Monday, December 30, 2013

So long, Kusad

I woke around 0300 to thunder and pouring rain.  It surprised me.  It had rained elsewhere around Kusad a couple days earlier, but this was the first rain in camp.  I reached out the tent door, zipped my rain fly to keep my boots dry and went back to sleep.

I walked into camp around 0620 and everyone was wet.  The roof of the communal hammock tent had collapsed, dumping water on a few unfortunate sleepers, and everyone woke to fix it.  Being in the woods, I had neither heard the commotion nor helped out.  There was no hiding my dry clothes—I was the monster who slept while others suffered.

We would leave Kusad the next morning and my only goal was to pack up our gear.  The rain continued on and off all day so there wasn’t much opportunity for field work.  Tomorrow would be long—we’d clear camp and travel to our next site 60 miles to the southeast.  We were tired and the weather forced us to take a rest.  We spent the day drinking rum, telling stories and playing games… and struggling to dry our laundry during brief dry spells.

The rains arrived in camp our last full day at Kusad, collapsing the hammock tent and muddying the trails

Like our trip in to Kusad, our trip out would be shaped by mud.  In the morning we discovered the rain had prevented our big Bedford trucks from getting to camp—they were stuck in mud 5 miles away.  We would have to hike out to meet them, and shuttle our gear with a pickup truck.

I set out across the grassland with Matt, Ed and Meshach around 0730.  It was cool and a little overcast.  We followed the trail through the tallgrass and sandpaper tree savanna into the shortgrass plain beyond.  The pickup truck and motorcycles passed us, shuttling gear and people to the waiting trucks, but mostly it was quiet.  Eastern meadowlarks and vermilion flycatchers called and flew around us.  We arrived at the trucks an hour and half later.  We ate watermelon and watched others straggle in.

Matt, Ed, Meshach and I hiked out of camp for the last time, crossing the plains to the north to meet the waiting trucks

Evi, our jaguar specialist, ferried people on her motorcycle

It took hours to shuttle all our gear and people to the trucks

Ed and Uncle Jano collected plants in the short grasslands

There was no shade and the savanna was heating up.  A few of us decided to continue on foot.  Up ahead the trail crossed the Katu Wa’o at a ford where it flowed over bedrock.  We’d wait for the trucks there.  We set out yet again—Matt, Ed, Meshach, Andrew Short and I—and arrived at the Katu Wa’o forty minutes later.

I dropped my pack and took off my clothes and we waded and swam in the cool water and slid on the rocks.  We had a picnic with our feet in the water.  Between us we had Oreos, granola bars, biscuits, trail mix, beef jerky and even soda that we cooled in the river.  I pictured the water around my feet flowing on for thousands of miles, through more grassland and a sea of rainforest, on its way down the Amazon.

A few of us opted to continue on foot, looking back at Kusad for the last time

We waited a couple miles ahead at the Katu Wa’o instead of in the sun by the trucks

We swam, ate lunch, and napped during the wait

We wandered to a shaded bank across from an empty fishermen’s camp.  Crested caracaras perched on the opposite shore.  I rolled up my rain jacket and slept in the sand under a sandpaper tree.  After a couple hours I heard the roar of the trucks, woke up and put on my boots, and hopped into the pickup as it passed.  Our convoy—two Bedfords, a pickup, and two motorcycles—was finally moving.

Our convoy broke apart over the next few hours as we navigated grasslands and creeks and villages.  My pickup was alone by the time the sun set.  The road narrowed and entered rainforest.  Palms brushed against us and the headlights illuminated lianas and large trees.  We were at the edge of the Rupununi where it meets the continuous rainforest of Amazonia.

After a few miles we entered an outlying patch of savanna—one of the last remnants of the Rupununi before it’s entirely swallowed by the forest.  We crossed a creek and arrived at our new camp.  A dinner of rice and beef waited for us.  Andrew, Ed and I slept on a tarp and waited for our gear to arrive.

The trucks rumbled into camp around 2320.  I woke, set up my tent and went to sleep.

Tomorrow I would explore my new home.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the banks of the Katu Wa'o

I joined the fish team to explore the Katu Wa’o.  It was the dry season and many creeks had dried up.  But the Katu Wa’o flows year round, draining a large chunk of mountains and grasslands north and east of Kusad.  It flows to the northwest and eventually—through the Takutu River, Rio Branco and Rio Negro—to the mighty Amazon itself.

