Jaguars, beetles, pumas, butterflies, beetlejuice drinking wasps, monkey-riddled cacao…this is a shortlist of some of the things our very own tweeting-Gerald Durrell, Phil Torres, has shared with us on his adventures in the Peruvian Amazon this past week. If he’s not teaching us about iridescent beetles and their equally sparkly mites (mites are like the lice of bugs. I know, eww), he’s successfully making dedicated arachnophobes watch videos of spiders that create clever booby traps and silken nets to capture their prey. Phil’s taught us what essentials you need to go exploring in the tropics – apart from a detached attitude towards dry socks and giant tarantulas – to enthusiasm and patience, that truly, only tough guys can chase butterflies through six inches of Amazonian mud.
Phil has been hugely popular with our Real Scientists audience this week, fulfilling requests for pictures of various fauna, helping us recognise tapir butts and turtle footprints, sending us tragic photos of how he had to entertain wild macaw chicks. He’s been accessible and a joy to watch. There are still requests pending – no otters have been spotted yet and there’s some deficit in the monkey department. No Morpholino butterflies have been spotted in their full iridescent powder blue glory. If you ask very nicely, he will keep us updated on his decoy-building spider and if you ask even more nicely? Perhaps we will hear from him again at Real Scientists. In the mean time, please be sure to follow his continuing adventures on his personal twitter account @phil_torres, Peruvian adventures at Peru Nature and his own blog The Rev Science. Thanks, Phil, it’s been an amazing week, and all good wishes for your future PhD studies.
If you missed anything from Phil’s week of curation, please check out Storify: http://storify.com/RealScientists/real-scientists-phil-torres.
Next up, we are delighted to welcome Dr Michele Bannister/@astrokiwi, who’s curiosity and love of science and the stars has led her to a life in astronomy, poetry and adventure. Stay tuned for more!