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April 2011 | Vol. 3 | No. 4 | Pages 1637–1736 Date of Publication 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)

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3(4): 1637–1655

An inventory of the chiropteran fauna of Himachal Pradesh, northwestern India with some ecological observations Uttam Saikia 1, M.L. Thakur 2, Mayur Bawri 3 & P.C. Bhattacherjee 4 High Altitude Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Saproon, Solan, Himachal Pradesh 173211, India Department of Biosciences, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171005, India 3,4 Department of Zoology, Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam 781014, India Email: 1 uttamzsi@gmail.com, 2 mlthakur75@gmail.com, 3 mayurbawri@yahoo.co, 4 bhattapc@wti.org.in 1 2

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Malcolm Pearch Manuscript details: Ms # o2409 Received 22 February 2010 Final received 15 March 2011 Finally accepted 29 March 2011 Citation: Saikia, U., M.L. Thakur, M. Bawri & P.C. Bhattacherjee (2011). An inventory of the chiropteran fauna of Himachal Pradesh, northwestern India with some ecological observations. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1637–1655. Copyright: © Uttam Saikia, M.L. Thakur, Mayur Bawri & P.C. Bhattacherjee 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Author Contribution: US conducted the field survey, identification of specimens and wrote the paper. MLT helped writing the paper and also accompanied in some field trips. MB helped in getting certain literature and helped in analyzing the results. PCB provided guidance in planning the field survey and also helped writing the mss. For Author Details and Acknowledgements see end of this article.

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Abstract: A chiropteran inventory of Himachal Pradesh, northwestern India is presented. Based on field observation and the study of museum collections and published literature, the occurrence of 28 species within 14 genera and five families is affirmed. The study also provides observations on ecology and biology of selected species, and ecological, zoogeographical and conservation aspects of the chiropteran fauna of Himachal Pradesh are also discussed. Considering the lack of studies on the bat fauna of Himachal Pradesh, it is expected that systematic and intensive field surveys will refine significantly our knowledge of diversity and distribution of Chiroptera in the state. Keywords: Chiroptera, distribution, Himachal Pradesh, inventory, locality records.

Introduction The state of Himachal Pradesh lies in the northwestern Himalaya between 30022’44”–33012’40”N and 75040’55”–79004’20”E and encompasses an area of 55,673km2. The state has been divided into four distinct parallel physiographic zones, namely Shiwalik Himalaya, Lesser Himalaya, Greater Himalaya and Trans-Himalaya covering around 10.54% of the Himalayan land mass. The Shiwalik Himalaya (up to an elevation of 1500m) represent the southernmost zone, extending from northwest to south, 40–60 km wide and covering the districts of Sirmour, Solan, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una and parts of Chamba and Kangra. The Lesser Himalaya (about 80km wide) run from north of the Shiwalik and parallel to the great Himalayan range. This zone encompasses the districts of Shimla, Mandi and parts of the districts of Chamba, Kullu, Kangra and Sirmour. The Great Himalayan ranges lie just north of the Chandrabhaga River in Lahaul-Spiti and contain peaks with an elevation in excess of 6000m. This zone covers the Pangi region of Chamba District and certain portions of Kullu and Kinnaur districts. The Trans-Himalayan region, comprising Lahaul and Spiti valleys and parts of the district of Kinnaur, is characterised by extreme cold, low precipitation and lack of vegetation and is often referred to as cold desert (Rodger & Panwar 1988). Abbreviations: AMNH - American Museum of Natural History, New York; BB - Breadth of braincase; C1-C1 - Width across upper canines; CBL - Condylo-basal length; CCL - Condylo-canine length; CM3 - Length of the maxillary tooth-row; CM3 - Length of mandibular tooth-row; E - Ear length; FA - Forearm length; FMNH - Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; GTL - Greatest length of skull; HARC - High Altitude Regional Centre; HB - Head body length; HF - Feet length; M - Mandible length; M3-M3 - Width across upper molars; NZC - National Zoological Collection; TB - Length of tibia; TL - Tail length; Tr - Length of tragus; ZSIK - Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata; ZSIS Zoological Survey of India, Solan; ZW - Zygomatic width.

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Himachal Pradesh has an elevation range of 350–6,975 m. At lower elevations, four seasons: winter (December–February), summer (March– June), monsoon (July–September) and post monsoon (October–November) are recognised, with seasonal individuality decreasing with elevation. In higher alpine zones temperatures remain low throughout the year with subzero temperatures during the winter months. The state has an estimated forest cover of 17.15% of the total geographical area (Joshi et al. 2001). Along the foothills, vegetation is dominated by tropical forest of Acacia and Zizyphus or deciduous Sal (Shorea robusta) forest. Within an elevation range of 500–1800 m, subtropical forest of Terminalia, Albizzia or pure chir-pine (Pinus roxburghii) is found. Forest type between 1500–3000 m can be divided into moist temperate and dry temperate. Moist temperate forest is dominated by various species of oak (Quercus spp.), Deodar (Cedrus deodaria), Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiana) and Rhododendron sp. The dry temperate forest is characterised by species including Quercus sp. and Pinus gerardiana. Sub-alpine forest in the state is composed of birch (Betula utilis) and fir (Abies spectabilis) or scrub of Rhododendron campanulatum and Juniperus communis. Between the tree line and the snow line, dry alpine pastures of Caragana sp., Lonicera sp., Festuca sp., and Artemisia sp. are present. The small mammalian fauna of Himachal Pradesh, and Chiroptera in particular, have received relatively little recent study compared to other vertebrate groups. The first report pertaining to the Chiroptera of Himachal Pradesh was that of Dobson (1873) who described Vespertilio murinoides (later synonymised with Myotis blythii) from the Chamba area of the state (erstwhile Punjab). Some information on diversity and distribution of bat fauna of the area is available from the past accounts of Blanford (1888–1891), Allen (1908), Dodsworth (1913), Thomas (1915) and Lindsay (1927). Blanford (1888–1891), in his “Fauna of British India”, reported a few species of bats from the political boundary of present Himachal Pradesh, including Myotis muricola from Dalhousie and Shimla and Barbastella leucomelas from Shimla. Allen (1908) reported Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Scotophilus kuhlii and Scotoecus pallidus from Koolloo valley (Kullu valley). Dodsworth (1913) recorded seven species of bats, namely Pteropus 1638

giganteus, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum tragatus, Nyctalus montanus, N. labiatus, Myotis muricola, M. blythii and Pipistrellus coromandra from Shimla and the adjoining hill region. Thomas (1915) reported Myotis formosus from Dharamsala and M. blythii from Shimla. Lindsay (1927) reported the collections made during the Mammal Survey of India organised by The Bombay Natural History Society and recorded seven species of bats from Himachal Pradesh, namely Pteropus giganteus from Kotla (Kullu District, erstwhile Kangra District) and Gopalpur (Kangra District), Rhinolophus ferrumequinum tragatus from Manali (Kullu District), Pipistrellus javanicus (babu in Lindsay) from Gopalpur (Kangra District), Nyctalus noctula (labiatus in Lindsay 1927) from Kangra (Kangra District) and Sissu (Lahaul and Spiti District), Nyctalus leisleri from Chamba (Chamba District), Myotis mystacinus (muricola in Lindsay, 1927) from Chirot, Pattan Valley (Lahaul and Spiti District) and Myotis muricola (caliginosus in Lindsay, 1927) from Chatri (Chamba District) and Samayala from Kangra valley (Kangra District). Besides these, a few occasional species records from the state also exist and these include Plecotus auritus (Bhat et al. 1983) and Murina tubinaris (Das 2003). Of late, a few more species have been added to the Chiropteran fauna of Himachal Pradesh (Saikia et al. 2004). However, there remains no consolidated account of the Chiroptera of Himachal Pradesh. A perusal of published information on the mammalian fauna of Himachal Pradesh reveals a varying number of bat species occurring in the state from five (Mahajan & Mukherjee 1974), eight (Mehta & Julka 2002) to 23 (Chakraborty et al. 2005). A review of the comprehensive work of Bates & Harrison (1997) reveals that 19 species of bats exist in the state. The latest account of the mammalian fauna of Himachal Pradesh by Chakraborty et al. (2005) includes some bat species (e.g. Rhinopoma hardwickii, Hipposideros fulvus, Kerivoula picta, Eptesicus serotinus, Hesperotenus tickelli etc.) that need confirmation as the authors do not mention the source of authentication of the same (voucher specimens etc.). Das (1986, 2003) includes Himachal Pradesh within the distributional range of Rhinolophus rouxii, a taxon which, in the northern part of its range (which includes Himachal Pradesh), is now referable to R. sinicus (see Thomas 2000). Bates & Harrison (1997), referring to Chakraborty (1983), report Otonycteris hemprichii from the Nagrota area

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China

Jammu & Kashmir

Punjab

Uttarakhand Haryana

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Figure 1. Map of Himachal Pradesh showing locality records for bats (district boundaries are provisional) 1 - Bakloh, 2 - Ballu at Ghumarwin, 3 - Bandrol, 4 - Bhunter, 5 - Chamba, 6 - Chakmoh, 7 - Chatri, 8 - Dadh, 9 - Dalhousie, 10 Damtal, 11 - Dharamsala,12 - Drang, 13 - Ghanatti, 14 - Gopalpur, 15 - Gutkar, 16 - Kangra, 17 - Keylong, 18 - Kothi, 19 - Kotla, 20 - Kullu, 22 - Kullu Valley, 23 - Manali, 24 - Mandi, 25 - Manikaran, 26 - Narkanda, 27 - Nurpur, 28 - Ratandi in Baghi, 29 - Samayala, 30 - Shimla, 31 - Simbalbara, 32 - Sissu, 33 - Thirot, 34 - Tottu, 35 - Arki, 36 - Barog Tunnel,38 - Bilaspur, 39 - Brewery, 40 Chambaghat, 41 - Dharampur, 42 - Dodour near Nehr Chowk, 43 - Gambhar, 44 - Happy valley, 45 - Kalatop, 46 - Karool hill, 47 Kot Beja, 48 - Kunihar, 49 - Lutru cave, 50 - Majothu, 51 - Nalagarh, 52 - Shalaghat, 53 - Shaur, 54 - Solan. Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1637–1655

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of Himachal Pradesh but this locality is in Jammu and Kashmir (between Jammu and Udhampur on NH 1A). Accordingly, the above species are excluded from the present inventory. In view of the scattered nature of published information and the ambiguity regarding diversity and distribution of the bat fauna of Himachal Pradesh, this paper seeks, inter alia, to collate available information and to present an up to date account of the same.

Methods The present account is based largely on the first author’s collections and field observations mostly in the Shiwalik area of Himachal Pradesh during 2004– 2006. Earlier collections of Chiroptera held at the High Altitude Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Solan were examined and published literature on the bat fauna of Himachal Pradesh was reviewed. The locality records and elevations mentioned in the Gazetteer are based on the first author’s field observations, collection localities of specimens at the Zoological Survey of India at Solan and Kolkata (vide Ghosh 2008), and published records. The geographic locations and elevations of collection or observation localities during field surveys were recorded using a Garmin™ 12 GPS unit. For museum specimens and published records where geographic co-ordinates were not available, approximate co-ordinates and elevations were determined from toposheets and from Google Earth (www.googleearth.com). For comparison of diversity along elevation gradients, intervals were established as follows: 500–1000 m, 1001–1500 m, 1501–2000 m, 2001–2500 m, 2501–3000 m. Elevations below 500m and above 3000m were not taken into account since there are no bat records beyond these ranges in Himachal Pradesh. Species were assumed to occur in all elevation intervals in between their distributional extremes as established from their maximum and minimum elevation records. Those species marked with an asterisk are represented in the collections of HARC, ZSI Solan and have been examined. Species identifications follow Bates & Harrison (1997) and detailed taxonomic measurements of studied specimens are provided. Common names follow Bates & Harrison (1997). Conservation status in South Asia is pursuant to Molur et al. (2002). 1640