The fish team had set nets and needed to collect them, and I joined them to sample the ants along the banks.  We arrived at the river a little before 1700.  The fish people—Don, Matt, Leanna, Wenceslaus, and Maxi—split up to retrieve the nets.  They waded and swam, feeling along the submerged nets.  When they found a fish they wrestled it loose, put it in a Ziploc bag and carried it to a bucket on shore.

 The fish team retrieved nets they had set in the Katu Wa’o

Leanna and Wenceslaus help Maxi empty his catch into a bucket

Don and Matt swam to retrieve nets in the deep center of the river

Just a small sample of the day’s haul

This part of the Katu Wa’o flows through open sandpaper tree savanna.  But a narrow strip along the banks is covered in stunted gallery forest.  The banks alternate between sand and black basalt bedrock.  I collected ants in the trees and bushes at the water’s edge, and waded across a narrow section to collect on a seasonally flooded sandbar in the river’s center.  I took off my clothes and swam in the rapids.  It was quiet, the fish team swam and called to each other, and the water was cool.  It started to get dark.

The Katu Wa’o is lined by narrow gallery forest, which quickly transitions to grassland after a few meters

An island of basalt and sand rose in the river’s center

I swam among the rocks before the sun set

When the sun set my work was done.  I hadn’t slept much and the Katu Wa’o seemed a perfect place to rest.  I lay on the bedrock at the river’s edge.  The black stone was warm.  I rolled up my rain jacket for a pillow and pulled up the back of my shirt so the warm rock pressed against my back.  I listened to the guys in the water and thought and fell asleep.

I woke up to headlights.  The driver had come to pick us up.  But the nets had more fish than the team had anticipated, and they weren’t done pulling them in.  They scrambled to pull in the nets and preserve their specimens.  I snacked with Leanna on some “broke teeth” (pronounced bruck-teet)—crunchy, spicy fried split peas.  I was comfortable and went back to sleep.

The team worked into the night to process fish and take tissue samples

The team finished their work, I woke up and we left around 2100.  I sat in a half awake daze on the back of the truck as we drove back through the grass.  A savanna fox (Cerdocyon thous) ran ahead of us in our headlights.

Back in camp we ate a late dinner of rice, potatoes, sliced beets and bread.  It was a good day.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Racing the flood

It was cool at night on the mountain.  The biting flies died down.  We ate crackers and peanut butter and canned meat.  We thought we heard jaguar calls around the farm and in the forest.  I slept in my tent on a patch of bare ground in the savanna.  It was not a bad place to stay.  But we had to return to camp.

So after collecting in the morning we left.  We carried our quarry down the mountain, exchanging the cool moist forest for the hot dry lowlands, to wait for our ride in the savanna at Kusad’s foot.

Dropping our packs and collections, Andrew and I walked through the open grassland.  It was midday, and so hot not even ants were active.  We quickly left the tall grass skirting the mountain and entered a flat shortgrass plain.  Some patches were black and crunchy from recent burns.  The Shiriri Mountains rose to the east and Kusad was behind us.  There were rain clouds over the Kanukus in the north and we heard thunder.

Andrew and I explored the savanna between Kusad and the Shiriri Mountains

Two figures approached in the distance.  It was our driver and a guide on foot.  They told us they couldn’t ford a creek, and so we had to hike out.  We returned to the others and put on our packs, and set out across the plain.

We hiked across the short grass to our waiting truck

During the walk the sky got darker and storm clouds hovered over Kusad.  We arrived at the morichal lined creek and crossed it, arriving at the truck as the first drops of rain fell.

During our hike rainclouds began to build in the savanna

It looked like Kusad might receive the first rain since we’d arrived

It was dark by the time we reached the truck at the morichal

The Rupununi is a land of extremes.  We had experienced the fire, and now we raced across the savanna in the rain to beat the flood.  Creeks and ponds filled up, the road became muddy, and parts of the savanna turned to marsh.

 Kusad’s moist highlands were a different world from the hot grassland at its base

I enjoyed our mini-expedition up the mountain.  The next day Edward gave me an ornamental knife he carved from letterwood (Brosimum guianense).  He would be leaving us halfway through the trip and it was something to remember him.

