Tree of Life

Today we cut down a palm tree. That’s right: we cut down an entire tree. And I don’t mean a little scrawny sapling-could-be-an-overgrown-house-plant either. I mean a full thirty to forty foot palm tree.

And why did we chop down this tree? To look for bugs. In fact, to look for parasites living inside of a particular insect, in a day-long project that scaled from very large, to microscopically small. Along the way, we discovered a huge range of animals that called this palm home, including insects, spiders, caterpillars, scorpions, lizards, and at least four species of ants. It’s one thing to sit through a lecture on how much diversity there is in the tropics, it’s quite different to go out and find that diversity yourself by cutting down a single tree. It was truly fantastic.

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