This February I returned to Ecuador and it was my second collection trip. In this case I spent 25 days touring the southern and northern part of the country. I traveled with good company the last 10 days (with José Coltro and two couples of good collectors and friends from Chicago and Australia). The previous summer I was 2 months alone and I wanted to return to visit my contacts in the Amazon area and the coast. In this time I have been able to visit some places that I couldn’t the previous trip.
I started my route at the beginning of February flying to Guayaquil and renting a small car to travel to the south of the country, specifically the province of Loja and surroundings that hosts a very interesting and peculiar fauna from high altitude.
My first stop was the “Cajas National Park”, on the way to Cuenca city.
The drive along the road is very beautiful with spectacular views of the mountains. This time I was lucky with the weather and I passed with sun! Normally it’s very cloudy as it’s an area of high altitude.
Llamas are the most typical and funny animals of the Andes!
On the second day I arrived in Vilcabamba after spending a lot of time driving, I did almost 3,000 kilometers in 10 days. I collected many Thaumastus specimens there.
Bostryx alausiensis and Bostryx umbilicatus found in a small calcareous and desert area only 5 kilometers from the border with Peru.
The best thing about renting a car is the independence you have, you can reach inhospitable and wild places.
Trunks of fossilized trees, very curious!
Drymaeus rubrovariegatus, rare species.
Drymaeus sachsei catamayensis.
Podocarpus National Park, with Humid and deep jungle.
Two magnificent specimens of Porphyrobaphe kellettii, are the only two that I found in five days looking… Extremely rare species that lives at high altitude (about 3,000-4,000 meters) their habitat is very affected by deforestation for farming and agricultural activities.
Isomeria loxensis, a beautiful species.
Removing to find snails sometimes appear other less desirable animals such as spiders, scorpions or snakes. Here we find a mother with her young on top, very tender if not attacking you.
But in a trip of these characteristics, not everything is so fantastic, here some bad and unforeseen things that appear. The car’s wheel was punctured twice.
My legs were full of mosquito bites, although I used repellent, it didn’t help too much.
After spending two weeks in the south, I returned my rental car and headed north in the Sucumbios province where I had some friends waiting for me to go through the jungle and look for landsnails and freshwater mussels in the Amazon jungle.
The spectacular Labyrinthus raimondii it’s very rare species and among the indigenous communities it’s known as “La Orejita” which means small ear in Spanish language.
Views in the dense jungle with small water channels.
Anodontites elongatus napoensis.
Me collecting some freshwater mussels, I found 6 or 7 different species, all very interesting. Some Castalia colombiana (family Hyriidae) and different Anodontites kinds.
A beautiful Sultana sultana.
Different Plekocheilus species, all very rare especially the one on the right. In order from left to right: Plekocheilus taylorianus, Plekocheilus lynciculus, Plekocheilus floccosus and Plekocheilus hauxwelli.
Drymaeus expansus flavilabrum. Very interesting.
Drymaeus cf. aequatorialis
Beautiful colored Corona pfeifferi.
Magnific Corona incisa.
With a terrestrial turtle.
Euglandina sp. very interesting species from Spiraxidae family.
Aperostoma fischeri, Neocyclotidae family.
Very unseen Helicina, two species: the big one in the bottom is Helicina laus collected near the Amazonian border with Peru. And the other specimens are Helicina rynchostoma ernesti.
Systrophia cf. heligmoidea, probably a undescribed species.
Labyrinthus raimondii in it’s natural habitat.
A very small Alcadia sericea specimen on leave, about 6 millimeters.
Other Labyrinthus raimondii specimen.
Alive Plekocheilus floccosus that we found during a night with rain in the middle of the jungle.
After spending 10 days in the Amazon and enjoying a lot collecting snails, I returned to Quito where I had stayed with Jose.
Our nice hotel in Ibarra.
Bulimulus catlowae found in a bushes area.
In the Napo province there are good limestone formations that are always good for snails, we visited some small caves with the hope of finding some small species but there was little luck.
A beautiful Atlas butterfly was flying in the door of the hotel attracted by the lights.
An incredible Drymaeus with exceptional pattern.
The beautiful Catacocha lagoon, near Cotacachi town (Imbabura Province). We found a very interesting Kuschelenia and Drymaeus species.
Our car… really dirty!
The team living an experience with local people.
The funny Jose using a mushroom as an umbrella.
Limestone formations where we found very good Isomeria specimens and some dead Solaropsis.
Full of bats!
Fossilized Ammonites in the calcareous formations, are eroded by the water and make a beautiful formation.
A big Megalobulimus popelairianus specimen, very impressive and nice!
“El Ángel” Natural Park it’s an amazing place with a very peculiar vegetation near the border with Colombia. The height is very high and the abundance of snails very low, we only saw a couple of broken Scutalus.
A nice experience that has allowed me to know Ecuador better, a really nice and calm country with spectacular natural places.
I hope to come back soon!