Best of all, our mountain trip was where Samson and I got our nicknames for each other.  From then on I was Chonai (son-in-law) and he was Tatai (father-in-law).

Monday, December 16, 2013

On stings

Fieldwork has its risks, as the rattlesnake at the farm illustrated.  A herpetologist handling venomous snakes, for example, risks being bitten.  I, on the other hand, don’t risk being hurt or poisoned.  I know I will be.

Many ants are timid or harmless to humans.  But quite a few are aggressive and sting, injecting painful burning venom.  Aside from ants, sticking your hands in dark places and into leaf litter exposes you to other stinging animals.  Stings are an unavoidable part of field Myrmecology.  Among field biologists there’s often a sort of pride associated with one’s personal sting record.  I don’t have a life list, but thinking of our trip up the mountain reminds me of some stings I experienced in Guyana.

At the farm Andrew and Meshach and I went into the forest after dark to look for frogs and nocturnal ants.  Clambering up the bank of a muddy creek, Meshach pointed out a large ant.  A Pachycondyla apicalis queen lumbered slowly and confidently through the leaf litter.  She had just mated and shed her wings and was looking for a place to start a colony.

Pachycondyla apicalis are the largest ants on Kusad, with the most painful sting.  The Wapichan call them wiiko and use them in ant stinging ceremonies.  They weave live ants into a cloth with the stingers pointing out, ready to inject venom.  Young boys and girls coming of age have the cloth pressed against their shoulders and get stung.  The venom reputedly makes the boys into agile hunters and the girls into hard workers.

They were common in the higher forests on Kusad and I had collected a few.  I was never stung because I always used forceps.  In some stinging species, like fire ants, queens are harmless.  Assuming the same for P. apicalis, I picked her up with my bare hands and she immediately injected a dose of venom into my finger tip.  It felt like a lit match held against my skin.  I dropped her in surprise and she escaped.  Andrew and Meshach laughed.  I suppose she earned her freedom.  On the bright side, at least I’ll be an agile hunter.

The next day a scorpion stung me on the hand.  Samson and I unknowingly collected the scorpion while sifting leaf litter.  As I tied the litter bag, the scorpion stung me through the cloth from the inside.  Fortunately, none of the scorpions in the Rupununi are dangerous, just painful.

A few other ants stung me during our trip.

Army ant (Labidus sp.).  These ones also got me while I collected litter with Samson near the farm.  I stood too close to a raiding column.

Trap-jaw ant (Odontomachus sp.).  The locals call this ant podizua.  The stings are painful but brief, and are supposed to cure headaches.

Pseudomyrmex sp.  This one stung me on the back of my hand, creating a burning blister.  The sting of one species is supposed by the Wapichan to help treat malaria.

Little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata).  This is a tiny slow orange ant, with a disproportionately painful sting.

Leptogenys sp.—Meshach brought me a big one in a Ziploc bag.  Thinking the bag would protect me, I pinned it so I could grab it with forceps and it stung me right through the plastic.

Tropical fire ant (Solenopsis geminata).  This species also occurs on the US Gulf Coast and I worked with it in Florida.  I stood on a nest in Georgetown and they swarmed up my feet and stung my ankles.

Some ants bite, but since no venom is involved, it’s usually not that painful.  Exceptions are some fierce Azteca that swarmed out of plants I disturbed, and the nocturnal Camponotus that drew blood.

Finally, and embarrassingly, I hurt myself on a harmless giant turtle ant (Cephalotes atratus).  This ant doesn’t bite or sting, but it does have stiff spines on its back.  I impaled my finger trying to catch one.

Up to now I have avoided being stung by bullet ants (Paraponera clavata), supposedly the most painful stinging insect on Earth.  But history suggests it may only be a matter of time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hilltop farm

I woke at 0530, struck my tent and loaded it into my pack.  Samson and I would join the herpetology team to explore Kusad’s higher elevations.  Summiting the range was impractical, but we could easily ascend a thousand feet to find different species in the cooler wetter forests above.

Along with Andrew, the herpetology team consisted of Meshach (a University of Guyana student) and Edward (a local).  A Wapichan elder—Uncle Paul—joined us as guide.  We drove across the savanna to the other side of Kusad where a trail climbed the slopes.  Someone would pick us up the next day.

