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.
Birds and Animals of the Machiguenga
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
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