1995 and 1996 I took advantage of living in Costa Rica and made several
to neighboring countries. In April 1995
I visited western Panama, and collected spiders near Caldera, a small
near Boquete. Then I flew over the mountains to the Caribbean side and
Bocas del Toro Island.
Three months later, in July 1995 I made a trip into Nicaragua, visited Rivas, Lago Nicaragua, Matagalpa and the beautiful Selva Negra forest.
In September and October 1996 I made a longer trip to Guatemala, Honduras, and again Nicaragua. Like on the previous trips, I mostly used local busses, and thus spent a total of 84 hours in these unforgettable vehicles, usually overloaded with people and things destined for the market or brought from there, street-vendors selling drinks, sweets, and bakeries at the numerous stops, men of god trying to preach louder than the music and the traffic’s noise and fitting their sermon exactly between two stops, aching backs and bottoms, sweat and bumpy streets, good talks with people you never met before and will never meet again.
My first collecting site was famous Panajachel at Lake Atitlan; next I moved on to the gorgeous hot springs at Fuentes Georginas near Zunil, and flew over to Peten and visited the impressive pyramids at Tikal. On the way back to the capital I stopped at Finca Ixobel near Poptun, a place so close to Eden I would have wished to just stay there.I crossed the border to Honduras near Copan, another place with beautifully preserved Maya sculptures, went on to the Caribbean coast at Tela, where I collected at Lancetilla, flew over to Roatan Island, where I briefly exchanged the alcohol vials with snorkeling gear. Maybe the biologically most amazing place I saw in Honduras was La Tigre National Park, a beautiful and enchanting forest at about 2000m above sea level.
spiders collected during these trips have
been the basis for several publications, two dealing with the taxonomic
status of Hedypsilus and Micromerys
respectively, one on the genus Modisimus in Costa Rica
and neighboring countries, another one specifically on pholcids from
and Honduras, and one paper on genital mechanics of some species I had
me alive. The taxonomic papers were the beginning of all the studies on
systematics I have done ever since.