Like the forest along the Mokoro Wa’o near camp, the early part of the hike was hot, rocky and dry.  The forest was light and open and orchids and cactus grew on boulders.  But as we climbed it changed.  Dry creek beds became trickling streams.  It got cooler, wetter and darker, with thicker litter and less visibility.  Boulders and trees got mossier, Heliconias grew along creeks and towering fig trees rose to the canopy.  The dry forest began to resemble rainforest.

Our hike began in hot open forest on rocky slopes

Higher up the forest was wetter and darker and dotted with large strangler figs (Ficus)

Edward and Andrew collected frogs along creeks

We rested and ate lunch on bedrock along a creek

After a few hours we crossed a muddy creek into young forest.  The canopy was lower and brighter, the understory dense with young palms.  We were at the edge of a tiny savanna, maintained by fires that occasionally pushed the forest back to the creek, and recolonized by spindly Cecropia trees between burns.

The forest edge shifts back and forth in cycles of burning and recolonization

Entering the savanna, we arrived at a farm that would be our base as we collected in the surrounding forests.  The farm’s owner had not visited in a while.  Low maintenance crops surrounded the hut—bananas, pineapples, coconuts, guava.  A mud brick oven with pots and pans, and inhabited by large roaches, lay at one end of the hut.  There were tools on the ground, hung from the rafters, or stuck into the thatch roof—machete sharpener, rope, cable, comb, knife blade, batteries, shotgun shells, and a pair of toddler’s sandals.  Near the oven was a cassava grinding board consisting of thousands of small stones hammered into a plank.  Tapir and peccary skulls lay as trophies on a boulder outside.

We stayed at a hilltop farm in the savanna

The farm’s owner visited occasionally to hunt and tend crops

Tapir and peccary skulls evidenced successful hunts

We drank two coconuts and settled in.  I asked Uncle Paul if the Cecropias at the savanna’s edge had ants living in them and he assured me they did.  Samson and Meshach and I cut one of the fast-growing trees and thousands of biting Azteca ants swarmed out.  We collected leaf litter and found species we didn’t find near camp—giant Pachycondyla, big spiny Dolichoderus, and the quick, big-eyed, jumping Gigantiops destructor.

That night Andrew stumbled upon a Neotropical rattlesnake curled up at the edge of the hut, five or six feet from where we’d been sitting and chatting for hours.  It was a bit of a shock, even for Andrew, to find a venomous snake right under our noses.  It was the second rattlesnake of the trip, and would not be the last.  Andrew caught the snake and put it in a sack under a bucket.

A Neotropical rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus) lay at the hut’s edge, unseen for hours

The snake had other plans, however.  Escaping through a tiny hole, it fled into the night.  In the morning all we had was an empty bucket and a story.  So began our mountain collecting.

The perfect catch was all for naught, as the snake escaped in the night

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fish songs and spiny rat meat

Not everything happens in the field—a lot of our action was in camp.  An advantage of being with other people is learning what they do… and getting to see what they bring back.

Our Biodiversity Assessment Team was really a collection of smaller teams.  In addition to ants there were teams for plants, fish, birds, aquatic beetles, large mammals, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, water quality and community development.  After a day in the field, there was always something to discover in camp.

The lab tent—an ambitious name for a table and tarp—was our scientific hub.  It was cluttered with mammal traps, collecting equipment, dissecting trays, and buckets, bags and containers of all sizes… and often crawling with live animals.

At once zoo and storage closet, the lab tent was a place to learn from other teams

A typical day would find Ed pressing plant specimens, or Andrew identifying frogs or photographing live animals.  Live bats hung from the rafters in cloth sacks.  Burton measured and photographed the bats before releasing them.  Birds often got trapped in Burton’s bat nets, which Brian identified and showed around camp.

Both herpetologist and photographer, Andrew tried to photograph as many animals and plants as possible

Returning with a haul of specimens, the fish team worked into the night to process them and take tissue samples

Brian shows off a bat falcon (Falco rufigularis), one of several birds caught in bat nets

The specimens provided a chance to try some new meat.  At Kusad Burton trapped a terrestrial spiny rat.  He skinned it and took tissue samples for DNA analysis… but he didn’t need the meat.  I fetched a plate from the kitchen tent and Burton cut off the choicest pieces of muscle.  He rolled it in the cornmeal he used to absorb liquids when skinning specimens.  Our cook was horrified and insisted she would never use the plate again.  She forced us to use a pot she didn’t like and wouldn’t let us touch the meat with any of her silverware.  As she looked on in disgust, Ed cooked the spiny rat and we all ate a piece.  It was good.

