Land snails in Belize can be found in a variety of habitats. They are important food for many birds that live in Belize including currasow, crested guan, and other larger birds. Coatis and other mammals also eat land snails.
Biodiversity: The health of an ecosystem can be determined by the different kinds of land snails found in an area or it’s biodiversity. Read the introduction of the attached card to learn more about the importance of land snails in Belize. Download Land Snail Diversity of Belize card here.
Citizen Science: Participate in our on-going research of the land snails of Belize by going out in your backyard or neighborhood to search for land snails.
this is the dry season, you will likely not find many live snails but that’s
okay!! You don’t need live animals to
figure out what species (kind) of snail they are. All you need is the shells.
Activity: HOW TO LOOK FOR AND COLLECT LAND SNAILS
like moist places (but not too wet!) where plants are growing.
Get a stick and
use it to scrape leaves and sticks at the base of plants and trees.
Look around the
edges of concrete buildings (snails like calcium for building their shells and
can often find it on concrete).
Pick up as many
shells as you can.
Take the shells
back to your house and if you have a ruler, measure the length of the snails
(using millimeters or mm).
Use the attached
card to figure out which group of snails they belong to.
Write down your
Abundance: Count how many of each type of snail you
find. Make a graph to show your results.
Finally, if you have a phone that takes pictures, take pictures of your snails along with what you think they are and send them to email@example.com or post on Facebook and tag @bfreebelize!
Robert Naczi, Curator of North American Botany, New York Botanical Garden
morning of 7 January 2008, my students from Delaware State University and I hiked
from BFREE to the savanna in Deep River Forest Reserve. Our goal was to
establish plots and identify all sedges within these plots in order to test
hypotheses about the effects of disturbance upon the savanna’s most diverse
floral elements, members of the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae). Sedges are
grass-like plants that dominate many habitats (including savannas), provide
food and shelter for wildlife, and furnish nutritious forage for cattle. Previous
research had revealed great numbers of sedge species in the savannas of Deep
River Forest Reserve, an extensive protected area bordering BFREE’s southern
many sedge species inhabit the Deep River savanna and they usually grow
intermingled, our work was demanding, and time passed quickly. Soon, we
realized it was time to make the 2-mile hike back to BFREE for lunch. However,
as I rose from our last plot, I noticed in the distance a habitat that was
unfamiliar. A scan with binoculars revealed a shallow, gently sloping
depression dominated by grassy plants. Typical-looking savanna with scattered
pines and shrubs surrounded the vegetationaly distinct depression. I was
intrigued, had the students look through the binoculars, and asked if they
wanted to take a few minutes to explore the place. They enthusiastically agreed.
we arrived. Exuberant at the prospect of exploring a new spot, the students
bounded into the habitat. In a moment we were immersed in a place unlike any
we’d seen in Belize. It was magical! Tall grasses grew very densely there, and
some towered over us. Although the ground was wet and standing water was
present in a few places, we did not sink far into the soil as we walked through
the place. Soon, I found a narrow trail crowded with tapir tracks. Best of all,
sedges were abundant. In fact, the most abundant sedge was one that I didn’t
recognize. Discovering an unexpected sedge added to the excitement of exploring
an unexpected habitat.
plant specimens at New York Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden, and
U.S. National Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution lead to no matches for
the unknown sedge. My systematist colleagues did not recognize it, either. On a
later field trip, I discovered a second, but much smaller population of the
unknown sedge on Mountain Pine Ridge, Cayo District. Analysis of DNA sequences
indicated the unknown sedge was unique. We concluded it was an undescribed
species, and recently published the name Rhynchospora
belizensis for this new species in the online edition of the botanical
journal Brittonia. Hard-copy publication
is scheduled for the March 2020 issue of Brittonia.
