December 4, 2014 · Uncategorized

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My wife flew down and we had an amazing time in Goiânia, the capital city of the Brazilian state of Goiás. Got to visit with my good friend and colleague, Dr. Nelson Da Silva Jr., and his beautiful wife, Patricia. Got to shoot quite a few venomous snakes at the venom harvesting lab that Nelson is affiliated with in Goiânia. The Catholic University of Goiás exhibited 35 of my wildlife images, very much an honor. One of the highlights was SCUBA diving in natural spring with Arapaima!

Patricia and Nelson Da Silva (I'm behind them).

Patricia and Nelson Da Silva (I'm behind them).

So I arrived in Brasil as an invited speaker to the “Week of Science and Technology” held at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás, in Goiânia. An old friend works there, Dr. Nelson Da Silva Jr. The University decided to create a display of my images and had 55 shots printed. The images are mostly from my upcoming biodiversity book (due out next year, Johns Hopkins University Press). The exposition is amazing and I can’t thank Nelson and the university enough. Just a wonderful experience. A special thanks also to my good friend Rafael Bittar Arantes (left) for his help with set up...and to the many students that helped!!

So I arrived in Brasil as an invited speaker to the “Week of Science and Technology” held at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás, in Goiânia. An old friend works there, Dr. Nelson Da Silva Jr. The University decided to create a display of my images and had 55 shots printed. The images are mostly from my upcoming biodiversity book (due out next year, Johns Hopkins University Press). The exposition is amazing and I can’t thank Nelson and the university enough. Just a wonderful experience. A special thanks also to my good friend Rafael Bittar Arantes (left) for his help with set up...and to the many students that helped!!

12Nelson Da Silva Jr. has been an amazing friend for many years and my long stays in Brasil have been fantastic with him. Nelson will kill me for doing this, but to give you an idea of the kind of person he is, allow me to share a short story. As I went through my undergraduate program at the University of California at Santa Cruz, I became great friends with another student and aspiring biologist, Terence Freitas. He wasn’t just a great young biologist (one of the brightest humans I have known), but he felt deep compassion for the world’s cultures that are being exploited. He took particular interest in the struggles of the U'Wa in Colombia, being exploited against their will by a US oil company. He fought fiercely for their rights and visited Colombia one too many times on their behalf. He was murdered by FARC at a young 24 years old. I was devastated. Terry was supposed to be in my wedding… and this happened shortly before the event. I mentioned what had happened to Nelson and he said “no problem.” Nelson flew himself up to the US and stood in for Terry at my wedding. That is the kind of person he is. Nelson, you are the definition of a great friend.

12Nelson Da Silva Jr. has been an amazing friend for many years and my long stays in Brasil have been fantastic with him. Nelson will kill me for doing this, but to give you an idea of the kind of person he is, allow me to share a short story. As I went through my undergraduate program at the University of California at Santa Cruz, I became great friends with another student and aspiring biologist, Terence Freitas. He wasn’t just a great young biologist (one of the brightest humans I have known), but he felt deep compassion for the world’s cultures that are being exploited. He took particular interest in the struggles of the U'Wa in Colombia, being exploited against their will by a US oil company. He fought fiercely for their rights and visited Colombia one too many times on their behalf. He was murdered by FARC at a young 24 years old. I was devastated. Terry was supposed to be in my wedding… and this happened shortly before the event. I mentioned what had happened to Nelson and he said “no problem.” Nelson flew himself up to the US and stood in for Terry at my wedding. That is the kind of person he is. Nelson, you are the definition of a great friend.

Oh Brazil, how I've missed you and the wonderfulness of Caipirinhas.

Oh Brazil, how I've missed you and the wonderfulness of Caipirinhas.

You have not had a cocktail until you have visited Brazil.

You have not had a cocktail until you have visited Brazil.

Termite Mounds vastly increase the biological diversity in places like the Brazilian Cerrado.

Termite Mounds vastly increase the biological diversity in places like the Brazilian Cerrado.

The reason that termite mounds promote biodiversity is their hollow spaces inside.

