Brazil, The Great Amazon Adventure Starts, Uncategorized

Giant ‘Earthworm’ Poo: Manaus Day 6 Sampling non tera preta soil

worm_poo1Sorry for not post yesterday – a tremendous thunderstorm in Manaus knocked out the internet for 24 hours – no internet how can one survive? Well you do the next best thing and sample earthworms.

Today’s sampling is a non-dark earth (tera preta) site and I had been promised something special and I wasn’t disappointed – giant earthworm poo (or casts to be more scientific). As you can see the casts form towers about 10 cm proud of the forest floor and when you collect them in a bag they look reminiscent of elephant poo – as yes I know what elephant poo looks like. Every one swung intoworm_poo2 there roles today with-out a hitch except for myself and Telmar who was doing the extractions.  None of the extraction techniques: the onion extract, mustard oil and formalin ,could encourage any earthworms to the surface.  If we were quick we could find a fresh cast, looks like glistening mud, and break off the top and see the worm retreat down its hole (gallery) real fast.  After three blanks we change strategy and tried the tried and tested Formalin but increased the volume used to 20 Litres – just link how it feels to carry 20 L of liquid through a forest where every branch and vine is catching your feet and trying to stop you.  Well that didn’t work either ….. this was going to a a challenge and in this forest the mosquitoes were everywhere in the air and the size and frequency of the spiders was frightening – it is also slightly disconcerting when the local see a spider and show alarm – that where you think you many nspider_honesteed more than latex gloves.  Appropriately equipped with gardening gloves and not perturbed I attempted to dig a giant worm out – this I did in a typical ‘Pete’ way lots of energy little thought.  I used a rapid and violent action where i swung a bent-spade down on fresh casts and trie to capture the worm before it escape.  To my surprise I seemed to be successful and went on to collect 30 cm 5-10 minute ‘earthworm’ but sadly. I was so proud !! Until I was told that they loose there tails when stressed and that all I had was tail and I should have been looking for individuals of 50-70 cm, may be next time (but when  do you come come to the Amazon and MY time (not the teams) was running out – one day in the jungle left. Here’s a couple of images, Left is Luis in the forest and right just an iconic image of a clearing in  the rain forest.

rain_forest1 Image_of_Amazon