Species account Sub-order: Megachiroptera Family: Pteropodidae 1. Rousettus leschenaulti (Desmarest, 1820)* Fulvous Fruit Bat New material: Female, 29.v.2004, 3km upstream of Gambhar Bridge, Solan District, M24, (HARC, ZSIS) Locality records: ?Ballu, Bilaspur District (c. 700m) (Bhat et al. 1983); Bandrol, Kullu District (Bhat et al. 1983); Dadh,  Kangra District (1080m) (Bhat et al. 1983); Gambhar,  Solan District (780m) (present study); Gutkar, Mandi District (710m) (Bhat et al. 1983); Mandi, Mandi District (1050m) (Bhat et al. 1983); Sooma , Kullu District (1400m) (Bhat et al. 1983). Ecological notes: A colony of this bat was located in a natural cave approximately 8m. in length on the bank of a stream (Gambhar) in Solan District. At the end of May, around 250 individuals were seen roosting inside the cave. On entering the cave, a strong smell of fermenting fruit was detected. Probably this smell emanated from undigested or partly digested fruit pulps regurgitated by the bats and scattered over the cave floor. A similar strong smell in Rousettus roosts has been reported by Roberts (1977) in Pakistan. The bats were observed to be very noisy and some individuals kept flying from one place to another in the cave at all times. A few individuals were caught by setting a mist net in front of the cave mouth and then disturbing the colony but most of them were able to avoid the net by deft manoeuvring. Along with Microchiroptera, the megachiropteran genus Rousettus has developed vocal echolocation (Eonyteris echolocates by wing clapping (Gould 1988)) producing signals by clicks of the tongue (Jones & Holderied 2007; Raghuram et al. 2007) enabling them to orient, forage and roost in low light situations. Despite the rudimentary nature of this echolocating mechanism, spatial resolution of the system is apparently comparable to Microchiroptera in some respects (Holland et al. 2007). A study by researchers in southern India has revealed that the obstacle avoidance efficiency of the echolocatory mechanism in R. leschenaulti is as good as microchiropteran bats (Raghuram et al. 2007). However, it was not clear whether echolocation had any role in avoidance of the mist nets set in front of the cave. It was noted that all the captured adult

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individuals were females while one was a juvenile male (FA-68mm and incomplete dentition). Whether this indicates the existence of a maternal colony is not clear because the juvenile did not appear to be a dependent young. However, sexual segregation in this species had been reported in Madhya Pradesh during March, June and July (Khajuria 1979). Local people reported that the bats do not use the cave site during winter but reappear in spring. This probably indicates seasonal movement in search of food since no significant fruiting occurs during the winter season in the area where the cave is located. Brosset (1962) noted that in the area of Bombay, these bats periodically abandon their roosts for a few months and he believed non availability of food to be the reason. Conservation status: Least Concern 2. Pteropus giganteus Brunnich, 1782* Indian Flying Fox Locality records: Bilaspur, Bilaspur District (530m) (present study); Dharampur, Mandi District, (630m) (present study); Dodour near Nehr Chawk, Mandi District (c.760m) (present study); Gopalpur, Kangra District (Lindsay 1927); Kotla, Kullu District (940m) (Lindsay 1927); Kulu, Kullu District (Ferrar 1934; Paul et al. 2009); Kunihar, Solan District (960m) (present study); Nalagarh, Solan District (c.600m) (present study); Nurpur, Kangra District (c.590m) (present study). Ecological notes: Three big and three small colonies of this species were observed during the study period. One colony was located at Kunihar in a few Siris (Albizia lebbeck) trees near a check dam. About 200 individuals were observed in the month of July, 2005 but on a visit in January, 2006, the number was estimated to be approximately 120 individuals, suggesting seasonal variations of colony size and local migration. Another colony was located at Bilaspur Town on the bank of Sutlej River. The colony size estimated in the month of November was about 500 individuals and they were roosting in five Orix siris trees. The third colony was observed near Dharampur, Mandi District roosting in a large, unidentified tree: the number of bats was estimated to be around 150 during May, 2006. A few pups attached to the mother were also observed. The population trend of P. giganteus in Himachal Pradesh is not known. In 2005,

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under the auspices of the Chiroptera Conseravtion and Information Network of South Asia (CCINSA), project “PteroCount” was initiated to count and monitor P. giganteus roosts throughout South Asia on a voluntary basis. Under this project, so far 16 roosts of this species have been reported from various parts of Himachal Pradesh (Molur 2009). Local migration of flying foxes has been reported in Himachal Pradesh (Paul et al. 2009). In Kullu, a colony of fruit bats has been regularly observed to roost in poplar trees from the last week of April to October before migrating to an unknown place (Paul et al. 2009). Flying foxes cause considerable damage to the fruit orchards of Himachal Pradesh. Fortunately, local people are not antagonistic towards them and, despite some damage to their fruit crops, live in harmony with them. Conservation status: Least Concern Sub-order: Microchiroptera Family: Megadermatidae 3. Megaderma lyra E. Geoffroy, 1810 Greater False Vampire Locality record: Damtal, Kangra District (c. 850m) (Ghosh 2008) (NZC, ZSIK 17123); Kangra, Kangra District (Sinha 1980). Conservation status: Least Concern Family: Rhinolophidae 4. Rhinolophus ferrumequinum (Schreber, 1774)* Greater Horseshoe Bat New material: Male, 02.v.2004, Barog Tunnel, Solan District, M21 (HARC, ZSIS); male, 30.v.2004, Lutru Cave, Arki, Solan District, M32 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Barog Tunnel, Solan District (1560m) (present study); Chakmoh, Hamirpur District (c.760m) (Ghosh 2008); Chamba, Chamba District (c.1000m) (Chakraborty 1977); Ghannati, Shimla District (c.1640m) (Ghosh 2008); Koolloo Valley (Kullu Valley), Kullu District (Allen 1908); Lutru Cave near Arki, Solan District (1550m) (present study); Mandi, Mandi District (c.1050m) (Ghosh 2008); Manali, Kullu District (1950m) (Lindsay 1927); Shimla, Shimla District (2100m) (Dodsworth, 1913; Bates & Harrison 1997); Solan Town, Solan District (1500m) (present study); Tottu, Shimla District (c.1900m) (Ghosh 2008).

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Ecological notes: This species has been observed to roost in Barog tunnel, a railway tunnel on the historic Kalka-Shimla track, which is 1140m long. In the month of May, four specimens were collected throughout the length of the tunnel. They were seen hanging from the wall of the tunnel in small numbers and their total number was estimated to be 90–100 individuals. The species was not recorded during two subsequent visits to the tunnel within the following four months although small groups of Rhinolophus affinis (collected earlier at the site) and possibly another rhinolophoid (darker than R. affinis) were observed. Whether R. ferrumequinum use the tunnel as a seasonal roost or whether the bats simply evaded notice because of smaller numbers was not determined. Although the bats seemed to be indifferent to railway traffic, they became active and flew away when approached by humans. This species has also been observed roosting in small numbers (c. 15 individuals) in a subterranean cave on a hillock at Arki in Solan District in the last week of May with some individuals carrying pups. One male pup collected had forearm length of 44mm and weighed 11g. The pelage of the collected specimen was long and soft and light brownish throughout. Conservation status: Vulnerable 5. Rhinolophus sinicus (Anderson, 1905)* Chinese Horseshoe Bat New material: Female, 14.v.2004, Happy Valley, Solan District, M27 (HARC, ZSIS) Locality records: Happy Valley, Solan District (1550m) (present study). Ecological notes: A single specimen was caught in a butterfly net on 14.v.2004 while hanging from the roof of a natural cave near Solan Town (1550m). It was carrying a suckling, the age of which was estimated to be approximately 15–20 days (8g in weight) on the basis that no bats were observed carrying young on a visit that took place 21 days before the collection date. Accordingly, the parturition period of the species in this area would appear to be in the last week of April or the first week of May. Seven or eight other individuals were also observed carrying pups and this may indicate sexual segregation of lactating females as reported by Allen (1938). Pelage of the collected specimen was soft, silky and chocolate brown dorsally with a paler belly. Taxonomic remarks: Bates & Harrison (1997) 1642

recognised two subspecies of R. rouxii in India namely R. r. rouxii and R. r. sinicus and referred Himalayan populations to R. r. sinicus. Based on mitochondrial DNA analysis, Thomas (2000) elevated sinicus to specific status. The external and cranial measurements of the single specimen studied fall within the measurement ranges for both R. rouxii and R. sinicus provided by Thomas (2000). However, the noseleaf and sella structure correspond to those of R. sinicus described by Thomas (2000). Conservation status: Near Threatened 6. Rhinolophus affinis Horsefield, 1823* Intermediate Horseshoe Bat New material: Male, 09.iv.2004, Kot Beja, Solan District, M28 (HARC, ZSIS); female, 15.ix.2004, Happy Valley, Solan District, M31 (HARC, ZSIS); female, 31.iv.2004, Barog Tunnel, Solan District, CW1 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Barog Tunnel, Solan District (1560m) (present study); Happy Valley, Solan District (1550m) (present study) and Kot Beja, near Kasauli, Solan District (1100m) (present study). Ecological notes: A roost of approximately 10 individuals was observed in a cave near Solan. The cave was dark and humid: water was observed dripping from the roof and the cave mouth was surrounded by vegetation. The site was found to be inhabited by two other species, namely R. ferrumequinum and M. mystacinus, at different times. Another individual was caught while entering a house adjacent to a cattleshed. The collected specimens had silky fur and were dull brown throughout. Conservation status: Least Concern 7. Rhinolophus luctus Temminck, 1835* Wooly Horseshoe Bat New material: Female, 27.v.2004, Arki, Solan District, M20 (HARC, ZSIS); male, 27.v.2004, Shalaghat, Solan District, M48 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Arki, Solan District (900m) (present study); Shalaghat, Solan District (1200m) (present study). Ecological notes: A lone individual of this species was captured on 27.v.2004 from a dark corner of a dilapidated temple, which was surrounded by thick lantana bushes. The specimen was in an advanced stage of pregnancy with a foetus weighing 10g. The

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parturition period of this species in this area appears to occur during the month of June (Saikia et al. 2004). Another individual of the same species was observed hanging from the wall of a narrow cave at Shalaghat in Solan District. Bates & Harrison (1997) reported that this species normally roosts in pairs but our observations suggest that it also roosts solitarily. Pelage of the collected specimens was distinctively long, woolly and dark brown throughout. Conservation status: Near Threatened 8. Rhinolophus lepidus (Blyth, 1854) Blyth’s Horseshoe Bat Locality records: Drang, Mandi District (c.780m) (Ghosh 2008) (NZC, ZSIK 24881); Kullu, Kullu District (c.1200m) (Ghosh 2008) (NZC, ZSIK 24882). Conservation status: Least Concern Family: Hipposideridae 9. Hipposideros armiger Hodgson, 1835* Great Himalayan Leaf-nosed Bat New material: Male, 18.ix.2004, Karool hill, Solan District, M33 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality record: Karool hill near Solan Town, Solan District (2200m) (present study). Ecological notes: A single specimen was collected from a cavesite on the top of a hill surrounded by Quercus forest near Solan Town. The cave had about ten individuals of this species and was shared by another two species viz. Myotis mystacinus and M. blythii. The emergence time of this species recorded in mid September was 1840 hr and the whole colony came out within 10 minutes; this was earlier than the other two species sharing the cave. The lone specimen collected had long, smooth and overall dark brown fur on the back with a comparatively paler belly. Conservation status: Least Concern Family: Vespertilionidae 10. Miniopterus schreibesrsii (Kuhl, 1819)* Schreiber’s Long Fingered Bat New material: Female, 02.v.2004, Barog Tunnel, Solan District, M22 (HARC, ZSIS); female, 16.iv.2004, Brewery Tunnel, Solan District, M30 (HARC, ZSIS); female, 15.iv.2004, Chambaghat, Solan District, CW3 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Barog Tunnel, Solan District

U. Saikia et al.

(1560m) (present study); Brewery Tunnel, Solan District (1480m) (present study); Chambaghat, Solan District (1450m) (present study). Ecological notes: This species was observed roosting in Barog tunnel in large numbers (about 2000). Individuals were in close proximity to each other and were pressed together in several layers. All those specimens collected in the month of May were female. Accordingly, the formation of female colonies cannot be ruled out although this is not corroborated by the observations of Brosset (1962) at Mahabaleshwar. This species was also observed roosting in another railway tunnel about 10km away from Barog, where they were seen inside holes in the walls in groups of 4–5. In this case, both male and female specimens were collected from the same hole. Of the six individuals examined, five had a dark brown dorsal pelage with a lighter venter. One individual had a much darker, almost black, dorsum, which would indicate the occurrence of colour variations within the same population. Conservation status: Least Concern 11. Myotis mystacinus (Kuhl, 1819)* Whiskered Bat New material: 2 females, 14.v.2004, Happy Valley, Solan District, M25, M35 (HARC, ZSIS); 2 males, 18.ix.2004, Karool hill, Solan, CW36, CW37 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Chirot in Pattan Valley (possibly Thirot), Lahaul & Spiti (2910m) (muricola in Lindsay, 1927); Happy Valley, Solan District (1550m) (present study); Karool Hill near Solan Town, Solan District (2200m) (present study). Ecological notes: On 14 May 2005, individuals of this species were seen hanging from the ceiling of a cave in a tight group of over 100 individuals. From this group, about 20 specimens were captured using a butterfly net. Five individuals were taken as voucher specimens and the rest were released after morphological measurements were taken and the sex of the individual determined. All individuals were found to be female. Among the five specimens, three were carrying foetuses at various stages of development (weighing 0.23–0.83 g). In previous visits to the site and afterwards, we were unable to observe any such congregations of this species. This may indicate the formation of an exclusive maternal