Although the less intrepid abstained, a few of us enjoyed fried terrestrial spiny rat (Proechymis sp.) butchered by Burton and prepared by chef/botanist Ed

My favorite camp discovery, however—the thing that was the most fundamentally new—involved not my tongue but my ears.  Matt brought back a live electric knifefish.  The electric knifefish is in the same family as the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus), and as its name suggests is also electric.  Knifefish use electric fields to locate prey and communicate with other knifefish.  Males court females by “singing” to them with electrical pulses.  We humans are deaf to this world of electric communication.

Matt, however, was able to translate the song.  He hung a small guitar amp on a cord around his neck and taped the wire to a wooden pole.  The wire was cut and exposed at the pole’s bottom.  While wading through a river he prodded the mud and vegetation with the pole—signals from electric fish would translate into sounds on the amp.  In this way he could find and trap them.

Back in camp, Matt showed us the trick with the knifefish in the bucket.  When he dipped the pole in the water, a series of even low blips erupted from the amp.  This was the knifefish’s background song, the sound of it exploring its environment, sensing for other electric signals.  When he moved the pole against the fish the blips sped up and got louder and more frantic—the sound of a knifefish in distress.

For the first time in my life I heard the song of a fish.  I was exposed to a new world, a new way to communicate, a new way to be.

Matt used a guitar amp and a wooden pole to listen to the songs of electric fish

An electric knifefish (Gymnotus sp.) opened my ears to the hidden world of electric communication

This blog is about discovery, about going to places and learning from them.  But it helps to have translators, teachers who can interpret the things around you.  In the Southern Rupununi I was surrounded by a host of translators, each speaking a different language.  Camp was where those languages collided.  Things to learn and teachers to help were laid before me, and I had my pick.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Into the tall grass

Kusad’s slopes may be rocky with thin soil, but the opposite is true of the fertile grasslands at its base.  Runoff from the mountains carries soil and water into the dry plains below.  During the dry season most creeks taper off and dry up shortly after entering the savanna.  Grasslands skirting mountains get the bulk of water and sediment, leaving areas just a kilometer or so away dry and sandy.  The Wapichan people practice their rotational farming in these fertile bands at mountain bases, clearing a patch and raising crops, then moving on to a new area after a few years.  Though we crossed vast stretches of bunchgrasses and sedges to get to Kusad, the area near camp was cloaked in tall grasses ranging from knee high to over six feet and peppered with sandpaper trees (Curatella americana).

Fed by runoff and sediment from the slopes above, a belt of tallgrass savanna surrounds Kusad

Separated by only a couple hundred meters, ant communities in the savanna differed from those in the dry forest around camp, and we needed to sample them.  Hand collecting in dense tall grass is nearly impossible, and grassland litter doesn’t lend itself to Winkler sampling.  While many ants in the forest live in litter, rotten logs or plants, grassland species are mostly soil nesters.  These are often active species, fast runners that forage quickly on the surface and return to the nest before baking in the sun.  We collected these with bait and pitfall traps.

Dense tall grass reduces ground visibility and makes hand collecting difficult

Bait traps are simple enough.  Place a plastic vial with cotton soaked in sugar water on the ground, return an hour later, pick it up and put the cap on before whatever’s inside escapes.

Pitfall traps are also simple.  To make a pitfall trap we buried a plastic cup so that its lip was flush with the ground.  We poured water into the bottom and added a couple drops of soap.  The soap reduces surface tension, making it harder for ants to swim or stay afloat.  Unsuspecting ants walk over the edge and fall in, are unable to climb up the slick sides, and eventually sink and drown.  After two to three days we collected the cups, strained out the ants and put them in alcohol.  This method works best for active ants that cover a lot of ground—perfect for our grassland species.  We placed 20 traps along a 200 meter line and tied pink tape to tall grass stalks to mark them.

