Caribbean

Dominican Republic - 2010
Greater Antilles (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Mona Island and Isla Caja de Muertos) - 2009
Bahamian Bank (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos) - 2008
Greater and Lesser Antilles (Barbados, St. Vincent, Bequia, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba and Jamaica) - 2008
Lesser Antilles (St. Kitts and Nevis) - 2008
Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico) - 2005
Martinique and French Guiana - 2004
Dominican Republic - 2004


Dominican Republic: 16 days (4–20 July, 2010), funded by the Division of Invertebrate Zoology, AMNH and a grant awarded to Sarah Schoenbrun from the Explorer’s Club. Travelled over 4000 km, visiting the provinces of Barahona, Hato Mayor, Independencia, La Altagracia, María Trinidad Sanchez, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Puerto Plata, Samaná, San Pedro de Macorís and Santiago. Jeremy Huff and Sarah Schoenbrun began the trip in the SW of the country, visiting Parque Nacional Sierra de Bahorucoand Parque Nacional Jaragua. Schoenbrun then returned to the United States on the 10th and Huff was joined by Father Alejandro Sanchez from Puerto Rico for the remainder of the trip. In total, nearly 300 scorpions, 100 whip scorpions, 90 amblypygids, 80 opiliones and 30 spiders were collected. Key finds included 2 sp. of Tityus not previously collected, Opisthacanthus lepturus, 2 new species of Microtityus, 1 new Tityus sp., 2 new Heteronebo sp., 2 new Mastigoproctus sp. and a new Ravilops sp.

Greater Antilles (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Mona Island and Isla Caja de Muertos): 10 days (14–24 October, 2009), funded by NSF DDIG Centruroides grant. Participants: Lorenzo Prendini, AMNH Scientific Assistant, Jeremy Huff, AMNH Ph.D. student, Lauren Esposito, visiting Ph.D. student, Humberto Yamaguti (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil). Four separate trips: Mona Island (Esposito, Yamaguti); St. Croix and St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands (Prendini, Huff); Isla Caja de Muertos (Esposito, Yamaguti); Puerto Rico (Prendini, Huff). Prendini, Esposito, Huff and Yamaguti spent 10 days comprehensively surveying the scorpion fauna of Puerto Rico, Mona Island and the US Virgin Islands. The team spent the first two days collecting in the Toro Negro, Cambalache and Cerro Gordo state forests, before splitting up. Esposito and Yamaguti flew to Mona Island for several days’ collecting, while Prendini and Huff flew to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prendini and Huff flew to St. Croix for one night, then on to St. Thomas where they took a ferry to St. John, for another night’s collecting. They returned to St. Thomas by ferry and flew back to Puerto Rico, spending the remaining nights in the El Yunque, Susua, Guanica, Maricao and Guilarte state forests while Esposito and Yamaguti collected on Isla Caja de Muertos. Approximately 500 specimens, mostly scorpions in the genera Centruroides, Microtityus, Rhopalurus, Tityus and Heteronebo, and amblypygids, were collected, greatly expanding the known records and diversity of the arachnid fauna of these islands.

Bahamian Bank (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos): 4 days (1–4 August, 2008), funded by the City University of New York Graduate Research Grant, an Ernst Mayr Award, and the CUNY AGEP Summer Grant. Graduate student Lauren Esposito travelled to Providenciales Island in the Turks and Caicos to collect specimens of Centruroides platnicki, a scorpion species endemic to the tiny limestone island. She soon located specimens of Centruroides in the undeveloped area on the far eastern side of the island and returned to New York with approximately 30 specimens.

Greater and Lesser Antilles (Barbados, St. Vincent, Bequia, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba and Jamaica): 3 weeks (7–31 July, 2008), funded by the City University of New York Graduate Research Grant, an Ernst Mayr Award, and the CUNY AGEP Summer Grant. Graduate student Lauren Esposito, assisted by Daisy Schiff, travelled to 8 Caribbean islands in three weeks to collect all of the described species of scorpions, amblypygids and solifuges. After departing for Barbados, the team spent 4 days circumnavigating the island in search of the two endemic species of scorpion but were unable to find a single scorpion. Over 97% of the island is deforested and the few forested gullies remaining intact are completely wrought with invasive species. They then flew from Barbados to the nearby island of St. Vincent, which has retained much of its original forest. Soon after arrival, a tropical storm moved into the area making fieldwork wet and difficult. For two days, Esposito & Schiff unsuccessfully searched the island, and then decided to seek drier weather, departing by ferry to Bequia, the northernmost island of the Grenadines. During the two days spent in Bequia, they collected approximately 40 specimens of Tityus pictus microdon. After the success in Bequia and ready to brave the weather, they returned to St. Vincent and collected a single specimen of the endemic scorpion species, Didymocentrus minor, at the type locality. From St. Vincent, Esposito and Schiff boarded a plane to Grenada, where they collected specimens of Phrynus tessellatus, Tityus atriventer, Tityus pictus, and Didymocentrus waeringi. From Grenada, they travelled to Curaçao, in search of Centruroides testaceus at the CARMABI Research Station. They collected specimens of Didymocentrus hasethi, Centruroides testaceus, and Phrynus pulchripes before travelling on to Aruba. On Aruba, they collected specimens of the endemic subspecies Centruroides testaceus arubensis. Lastly, they made a brief visit to the third island of the Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire, where they collected specimens of Centruroides testaceus, Didymocentrus hummelincki, and Phrynus pulchripes. From Bonaire, Esposito and Schiff travelled north to Jamaica in the hopes of locating specimens of Centruroides underwoodi, a species from the Rio Grande valley known from only two specimens. After searching unsuccessfully, despite enlisting the help of a local bush doctor who was extremely familiar with the terrain, Esposito and Schiff returned to New York. The trip to the six islands yielded approximately 200 specimens including two orders of arachnids, three families, four genera, seven species and four subspecies.

