Golden Dragonfly- a spectacular ‘gilded’ dragonfly spotted by the Tramp while trekking along the Berwala choe in the Khol-hai-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary area.
Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata) is a ground beetle of deciduous forests, a little over half-an-inch in length and with long legs.
The large white mandibles give the insect a ferocious look (hence the name ‘Tiger’) and help it subdue its prey – caterpillars, ants, spiders etc.
This carnivorous beetle can run and fly fast- sometimes so fast that it momentarily blinds itself as the eyes are unable to capture sufficient light! It hunts its prey in sandy areas. The glossy green, hardened forewings give its back a metallic shield-like look and bear the distinctive white spots – generally 3 on either wing – 6 in all.
The female lays eggs in sand and the larvae burrow into the ground to emerge suddenly like a Jack-in-a-box for pouncing on unsuspecting prey.
Yellow Pansy (Junonia hierta) – is a butterfly seen in open scrub and grasslands. The male has a bright yellow upperside and the forewing has jet black corner with white streaks. The anterior portion of the hind wing is black with a large shiny blue spot. In the female the colours are duller and the blue spot is small and ill-defined and may even be absent.
Erthesina acuminata (common name Stinkbug) is one of the 5000 species of insects of the Pentatomidae family. The bug gets its name from the foul-smelling secretion produced by it when alarmed. The odourous secretion may get transferred to the resting place of the insect such as fruit or leaves of a plant leaving them with a nauseating taste. In Assam and Manipur the stinkbug is eaten in dried form by the local people as a source of animal protein supplement.
Day flying ‘Tiger-striped’ Moth – Episteme adulatrix: A brightly coloured day flying moth with a tiger-striped orange-black abdomen that can easily be confused with a butterfly. The non-clubbed antennae and the stout abdomen are the give-aways that tell you that it’s a moth and not a butterfly.
The moth was identified by Sh. Sanjay Sondhi, a Dehradun based Naturalist.
Indian Tortoiseshell (Aglais caschmirensis) is a colourful, medium-sized butterfly (wingspan of about 2 inches) that has reddish-orange wings with prominent black and yellow, high contrast ‘zebra’ markings on the forewings and a border of blue-spots on the edges. Its larvae feeds on nettle (urtica).
It occurs in the Himalayas from 1000 to 4000 metres.
It is difficult to spot when its wings are closed because of its perfect ‘woody’ camouflage. The wings may be flicked open to flash the bright colours to scare off a bird.
It can be spotted on open ground with wings open when the temperature is cooler. The wings are kept closed under warm conditions.
It feeds on the nectar of wild and cultivated plants.
This specimen was photographed at Karoh Peak which at 1467 metres is the highest peak of Morni-Tipra Hills.
Northern Spotted Grasshopper (Aularches miliaris) – a colourful grasshopper of South and Southeast Asia with dark, glossy green head and thorax and a canary-yellow band on the side. Wings are green with yellow spots. Legs are a metallic blue. Abdomen is banded in red and black.
A heavy and sluggish grasshopper it is capable of only short leaps. Its bright colours warn off the predators. On being threatened or picked up it ejects a foul smelling, bitter-tasting bubbly foam (mucous) and partly covers itself with it (and hence its alternate name- Foam Grasshopper). It breeds in October.
This particular specimen was spotted by the Doc while on a trek along the Berwala choe on a hot and humid afternoon in the month of August.
Common Blue Jewel (Rhinocypha perforata) is commonly spotted in swift flowing streams in low hills and mountains.