To sample grassland communities we used pitfall traps to capture ants as they foraged on the soil surface (photo by Leeanne Alonso)

Tropical grasslands are hot.  With direct sunlight and little shade, the savanna becomes uncomfortable a couple hours after sunrise.  So we started early, around 0600.  Small flies swarmed around us and flew into our noses and mouths, making me sneeze and my nose run.  Tall grass and uneven ground made walking difficult.  But the soil was soft and thick and setting the traps was easy.

We started early before the sun heated the savanna

Leeanne and Samson and I waded through the tall grass, setting traps and marking their locations with pink tape

It was here in the tall grass that Samson gave me my first Wapichan lesson.  In a fit of annoyance and swatting at the cloud of flies around his head, Samson said “erep bijip”—many flies.  When I showed interest he expanded the lesson to include forest, savanna and thank you.  Thus began a productive relationship that continued over the next two weeks.  As I taught Samson about ants he taught me Wapichan.  Of course, with just two weeks I never got to where I could speak it.  But I did learn some useful bits, and I hope Samson appreciated the effort.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Kusad's forest floor

Our time at Kusad was short—we had only six full days to document as many species as we could.  The pressure was on for the Ant Team—Leeanne Alonso, Samson and me.  We were the first people to collect ants in the area.  In all likelihood, we might also be the last.

There are probably at least around 200 species living on and around Kusad, many of which are undescribed.  Of course we wouldn’t find them all.  In fact, we’d probably find less than half.  But the more species we documented, the more information we could provide to conservation planners and to science in general.  The other teams—plants, fish, mammals, etc.—faced similar challenges.

The Rupununi is a patchwork of different habitats and each one would yield different species.  Likewise, by sampling at night we could get nocturnal species.  We would also use different trapping methods; each one is more likely to get some species than others.  Most importantly, to capture as many species as we could we would have to maximize our time in the field—searching, waiting and observing.  Of course, we also helped each other out.  Other teams brought us ants they found, and we brought back plants and frogs and reported our mammal sightings.

Perhaps the best way to find many ant species in a short period is by litter sampling.  The most diverse part of many forests is the leaf litter—the decaying leaves, wood, fruits and seeds on the forest floor.  An entire community of animals, fungi and microbes lives here, fueled by the rain of nutrients from above and living in the crevices provided by the soil, roots and litter.  Searching through leaf litter by hand is iffy at best—many species are tiny, blend in with the litter, and flee or curl up and play dead when disturbed.  Finding a tiny brown motionless ant in a pile of soil is nearly hopeless.  So we trap them.

An ingenious device called a Winkler trap uses gravity to separate ants from leaf litter.  The first step is to collect litter, scooping up all the leaves and twigs.  We put this raw litter into a sifter—a sack with a layer of metal mesh—and distill it by shaking.  Tiny bits of broken down leaves and small animals fall through the mesh, leaving all the big stuff on top to be put back where we found it.  We take this distilled litter—the siftate—back to the lab tent and load it into the Winkler traps.

Leeanne and Samson and I collected and sifted leaf litter in different forests throughout the trip (photo by Leeanne Alonso)

Each trap is a hanging bag that narrows to a small opening at the bottom, where we attach a container of alcohol.  We pour the siftate, crawling with ants, into mesh sacks and hang them in the traps.  As the ants move around they occasionally fall through the mesh, through the bottom of the trap, and into the waiting alcohol below.  After two days you have a concentrated assortment of dozens of ant species, ready to take back to the lab to identify.

Winkler traps use gravity to sort mobile ants from immobile leaf litter, allowing us to sample the diversity of the forest floor (photo by Leeanne Alonso)

Kusad was a difficult place to sample litter.  The ancient eroded slopes are rocky and covered in boulders, with little flat ground and a thin soil layer.  The forest itself produced little litter, especially now during the transition from wet to dry season.  It hadn’t rained in a while and the forest floor was dusty, with few moist rotten logs and fungi.  We collected litter every ten meters through 200 meters of forest, and the pickings were slim the entire way.

The dry forest on Kusad’s rocky slopes was a difficult place to collect litter

Rocks, a thin soil layer and dry conditions limited litter concentrations

We worried how many ants the litter would produce.  But after the traps had run their course we had plenty.  Now to just sort through them back in Oklahoma…