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party at the side of the steps of the present Zoology building.
After this short visit to the university, we started out into the country to go to Santiago de las Vegas, where the EstaciĆ³n Experimental Agronomica de Cuba is located. The station building was originally a Spanish military barracks and after the war it was reroofed and refloored and turned over to the Department of Agriculture. It is a huge square building containing or surrounding a large square patio which is used for an arboretum of palm species. Other species of palms are found outside of the building and the avenue of Royal Palms which leads from the main road to the entrance of the station is excellent.
Within the building the station staff have very spacious quarters, I would guess close to 600 sq. ft. per person. The collection is housed in schmitt boxes stored in Brock cases. I went over the material in Scarabaeidae, Tenebrionidae and Coccinellidae. Made a few identifications of species that I was sure of and pinned out a few things to be sent to me in Washington when I get back.
Scaramuzza took me outside so that I could see the rearing cages where the station work on pests is mostly carried on. Sugar, pineapples and bananas seem to be the most important crops though I think coconuts rate high. In one small cage Scara had a pet mongoose that was fed on small lizards (of which there is no scarcity in Cuba). A mongoose looks like and is about the same size as a weasel, to which it is remotely related. The animal was brought into the West Indies to control the rats in the cane fields and coconut walks. There are still rats on the islands where the mongoose has been introduced but the native ground fauna, composed of species less shrewd than rats, has suffered severely. It is only a question of a few years before some of the species of lizards and birds are exterminated.
On the way back we ran into a sudden shower that caused the pavements to become very slippery. Our driver took us through very carefully but we did see an Agriculture Department station wagon crashed in the ditch. All occupants had been taken to the hospital. We drove straight to the Secretariat but could get no news as to the present condition of the victims. From the Secretariat we drove to the dock where I made my good-byes to Bruner and Scaramuzza. We sailed from Havana at 7 PM bound for Kingston, Jamaica.