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colony during the breeding season. Considering the stages of foetal development, the parturition period of this species in this area is presumed to be June to July. In India, formation of maternal colonies by this species has not been reported but Roberts (1977) did report maternal colonies from Dunga Gali and Shogran area of northeast Pakistan. However, Bates & Harrison (1997) opined that all records of M. mystacinus from Pakistan are misidentified specimens of M. muricola. Another population of about 50 individuals of this bat was observed in a cave atop a hill at an elevation of 2200m near Solan Town. Taxonomic remarks: This species is externally similar to M. muricola. However, the dark brown dorsum and silvery grey hair tips on the ventral areas of the collected material (discernable in fresh and alcohol preserved specimens) is distinctive of mystacinus (Bates & Harrison 1997). Conservation status: Vulnerable 12. Myotis blythii (Tomes, 1857)* Lesser Mouse-eared Bat New material: Male, 18.ix.2004, Karool Hill, Solan District, M34 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Chamba, Chamba District (900m) (Dobson 1873); Dalhousie, Chamba District (c. 2000m) (Bates & Harrison 1997); Karool hill near Solan Town, Solan District (2200m) (present study); Shimla and neighbourhood, Shimla District (1820m) (Dodsworth 1913; Thomas 1915). Ecological notes: a colony of approximately 100 individuals of this species was observed in a short and narrow cave in a hilltop (2200m), which it shared with H. armiger and M. mystacinus. It was seen hanging from the roof of the cave, mixing frequently with M. myatacinus. Interestingly, it maintained quite a distance from individuals of H. armiger. M. blythii was observed crawling on the roof of the cave using its feet and first digit to change position. Amongst the three species inhabiting the cave, this species emerges from the cave the latest and only after darkness has fallen fully. Pelage of the collected specimens was somewhat woolly in texture and beige brown dorsally. Conservation status: Vulnerable 13. Myotis siligorensis (Horsefield, 1855)* Himalayan Whiskered Bat New material: Female, 05.iii.1973, Solan Town, 1644

Solan District, M38 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Solan Town, Solan District (1500m) (present study). Remarks: The specimen at ZSIS was collected in the month of October, 1974 in Solan Town. The specimen lacks other details (e.g. habitat, method of collection). This species was not encountered during the present survey and appears to be rare in the study area. The alcohol preserved specimen is creamy white, which is probably the result of its long period of preservation. However, dark hair roots are still discernable. The species’ identification was confirmed by the late Dr. P.K. Das. Conservation status: Near Threatened 14. Myotis formosus (Hodgson, 1835) Hodgson’s Bat Locality records: Dharamsala, Kangra District (c.1250m) (Thomas 1915); Drang, 17km north of Mandi, Mandi District (c.780m) (Ghosh 2008). Conservation status: Least Concern 15. Myotis muricola (Gray, 1846)* Nepalese Whiskered Bat New material: Female, 18.ix.2010, Kalatop, near Dalhousie, Chamba District, M50 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Chatri, Chamba District (1800m) (M. caliginosus in Lindsay 1927); Dalhousie, Chamba District (c. 2042m) (Blanford 1888–1891; Khajuria 1953); Kalatop, Chamba District (2400m) (present study); Samayala, Kangra District (1500m) (M. caliginosus in Lindsay 1927); Shimla, Shimla District (c. 2000m) (Dodsworth 1913). Ecological notes: A single specimen was collected from the verandah of the forest rest house at Kalatop in mid September. Two individuals were observed in the space between the wooden ceiling and some tin sheets. Local people report that during summer months, they can be seen roosting in large numbers there but that the species is not observed during winter months, the same indicating seasonal migration or hibernation. Dodsworth (1913) collected this bat from the porch of his bungalow in Shimla. He reported that the bat is very active during summer months and probably hibernates for a long period. The breeding period was reported to range between May and June in Shimla. The ventral fur of the Kalatop specimen has slightly paler hair tips and dark roots (not discernable in the

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wet preserved specimen) in contrast to the silvery hair tips of the congeneric mystacinus. Conservation status: Least Concern

presently and fit well into the character matrix for P. tenuis given by Bates & Harrison (1997). Conservation status: Least Concern

16. Pipistrellus tenuis Temminck, 1840* Indian Pygmy Bat New material: Female, 08.iv.2005, Majutho, near Barotiwala Solan District, M37 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Bhunter, Kullu District (c. 1080m) (Ghosh 2008); Kullu Valley, Kullu District (FMNH 34147); Manikaran, Kullu District (c.1740m) (Ghosh 2008); Majothu near Barotiwala, Solan District (520m) (present study); Simbalbara Wildlife Sanctuary, Sirmour District (590m) (Sharma & Saikia 2009). Ecological notes: Specimens of this bat were collected in a mist net set on the bank of a check dam and in the vicinity of human habitation at Majthu near Barotiwala in Solan District. This species is known to roost near human habitation. In Kerala, it has been collected beneath road bridges, from hollows of coconut trees and under the tiled roofs of houses (Madhavan 2000). Prakash (1962) comments that it is one of the first bats to make an appearance and reports the collection of three specimens between 1815 and 1830 hr in April (darkness was still to fall). Activity appeared to decrease as night set in. These bats were caught barely a metre above the embankment of the check dam, confirming the observations of Bhattacharyya (1985) that it hunts frequently close to the ground. This species was also observed and collected along the bank of a dry stream amidst mixed Shorea robusta forest in Simbalbara WLS in Sirmour district. The collected specimens had a dark brown dorsum and a distinctly lighter venter. A prolific breeder, these bats have been reported to undergo parturition in four distinct cycles in southern India including one in March–April (Isaac et al. 1994). However, the female specimens collected in April in Himachal did not exhibit any breeding activity or show any sign of lactation (as evinced by diminutive mammary glands). Taxonomic remarks: Bates & Harrison (1997) mention that it is not possible to distinguish P. tenuis and smaller individuals of P. coromandra by external characters alone in sympatric situations. The cranial measurements of the above specimens are significantly smaller than specimens of P. coromandra examined

17. Pipistrellus coromandra (Gray, 1838)* Coromandel Pipistrelle New material: 2 females, 18.vii.2009, Shaur, Pangi Valley, Chamba District, M46, M48 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Bakloh, Chamba District (c.1330m) (Ghosh 2008); Narkanda, Shimla District (2470m) (Ghosh 2008); Shaur, Pangi Valley, Chamba District (2400m) (present study). Ecological notes: Two individuals were caught with a butterfly net while foraging around a lamppost at Shaur in Pangi Valley, Chamba District. An active flyer, it can avoid a mist net very efficiently and no individuals could be caught in three sessions of netting in an area frequented by the species. This wariness of mist nets was noted by Chakraborty (1983). Feeding activity starts before darkness sets in fully and it continues for about 50–60 minutes, after which the bats disappear for some time before foraging is resumed. This pattern of feeding behaviour was observed until 2230 hr, after which time it became sporadic. Bhattacharyya (1985) reports that foraging continues throughout the night in this fashion. Dodsworth (1913) noted that this bat was very common in Shimla but disappeared during winter months, such absence being consistent with a period of hibernation. Gut content of a preserved specimen contained mostly undigested parts of moths and Dipterans. Conservation status: Least Concern 18. Pipistrellus javanicus (Gray,1838)* Javan Pipisterlle New material: 2 females, 27.v.2004, Arki, Solan District, M23, M49 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality records: Arki, Solan District (900m) (present study); Gopalpur, Kangra District (2700m) (Pipistrellus babu in Lindsay 1927) and Shimla, Shimla District (c. 2100m) (Siddiqi 1961; Bates & Harrison 1997). Ecological notes: A few individuals were caught in a mist net set on the verandah of a house while foraging around a striplight. They were seen hunting actively in the early evening hours but could not be observed afterwards. These bats have also been observed often flying quite low around human settlements. The

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specimens had a dark brown dorsal pelage and a fawn coloured venter. Taxonomic remarks: Among the closely similar species of Pipistrellus, namely P. tenuis, P. coromandra and P. javanicus, there is significant overlapping of external measurements, making species assignment awkward. However, in the ascending order of P. tenuis, P. coromandra and P. javanicus, there is an increase in cranial measurements. The series of specimens assigned to P. javanicus have the greatest cranial measurements among the Pipistrellus specimens examined presently and conform well to the character matrix for the species by Bates & Harrison (1997). Conservation status: Least Concern 19. Pipistrellus dormeri (Dobson, 1785)* Dormer’s Bat New material: 2 females, 08.iv.2005, Majothu near Barotiwala, Solan District, M36, M47 (HARC, ZSIS); female, 17.ix.07, Solan Town, Solan District, CW 43 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality record: Majothu, near Barotiwala, Solan District (520m) (present study); Solan Town, Solan District (1500m) (present study). Ecological notes: These bats were caught in a mist net set on the bank of the same check dam where P. tenuis was collected. This species is known to drink water from ponds and lakes (Bates & Harrison 1997) and this drinking behaviour was also observed on that day. They were seen hovering over the water surface before making a swift descent to drink. Until 2100 hr, the bats were observed to forage over the water surface; similar foraging behaviour has been reported in some species of Myotis and Pipistrellus (Taylor 2006). In live specimens, the dorsal surface was clove brownish with streaks of silver whilst the ventral surface was significantly paler. Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC) 20. Pipistrellus ceylonicus indicus (Dobson, 1878) Kellart’s Pipistrelle Locality record: Ghanatti, Shimla District (c. 1640m) (Ghosh 2008) (NZC, ZSIK 24879). Conservation status: Least Concern 21. Scotophilus kuhlii Leach, 1821* Asiatic Lesser Yellow House Bat New material: Male, 12.ix.1980, Solan Town, 1646

Solan District, M45 (HARC, ZSIS); female (1973), Solan Town, Solan District, M51 (HARC, ZSIS). Locality record: Koolloo Valley (Kullu Valley), Kullu District (Pachyotus temminckii in Allen 1908); Solan Town, Solan District (1500m) (present study). Ecological notes: The specimens at HARC were collected beneath a tin shed amidst human settlements on the periphery of Solan Town in 1973, indicating a perihuman dwelling habit of the species. Dorsal areas of specimen M45 are chocolate brown although other parts of the specimen have faded owing to its long retention in alcohol. A few other alcohol preserved specimens are reddish brown dorsally and a little paler ventrally. Conservation status: Least Concern 22. Plecotus homochrous Hodgson, 1847 Brown Long-eared Bat Locality record: Ratandi, near Bagi, Shimla District (2700m) (Bhat et al. 1983). Conservation status: Near Threatened 23. Barbastella leucomelas (Cretzschmar, 1826) Eastern Barbastelle Locality record: Shimla, Shimla District (c.2200m) (Blanford 1888-1891; Ghosh 2008 - NZC, ZSIK Reg. No.19324). Conservation status: Near Threatened 24. Scotoecus pallidus Dobson, 1876 Desert Yellow Bat Locality record: Koolloo Valley (Kullu Valley), Kullu District (Scoteinus pallidus in Allen 1908) (FMNH 34173, 34174; AMNH 54419, 54420). Conservation status: Near Threatened 25. Nyctalus noctula (Schreber, 1774) Noctule Locality records: Kangra, Kangra District (c. 760m) (N. labiatus in Lindsay 1927; Bates & Harrison 1997); Mandi District (Chakraborty 1983); Sissu, (Lahaul and Spiti District) (3000m) (N. labiatus in Lindsay 1927); Shimla, Shimla District (2100m) (N. labiata in Dodsworth 1913). Ecological notes: Dodsworth (1913) noted that this bat is a forest dwelling species that is found solitarily in natural crevices and holes of trees. Conservation status: Least Concern

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26. Nyctalus leisleri (Kuhl, 1890) Leisler’s Bat Locality records: Chamba, Chamba District (1000m) (Lindsay 1927); Kothi, Kullu District (c. 2575m) (Bhat et al. 1983); Shimla, Shimla District (c. 2000m) (Bates & Harrison 1997). Conservation status: Endangered 27. Nyctalus montanus (Barret-Hamilton, 1906) Mountain Noctule Locality record: Chamba, Chamba District (c. 1000m) (Bates & Harrison 1997); Shimla, Shimla District (2100m) (Dodsworth 1913). Ecological note: Dodsworth (1913) collected this species from the roof of a bungalow in Shimla. Conservation status: Near Threatened 28. Murina tubinaris (Scully, 1881) Scully’s Tube Nosed Bat Locality record: Kalung (Keylong), Lahaul & Spiti District (c. 3000m) (AMNH 150088). Remarks: Included after Das (2003), who reported

the species on the basis of a specimen in the American Museum of Natural History. The female specimen was collected from Kalung in Lahul (Punjab) which obviously refers to Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh (erstwhile Punjab State). Conservation status: Near Threatened

