With the departure of several key team members after Guanica dry forest, a team of nine continued on to Mata de Platano in the Karst Region and Toro Negro, the highest elevation park on the island. Lauren Esposito, postdoc at UC Berkeley, two PhD students from the University of Puerto Rico, Heine Kiesbuy and Zamira Yusseff Vanegas, along with six undergraduate students from the UPR and Lewis and Clark College ventured to the next two field sites in search of arachnid biodiversity. Within the protected gates of Mata de Platano, boas hung from the roof of a cave awaiting the nocturnal exit of thousands of bats. Within this cave the BioGeo team collected Loxoceles and trapdoor spiders from the floor and at least two large Phrynus (Whip Scorpions) species from the walls; some so large it took two gloved hands to capture. The drive to Toro Negro took the team up long steep roads to the pinnacle of Puerto Rico. The park was wet and many spiders found refuge under the broad leaves of trees and shrubs. Cerro Punta, the highest summit of the island, was home to many Salticids, beautifully ornamented jumping spiders, and probably at least three species of Tetragnatha. This concludes the first round of collection on Puerto Rico, and sets the stage for countless future adventures to catalogue the arachnids of the Caribbean biodiversity hotspot.
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Write sofancy, just an overview.