A    D a y    I n    T h e    A m a z o n    R a i n f o r e s t

Tropical rainforests contain more than half the world’s species, and sometimes it seems like most of them are insects. Bugs are everywhere, buzzing in your face, climbing up your legs. I’ve never seen so many different kinds of ants. One biologist counted more species of ants on a single tree in the Amazon than are known to live in all of England!

A decade ago, when I was doing a study in Guatemala (in Central America), a huge swarm of army ants came into our camp. At that point, I’d spent very little time in rainforests. I’d heard about army ants from horror movies, of course, and I was expecting everyone to jump up screaming and run away in fear. I was surprised, therefore, when my colleagues calmly put away our food, grabbed a few cokes, and casually walked a hundred yards away. “We really like it when the army ants come,” someone told me. “In a few minutes they clean out all the mice and cockroaches, so we have a nice clean camp after that.”

I’m involved in several research projects in the rainforest. Some days I help my wife, Susan, who is studying rainforest birds for her Ph.D. At other times I supervise our field teams who are studying rainforest trees. In my next installment, I’ll tell you a little more about our research—like the day a big jaguar decided to sharpen its claws right in front of us!

Bill’s Journals A Day In The Amazon Rainforest    1     2     3