Discussion The present checklist of bats recorded form Himachal Pradesh comprises 28 species of 14 genera from five families. Despite its small geographic area (1.76% of the total area of India), 25% of the chiropteran species known from India are represented in the state. The families Megadermatidae and Hipposideridae are represented by single species and the ubiquitous family Vespertilionidae includes 19 species. Whilst some of the species, such as those of the genus Pipistrellus, are common in many parts of the state, others, such as Megaderma lyra, Scotecus pallidus, Murina tubinaris, and Myotis siligorensis, are known only from a single museum specimen

Table 1. External measurements of the specimens of 16 species of bats from Himachal Pradesh examined presently Species

n

HB

TL

HF

E

FA

TB

Tr

1♀

98

17

17

23

80

32

-

1♂

81

61

15.2

30

95

42

-

2♀

55-58

33-34

11.5-12

20-23

57-62

24-26

-

Pteropodidae Rousettus leschenaulti Hipposideridae Hipposideros armiger Rhinolophidae Rhinolophus ferrumequinum R. sinicus

1♀

48

25

9

18

50

21

-

R. affinis

1♂1♀

50-55

24-25

9-10.5

17

53-65

24-24.5

-

R. luctus

1♂1♀

80-87

54

19-20

39-41

72-74

40

-

3♀

60-65

55-60

10

9-10.5

46-48.5

20-21

5-5.2

1♂3♀

42-43

36-37

7.2-7.5

13.8-14

35.2-36.5

14-16

6-7

Vespertilionidae Miniopterus schreibersii Myotis mystacinus Myotis muricola

1♀

40

37

6.3

13

35

13.1

4.9

M. blythii

1♂

61

52

13.5

16

59

27

8

6.3

8.7

33

10.7

-

29

5.5

8-8.2

27.5-28.5

11.9-12

3.4-4

M. siligorensis

1♀

32

Pipistrellus tenuis

2♀

37-37.5

P. coromandra

2♀

36-37

28-29

4.5-4.7

8.4-10

32.3-33

11.3-12.5

4-4.5

P. javanicus

2♀

40-44

32-34

5

11

32-33

12-13

4-5

1♂1♀

45-51

35-40

7.5

11.2-12.5

35.2-37.1

14.5

4.5-5

1♂

-

42

9

11

43.2

17

4

P. dormeri Scotophilus kuhlii

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Table 2. Cranial measurements of studied specimens from Himachal Pradesh n

GTL

CBL

CCL

CM3

M3– M3

BB

PC

ZW

C1–C1

M

CM3

1♀

37.4

35.5

33.8

14

11

15.2

7.8

21

7

28.9

15.1

1♂

32.8

29.8

28.6

12.8

13

12

5

18

8.3

22.8

14.1

Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

2♀

24.4– 25.5

21.5– 22.6

21.2– 21.8

9.2– 9.6

9.2– 9.5

10– 10.5

3.1

12.2– 13

6.5– 7.2

16.2– 17.2

10– 10.3

R. sinicus

1♀

21.4

19

18.4

8

8.4

9.4

2.1

11.2

5.5

14.2

8.6

R. affinis

1♂ 1♀

23.4– 23.6

20.8

19.8– 19.9

9–9.2

9–9.1

9.2– 9.5

2.6– 2.9

11.5– 12

6.1– 6.4

15.5– 15.8

9.5– 10.3

R. luctus

1♀

33.4

29.6

28

12.1

11

13.5

3.2

15.3

8.4

22.5

13

Miniopterus schreibersii

2♀

16.2– 16.3

15.2– 15.5

14.6– 14.8

6

6.7– 6.8

8–8.4

3.5– 3.9

8.7–9

4.3– 4.8

12– 12.3

6.2– 6.3

Myotis mystacinus

2♀

13.1– 14

12.8– 12.9

11.6– 12.1

4.9– 5.1

5–5.5

6.8

3.2– 3.3

8–8.7

3.5–4

10– 10.5

5.3– 5.4

Myotis muricola

1♀

13.2

12.6

11.9

5

5.3

6.3

3.3

8.4

3.5

9.7

5.4

M. blythii

1♂

21.7

20

18.8

8.6

9

9.9

5.3

13.6

5.5

16

9.5

M. siligorensis

1♀

13.5

12.4

12

5

5.5

6.6

3.3

8.3

3.5

9.8

5.1

Pipistrellus tenuis

2♀

11.2– 11.4

10.8– 11

10.3– 10.5

3.8– 3.9

4.7–5

5.8– 6.2

3.2– 3.4

7.4

3.4– 3.7

8–8.1

4–4.3

P. coromandra

1♀

12

11.5

11.1

4.1

5.3

6.2

3.4

7.8

3.7

8.5

4.5

P. javanicus

1♀

13.3

12.1

12

4.9

6

6.4

3.4

8.2

4.1

9.7

5

P. dormeri

2♀

15.1– 16

13.9– 14.9

13.5– 14.4

5.2– 5.6

6.5–7

7.2– 7.4

4–4.3

9.1– 10.4

4.8– 4.9

11– 11.2

5.6– 6.1

Scotophilus kuhlii

1♂

18.1

15.9

6.2

7

8.5

4.8

11.5

5

13

6.9

Species Pteropodidae Rousettus leschenaulti Hipposideridae Hipposideros armiger Rhinolophidae

Vespertilionidae

collected many years ago. However, considering the lack of studies on bat fauna in this part of the western Himalaya, the apparent rarity of some species is more likely to be the result of undersampling than low incidence. For instance, the Greater False Vampire Bat Megaderma lyra, is a widespread and common species in many parts of its range and is found in a variety of biotypes (Bates & Harrison 1997; Molur et al. 2002). Intriguingly, it is known from Himachal Pradesh only by a single record and it has not been reported from neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. Brosset (1962) mentioned that this species appears to avoid hilly country and it is probable that the bat is absent in many parts of the state. It is possible, however, that the species is distributed in the Shiwalik foothills, which are contiguous with the plains of Punjab and Haryana, and that it has gone unnoticed because of poor sampling efforts. Only systematic and intensive surveys in prospective areas can establish whether this 1648

is the case. By virtue of its location in the transitional zone between the Palaearctic and the Oriental realms, the chiropteran fauna of Himachal Pradesh shows an admixture of species from both regions. Of the 28 species of bat known from the state, 19 have an Oriental affinity, eight are Palaearctic, and one species, Miniopterus schreibersii, finds representation in both realms. Nyctalus spp. Pipistrellus javanicus, Barbastella leucomelanos, Plecotus auritus, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, and Myotis mystacinus are some of the Palaearctic species (Roberts 1977; Corbet & Hill 1992; Horáček et al. 2000) occurring in Himachal Pradesh. These elements probably entered this region from Iran through Pakistan or down through the Himalayas from the Hindu Kush and Uzbekistan (Roberts 1977) during the late Tertiary. Species with Oriental affinities include Pteropus giganteus, Megaderma lyra, Hipposideros armiger, Rhinolophus

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Lesser Himalaya 18 species

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JAMMU & KASHMIR

Trans-Himalaya 2 species

CHINA Greater Himalaya 4 species

Shiwalik Himalaya 19 species

PuNJAB Uttarakhand

HARYANA

Very Dense Forest Mod. Dense Forest Open Forest Scrub Non-Forest Water-bodies District boundary State boundary

Figure 2. Species diversity of Chiroptera in the four physiographic zones of Himachal Pradesh (based on recorded localities). Boundaries of physiographic zones depicted in the map are provisional. (Vegetation cover map of Himachal Pradesh: www.mapsofindia.com)

sinicus, Rhinolophus luctus, and Myotis siligorensis. The possible route of invasion of oriental elements is along the Himalayas through northeastern India (Kurup 1966, 1974). No endemic species of bats have been reported from the state. While most of the bats occurring in the state have a reasonably settled taxonomic status, the taxonomy of some species encountered in the area is uncertain or controversial. Many of them belong to species complexes where many morphologically indistinguishable forms are recognised as a single species but actually represent different species. For example, the Miniopterus schreibersii complex is found throughout the Palaearctic, Oriental, Afrotropic and Australian regions (Koopman 1994). There is extensive overlap of morphological variations within

this complex and traditionally the complex is treated as a single species with several subspecies (Corbet 1978; Wilson & Reeder 1993). Applications of recent molecular techniques have revealed that the complex is a paraphyletic assemblage with several species (Appleton et al. 2004; Lanxiang et al. 2004). Thus, although this complex has a wide geographical distribution, member species can have smaller range bearing implications on their zoogeography. The same holds true for the widely distributed Palearctic Myotis mystacinus group, the taxonomy of which is one of the most complicated tasks of chiropteran systematics. The true nature of cryptic variations and whether they are single or a number of species is yet to be determined and the resolution of these matters lies far beyond the scope of traditional morphometric

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taxonomy (Horáček et al. 2000). Shiwalik (c.19 spp.) and the Lesser Himalaya (c.18 spp.) are the most diverse zones as far as Chiroptera is concerned (Fig. 2). This species richness is apparently a function of abundance of roosting sites along with other factors such as availability of food. Roosts are a critical resource for bats; their availability may limit the number and distribution of certain species (Humphrey 1975). By virtue of geology, mountainous terrain harbours large numbers of caves and caverns that provide ideal refugia for a significant number of bats. Bats adapt also to a variety of man-made structures, which may have a similar microclimate characteristic and may fulfil the same function as natural roosting places (Presetnik 2004). For this reason, several railway tunnels, especially on the century-old KalkaShimla track, have become favourite refugia for a large number of bats. Moreover, forest cover is an important factor for bats, providing resources for roosting, foraging, and drinking to a large number of species. For example, almost all North American bats rely on forest for survival (Taylor 2006). Forest cover is relatively intact in some parts of the Shiwaliks and the Lesser Himalayan zone and this may be a crucial factor in the survival of many forest-dependent bat species. The trans-Himalayan areas of Himachal Pradesh comprising most parts of the districts Lahaul & Spiti and Kinnaur are characterised by scant rainfall and extremely low winter temperatures and, consequently, sparse vegetation. However, a few species of bats have adapted to such conditions. As homiothermic animals, bats are more cold tolerant than cold adapted. Species recorded from these parts of the state are Myotis mystacinus and Murina tubinaris. Myotis mystacinus has been recorded from warm tropical areas such as Hasimara in West Bengal to the trans-Himalayan cold desert of Ladakh (Bates & Harrison 1997), indicating wide ecological adaptability. Similar is the case of M. tubinaris, which is known from an elevation range of 615–2615 m (Bates & Harrison 1997). However, in these higher areas, food may be the limiting factor for distribution and abundance of bats since the growing season is too short to provide time for the gestation and rearing of young (Humphrey 1975). In addition, areas of high elevation present physiological challenges for mammals such as the difficulties of effective respiration in a rarified atmosphere and efficient 1650

thermoregulation in lower temperatures (Graham, 1990). Lower highland temperatures and oxygen concentration in the air may impede the upslope movement of lowland species, effectively putting a cap on species diversity. Nevertheless, it should be clear that present understanding of the geographical and ecological distribution of Chiroptera in Himachal Pradesh is inadequate and any generalisation must necessarily be crude. For three species, Himachal Pradesh constitutes the westernmost point of their distribution. These species are R. affinis, Hipposideros armiger, and Myotis siligorensis. All these are Oriental species distributed in the Indian, Indochinese and Sundaic subregions of the Oriental realm (Corbet & Hill 1992) and the recorded westernmost point of their distribution is Solan in Himachal Pradesh (Saikia et al. 2004). As suggested by Kurup (1966, 1974), these elements invaded from the Indo-Chinese subregion through northeastern India and headed towards the northwestern parts of the narrow, wooded sub-Himalayan belt. Their failure to progress further west and south may have been caused by the prevailing drier conditions in those directions (the Thar Desert formed at that time). The distribution of the chiropteran fauna of Himachal Pradesh exhibits a distinct elevation pattern; species diversity increases with elevation and reaches a maximum (21 spp.) in the 1001–1500 m zone and decreases thereafter. This is in accordance with a distribution trend having a mid-elevation peak (Rahbek 1995). Cumulative species richness increases sharply with elevation up to 1500m and thereafter increases moderately. Species richness is also a function of the transitional assemblages located between highland and lowland areas, which results in a complex pattern of species turnover. Interestingly, the percentages of Table 3. Species richness, unique species richness and cumulative species richness of Chiroptera in five elevation zones of Himachal Pradesh. Elevation range (m)

