National Geographic : 1948 Aug
267 Keeping House for a Biologist in Colombia hard at work discussing organization or dictating to Helen Booth, his secretary; Sally fighting with Eduardito, the super intendent's child out front; and, beyond, the spider monkeys swinging back and forth, back and forth across their cage. The spider monkeys have not been used for any experiments. They merely eat and swing, though the Boss doesn't approve of having animals around that aren't used! So also the butterfly collection, the cabinet of prepared bird and animal skins, and the jar full of various snakes and other reptiles are of course a very good example of the Boss's contention that one can follow only one line of investigation at once! Having started to tell about the lab, I find myself entangled with the Boss. This is perhaps because the lab is his second self and is as changing as he is. If I don't get over there for a week, there is no knowing what I shall find new cages in the animal house, a new storeroom behind the carpentry, or a beautiful leather case for the Graflex camera. Mating of the Mosquitoes One surprise was a small room within a room, a magnified closet painted white, with a wet sand floor in which were buzzing about some bewildered Haema gogus mosquitoes, the hope being that proximity, one to the other, and the lack of other distractions would cause them to mate in captivity. Why extreme boredom should cause them to mate, I don't know; but then, you never can tell about mosquitoes. The Boss goes in there and sits with his pets, trying, as he says, to get "their point of view." Not only that, but he goes in there to feed them, for the female mosquito before she can produce eggs must have a blood meal. Fortunately in many cases a rabbit or guinea pig will do as well, but there are some which definitely prefer man. Since the Boss does not believe in ask ing his boys to do anything he would not do, he goes in with the rest and passes the time pleasantly, shirt off and legs bared, teaching the others English. Over at the insectary where the larvae live are rows and rows of enamel pans, each carefully tagged and numbered, and each with its population of larvae in different stages of growth. Some seem They Also Serve Who Sit and Get Bitten If these Colombian laboratory men were working, their legs would be bared as bait for jungle mosquitoes. Alfredo, on the platform, would be catching more than Moreno, even though only 15 feet higher. When mosquitoes alight on the skin, they are trapped in small vials. Vaccination protects the men from yellow fever; others have had the disease.