I'm really antsy to get off the island. Americans take for granted the ability to jump into a car and move freely across four million squares miles of political boundaries... my home state alone is the size of France! So, living on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean can be suffocating.
Conversely, living in a tropical jungle means there's always something exciting going on. Last week we had two indicators of ecosystem bouncebacks: a land hermit crab sighting and a sudden bee swarm.
Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus)
Like all hermit crabs, these guys find old shells to live in. They are both the biggest species in Bermuda and the only hermits that live on land, causing real estate to be a perpetual seller's market. Bermudians added insult to injury by overfishing their shell of choice: the West Indian Topshell. The decimation of one species led to total poverty for the other. As far as we can tell, the land hermit crab survived the last few decades by carrying around fossils and human garbage.
The Topshell was reintroduced to the island in 1982 with severe protection laws. Both species have been on the rise ever since, though the land crabs are still a pretty rare find. The one pictured above (now a temporary lab pet) is snuggled into his very own West Indian Topshell! A solid sign of ecosystem recovery.
Between mites, pesticides, hurricanes, and the general global phenomenon, bee populations in Bermuda have declined drastically over the past decade. A group finally formed in 2013 (The Buzz) to help restore a natural environment condusive to bee reproduction. Last weekend a huge swarm flew into my neighbor's garden, and a local beekeeper was able to remove and re-home them into a proper hive box.
And here's a picture of my lil' nugget. I'm not looking forward to being apart for the next 3 weeks.