RE: NANFA-L-- coasta rica

Subject: RE: NANFA-L-- coasta rica
From: Dustin Smith (
Date: Mon Nov 15 2004 - 09:11:01 CST

Well Casper. I just happen to have been down there recently, along with
Rudy Arndt, and fellow NANFA members, Dan Hagley and Fritz Rohde. I'll try
to recap my trip as well as I can. Unfortunately, I'm not as eloquent as
you and Steven are.

We flew into San Jose and immediately drove all the way to the southeastern
coast right-in-the Panama border. We spent the first few days-in-a
biological research station of sorts called ANAI. We collected the first
day with their fish person and it went great. One of the fish I wanted to
see(and the reason for the trip down into this area) was Phallichthys
quadripunctatus. We would have never found it without their help. We drove
for quite some time towards the town of Gandoca and then walked for a while
back into the woods to what appeared to be a large mud puddle. It turned
out to be just that, but it also had the greatest diversity of fish of any
spot that we visited the whole trip. Fish caught included:

Phallichthys quadripunctatus
P. amates
Poecilia gillii
Alfaro cultratus
Archocentrus nigrofasciatus
Rivulus isthmensis
Hyphessobrycon panamensis
and many others

Later that day we stopped along the same road and saw a nice looking lagoon.
  When we walked down to it we saw that it was home to several 3-4 ft
caiman. We decided to seine it anyway since, surely, they were smart enough
to get out of the way. Well, they weren't. After a couple of seines we
caught one and then in the next haul, we caught two. After that, we decided
that was probably enough seining in our shorts and tennis shoes with caiman
swimming all around us.

We did add a few more fish to our list including 2 species of Rhamdia
catfish and another tetra.

We spent another day collecting there and added a few more species such as
Priapichthys annectans, a couple Astatheros species, some freshwater
pipefish, many species of sleepers, nice Awaous bannana gobies, and lots of
Astyanax aeneus.

We snorkeled over a coral reef near the town of Cahuita on the last day in
this area and then headed across the mountains to the Pacific side to the
city of San Isidro. We spent the rest of our trip in this area chasing the
elusive Rivulus glaucus.

We went down every side road and tried every spot we could find for this
fish but never came up with it. We did get lots of other fish though,
including Theraps sieboldi, Parachromis dovii, Brachyrhaphis terrabensis,
and many of the Pacific relatives of the fish we caught on the other side.
There were lots of the P. dovii around and there were kids fishing for them
at one spot.

Apart from fish, we saw toucans, parrots, parakeets, a couple species of
monkeys, and a three toed sloth on the ground, which apparently is very
unusual. It was a great trip and I can't wait to get back down. I have
left out tons of detail so if anyone has questions or comments, you can
e-mail me directly to cut down on list clutter. Thanks.

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: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 12:42:48 CST