Friday, March 20, 2009

Pucón & Villarica

26 February

We collected at Rincón in the morning and found lots of Auca. I caught one blue, which was sitting right next to an Auca, but the Auca was worn out, so I snagged the blue instead. We drove toward Pucón and collected a few things alongside the road near Quepe, just south of Temuco, but no satyrines. They have Pieris brassicae here, a common white butterfly, but for some reason it's twice as big as it is elsewhere in the world. Apparently, it was introduced from Poland.

From Quepe we continued on to Villarica. We stopped again near Coipue Viejo at an access road that leads to an antenna and found some nice satyrines here. We stopped at the Donde Manolo restaurant for something to drink and then went on our way to Pucón and Villarica.

I've found Gatlinburg. Apparently, they have Gatlinburg here, except there's a big lake and a volcano, but other than that, it's Gatlinburg. Complete with kitchy little shops and drunken American tourists. Here in Villarica, we've found the slowest restaurant in the entire world. I wish I could remember the name. It's very verdant here and Hydrangeas are extremely popular and blooming, so it's very pretty in places, but there's no bamboo.

The owner of the little upstairs cabaña we stayed in, an Argentinian, says he knows of a place where there's bamboo. I had trouble understanding his accent, but Tomasz was able to figure out where to go, so we'll check it out in the morning.

27 February

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is open before 8:30-9:00 in the morning. We finally found a bakery and I had some empanadas tipicas and coffee. They were good, but not as good as the ones on the road to Olmue. I've decided that I should learn how to make these. I love empanadas. Mmm!

We went to one of the sites described to us by the Argentinian guy and there was indeed bamboo there, but no butterflies to be had. The quality of the blackberries was quite poor, thus further confirming our theory that the quality of blackberries is directly related to the quality of collecting. We went back to Coipue Viejo and collected almost all poliozona...or is it reedii? coenonympha? thelxiope? I'll have to take a closer look when I get back to the lab.* At lunch break, we stopped at the Donde Manolo restaurant and had a hamburger and coke. Except that an "hamburguesa" means a sandwich with tender sliced beef, palta (avocado), and tomato. Not bad. It's far better than a Whopper, anyhow.

We're on our way to Curacautín and Lonquimay. I have several specimens in the lab that were collected from here, so it's definitely worth checking out. We may even check out the Argentinian border.

*Upon further review, I still can't figure out what these little guys are. They're not poliozona and they're not coenonympha. I'm calling them thelxiope for now, even though thelxiope is a nom. nud. What that means, for my dear non-biologist readers, is that thelxiope is meant to be a separate species, but the name is invalid because it was not properly described.
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