Hiking through the humming forest along Guyana’s upper Potaro River in the deep dark of night, the American herpetologist slowly swung his flashlight, scanning for secretive creatures. In the narrow but bright beam, he caught the unusual glimmer of brilliant blue, sticking out of a small hole in a rotting stump.
“At first I quickly dismissed it – surely it was just the eye shine coming from a spider. But something was different, and I must have been subconsciously aware. Something made me go back. And it is a good thing I did,” biologist, conservationist and photographer, Andrew Snyder recalled.
Originally tasked with discovering amphibians and reptiles, the experienced Snyder used visual cues to promptly process images, honed from years of nocturnal surveys. “For some organisms, like snakes, it is a certain body shape, and for others, it can be a glint of eye shine. Many jungle organisms give off eye shine, caused by the reflection of your beam of light off of a membrane in the eye, and typically with a characteristic colour depending on the organism. Certain species of tree boa, for example, give off an orange reflection, which is purplish-orange in moths, and green-blue in spiders,” he explained in a guest blog for sponsor Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC)…..