September and October 2009 I visited the
the third time in order to expand on a long-term project on the
of pholcids in this extraordinary biodiversity hotspot. Previous trips (2003, 2007) had revealed
unusually high numbers of species at any locality and little
species overlap among localities. In combination with the facts that
7% of the Atlantic Forest are left and that most of the forest
relatively easily accessible, this explains why the area is extremely
any study of the origin and maintenance of biodiversity.
Our second stop was near Mangaratiba, SW of Rio de Janeiro, at the Reserva Ecológica Rio das Pedras. The abundance of pholcids was amazing, which was especially clear during night collecting, where pholcids seemed to be just everywhere in incredible numbers. Even though the forest near the station is mostly altered and low, we still got an amazing 13 species.
Several people made this trip one of the most pleasant I remember. Alessandro Giupponi organized the collecting trips, was a wonderful companion in the field, a diligent collector of the most tiny and difficult species, and last not least able to turn a few simple ingredients into excellent meals, never without a good bottle of wine. Adriano Kury accompanied us to Mangaratiba, making this a most cheerful excursion. Alejandra Rojas Vargas was the most caring and loving host while recovering from day-and-night collecting in Itatiba, some 100 km from São Paulo. To all these people I owe much more than simple thanks. Thanks is also due to the Alexander Koenig Stiftung for financing the trip.