“almost-every-two-year” meeting of Latin American scarab
workers was held 10-16 October 2004 at EARTH University in the warm
Atlantic lowlands of Limon Province, Costa Rica. Previous meetings
have been held in Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil.
The next meeting is tentatively planned for Bolivia in 2006.
The Costa Rica meeting was organized by Bert Kohlmann (EARTH University)
and Angel Solís (INBio), and they did a spectacular job of
making everything run smoothly and efficiently. Transportation to
and from the airport in San José was provided, and the accommodations,
food, and the meeting venue at EARTH University were outstanding.
The facilities at EARTH were modern, ultra-clean, comfortable, and
surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. Kiskadees greeted you each
morning with their song on your walk to the dining hall, and crickets
and frogs bid you good evening each night . . . well, actually,
they were advertising for sex, but you get my meaning about the
ambiance. And what better ambiance for a scarab meeting than to
have elephant beetles (Megasoma elephas) flying to the street lights
Adding to all of this was the genuine collegiality of all in attendance
who shared a common interest in all things scarabaeoid. For some,
their work was a beginning Master’s thesis and for others
a lifelong, professional passion. Regardless of age, experience,
or nationality, language barriers melted away when talking about
scarabs. Cerveza and Cuba libres each night assisted with translations.
There were 45 registrants for the meeting from 13 countries (Mexico,
Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Bolivia, Canada, United States,
South Africa, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, and Belgium).
There were 40 presentations (most in Spanish, some in English) on
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Powerpoint presentations accompanied
each talk. On Tuesday, nearly everyone went on a field trip to INBio
on a chartered bus to study collections and tour the institute.
On Thursday, there were tours of the very large EARTH University
campus that included a banana plantation and processing plant as
well as a 400 hectare rainforest preserve. During our several hours
of walking in the preserve, we saw numerous insects, spiders (giant
orb weaver and tarantulas), snakes (including a fer-de-lance), lizards,
frogs, and monkeys (howler, spider, and white face). I have been
told that a couple of insects accidentally fell into small vials,
but I disclaim any firsthand knowledge of this.
One night, there was a group dinner at an outdoor restaurant in
nearby Guapiles where reservations had been made. The restaurant
was so overwhelmed with the size of our group that the evening turned
into a comical circus. Conversely, an incredibly good farewell dinner
was held at EARTH University on Friday, our last evening, and it
was a memorable occasion with white linen, wine glasses, and silverware
table settings in “country club-in-the-jungle” surroundings,
free bar, excellent food, and tremendous conviviality.
All participants at the Reunión received a briefcase, hat
and t-shirt, all emblazoned with the scarab logo for the meeting,
printed program with abstracts, and two CDs with the abstracts,
participant contact information, short videos about EARTH University,
and photos from the meetings. This has to be one of the best meetings
I have ever attended, and it sets a high standard for all of those