Poison Frogs: A Hidden Pharmacy

Thanks to a chance encounter in the 1970s, John Daly and his collaborators found in the secretion of skin of an Ecuadorian poison frog (Epipedobates anthonyi, the epibatidine nurse frog, or phantasmal poison frog) an alkaloid called epibatidine (Gillis, 2002).… Read More

Life in slow mo: sloths and anteaters

Sloths and anteaters are truly strange beasts: strange shapes, strange to look at, and strange in the world as their order is exclusively found on the American continent and they now move in limited areas. This order – known as… Read More

Mustelidae – Pop! Goes the weasel

The Mustelidae family belongs to the carnivore group and is very similar to dogs, the reason for which many of its species are colloquially called dogs (water dogs, mountain dogs etc.). These mammals are characterized by their long, extremely agile… Read More

The amphibians of Mashpi – types of toads and frogs

Of the different types of amphibians the order of the Anuras is especially interesting and charismatic. Anura means “without tail” and refers to toads and frogs. Of the many families that exist, there are five that are particularly interesting in… Read More

Hummingbirds in Mashpi

Hummingbirds, or quindes as they are known in Quito and the surrounding area, are tireless fairies, in charge of the flowers of the forest. These important pollinators with their hurried jig of metallic colours hold impressive secrets: They represent the… Read More

Dragons’ den

The world of small lizards, the Saurios, is huge, with around 6,000 species that have populated each and every nook and cranny of the planet for the last 220 million years. The suborder Squamata, in which Saurios are found, is… Read More

Mother Nature’s little helpers

Rodents, or Rodentia, are the largest mammal order. Their name comes from “roer” (“chew”) as this is basically what they do all day, whether it’s on seeds, fruit, roots, trunks, or even on other animals. They come in all shapes… Read More

Cloud cats

Among the dense vegetation and mist, the kings of the forest move in silence, stealthy and majestic like invisible guardians of the mountains. Felines, of the Felidae family, are large, wild cats, hunting and carnivorous mammals, who are distributed over… Read More

Hey, hey we’re the monkeys!

These are our closest relatives with whom we share the greatest number of genes, behaviours and appearance traits. Primates, monkeys – our cousins – are characterised by having hands and feet with five fingers (or toes) each, of which the… Read More

Coral snake

Coral snakes, serpents ringed with bands of red, black, white and yellow, belong to the Elapidae family. This family, with only 23 species in Ecuador, has the snakes with the most potent venom of all: a neurotoxin able to rapidly… Read More
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