Today we climbed higher into the Luquillo mountains – all the way to the top of Pico El Yunque. At these elevations the tabonuco rainforest (named for the dominant species, Dacryodes excelsa – more on this another post) transitions into cloud forest and elfin forest. At these elevations the forest is always in the clouds, so a cool mist pervades the environment – sometimes entire clouds blow past. Below you can see a stone tower built in this forest.
One of the most exciting finds of the day was a semi-slug, Gaeotis flavolineata. These are gastropods whose shells have evolved to become too small for the organism to retract fully – something in between a land snail and a slug. The bright green part is the shell in this photo; the transparent part is its body. If you know anything more about this species please make a comment!
Because of all the moisture coming from the bath of clouds, streams and waterfalls are a common sight, making for beautiful hiking! Tomorrow we’re back to work in the forest dynamics plot, but with good memories of another biological world higher up.