Birds and Animals of the Machiguenga
To access the large version of each photo (only about 60k), simply click on the thumbnail photo. These were taken by Ethan Russo, a neurologist who spent two months in Eastern Peru, searching for botanical treatments for headache. Russo travelled with Glenn Shepard, a PhD candidate in anthropology at UC Berkeley, and local guides.


Blue Crowned Motmot, Momotus momota, perching nicely to boost the photographer's self-esteem.


Razor-billed Curassow, Crax mitu, critically endangered elsewhere in the Amazon.


Pale Wing Trumpeter, Psophia leucoptera, exceptionally rare. See it here, because it is not in Dunning's book South American Birds.


A huge caterpillar, with Glenn's element-ravaged foot for scale. This metamorphoses into a giant moth. It assures its survival to that point by bearing savagely stinging hairs available to unleash on the unwary attacker.


Tree frog, Phyllomedusa vaillanti, no local name. This handsome fellow is from a family of frogs known for skin secretions loaded with biologically active peptides. The Matses and Mayoruna tribes employ Phyllomedusa bicolor secretions applied to self inflicted skin burns to produce an agonizing attack of diarrhea, vomiting, tachycardia and systemic collapse, that is followed by a state of hyper-acuity of the senses attended by abundant energy and stamina without need for food or drink. Among other components, it contains dermorphin and deltorphin, peptides with analgesic properties 2000 times more potent than morphine at the cerebral level.

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