Kalatope Sanctuary’s bio-diversity

This blog has primarily been created for showcasing the bio-diversity of the Kalatope Wildlife sanctuary. For those who are not aware of the whereabouts of this nondescript little forested belt.. it is near the touristic town of Dalhousie, Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh in India Continue reading

The Beetle bug…

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one, and that’s Little Anne
For she has crept under the warming pan.

I remember this nursery rhyme from my childhood…. but it was not till recently that I actually took notice of them. The ‘Ladybird’ is usually referred to as ‘Beetle‘ by us.. which also brings to mind, either the 60’s car Beetle Volkswagen.. or as children the famous series of ‘Ladybird’ books.. and as a teen the famous “Beatles‘, on whose music we all were humming along… It was only after I shifted into the mountains that I started noticing this little ‘bug’… and then, I suddenly realised that there were more varieties than I had thought till now…

The usual image being that of the red ladybird painted with a few black dots…. seven to be precise.. three on each wing and one central spot… called ‘Coccinella septempuctata’, or the ‘seven spotted’ beetle

Coccinella septempunctata

While ‘Coccinella septempunctata’ may have the distinction of being most common and portrayed Ladybird…. but much to my astonishment another species actually took the distinction of being the most common one…. but it comes in so many colours and designs that one would not associate it as being the same species….  As explained by Dr. Janakiraman Poorani, Harmonia eucharis (Mulsant) – is a highly polymorphic species and it is sometimes difficult to believe such different patterns belong to one species”. And this can indeed be witnessed with the record of Kalatope Sanctuary …..

Harmonia eucharis
Harmonia eucharis
Harmonia eucharis
Harmonia eucharis
Harmonia eucharis
Harmonia eucharis
Harmonia eucharis
Harmonia eucharis
Harmonia eucharis

One other species which is very widely found at the altitude of 2000 mts is Epilachna sp…. Apart from one positive id made by Dr. Pooani, I am quite confused about the others… and maybe they too are merely colour and spot variations of the same… unfortunately cannot be confirmed without dissection and is something beyond my capabilities….

Epilachna sp
Epilachna sp
Epilachna ocellata

This year, due to some change in weather conditions (or some other natural phenomenon) I chanced to find a few unusual new varieties which I had not noticed in the Kalatope Wildlife Sanctuary, like

Cheilomenes sexmaculata
Adalia tetraspilota
Illeis c.f. confusa
Halyzia sanscrita
Harmonia dimidiata

I am amazed continually by the varied species and the beauty of nature that I have had a chance to observe in the Kalatope Wildlife Sanctuary. And I do hope that those who have visited these pages of the records of this sanctuary and have visited there or have the chance to live there get to notice these beauties and appreciate them as I have been able to…..

SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT to Dr. Janakiraman Poorani from Project Directorate of Biological Control, Banguluru for her guidance and help in identifying all these Beetles. Her website ‘Coccinellidae of the Indian subcontinent’ is perhaps the only useful Ladybird identification site I have found till now for Indian species of Ladybirds.
 
Ladybird links
http://www.ladybuglady.com/
http://www.scribd.com/doc/37478206/Coccinellidae
http://www.nbaii.res.in/Featured%20insects/Harmonia_eucharis.htm
http://www.dpughphoto.com/beetles.htm
http://www.ento.csiro.au/biology/ladybirds/links.htm
 

Kalatope Moths – ‘Pyralidae, Saturniidae, Sphingidae & Notodontidae’

Some of the most beautiful moths I have seen during my study of the Moths of Kalatope sanctuary, fall into these four families. I remember catching sight of the ‘Luna moth’ caught under a piece of wood and wondering if it was dead or alive… gently prising it out and seeing the slight flutter of life which caused no end of joy for seeing the beautiful creature live… I did not know if it had any defence mechanisms against the birds which could attack it, so hid it under the tiles on the roof, where it stayed the whole day and then fluttered away into the night…

I thank whole heartedly the members of IndianMoths group on Facebook who made me come alive to the existence of Moths, especially to Dr. Roger Kendrick and Peter Smetacek who even today deal patiently with my ignorance and guide me towards knowing these creatures…

Given below is the check-list of these four families, which are hyper-linked to the image pages… Any mistakes found on these pages can be kindly pointed out to me by leaving a comment on the page…

Kalatope Moths Check-list – ‘Pyralidae, Saturniidae, Sphingidae & Notodontidae’

FAMILY

SUB-FAMILY

TRIBE

SPECIES

Pyralidae

Epipaschiinae

Locastra c.f. muscosalis (Walker, [1866])

Pyralidae

Epipaschiinae

Salma sp – Walker, 1863

Pyralidae

Pyralinae

Endotrichini

Endotricha sp. – Zeller 1847

Pyralidae

Pyralinae

Pyralini

Heterocrasa expansalis – Warren, 1896

Pyralidae

Pyralinae

Pyralini

Orybina flaviplaga – Walker, 1863

Pyralidae

Pyralinae

Pyralini

Tamraca torridalis – Lederer, 1863

Pyralidae

Pyralinae

Pyralini

Toccolosida rubriceps – Walker, 1863

Pyralidae

Pyralinae

Sacada sp. – Walker, 1862

Pyralidae

Pyralinae

Pyralis sp – Linnaeus, 1758

Pyralidae

Epipaschiinae

Coenodomus sp – Walsingham, 1888

Pyralidae

Epipaschiinae

Saturniidae

Saturniinae

Saturniini

Actias selene – Hübner, 1807 (Luna moth / Indian Moon Moth)

Saturniidae

Saturniinae

Saturniini

Loepa katinka – Westwood, 1848

Saturniidae

Saturniinae

Saturniini

Loepa sp. – Moore, 1860

Saturniidae

Saturniinae

Caligula thibeta – Westwood, 1853

Sphingidae

Macroglossinae

Macroglossini

Macroglossum nycteris – Kollar, 1844

Sphingidae

Macroglossinae

Macroglossini

Rhagastis olivacea – Moore, 1872

Sphingidae

Macroglossinae

Macroglossini

Theretra nessus – Drury, 1773

Sphingidae

Macroglossinae

Macroglossini

Theretra oldenlandiae – Fabricius, 1775

Sphingidae

Macroglossinae

Dilophonotini

Cephonodes hylas – Linnaeus, 1771

Sphingidae

Smerinthinae

Sphingulini

Dolbina sp – Staudinger, 1877

Sphingidae

Smerinthinae

Smerinthini

Clanidopsis exusta – Butler, 1875

Sphingidae

Sphinginae

Sphingulini

Dolbinopsis (Dolbina) inexacta – Walker, 1856

Sphingidae

Sphinginae

Acherontiini

Agrius convolvuli – Linnaeus, 1758

Notodontidae

Dudusiinae

Dudusa sphingiformis – Moore, 1872

Notodontidae

Phalerinae

Phalera parivala – Moore, 1859

Notodontidae

Pygaerinae

Clostera sp – Samouelle, 1819

Notodontidae

Spatalia (subgen. Allata) sp. – Hübner, 1819

Notodontidae

Ceirinae

Bireta longivitta Walker 1856

Notodontidae

Ceirinae

allied to the genera Bireta and Periergos

Notodontidae

Notodontini

Neodrymonia sp – Matsumura, 1920

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