Category Archives: Caribbean Curiosities

Caribbean Curiosities: Love Songs

Love is always in the air on steamy Caribbean nights, and you can hear the songs that prove it. A gentle hum, a sawing drone, or a piercing chirp, these calls broadcast into the darkness, pleading for partnership. A nocturnal lifestyle has certain advantages here on St. Martin, especially if you are very small. Birds …

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Caribbean Curiosities: Love Songs

Love is always in the air on steamy Caribbean nights, and you can hear the songs that prove it. A gentle hum, a sawing drone, or a piercing chirp, these calls broadcast into the darkness, pleading for partnership. A nocturnal lifestyle has certain advantages here on St. Martin, especially if you are very small. Birds …

read more

Caribbean Curiosities: Monkey Business

Invasive species have a long track record of disrupting native plants and animals, particularly on islands. As Vervet Monkey populations increase, what can we expect on St. Martin? Although they are resilient enough to survive hurricanes and droughts, island ecosystems are delicate in some ways. Invasive species, in particular, have the potential to cause destruction …

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Caribbean Curiosities: Monkey Business

Invasive species have a long track record of disrupting native plants and animals, particularly on islands. As Vervet Monkey populations increase, what can we expect on St. Martin? Although they are resilient enough to survive hurricanes and droughts, island ecosystems are delicate in some ways. Invasive species, in particular, have the potential to cause destruction …

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Caribbean Curiosities: Mini Maestro of the Mangroves

Our salt ponds and mangrove wetlands are a complex ecosystem. Many kinds of plants and animals interact in harmony to keep St. Martin’s shores from eroding and preserve our clear waters and coral reefs. One tiny animal in particular plays a big role in holding it all together. Fiddler crabs are small, a couple inches …

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Caribbean Curiosities: Live Fast, Transform Young

The Cuban Treefrog is the only amphibian on St. Martin that needs to live in fresh water as it develops, and on St. Martin this is a very challenging proposition. The Cuban Treefrog is native to Cuba, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, but humans have brought it to many other places. It now lives …

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Caribbean Curiosities: Here Be Monsters

You’ve marveled at them and perhaps been momentarily intimidated by one. It’s the often massive lizard roaming St. Martin: the Green Iguana. The Green Iguana is named after a color it often outgrows. Freshly-hatched iguanas are a brilliant acid green. As they age, their color fades to darker greens and shades of gray. Male iguanas …

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Caribbean Curiosities: Nowhere Else in the World

At last count, there are six different species of gecko on St. Martin. Some of them are tiny, about three centimeters long. The Tropical House Gecko is medium-sized and commonly seen climbing walls and eating insects attracted to porch lights. By comparison, the Spotted Woodslave is a monster—up to 20 centimeters overall—with a stout body …

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Caribbean Curiosities: The Tree of Life

It is easy to love the mango tree for its sweet, juicy fruit or the flamboyant for its showy crown of flowers. Both come from far away, yet have become a part of Caribbean landscapes and cultures. The true native jewel of the Caribbean is a tree that is unfamiliar to many, but without equal …

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Caribbean Curiosities: Monster from the Shallows

They may not look scary—especially the inch-long juveniles in the aquarium at Amuseum Naturalis—but tilapia have a host of characteristics that make them fearsome invaders on an island like St. Martin. Tilapia are a group of fish from the warm parts of Africa and the Middle East. They are diverse, with about 100 species, and …

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