In southern French Guiana is located its second highest mountain within the chain called Mont Tabulaires, with an elevation of 830m, often shrouded in mist, Mount Itoupé has luxurious vegetation particularly rich in mosses and ferns.
In 2010, a scientific expedition highlighted the great richness of plants and animals, a high level of endemism and lead to the discovery of several new species.
In November 2014, a new expedition was financed and organized by the study centre of the Amazonian biodiversity (CEBA) et the Amazonian Park of Guiana. During one month, around forty scientists came there to study in the same plots the diversity of eight group of species: plants, arthropods, amphibians, large mammals, fish, aquatic invertebrates, worms and fungi. The originality of this ambitious project, coordinated by Christopher Baraloto from the INRA (Institut national de la recherche agronomique) of Kourou, relies in the simultaneous description of numerous species in the same plots and with standardized protocols. These samplings improve the estimation of the biodiversity in Guiana, enable a better comprehension of species assemblies and improve the accuracy of dynamic models of biodiversity under various climate change scenarios.
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Most of the team had already been in the field for five days when together with three colleagues I took off from Cayenne to join them. My job was to help Vincent Vedel in collecting and sorting spiders. The next days would be busy but I would try to take some pictures in my free time.

Take off in helicopter from Cayenne.
Mountains Balenfois where the Nouragues scientific station is located ( Some others mountains. In the bad weather, the pilot is looking for the drop zone near to the base camp. Some weeks ago, some foresters were transported by helicopter to a savannah several hours' walk from the camp and had to clear the drop zone through the dense forest. He will come back in ten days The camp: the dining table on the left, working table on the right. 180° view of the East and South wings of the camp.
The menus for the following days are already presented. A jumble of branches, roots and lianas (woody vines) covered by mosses. Forest as far as the eye can see.
After sampling, the lengthy sorting work. A quick rest on the way back after sampling by night. In the dark, another forest emerges, other animals come out, others sounds, landmarks appear different, one can see only a few meters away, the forest seems even more dense than during the day, it becomes quite easy to get lost. The Goliath birdeater spider (Téraphosa leblondi) the largest tarantula (30cm leg-span). A young tarantula The Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria fera) is the most venomous and one of the most aggressive spider which does not hesitate to attack when disturbed. Phoneutria means murderer in Greek... Phyllomédusa tomopterna The model poses for the photographer of the expedition ( Two lizards, the second is Neusticurus rudis A cassidi (Cassidinae) Ponerine ant (Neoponera sp) after a victorious raid in a termite mound with its trophy (a termite soldier). An additional venom injection. An elegant mantis. Two grasshoppers with mimetic and carnival styles. The harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus) is a very large longhorned beetle, the body can measure more than 7cm. Our team is leaving, another is coming. A stop at Saül. A stop at Maripasoula. To finish, some pictures taken during the return flight.