The reason that termite mounds promote biodiversity is their hollow spaces inside.

These internal chambers have a greater humidity, lower temperature, and they provide hiding places for countless small forms of wildlife.  Nelson and I published a paper on the herpetofauna of the Cerrado's termite mounds with other colleagues several years back.

These internal chambers have a greater humidity, lower temperature, and they provide hiding places for countless small forms of wildlife. Nelson and I published a paper on the herpetofauna of the Cerrado's termite mounds with other colleagues several years back.

Among the species that inhabit termite mounds are rattlesnakes.  This Brazilian Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus collilineatus), striped morph, was found around Caçu, Goiás, Brazil.

Among the species that inhabit termite mounds are rattlesnakes. This Brazilian Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus collilineatus), striped morph, was found around Caçu, Goiás, Brazil.

What a pattern!  Brazilian Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus collilineatus), blond morph, found around Caçu, Goiás, Brazil.

What a pattern! Brazilian Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus collilineatus), blond morph, found around Caçu, Goiás, Brazil.

Brazilian Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus collilineatus), blond morph  found around Caçu, Goiás, Brazil.

Brazilian Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus collilineatus), blond morph found around Caçu, Goiás, Brazil.

Albino Crotalus durissus collineatus found around Jataí, Goiás, Brazil.

Albino Crotalus durissus collineatus found around Jataí, Goiás, Brazil.

Albino Crotalus durissus collineatus found around Jataí, Goiás, Brazil.

Albino Crotalus durissus collineatus found around Jataí, Goiás, Brazil.

Albino Crotalus durissus collineatus found around Jataí, Goiás, Brazil.

Albino Crotalus durissus collineatus found around Jataí, Goiás, Brazil.

Albino Crotalus durissus collineatus found around Jataí, Goiás, Brazil.

Albino Crotalus durissus collineatus found around Jataí, Goiás, Brazil.

Other vipers live inside of termite mounds such as the Urutu (Bothrops alternatus)

Other vipers live inside of termite mounds such as the Urutu (Bothrops alternatus)

Urutu (Bothrops alternatus) 12

Urutu (Bothrops alternatus)

Urutu (Bothrops alternatus)

Urutu (Bothrops alternatus)

The Brazilian Lancehead (Bothrops moojeni) is not uncommon in termite mounds, especially juveniles.

The Brazilian Lancehead (Bothrops moojeni) is not uncommon in termite mounds, especially juveniles.

Bothrops moojeni

Bothrops moojeni

Bothrops cotiara

Bothrops cotiara

Bothrops pauloensis from Leopoldo de Bulhões, Goiás, Brasil.

Bothrops pauloensis from Leopoldo de Bulhões, Goiás, Brasil.

Nelson chartered a Cessna today and we flew out to see a thermal spring where they maintain Paiche (Arapaima gigas) and other fishes. We got to dive the spring and see the animals.

Nelson chartered a Cessna today and we flew out to see a thermal spring where they maintain Paiche (Arapaima gigas) and other fishes. We got to dive the spring and see the animals.

Nelson and Patricia

Nelson and Patricia

My wife, Beth

My wife, Beth

Oh Yeah!  One of the coolest things I've ever done.

Oh Yeah! One of the coolest things I've ever done.

Diving with Arapaima @ Caldas Novas, Goias, Braszil

Diving with Arapaima @ Caldas Novas, Goias, Braszil

Diving with Arapaima @ Caldas Novas, Goias, Brasil.

Diving with Arapaima @ Caldas Novas, Goias, Brasil.

Diving with Pacu @ Caldas Novas, Goias, Brasil.

Diving with Pacu @ Caldas Novas, Goias, Brasil.

Nelson and Particia @ Caldas Novas, Goias, Brasil.

Nelson and Particia, Caldas Novas, Goias, Brasil.

Beth and I @ Caldas Novas, Goias, Brasil.

Beth and I ,Caldas Novas, Goias, Brasil.

As is always the case, Beth and I loved our visit to Brazil!

As is always the case, Beth and I loved our visit to Brazil!

Written by Dante


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