Unique Species richness

Species richness

Cumulative species richness

Percentage of unique species

500–1000

2

14

14

14.28

1001–1500

2

21

23

9.52

1501–2000

2

18

25

11.11

2001–2500

1

11

26

9.09

2501–3000

2

6

28

33.33

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Figure 3. Species richness of Chiroptera along elevation gradients in Himachal Pradesh

unique species in all the zones excepting the highest zone are relatively low and are fairly comparable. This, in general, implies a broad distribution of fauna throughout the elevation ranges. No significant species boundary, where lowland species are replaced by highland forms and vice versa, can be drawn along the elevation gradients. Occurrence of some bats at certain elevations can be the result of the ecological adaptations of particular species. For example, Plecotus homochrous (as P. auritus) has been recorded from an elevation of 2700m and, according to Bhat (1974), has never been encountered at lower elevations. Likewise, P. dormeri has been recorded at elevations around 500m and this species normally occupies the plains near human habitations. However, species such as Myotis mystacinus, Nyctalus noctula, and Pipistrellus javanicus have been recorded from lower areas to elevations nearing 3000m, indicating a broad ecological tolerance. In other parts of their ranges, these species are known also to occur throughout a broad range of elevation (Bates & Harrison 1997; Kaňuch & Krištín 2006). Inter-specific associations Many species of bats are known to share roosting sites with other species, often in close proximity. These associations may result from a limited number of roost sites or a convergence of roosting requirements

(Kunz 1982). Although many of these associations are casual, there is evidence to suggest that, in some species, they may be essential (Dwyer 1968). Tuttle (1975) suggested that the reproductive success of some species may be augmented in situations where species are closely associated in roosts. Post natal growth and post flight survival of some species of bats increases with increased cave temperature. If colony sizes are too small to augment the cave temperature sufficiently, reproductive success may be affected severely (Tuttle 1976). Therefore, associations of small colonies of different species can help to maintain a warm cave environment. Lower predation risk from improved predator surveillance is another potential benefit of such associations. However, such benefits may be offset by disadvantages such as misdirected social behaviour (Bradburry 1977), competition for space, increased incidence of parasites and disease and greater risk of environmental stochastic events. During the field study, the following mixed species associations were observed. (i) Rhinolophus affinis, Rhinolophus sp. and Miniopterus schreibersii: This association was observed in Barog railway tunnel. In this case, the unidentified Rhinolophid (which bore a resemblance to R. sinicus) and R. affinis were observed in close proximity but M. schreibersii was found to roost at some distance from both of these. However, this association appears to be casual and to result from the convergence of roosting requirements rather than obligatory, as a long, dark and humid tunnel could offer a suitable roosting microclimate for a large number of species. (ii) Rhinolophus sinicus and Myotis mystacinus: This association was seen in May in a shallow, natural cave with an internal chamber of approx 10x6 ft. Both species were observed hanging from the ceiling of the internal chamber in small numbers (fewer than 30 individuals in total). One R. sinicus caught was carrying a suckling but it cannot be inferred that such physical associations increase the survival chances of the pups. (iii) Hipposideros armiger, Myotis mystacinus and M. blythii: This association was observed within a 6–7 m long natural cave at an elevation of 2200m during September. Myotis blythii dominated the association with approx 100 individuals followed by ≥ 50 individuals of M. mystacinus and about 10 individuals

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of H. armiger. Both M. myatacinus and M. blythii were observed hanging from the roof of the cave and intermixing frequently. M. blythii maintained a considerable distance (c.1.5m) from H. armiger, which was seen to move away when the former approached. It is possible that these associations, especially that of M. blythii and M. mystacinus, may have mutual benefits. According to a villager, these bats remain in the cave in winter, when the temperature is quite low. This association, therefore, might be of thermic benefit to the bats although further observations are required to substantiate this. Species likely to occur in Himachal Pradesh Although not reported so far, certain species of bats are likely to occur in the state. For example, many of the Rhinolophus species are more or less evenly distributed along the Himalayas from East to West. Rhinolophus pearsonii, R. macrotis and R. pusillus all occur along the Himalayan chain and the westernmost recorded locality in India of each is Mussoorie in Uttarakhand (Bates & Harrison 1997). Similarly, the widespread Short-nosed Fruit Bat Cynopterus sphinx has been recorded as far north as Jammu and Kashmir (Chakraborty 1983) with an apparent disjunction in Himachal Pradesh. Similarly, the Fulvous Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros fulvus Gray, 1838 is distributed widely across the Indian subcontinent with records in the adjacent states of Haryana (Siddiqi 1961) and Jammu & Kashmir (Saikia et al. 2006). Systematic and intensive surveys covering all physiographic zones of the state will add significantly to our understanding of bat diversity in Himachal Pradesh. Conservation status Of the 28 species of bat occurring in Himachal Pradesh, one is Endangered (Nyctalus leisleri), three are Vulnerable (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Myotis blythii and M. mystacinus), eight species are Near Threatened (Rhinolophus sinicus, R. luctus, Myotis siligorensis, Plecotus homochrous, Barbastella leucomelas, Scotoecus pallidus, Nyctalus montanus and Murina tubinaris) and 16 are Least Concern (Molur et al. 2002). The majority of taxa in the Least Concern category comprise several well-distributed Pipistrellus species together with a number of Vespertilionid and Rhinolophoid taxa. However, these categories apply largely to South Asia and the local population status 1652

of bat species in the state appears to vary to some extent. For example, both Myotis blythii and M. mystacinus have been recognised as Vulnerable on the basis of very small population sizes. However, our field observations suggest that the population sizes of these two taxa might not be very small in Himachal Pradesh, where colonies of approximately 100 individuals of both species were observed. Likewise, R. ferrumequinum has been categorised as Vulnerable on the basis of a restricted area of occupancy and a change in the quality of habitat. In Himachal Pradesh, though, this bat has been collected at many localities, albeit in small numbers. Bats in India face a catastrophic loss of habitat, which decreases foraging areas, reduces prey populations, and often forces species to live in and around human habitations, making them more vulnerable (Mistry 2003). The quality of habitat for most of the bat species in this area is also deteriorating gradually. Stone-quarrying, for example, which is carried out in the state, is known to be detrimental to the existence of cave-dwelling bats (Murphy 1987). Caves in limestone areas may harbour healthy populations of many bat species. Large-scale mining of limestone is prevalent in Himachal Pradesh and poses a threat to the survival of many cave-dwelling bats. Although human population growth in Himachal Pradesh is not high, the rapid pace of urbanisation and industrialisation, especially in areas of lower elevation, is likely to have a severely detrimental impact on the region’s bat fauna. As the urban landscape continues to encroach on rural areas, diversity and abundance of bat species in this region is likely to undergo a steady decline. It is fortunate that other factors that are detrimental to bats, such as hunting for food, traditional medicine, and persecution, are almost non-existent in the state. Although fruit bats, notably Pteropus giganteus, cause considerable damage to fruit orchards, farmers are not normally hostile to their existence. It is to be hoped that this peaceful coexistence will continue for the time to come.

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Roberts, T.J. (1977) The Mammals of Pakistan. Ernest Benn Limited, London & Tonbridge, 361pp Rodger, W.A. & H.S.E. Panwar (1988). Planning A Wildlife Protected Area Network in India—Vols I & II. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, 341pp. Saikia, U., R.M. Sharma & V.K. Mattu (2004). New records of bats from Himachal Pradesh with some ecological notes The Indian Forester 130(10): 1204–1208. Saikia, U., R.M. Sharma & D.K. Sharma (2006). Record of Fulvous Leaf-nosed Bat Hipposideros fulvus Gray, 1838 from Jammu & Kashmir, India. Zoos’ Print Journal 21(3): 2197. Siddiqui, M.S.U. (1961). Checklist of mammals of Pakistan with particular reference to the mammalian collection in the British Museum (Natural History), London. Biologia 7: 93–225. Sinha, Y.P. (1980). The bats of Rajasthan: taxonomy and zoogeography. Records of the Zoological Survey of India 76(1–4): 7–63. Sharma, D.K. & U. Saikia (2009). Mammalia, pp. 103-118. In: Faunal Diversity of Simbalbara Wildlife Sanctuary. Conservation Area Series, 41, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata. Taylor, D.A.R. (2006). Forest Management and Bats. Bat Conservation International, Austin, Texas, 16pp Thomas, O. (1915). Scientific results from the mammal survey No. 10: The Indian bats assigned to the genus Myotis. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 23: 607– 612. Thomas, N.M. (2000). Morphological and mitochondrial-DNA variation in Rhinolophus rouxii (Chiroptera) Bonn. Zool. Beitr. 49(1–4): 1–18. Tuttle, M.D. (1975). Population ecology of gray bat (Myotis griescens): factors influencing early growth and development. Occasional Paper of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas 36: 1–24. Tuttle, M.D. (1976). Population ecology of gray bat (Myotis griescens): factors influencing growth and survival of newly volant young. Ecology 57: 587-595. Wilson D.E. & D.M. Reeder (1993). Mammal Species of The World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference—Second Edition. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington and London, 1206pp. Websites: http://mapsofindia.com/maps/himachalpradesh/ himachalpradesh-forest-map.html (Accessed on 19 February 2010). http://emuweb.fieldmuseum.org/mammals/Query.php (Accessed on 12 October 2010). http://entheros.amnh.org/db/emuwebamnh/pages/amnh/ mammalogy/ResultsList.php (Accessed on 27 October 2010).

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Appendix 1. Geographical gazetteer of localities mentioned in the text Arki 31009′N & 76057′E

Keylong 32034′N & 77001′E

Bakloh 32027′N & 75055′E

Kot Beja c. 30053′N & 76051′E

Ballu at Ghumarwin 31026′N & 76042′E

Kothi 32013′N & 77007′E

Bandrol c. 31058′N & 77007′E

Kotla 31043′N & 77016′E

Barotiwala 30054′N & 76051′E

Kunihar 31004′N & 76057′E

Barog Tunnel 30053′N & 77005′E

Kullu 31057′N & 77006′E

Bhunter 31052′N & 77008′E

Kullu valley c. 31056′N & 77001′E

Bilaspur 31020′N & 76045′E

Lutru cave 31009′N & 76057′E

Brewery 30055′N & 77006′E

Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra 17056′N & 73042′E

Chamba 32033′N & 76010′E

Majothu 30054′N & 76051′E

Chambaghat 30055′N & 77006′E

Manali 32012′N & 77006′E

Chakmoh 31027′N & 760 32′E

Mandi 31043′N & 76055′E

Chatri 32045’N & 76012′E

Manikaran c. 32001′N & 77020′E

Dadh 32009′N & 760 26′E

Mansar lake, Jammu&Kashmir 32048′N & 75023′E

Dalhousie 32032′N & 76001′E

Mussoorie, Uttarakhand 30026′N & 78004′E

Damtal 32012′N & 75040′E

Nalagarh 310 02′N & 76043′E

Dharamsala 32014′N & 76024′E

Narkanda 31015’N & 77027’E

Dharampur 31048′N & 76045′E

Nurpur 320 17′ N & 750 52′ E

Dodour near Nehr Chawk 31035′N & 76055′E

Ratandi near Bagi c. 31014′N & 77032′E

Drang c. 31044′N & 76055′E

Samayala 32004′N & 76016′E

Dunga Gali, Pakistan 34003′N & 73022′E

Samar Hill near Madurai c. 09055′N & 78008′E

Gambhar 31001′N & 76058′E

Shalaghat 31011′N & 76059′E

Ghanatti 31008′N & 77005′E

Shaur 32054′N & 76027′E

Gopalpur 32004′N & 76016′E

Shimla 31006′N & 77010′E

Gutkar 31039′N & 76056′E

Shogran, Pakistan 34037′N & 73028′E

Happy Valley 30053′N & 77005′E

Simbalbara 30028′N & 77032′E

Hasimara, West Bengal c. 26052′N & 89048′E

Sissu 32032′N & 77001′E

Hissar, Haryana 29010′N & 75045′E

Sooma Not located

Kalatop 32033′N & 76001′E

Solan 30054′N & 77005′E

Kangra 32005′N & 76015′E

Thirot c. 32039′N & 76046′E

Karool Hill 30056′N & 77005′E

Tottu 31006′N & 77007′E

Kasauli 30054′N & 76057′E

Acknowledgements: The present work is an extension of a study on the small mammalian fauna of the Shiwaliks of Himachal Pradesh during the first author’s stint as junior research fellow at ZSI, Solan. He is grateful to Dr. J.R.B. Alfred and Dr. Ramakrishna, former Directors, ZSI Kolkata; Dr. K. Venkataraman, Director, ZSI, Kolkata; Dr. A.K. Sanyal, Additional Director, ZSI, Kolkata; C. Radhakrishnan, Additional Director, ZSI, Calicut; Dr. K. Chandra, Additional Director, ZSI, Jabalpur; Dr. R.M. Sharma, former Officer-in-Charge, ZSI, Solan; Dr. A.K. Sidhu, Officer-in Charge, ZSI, Solan for institutional support and encouragement. US also expresses his gratitude to Dr. M.S. Pradhan, Retd. Scientist, ZSI, Pune and Dr. S.S. Talmale, ZSI, Jabalpur for imparting the basic knowledge of small mammalian taxonomy and literature support. Abhijit Das of Utkal University, Orissa and Narayan Sharma of NIAS, Bangalore provided suggestions for improvement on the earlier versions of the manuscript and literature support. Narayan Sharma also prepared the locality record map. Himachal Pradesh Forest Department is also thanked for permission to visit certain areas and manifold courtesies.

