Breathtaking Mira

Mira – where Stenocercus lizards are common

In many parts of the world people are demanding equitable solutions to overcome the social, economic, and environmental crises we are experiencing. In South American countries, it is not a surprise that the streets are the settings where people claim for social justice and better life conditions. In fact, on June 2022, Ecuador witnessed an 18-day national strike, which more than anything reflected that individual interests are blocking our progress as a society.

Once normality was restored in Ecuador, we travelled to Mira, a small town located at the northern most province of Ecuador, Carchi.

Map showing the location of Mira. Image taken from Google Earth.

This place is well-known for its breathtaking landscapes and viewpoints as well as for its variable weather. Our hosts were an incredible woman named Patricia Vizuete and her sister Mercedes, who kindly shared their house with us.

Even though this place does not belong to any protected area, the abundance of our focal species, the endemic lizard Stenocercus chota , is greatly represented. Thereby, we were able to record several behaviours such as matings, territorial displays, and predation. This latter interaction caught us by surprise and we were a bit reluctant to conclude that we had just witnessed a lizard captured by a hawk until our photos confirmed it. As such an event has not been recorded before, we will publish a scientific note to document this aspect of the natural history of these species.

I was very happy with the outcomes of this field work, not only because this was the first study site I successfully completed all planned activities but also because I demonstrated to myself that I can accomplish things by working hard on it. 

Estefany Guerra Correa