Lesser Antilles (St. Kitts and Nevis): 6 days (30 June –6 July, 2008), funded by the City University of New York Graduate Research Grant, an Ernst Mayr Award, and the CUNY AGEP Summer Grant. Graduate student Lauren Esposito travelled to St. Kitts and Nevis to collect specimens of Oiclus purvesii, Centruroides barbudensis, Phrynus goesii, and Isometrus maculatus. She spent two days circumnavigating each island, and collected approximately 30 arachnids from two orders, three families and four genera.

Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico): 4 weeks (Puerto Rico: 9–15 July, 12–15 August, 2005; Jamaica: 21 July–1 August, 2005; Dominican Republic: 1–11 August, 2005), funded by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation. Four trips were undertaken by AMNH Ph.D. student Lauren Esposito, assisted by AMNH Ph.D. student Francisca Almeida, and Saul and Stephanie Nava (graduate students at Indiana State University). The expedition began in Puerto Rico, where Esposito and the Navas travelled ca. 600 km throughout the south and east of the island, collecting specimens in subtropical rain forest, subtropical dry forest, desert, cloud forest and coastal forest at altitudes from 0–1,000 m. Three genera and species of scorpions were collected, despite the presence of tropical storms. Esposito, Almeida, and the Navas travelled on to Jamaica, covering ca. 2,000 km through most habitat types in the southern provinces of St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St. Catherine, St. Andrew, St. Thomas, and Portland: evergreen drought-deciduous shrubland, lowland semi-deciduous forest, desert, montane grassland, submontane seasonal forest, montane rain foresrt, submontane rainforest and cloud forest, ranging from 0–2,000 m in altitude. Approximately 100 scorpion specimens, in 4 genera and 8 species (nearly the entire Jamaican scorpiofauna), were collected. From Jamaica, Esposito and Almeida traveled to the western Dominican Republic provinces of Santiago, Monte Cristi, San Juan, Azua, Barahona, Independencia, and Baoruco, covering ca. 2,000 km through desert, drought deciduous shrubland, montane rainforest, cloud forest, mixed evergreen forest, pine forest, dry forest, grassland and semi-deciduous forest at altitudes from 21 m below sea level to 4,500 m. Approximately 100 scorpion specimens, in 4 genera and 7 species, were collected. Esposito and Almeida returned to Puerto Rico to join the Navas for a further 500 km across southern Puerto Rico and the island of Vieques, sampling subtropical dry forest, desert, cloud forest, and submontane rainforest from 0–1,200 m. Approximately 20 scorpions, in 3 genera and species, and three species of Phrynus (Amblypygi), were collected during the second trip to Puerto Rico.

Martinique and French Guiana: 3.5 weeks (Martinique: 5–9 December, 2004; French Guiana: 9–28 December, 2004), funded by the NSF ATOL grant. Volunteer, Jeremy Huff started the expedition with a survey of the Caribbean island of Martinique, travelling ca. 600 km in four days though secondary growth, broadleaf forest, making collections of amblypygids and diplocentrid scorpions. Huff flew on to French Guiana, where he travelled the entire east coast, from Kourou to Brazil, and visited four mountain ranges, before flying to Saül in the interior, a roundtrip of ca. 1600 km, including at least 200 km hiking on trails through primary and secondary rainforests from elevations of 16–290 m. Huff collected ca. 100 scorpions, 25 amblypygids, 5 uropygids, 40 pseudoscorpions, 20 Opiliones, 200 spiders, and 300 myriapods in French Guiana, including important outgroup taxa for the ATOL project, e.g. Heterophrynus longicornis, Thelyphonellus amazonicus, as well as endemic scorpion taxa.

Dominican Republic: 2.5 weeks (6–23 July, 2004), funded by the Volschenk Postdoctoral Research Fund. AMNH postdoctoral fellow, Dr Erich Volschenk, and volunteer, Jeremy Huff, supported and assisted by Kelvin A. Guerrero (Consultant Biologist and Systematic Entomologist) travelled ca. 4,500 km through the Independencia, La Altagracia, La Vega, Pedernales and Santiago provinces, collecting in montane pine forest and rainforest, dry deciduous forest, spiny forest, coastal grassland, arid floodplain, and limestone caves, from 20 m below sea level to 2,340 m altitude. Approximately 1,520 scorpions (7 genera, 29 species) were collected, including a new genus of minute buthid scorpion from forest leaf litter and a new Rhopalurus species. More than 2,000 amblypygids, myriapods, opilionids, pseudoscorpions, schizomids (2 species), spiders, and uropygids (2 genera), were acquired, including the first specimens of the uropygid, Thelyphonellus wethebeei, collected since the types.