Authors details: Uttam Saikia is currently working at High Altitude Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Solan, Himachal Pradesh. His primary research interest is small mammalian taxonomy and also interested in reptilian taxonomy. He is also a keen birdwatcher. M.L.Tkakur is working as a young scientist fellow in the department of biosciences, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. His research interest is avifaunal diversity of Himachal Pradesh and is currently working on population status and habitat use pattern of vultures in Himachal Pradesh, under Fast Track Scheme sponsored by Department of Science and Technology,New Delhi. Mayur Bawri is a research fellow in the department of Zoology, Gauhati University. His research interest is in large mammalian ecology especially that of Asiatic Buffalo. P.C. Bhattacharjee is a retired professor in zoology from Gauhati University and a well known conservationist in northeastern India. He is currently associated with Wildlife Trust of India.

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Effect of human feeding on the road mortality of Rhesus Macaques on National Highway - 7 routed along Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, India A. Pragatheesh Research Fellow, Environmental Impact Assessment Cell, Wildlife Institute of India, Chandrabani, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001, India Email: pragatheesh@gmail.com

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Mewa Singh Manuscript details: Ms # o2669 Received 06 January 2011 Final received 04 February 2011 Finally accepted 10 February 2011 Citation: Pragatheesh, A. (2011). Effect of human feeding on the road mortality of Rhesus Macaques on National Highway-7 routed along Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1656–1662. Copyright: © A. Pragatheesh 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Author Details: A. Pragatheesh is a research fellow pursuing doctoral research at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) on the topic “Assessment of the existing National Highway – 7 and its proposed widening on habitat use and movement of wild animals in Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh”. Acknowledgements: I thank the Director and Dean, Wildlife Institute of India and Madhya Pradesh Forest Department for providing permissions and logistic support. I acknowledge the help rendered by the field assistantsShivanand and Dhanalal during the fieldwork. Dr. Asha Rajvanshi, Dr. K. Ramesh, Dr. J. Antony Johnson and Dr. Jatinder Chadha are thanked for their technical guidance and assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.

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Abstract: In Hindu mythology, Hanuman is worshipped as the monkey god and therefore there is a great reverence for macaques all across the country. Hindu devotees consider it their sacred duty to feed macaques along road, temples, parks and other public areas. Unfortunately, such food provisioning alters the habitat, food choice and behaviour of macaques. We studied the impact of feeding by humans on Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta feeding behaviour, distribution and also assessed the increased risk of accidents in the 11km road stretch of National Highway passing through Kanha-Pench corridor, from August 2009 to July 2010. Seasonal changes in macaque distribution and group sizes were assessed based on foot and vehicle transects. The numbers of road kills were monitored in early morning and late evening hours for different seasons. Five groups of macaques were occupying a minimum of 1.1 to a maximum of 1.7km stretch, together covering about 7.3km of road. Group size varied significantly in relation to the availability of food on the road. During the study, 54 macaques succumbed to road accidents. Maximum roadkill occurred during summer because of the greater inflow of tourists. Unless concerted efforts are made to increase awareness among people of the hazards of road-side feeding, incidences of macaque mortality are likely to increase. Keywords: Behaviour, feeding, Pench Tiger Reserve, Rhesus Macaques, roadkills.

Introduction India has long been known as one of the rich primate areas of the world, both in species diversity and population abundance. Eight species of macaques occur in India, namely, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta, Bonnet Macaque M. radiata, Assamese Macaque M. assamensis, Stumptailed Macaque M. arctoides, Pig-tailed Macaque M. leonina, Lion-tailed Macaque M. silenus, Arunanchal Macaque M. munzala and Long-tailed Macaque M. fascicularis umbrosa. The Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta is one of the most common non-human primates in India. Among the non-human primate species of the world, the Rhesus macaque has the widest geographic distribution, occuring from Afghanistan in the west to Vietnam, Hong Kong and eastern China as far north as Beijing (Bangjie 1985). The Rhesus Macaque is a diurnal species occurring in a variety of habitats occupying both terrestrial and arboreal niches. They inhabit the deserts of Rajasthan, agricultural plains of the Gangetic basin, the tropical forests  of southeastern Asia, the temperate pine forests of the Himalaya, and the rugged mountains of north central China (Southwick et al. 1994). In India, Rhesus Macaques are found from 1400m altitude in the Himalaya to the sea level in Sunderbans and in the south up to the river Godavari (Srivastava 1999). Range overlap with Bonnet Macaques occurs in the southern part of the country (Fooden et al. 1981). Rhesus Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1656–1662


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Macaques are the most adaptable of all non-human primates and have learned to live amidst human habitations. In India, 80 to 90 % of Rhesus Macaques live in close association with human populations, and are therefore highly dependent on people for food (Southwick et al. 1965, 1976). This relationship between humans and monkeys dates back to ancient cultures and is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology. Monkeys are associated with Hanuman, the Monkey God in the epic Ramayana. Monkeys are believed to be the direct descendants of Lord Hanuman and are highly revered by Hindus. Feeding of monkeys on road sides is still a common practice across India. The increasing number of habituated macaque populations living in proximity to human settlements has become a major concern in India. Southwick et al. (1976) documented in detail the effect of artificial feeding on behaviour and ecology of Rhesus Macaques. The study not only highlighted the changes in the aggressive behaviour associated with artificial feeding but also recorded changes in their diet, home range, and primary habitat that further influenced social behaviour and the spatial distribution of the animals. Several authors have

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recorded the negative effects of artificial feeding and roadkill studies on Hanuman Langurs Semnopitheaus entellus in India (Mohnot 1974; Agoramoorthy 1987; Rajpurohit 1987; Rajpurohit et al. 1997; Chhangani 2000, 2001, 2004). Studies are lacking related to impacts of road side feeding by humans on distribution and risks of mortality in Rhesus Macaques in India; this study assesses these impacts. Study area The National Highway NH-7 runs along the northsouth axis connecting Varanasi (northern India) with Nagpur (central India) and Hyderabad and Bengaluru (southern India). This study was conducted in the 11km stretch of NH-7 between the villages Kurai (21049’N & 79030’E) in the south to Gandatola (21053’N & 79032’E) in the north, aligned along on the eastern boundary of the Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh and bisecting the Kanha-Pench corridor. The portion of the road is routed along the eastern boundary of Pench Mowgli Sanctuary of the Pench Tiger Reserve for a length of 11km (Fig. 1). The topography of the study area is mostly undulating, characterized by small

Figure 1. Section of the NH-7 representing the area of the study Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1656–1662

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ridges and hills having steep slopes and a number of seasonal streams or nallahs. The mean annual rainfall is around 1400mm with the south-west monsoon accounting for most of the rainfall in the region. The temperature varies from a minimum of 00C in winter to 450C in summer.

Methods Distribution of Rhesus Macaques along roads Distribution was assessed via two methods: line transects and road transects. A total of 18 permanent line transects (2km length) were laid perpendicular to the highway over the 11-km stretch in different habitat types on both sides of the road. Each transect was walked four times in a season and information on the number of animals sighted, location, habitat, group size and age structure was collected. Presence of Rhesus Macaques was recorded at every 100m on the line transect based on direct evidence. A vehicle was driven along forest roads at a speed of <20 km/h on the transect road. When macaques were spotted, Global Positioning System (GPS; Garmin 72 unit) locations and observations on group size and habitat type were recorded. The same road was surveyed four times in every season. Presence of animals was marked at every 100m in GIS domain. In addition, National Highway 7 was also surveyed for macaques on and along the roadside. Encounter rates were calculated for adults and juveniles. Roadkill data collection The sampling period was divided into three seasons: monsoon (July to October), winter (November to February) and summer (March to June). From August

2009 to July 2010 the entire stretch of road (11km) was surveyed by vehicle (driven at 10- 20 km/hr). Data was recorded twice per day during early morning (05300630 hr) and late evening (1730-1830 hr) for road kills. When kills of Rhesus Macaque were encountered on the road, the team recorded GPS location, determined sex and age and took notes on roadside habitat features. The dead macaques were identified and removed from the road to avoid repeat count in subsequent surveys. We used a kernel density estimation method (Gitman & Levine 1970) for identifying high mortality zones using the spatial analyst toolbox for ArcGIS following Ramp et al. 2005, 2006 and Gomes et al. 2009. Traffic information was collected by continuous monitoring for three days per season to determine the per day traffic volume during the study period.

Results Group size and distribution along road In the study area a total of five major groups of macaques identified as A, B, C, D and E were observed in the 11km section of road (Table 1, Fig. 3). These groups together comprised 305 animals representing 67 males, 158 females and 80 juveniles. Sometimes a group temporarily broke into smaller groups with varying numbers of individuals. Group size varied between 36 and 82 individuals, with mean 61 Âą 19. Group size was positively related to the number of people feeding monkeys on the road (Pearson-product moment r = 0.968, p = 0.01) (Table1). During summer and late winter all individuals in the five groups were attracted towards the road because of food offered by humans. The encounter rate of macaques on the line and road transects survey showed that the use of roadside

Table 1. Average number of Rhesus Macaque sighted on NH-7 along Pench Tiger Reserve Group

Male

Female

Juvenile

Total no. of individual

Average no. of feedings by humans per day

Length occupied in km

A

9

26

10

45

14

1.1

B

15

35

17

67

32

1.6

C

17

34

24

75

37

1.7

D

7

18

11

36

16

1.4

E

19

45

18

82

47

1.5

Total

67

158

80

305

146

7.3

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A. Pragatheesh Winter

Encounter rate / km

30.0

Summer

25.0

Monsoon

20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0

Distance from highway (meter)

Male

Female

Juvenile

Total no. of individuals

A

3

2

2

7

B

2

3

0

5

C

4

7

3

14

D

1

6

1

8

E

8

11

1

20

Total

18

29

7

54

habitats in summer and winter was relatively high at 26.7 ± 7.5 individuals/km, and gradually decreased towards the forest interior, where no individuals were seen during summer (Fig. 2). The length of the road stretch occupied by different groups varied between 1.1 to 1.7 km together covering about 7.3km length (Table 1). Roadkills During the study period, 54 Rhesus Macaques were found killed on the road. The number of females killed was higher than the number of males and juveniles (Kruskal-Wallis χ2 = 5.70, p = 0.05. (Table 2). The number of road kills was 27, 19 and eight during summer, winter and monsoon respectively. Traffic intensity during summer, winter and monsoon was 3269, 2951 and 2884 vehicles/day respectively. Road kills were positively correlated with vehicular intensity (Spearman’s rho = 1.00, p < 0.01). Fatalities of the Rhesus Macaque occurred in a cluster on the road (Fig. 3). The kernel density method clearly revealed that the maximum number of roadkills was taking place at a location where the frequency of

2000

1900

Figure 2. Encounter rate of Rhesus Macaque on the line transects

Table 2. Number of Rhesus Macaques killed on the NH-7 along Pench Tiger Reserve Group

1800

1700

1600

1500

1400

1300

1200

1100

1000

900

800

700

600

500

400

300

200

100

0.0

Kernel density

Figure 3. Location of Rhesus Macaque groups and location of road kills

feeding (artificial feeding) by passer-by was high.