Beaksedge appears to be a very rare species that grows only in Belize. Fewer
than 500 plants are known from the two small populations. Fortunately both
occur in protected areas. Nevertheless, it is of conservation concern, ranked
Vulnerable according to criteria of the International Union for Conservation of
Nature. Belizean Beaksedge is also biogeographically significant because it is
the only one of a group of closely related species that occurs in Central
America; the rest grow in South America.
played a key role in the discovery of Belizean Beaksedge. Proximity of BFREE to
the study site allowed for extensive exploration and ultimate discovery of the small
population within the savanna—a true “needle in a haystack.” Help from BFREE
staff was critical, too. Jacob Marlin showed me the Deep River savanna and
suggested I study its sedges. All of the BFREE staff have been very supportive
and provided much help along the way. The kitchen crew even held lunch for us
the day of discovery, though we showed up quite late (and hungry). I am most
grateful to the entire BFREE community for their support. I am also grateful to
the intrepid students who accompanied me in discovering the new species.
Belizean Beaksedge is the second new sedge species discovered and described from savannas in the Deep River Forest Reserve adjacent to BFREE. In December 2012, colleagues and I published Rhynchospora marliniana, Marlins’ Beaksedge, from this savanna. We named this species for the Marlin Family to honor their steadfast dedication to biological conservation.
https://www.bfreebz.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/R_belizensis_fruit.jpg639467Robert Naczihttps://www.bfreebz.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Logo-1080.pngRobert Naczi2020-04-14 17:28:322020-06-18 20:31:48BFREE Support Leads to Discovery of New Sedge Species
Between February 28th and March 1st, a total of 341 turtles (45 adults in the breeding population and 296 captive hatched animals) were assessed at the Hicatee Conservation and Research Center (HCRC). The primary purpose of the spring health assessment was to perform a basic exam of the overall health of the captive population at the HCRC, to look for follicles and eggs in breeding-size females and to PIT-tag animals.
Ultimately, we would like all turtles at the HCRC to be identified using a scute notching system and also a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag. A PIT tag is a small radio transponder that contains a specific code, which allows individual turtles to be assigned a unique 10 or 15 digit alphanumeric identification number. Unlike acoustic tags that actively send out a signal, they are “passive” and do not require a battery. Rather than the tag transmitting a signal, the tag scanner (or reader) sends out a radio frequency and when a tag is within range, it will relay the identification code back to the receiver. The lack of a battery is the greatest advantage of the PIT tag since it allows for the production of much smaller tags that can be used on smaller organisms, which should last the life of the turtle.
As in past assessments, two days were dedicated to measuring, giving health checks and ultrasounds to adult and subadult turtles. A day and half was dedicated to PIT-tagging all of the captive born turtles in the 2018 cohort as well as the ones from the 2017 cohort that had yet to be tagged.
We were thrilled to have a great group of return volunteers from last year’s spring assessment, as well as new participants from Jacksonville Zoo, Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic, and recent graduates of Independence Junior College in Belize. The team worked tirelessly over three days to ensure that every turtle received the attention it needed.
We were grateful to receive support and assistance from the following participants in our spring health check: Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand, Veterinarian at Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic (BWRC); Glendy Delcid, BWRC; Cayle Pearson, Supervisor of Herpetology, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens; Meredith Persky, Veterinarian, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens; return volunteers, Doris Dimmitt, Rodney Dimmitt, Tim Gregory, and Emily Gregory; and new volunteers, Jesse Rope, Jonathan Dubon and Ajay Williams
We would like to express our gratitude to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for their continued financial support spring health assessments at the HCRC and to the Turtle Survival Alliance for supplying the PIT tags and associated equipment. Finally, a special thanks is in order to Doris and Rod Dimmitt for supplying Tom Pop with new waders to keep him warm and safe from leeches!
https://www.bfreebz.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/IMG_3068-1-rotated.jpg20161512Tyler Sanvillehttps://www.bfreebz.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Logo-1080.pngTyler Sanville2020-04-02 18:44:032020-04-02 18:44:05Spring Health Assessment 2020