Beebe first visited Trinidad in 1908, he was so fascinated by the rich
tropical flora and fauna that many years later he purchased the
estate house at Simla. This place has become a center for all kinds of
research on tropical organisms, and for many taxa it ranks among the
best studied spots in the Neotropics. However, large stone quarries are
massively destroying the forst near the research station and I doubt
that Beebe would be interested to purchase the place now. It is still a
great base with good infrastrucure but the noise of heavy machines all
day long suggests that this might not last much longer.
Below, the main building (left) and the quarry just east of the research station (right). The Google Earth photo shows the dramatic loss of forest around the station.
In December 2018 I visited Simla mainly to search for a species that Gertsch had described in 1982 as Anopsicus arima: Canaima arima, the type species of the genus Canaima. It is a tiny but abundant species, and below (left, middle) are some of the first photos of this species. Another exciting species at Simla is Mecolaesthus arima (yes, also arima; I plead guilty of lack of fantasy) where males sometimes have an extremly 'inflated' prosoma, as in the right image below.
Much better forest remains in other places of Trinidad, as for example on Cerro Aripo (foto below). The access is not easy and I did not see any trail marks or signs, so it needs some searching and a GPS (or a guide), but the forest is magnificent. I was not surprised to find Metagonia and Priscula in this forest, both genera new for Trinidad.
Metagonia sp.n. and Priscula sp.n., both genera new for Trinidad.
I thank Johanna Ryan, Conservation Officer at the Asa Wright Nature Centre (which manages the William Beebe Research Station at Simla) for the permit to do research at Simla.