Discussion Mean group sizes of macaques vary between 9.841 in forest (Southwick et al.1965; Mukherjee & Gupta 1965; Neville 1968; Singh 1969; Lindburg 1971;

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Makwana 1978), and in urban area, it varies between 10-42 (Southwick et al. 1965; Mukherjee 1972) in urban and semiurban areas. The group size recorded in this study varied between 36- 82 individuals, mean 61 ± 19. The higher group size found in the present study may be because of human feeding. The encounter rate of Rhesus Macaque shows the maximum number of animals using the roadside habitat during summer and late winter (Fig. 2). Southwick (1976) observed for 16 years that the Rhesus Macaques were found to use a specific location in all seasons. The study conducted in Asarori Forest in Dehradun by Makwana (1978) shows that foraging area for rhesus macaque was approximately 1.05 to 3.5 km. In this study rhesus macaque foraging area was a minimum of 1.1km to a maximum of 1.7km. The movement of the macaques was restricted by the availability of food from passersby. The five group of macaques covered about 7.3km of the total length of the study area (Table 1). In total 54 Rhesus Macaques were killed on this road (Table 2). This clearly reflects that the Rhesus macaque

Image 1. Rhesus Macaques being fed by a passer-by. 1660

is highly vulnerable to road accidents compared to other animals in the study area. Maximum number of road kills occurred during summer because of large numbers of tourist offering food (Image 1). The study conducted on Hanuman Langur by Chhangani (2004) showed that the maximum number of roadkills occurred during monsoons. Both studies showed that the passer-by behaviour of feeding animals influenced the road kills. The Rhesus Macaque is largely vegetarian but occasionally eats insects (Seth 2001). In earlier days, people used to feed macaques along the road by offering them gram or bananas. These days people offer all sorts of food including biscuits, chips and other snacks which are thrown in the middle of the roadway. Based on discussions with some passers-by and truck drivers, it was learnt that the people have adopted the practice of feeding macaques because they believed that monkeys do not get anything else to feed on. This irregular feeding makes macaques aggressive in their behaviour towards humans and other species (Bernstein & Mason 1963; Koford 1963; Loy 1970; Southwick et al. 1976). It is a common observation that when vehicles halt, macaques surround them forcing traveler(s) to offer eatables. In retaliation some people pelt stones. This indicates that the artificial feeding of wild macaques alters their habits and behaviour. Roadkills of a wide array of wild animals are one of the major challenges in the current conservation scenario. Forest department and other non-government organizations are creating awareness amongst people by putting up hoardings along roadsides to educate people about the implications of feeding animals on the road (Image 2). These messages are generally ignored by people who continue to feed macaques because of the religious sentiments attached to this species. The monkey menace will only continue to grow unabated posing greater risks of road accidents, increasing human-wildlife conflicts and rising trends in mortality of macaques eventually leading to decline in their populations in the long term. Concerted efforts are needed by the conservation community, the state forest departments and civil society in raising awareness about the threats associated with artificial feeding of macaques.

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Image 2. Hoardings put up by the state forest department for creating awareness about hazards of feeding monkeys

Reference Agoramoorthy, G. (1987). Reproductive behaviour in Hanuman Langur, Presbytis entellus. PhD Thesis. University of Jodhpur, Jodhpur. Bangjie, T. (1985). The status of primates in china. Primate Conservation 5: 63–81. Bernstein, I. & W.A. Mason (1963). Activity patterns of rhesus monkeys in a social group. Animal Behaviour 11: 455–460. Chhangani, A.K. (2000). Ecobehavioral diversity of langurs, Presbytis entellus living in different ecosystems. PhD Thesis. JNV University of Jodhpur, Jodhpur. Chhangani, A.K. (2001). Threats to Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in relation to flora and fauna. Journal of Nature Conservation 13(2): 177–185. Chhangani, A.K. (2004). Killing of Hanuman Langur in road accidents in Knumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan, India. Primate Report 69. Fooden, J., A. Mahabal & S.S. Saha (1981). Redefinition of the Rhesus Macaques-Bonnet Macaque boundary in peninsular India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 78: 463–474. Gitman, I., Levine, M.D. (1970). An algorithm for detecting unimodal fuzzy sets and its application as a clustering technique. IEEE Transactions on Computers 19: 583–593. Gomes, L., C. Grilo, C. Silva & A. Mira (2009). Identification methods and deterministic factors of owl road kill hotspot locations in Mediterranean landscapes. Ecological Research 24: 355–370. Koford, C. (1963). Group relations in an island colony of Rhesus Monkeys, pp. 136–152. In: Southwick, C.H. (ed.). Primate Social Behavior. D. Van Nostrand Co., New York. Lindburg, D.G. (1971). The Rhesus Monkey in north India: An ecological and behavioural study, pp. 1–106. In: Rosenblum, L.A. (ed.). Primate Behaviour; Developments in Field and Laboratory Research, Vol. 2. Academic Press, New York.

 

Loy, J. (1970). Behavioral response of free-ranging rhesus monkeys to food shortage. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 33: 263–271. Makwana, S.C. (1978). Field ecology and behaviour of the Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta): I. group composition, home range, roosting sites, and foraging routes in the Asarori forest. Primates 19(3): 483–492. Mohnot, S.M. (1974). Ecology and behaviour of the common Indian langur, Presbytis entellus. PhD Thesis. University of Jodhpur, Jodhpur. Mukherjee, A.K. & S. Gupta (1965). Habits of rhesus macaque, Macaca mulatta in the Sunderbans, West Bengal. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 62: 145–146. Mukherjee (1972). Group composition and population density of Rhesus Monkey, Macaca mulatta in northern India. Primates 13: 65–70. Neville, M.K. (1968). Ecology and activity of the Himalayan foot-hill Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Ecology 40: 110–123. Rajpurohit, L.S. & A.K. Chhangani (1997). Males’ number decreasing in langurs (Presbytis entellus) around Jodhpur . Abstracts - 1st Goettinger Freilandtage on Primate SocioEcology: Causes and Consequences of Variation in the Members of Males Per Group, German Primate Centre (DPZ), Gottingen (Germany). Primate Report 48(2): 30. Rajpurohit, L.S. (1987). Male social organization in Hanuman Langur (Presbytis entellus). PhD Thesis. University of Jodhpur, Jodhpur. Ramp, D., J. Caldwell, A.E. Kathryn, D. Warton & D.B. Croft (2005). Modeling of wildlife fatality hotspots along the Snowy Mountain Highway in New South Wales, Australia. Biological Conservation 126: 474–490. Ramp, D., V.K. Wilson & D.B. Croft (2006). Assessing the impact of roads in peri-urban reserves: Road-based fatalities and road usage by wildlife in the Royal National Park, New South Wales, Australia. Biological Conservation 129: 348–359.

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Seth, P.K., P.K. Chopra & S. Seth (2001). Indian Rhesus Macaque: habitat, ecology and activity patterns of naturally occurring populations. In: Gupta, A.K. (ed.) ENVIS Bulletin: Wildlife & Protected Areas, Non-Human Primates of India 1(1): 68–80. Singh, S.D. (1969). Urban monkeys. Scientific American 221: 108–115. Southwick, C.H., M.A. Beg & M.R. Siddiqi (1965). Rhesus Monkeys in north India, pp. 111–159. In: DeVore, I. (ed.) Primate Behavior: Field Studies of Monkeys and Apes. New York.

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Southwick, C.H. & M.F. Siddiqi (1994). Population status of primates in Asia, with emphasis on Rhesus Macaques in India. American Journal of Primatology 34: 51–59. Southwick, C.H., M.F. Sidiqi, M.Y. Farooqui & B.C. Pal (1976). Effects of artificial feeding on aggressive behaviour of rhesus monkeys in India.  Animal Behavior 24(1): 11– 15. Srivastava, A. (1999). Rhesus Macaque, pp. 141–145. In: Primates of Northeast India. Mega Diversity Press, India.

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Ornithofauna and its conservation in the Kuttanad wetlands, southern portion of Vembanad-Kole Ramsar site, India S. Prasanth Narayanan 1, A.P. Thomas 2 & B. Sreekumar 3 Advanced Centre of Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development (ACESSD), School of Environmental Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Priyadarsini Hills, Kottayam, Kerala 686560, India 3 Kottayam Nature Society, Sri Nilayam, Near Union Club, Kottayam, Kerala 686001, India Email: 1 narayanankc@gmail.com (corresponding author) 1,2

Abstract: The avifauna of Kuttanad was studied from January 1995 to June 2007. Two-hundred-and-twenty-five taxa of birds belonging to 15 orders and 59 families were recorded. Among the birds recorded, 38% were migrants. Fifty-five species were found to breed in the area. Family Scolopaceidae showed maximum species diversity. European Roller Coracias garrulus recorded during this study is the first report of this species from Kerala. Ten globally threatened species were recorded. Kuttanad wetland shows greater species diversity, especially in the wetland birds, than the Kole wetlands of Kerala. Kumarakom heronry holds 8% of the biogeographical population of the Near Threatened Oriental Darter. Landscape alteration, hunting, felling of nesting trees and pesticides are the major detrimental factors for the survival of birds. Conservation aspects of birds of this region are discussed.

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: P.O. Nameer Manuscript details: Ms # o1870 Received 10 October 2007 Final received 14 March 2011 Finally accepted 18 March 2011 Citation: Narayanan, S.P., A.P. Thomas & B. Sreekumar (2011). Ornithofauna and its conservation in the Kuttanad wetlands, southern portion of Vembanad-Kole Ramsar site, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1663-1676.

Keywords: Avifauna, conservation, Kuttanad, Ramsar site, threats.

Copyright: © S. Prasanth Narayanan, A.P. Thomas & B. Sreekumar 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.

Introduction

For Author Details and Author Contribution see end of this article. Acknowledgements: We are indebted to Dr. V.P. Sylas and to the members of Kottayam Nature Society, who shared information and accompanying us during the field visits. We are also grateful to C. Sashikumar, J. Praveen and J. Ranjini for valuable comments and correction on the earlier drafts of the manuscript. We also thank the anonymous referees for comments that improved the manuscript.

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Wetlands are complex and productive ecosystems (Maltby 1986; Unni 2002) that occupy about six percent of the Earth’s land surface (Maltby & Turner 1983). Wetlands are known as “biological supermarkets” because of the extensive food chains and rich biodiversity they support, providing unique habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna (Mitsch & Gosselink 2000). Wetlands are important habitats for birds, which use them for feeding, roosting, nesting and rearing young (Weller 1999; Stewart 2001). The use of wetlands by birds during the breeding cycle ranges widely, with some depending almost totally on wetlands for breeding, feeding or shelter during their breeding cycles. Kuttanad wetland is located at the southern portion of India’s largest Ramsar site the Vembanad-Kole wetland. Ali (1984), Ali & Ripley (1987), Neelakantan (1996), Chandy (2003), Narayanan (2004), Sreekumar & Narayanan (2004), Rakesh et al. (2004), Narayanan et al. (2005a,b) reported various aspects of the avifauna of this wetland. The only detailed study regarding birds in this region is the midwinter water bird count. Nature Education Society, Thrissur, organized the first water bird survey in the Vembanad Lake (NEST 1993). Since 2001, regular Midwinter Waterbird Count is being carried out at different parts of Kuttanad wetlands by Kottayam Nature Society (KNS) in association with Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department (Sreekumar 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005), but most of the surveys were concentrated in and around the premises of Vembanad Lake. Existing information available on the avifauna of

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this region is based on surveys conducted by KNS and mainly in view to the wetland birds. Hence this work was taken with the following objectives (i) to make an inventory of the avifauna of Kuttanad wetlands with breeding birds, status, occurrence, (ii) to find and list the major factors which threatens the bird fauna, and (iii) to propose the action plan for the conservation of birds and wetlands of Kuttanad.

Study Area Kuttanad is primarily a deltaic formation of five river systems: Meenachil, Pamba, Manimala, Muvattupuzha and Achencovil, located in the fertile low-lying areas of Vembanad Lake (Fig. 1) (Shari & Chitra 2005). It spreads over Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala and forms an integral part of the Vembanad-Kole Ramsar site. This region lies between 9017’–9040’N & 76019’–76033’E and is separated from

Figure 1. Six divisions of Kuttanad wetlands 1664

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Birds of Kuttanad wetlands

the Arabian Sea by a narrow strip of land. Much of this region lies 0.6 to 2.2 m below mean sea level, hence the area remains water-logged almost throughout the year and is subjected to continued flood submergence during the monsoon and saline water ingression during the summer months. Kuttanad is rightly called the “Rice Bowl of Kerala”, contributing nearly 20% of the total state rice production. It consists of 53,639 hectares distributed among 1086 units where rice is cultivated (Sudhikumar & Sebastian 2005). Most of these fields are inundated during the non-crop season and water has to be pumped out to the canal systems and backwaters before the commencement of the cultivating season (Sashikumar & Palot 2002). Based on the soils, geomorphology and salinity intrusion, Kuttanad is subdivided into six agro-ecological zones viz., (i) Upper Kuttanad (ii) Kayal lands (iii) Vaikom Kari (iv) Lower Kuttanad (v) North Kuttanad and (vi) Purakkad Kari (Indo-Dutch Mission 1989). Major portion of the Vembanad estuary is situated in Kuttanad Wetland, which is the biggest estuary in the southwest coast of India. It experiences warm climate with fairly uniform temperature throughout the year ranging from 21–36 0C. Humidity in general is very high all through the year (Shari & Chitra 2005). The average annual rainfall received is around 3000mm (Shari & Chitra 2005) of which about 83% is received during south west monsoon months.

