even at a field station like Chamela that does a good job of leaving the forest in its natural state, nature is not entirely untouched. Particularly right around the field station, there are interactions between human and non-human nature. Army ants raid small treasures that are the byproduct of human presence; leaf litter accumulates more deeply than normal at the edges of swept walkways; ticks find large primates to bite rather than just squirrels and coatis.

The biggest animal that had regular interactions with us was this almost-tame coati that hung about the kitchen. The other coatis were much more timid.

A spooky gecko. The species is an invasive, brought in accidentally by humanas, which does indeed make it a bit scary. However, it is probably harmless to the local forest fauna, as it seems to stay on human structures.

In contrast to the gecko, the jumping spiders on the buildings are indeed local natives (Platycryptus spp.). In most places in the world, the jumping spiders on buildings are foreigners, following humans around. It’s nice to see the local spiders treating the human-altered station area as home.

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