Thursday, December 27, 2007

Common or Gray or Hanuman Langur

The Hanuman or Gray or Common Langur (Semnopithecus entellus dussumieri or Semnopithecus dussumieri) is found commonly in forests in South India and also in urban regions in the North. They are distributed across the sub-continent. This species has now been sub-divided into 7 species from the earlier 15 sub-species that were classified. This one is the southern race of the species and was photographed at Mudhumalai, near the Bandipur National Park. It is one of the old world monkeys and subsists on a diet of leaves and fruits. They are considered holy in the Indian mythology and are believed to be the members of the original वान्नर सेना of Lord Rama when he crossed over to Sri Lanka. The black face is attributed to Lord Hanuman getting burnt when setting fire to Lanka. These monkeys are the eyes of the forest and usually call out when a predator is around. They form an alliance with the Spotted Deer or Chital (Axis axis) and warn them of predators that they see. They in-turn are benefit from the keen sense of smell of the Chital to detect the presence of predators. Both these animals are usually found foraging together. The alarm cry of the Langur is very unique and forms a part of the experience of an Indian jungle.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Rosy Periwinkle

The Rosy Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) or Vinca rosea as it was known earlier, is a native of Madagascar and is found commonly growing around human habitations in India. This plant is considered to be highly medicinal and was known to African tribals for various cures. In the modern day it is used to cure certain types of cancer in children. The alkaloids present in the flower, vincristine and vinblastine, are used in chemotherapy for childhood leukemia. The plant is a known hallucinogen and is toxic if consumed orally. Shot at Masinagudi.
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pongam or Honge or Indian Beech Tree

Pongam or Honge (Pongamia pinnata) as it's called is a native of India and grows in profusion, generally planted as avenue trees by the forest department. It's renowned for its shade and is well known in traditional uses for its medicinal properties. It is also grown as a host plant for lac insects. The tree is also one of the food plants for Common Cerulean (Jamides celeno). The seeds contain pongam oil - a red brown inedible oil - that is now being explored as an alternate fuel source. This was shot at Cubbon park.

Here are a few more pictures from Foodista
Indian Beech on Foodista

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Pink Shower Tree or Java Pink Cassia

The Java Pink Cassia or Cassia javanica is a beautiful deciduous tree with clusters of pink flowers and pods that are long and tubular. The pods contain coin-like disc shaped seeds and smells plain yucky! As the scientific name suggests the tree is a native of Java and Asian tropics. This was shot in Cubbon Park.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Moulmein Rosewood

Millettia peguensis/ovalifolia or Moulmein Rosewood as it is called is native to Lower Burma and Siam. This is a relatively rare tree as compared to Pongam that is very similar looking, but more common in India. Pongam has white flowers while the Milletia flowers are bright pink. Pongam has more elongated tip to leaves, while this is more oval. Will try and upload complete tree and leaf images to make it easier to distinguish. This was shot in Cubbon Park.

This whole lot of pictures are processed purely using FOSS. The RAW processing was done using RawTherapee and the final image labelling and compression through ImageMagick. All on Ubuntu Feisty.
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One of the loveliest smelling flowers, the Frangipani (Plumeria rubra) or Temple Tree as it is known in India. These trees are more commonly found planted near a temple and hence the name. The flower is called चंपा in हिंदी and Deva kannagle in Kannada. It is more commonly recognized as the flowers that the Hawaiian dancer wear as a garland.

They are pollinated by moths in the night. Not too sure if there are any in India that pollinate it as it is a native of tropical America. This was shot at Cubbon Park.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


This guy was almost our pet at home :) He'd be there everyday on our walls catching insects, with special favorite being the pesky cockroaches. This guy was able to devour even the biggest of them, being 8-10 inches long. He'd also defaecate only in one place, right below the shower in our bathroom. Talk about toilet training! Don't see him around much nowadays - but a slightly smaller one (about 6 inches long) is now a regular. Miss him for all the cockroaches that he'd get rid of and for being such a nice gentleman! Don't know the species for certain. Will add it up once I find out.
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Giant Wood Spider

This is a Giant Wood Spider (Nephila maculata) found usually during the end of the year monsoons in Bangalore outskirts. This one was shot at Valley School, against the light. This is one of the two types that occurs in Bangalore. The other one being the black and red Nephla kuhli. The two tiny spiders, in the frame towards the top-left and between the last two legs on the right, are the males of this species. Talk about size difference! The female also promptly eats-up the male after intercourse!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Blue Porter

Another shot of the Blue Porter Weed (Stachyptarpheta indica), a native herb in India. Shot at Valley School, this was the first time I was trying out a HDR (High Dynamic Range) image and this picture is in fact a composite of 3 images shot at different exposures.
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Elliot's Shieldtail

This is an endemic snake found only in South India and parts of Sri Lanka. It belongs to a family of snakes belonging to the family Uropeltidae. They are so called due to a shield-like tip to their tail. They are burrowing snakes and usually are found out during dawn or dusk and sometimes on cloudy days. This individual was shot at Valley School outside Bangalore and is the only type recorded from Bangalore. In all likely possibilities an Elliot's Shieldtail (Uropeltis ellioti).
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Pale Grass Blue

This is the South Indian race of the Pale Grass Blue (Pseudozizeeria maha). This was shot at Valley School outside Bangalore. This is one of the more common butterflies that can be found around Bangalore.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lime Butterfly

The Lime Butterfly is commonly found hovering around lower flowering bushes and uses the lime plant as it's food plant, hence the name. Shot at the Butterfly Park in Bannerghatta National Park.
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Striped Tiger

The Striped Tiger (Danaus genutia) is found almost thru the world, but known by different names like the Milkweed butterfly or the Monarch. This individual was shot at the Butterfly Park in Bannerghatta National Park.
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