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Los Tuxtlas Region, Veracuz

Tropical Atlantic coast forest The coastal Veracruz rain forest near Catemaco, Mexico, is at sea level, and receives about 5m of rain each year - roughly 15 feet of rain.  The biological diversity of the remnants of forest is enormous, including hundreds of species of mammals (most spectacularly howler monkeys), birds, and reptile and amphibians. 

Since the late 1980s, I have studied Nephila clavipes at and around the field station Los Tuxtlas, run by the Instituto de Biología of the Universidad National Autonoma de México.  Other sites in the area include Playa Escondida and Nanciyaga, however genetic analyses by Juan Nuñez Farfán suggest that the spiders I find at these locations are all part of the same population (they share the same genetic alleles).  Conversion of forest to pasture by clear-cutting is fragmenting the population into small pieces because these spiders won't build in open grasslands.