Material and Methods This study was carried out from January 1995 to June 2007. Observations were carried out during the weekdays mainly from 0700 to 1100 hr and occasional sightings of birds during non-birding trips were also included. Birds were identified with the help of different field guides (Ali 1984; Ali & Ripley 1987; Neelakantan 1996; Grimmet et al. 2000; Grewal et al. 2002) using Bushnell (7x35mm) binoculars. The species list (Table 1) includes those that were recorded in the present study and also from various other works, compiled from published and unpublished materials and personal communications. As per the occurrence in the Kuttanad wetlands, species were classified as: resident (R) - found in all suitable habitats throughout the year; migrant (M) - found only during a specific season (this includes birds from Central

S.P. Narayanan et al.

Asian countries and northern areas of the Indian subcontinent); local migrant (LM) - resident to the state but found in Kuttanad region only during a specific season; straggler from the hill (SH) - species usually found in the hilly areas of the state but recorded from this area; and vagrant (V) - birds which accidentally came to the region from its normal range, which is hundreds of miles away. The status of many birds oberved in Kuttanad Wetland is different from their Kerala State status. Abundance of each species was derived following Nameer et al. (2000). According to the feeding habits, birds were divided as aquatic herbivores, aquatic insectivore, aquatic omnivores, piscivores, carnivores, insectivores, omnivores, granivores, frugivores, nectarivores. The taxonomical classification and common names follow Manakadan & Pittie (2002).

Results and Discussion Total 225 taxa of birds belonged to 15 orders 59 families were identified from Kuttanad wetlands (Table 1). Neelakantan (1996) listed out 483 species from Kerala out of which around 47% of bird species were recorded during this study. Order Passeriformes posses the most diversified families (26) and species (78). Maximum number of species was recorded from the families Scolopaceidae and Ardeidae (Table 1). Though a wetland-dominated area, 52.5% birds belong to non-wetland category. Most of the land birds were seen at the eastern boundaries of Kuttanad, where Kuttanad wetlands meet midland areas of Kerala. Hence high number of species reported from that area could be due to edge effect. Among the birds recorded, 38% constitute migrants and 38% residents (Fig. 2). Wetland and wetland dependent birds formed major portion of these migrants. The composition of birds in major feeding guilds in the study area showed that the insectivore guild was the most common with 37.33% species, followed by piscivores (Fig. 3). Ten globally threatened species were recorded. Among these Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga is listed under Vulnerable category. Species, such as Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Oriental White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis, Oriental Darter Anhinga

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Table 1. Checklist of the birds of Kuttanad wetlands with its status

1

Scientific name

Common name

Podicipedidae

Tachybaptus ruficollis (Pallas, 1764)

Little Grebe

Pelecanidae 2

Pelecanus philippensis Gmelin, 1789

Spot-billed Pelican

Phalacrocoracidae

Status

Breeding

C, R

O, M

Scientific name

Common name

Platalea leucorodia Linnaeus, 1758

Eurasian Spoonbill

Anatidae

26

Dendrocygna javanica (Horsfield, 1821)

Lesser WhistlingDuck

27

Tadorna ferruginea (Pallas, 1764) #

Brahminy Shelduck #

28

Nettapus coromandelianus (Gmelin, Cotton Teal 1789)

25

Status

Breeding

U, M

C, R

V

C, R

U, LM?

3

Phalacrocorax niger (Vieillot, 1817)

Little Cormorant

A, R

4

Phalacrocorax fuscicollis Stephens, 1826

Indian Shag

C, R

29

Anas poecilorhyncha J.R. Forester, 1781

Spot-billed Duck

5

Phalacrocorax carbo (Linnaeus, 1758)

Great Cormorant

U, R

30

Anas clypeata Linnaeus, 1758

Northern Shoveller

O, M

Anhingidae

31

Northern Pintail

C, M

Anhinga melanogaster Pennant, 1769

Anas acuta Linnaeus, 1758

Darter

C, R

32

Garganey

C, M

Ardeidae

Anas querquedula Linnaeus, 1758

7

Egretta garzetta (Linnaeus, 1766)

Little Egret

A, R

33

Anas crecca Linnaeus, 1758

Common Teal

U, M

8

Egretta gularis (Bosc, 1792)

Western ReefEgret

U, M

34

Aythya nyroca (Guldenstadt, 1770)

Ferruginous Pochard

O, M

Ardea cinerea Linnaeus, 1758

9

Grey Heron

U, LM

U, LM

10

Ardea purpurea Linnaeus, Purple Heron 1766

C, R

11

Casmerodius albus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Large Egret

C, R

12

Mesophoyx intermedia (Wagler, 1829)

Median Egret

C, R

13

Bubulcus ibis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Cattle Egret

14

Ardeola grayii (Sykes, 1832)

Indian PondHeron

A, R

15

Butorides striatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Little Green Heron

U, R

16

Nycticorax nycticorax (Linnaeus, 1758)

Black-crowned Night-Heron

C, R

17

Ixobrychus sinensis (Gmelin, 1789)

Yellow Bittern

18

Ixobrychus cinnamomeus (Gmelin, 1789)

19

Dupetor flavicollis (Latham, 1790)

6

20

35 36

Milvus migrans (Boddaert, Black Kite 1783)

U, R

37

Haliastur indus (Boddaert, Brahminy Kite 1783)

C, R

38

Circus aeruginosus(Linnaeus, 1758)

Western MarshHarrier

C, M

39

Circus pygargus (Linnaeus, 1758) #

Montagu’s Harrier #

O, M

40

Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus (Horsfield, 1821) #

Greater Greyheaded FishEagle #

O, SH

41

Accipter badius (Gmelin, 1788)

Shikra

C, R

U, R

42

Accipiter nisus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

O, M, a

Chestnut Bittern

U, R

43

Aquila nipalensis Hodgson, 1833

Steppe Eagle

U, M

Black Bittern

U, R

44

Aquila clanga Pallas, 1811 #

Greater Spotted Eagle

U, M

45

Hieraaetus pennatus (Gmelin, 1788) #

Booted Eagle

U, M

O, M

Pandionidae

Pandion haliaetus (Linnaeus, 1758)

C, M

Painted Stork

A, M

21

Anastomus oscitans (Boddaert, 1783)

Asian OpenbillStork

U, M

22

Ciconia episcopus (Boddaert, 1783)

White-necked Stork

U, LM

Threskiornidae

23

Plegadis falcinellus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Glossy Ibis

C, M

24

Threskiornis melanocephalus (Latham, 1790)

Oriental White Ibis

C, R

1666

Black-shouldered Kite

Elanus caeruleus (Desfontaines, 1789)

Ciconidae Mycteria leucocephala (Pennant, 1769)

Accipitridae

46

Osprey

Falconidae 47

Falco tinnunculus Linnaeus, 1758 #

Common Kestrel

O, SH

48

Falco peregrinus Tunstall, 1771 #

Peregrine Falcon

U, M

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Scientific name

S.P. Narayanan et al.

Common name

Rallidae

Status

Breeding

49

Amaurornis phoenicurus (Pennant, 1769)

White-breasted Waterhen

C, R

50

Rallina eurizonoides (Lafresnaye, 1845)

Slaty-legged Crake

U, M

51

Galliarallus striatus Linnaeus, 1766 #

Blue-breasted Rail #

O, M

52

Porzana pusilla (Pallas, 1776) #

Baillon’s Crake

O, M

53

Porzana fusca (Linnaeus, 1766)

Ruddy-breasted Crake

U, M

54

Gallicrex cinerea (Gmelin, 1789)

Watercock

C, R

55

Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758)

Purple Moorhen

C, R

56

Gallinula chloropus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Moorhen

U, M

57

Fulica atra Linnaeus, 1758

Common Coot

U, M?

#

Jacanidae 58

Hydrophasianus chirurgus Pheasant-tailed (Scopoli, 1786) Jacana

C, R

59

Metopidius indicus (Latham, 1790)

Bronze-winged Jacana

C, R

U, R

Rostratulidae 60

Rostratula benghalensis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Greater PaintedSnipe

Charadridae

61

Pluvialis fulva (Gmelin, 1789)

Pacific GoldenPlover

C, M

62

Pluvialis squatarola (Linnaeus, 1758)

Grey Plover

U, M

63

Charadrius dubius Scopoli, 1786

Little Ringed Plover

U, M

64

Charadrius alexandrinus Linnaeus, 1758

Kentish Plover

U, M

65

Charadrius mongolus Pallas, 1776

Lesser Sand Plover

C, M

66

Charadrius leschemaultii Lesson, 1826

Greater Sand Plover

O, M

67

Vanellus malabaricus (Boddaert, 1783)

Yellow-wattled Lapwing

O, LM

68

Vanellus indicus (Boddaert, 1783)

Red-wattled Lapwing

C, R

Scolopacidae 69

Gallinago gallinago (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Snipe

C, M

70

Limosa limosa (Linnaeus, 1758)

Black-tailed Godwit

C, M

71

Numenius phaeopus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Whimbrel

U, M

72

Numenius arquata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Eurasian Curlew

U, M

73

Tringa totanus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Redshank

C, M

74

Tringa erythropus (Pallas, 1764)

Spotted Redshank

O, M

Scientific name

Common name

Status

Breeding

75

Tringa stagnatilis (Bechstein, 1803)

Marsh Sandpiper

U, M

76

Tringa nebularia (Gunner, 1767)

Common Greenshank

C, M

77

Tringa ochropus Linnaeus, 1758

Green Sandpiper

C, M

78

Tringa glareola Linnaeus, 1758

Wood Sandpiper

C, M

79

Actitis hypoleucos Linnaeus, 1758

Common Sandpiper

C, M

80

Calidris temminckii (Leisler, 1812)

Temminck’s Stint

C, M

81

Calidris minuta (Leisler, 1812)

Little Stint

U, M

82

Calidris ferruguinea (Pontoppidan, 1813)

Curlew Sandpiper

O, M

83

Calidris subminuta (Midendorff, 1853) #

Long-toed Stint #

O, M, a

84

Phuilomachus pugnax (Linnaeus, 1758)

Ruff

O, M

U, R

U, LM

Recurvirostridae 85

Himantopus himantopus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Black-winged Stilt

Glareolidae 86

Glareola lactea Temminck, 1820

Small Pratincole

Laridae 87

Larus ichthyaetus Pallas, 1773 #

Pallas’s Gull #

O, M

88

Larus brunnicephalus Jerdon, 1840

Brown-headed Gull

U, M

89

Larus ridibundus Linnaeus, 1766

Black-headed Gull

C, M

90

Gelochelidon nilotica (Gmelin, 1789)

Gull-billed Tern

C, M

91

Sterna caspia Pallas, 1770

Caspian Tern

O, M

92

Sterna bengalensis Lesson, 1831 #

Lesser Crested Tern #

O, M

93

Sterna bergii Lichtenstein, Large Crested 1823 # Tern #

O, M

94

Sterna albifrons Pallas, 1764 #

Little/Saunders’s Tern

O, M

95

Sterna aurantia J.E. Gray, 1831

River Tern

O, LM

96

Sterna fuscata Linnaeus, 1766 #

Sooty Tern #

V

97

Chlidonias hybridus (Pallas, 1811)

Whiskered Tern

C, M

98

Childonias leucopterus (Temminck, 1815)

White-winged Black Tern

O, M

C, R

O, LM

Columbidae 99

Columba livia Gmelin, 1789

Blue Rock Pigeon

100

Streptopelia chinensis (Scopoli, 1786)

Spotted Dove

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Birds of Kuttanad wetlands

S.P. Narayanan et al.

Scientific name

Common name

Status

Breeding

101

Chalcophaps indica (Linnaeus, 1758)

Emerald Dove

U, LM

102

Ducula badia (Raffles, 1822)

Mountain Imperial-Pigeon

U, SH

103

Treron pompadora (Gmelin, 1789)

Pompadour Green-Pigeon

U, LM

U, LM

Psittacidae

Scientific name

Common name

Status

Breeding

Cypsiurus balasiensis (J.E. Gray, 1829)

Asian Palm-Swift

C, R

Alcedinidae

127

Alcedo atthis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Small Blue Kingfisher

C, R

128

Ceyx erithaca (Linnaeus, 1758) #

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher #

O, SH, a

129

Halcyon capensis (Linnaeus, 1766)

Stork-billed Kingfisher

C, R

126

104

Loriculus vernalis (Sparrman, 1787)

Indian HangingParrot

105

Psittacula krameri (Scopoli, 1769)

Rose-ringed Parakeet

C, R

130

Halcyon smyrnensis (Linnaeus, 1758)

White-breasted Kingfisher

C, R

106

Psittacula cyanocephala (Linnaeus, 1766)

Plum-headed Parakeet

C, R

131

Halcyon pileata (Boddaert, 1783)

Black-capped Kingfisher

U, M

132

Ceryle rudis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Pied Kingfisher

C, R

O, M, a

Meropidae

133

Merops philippinus Linnaeus, 1766

Blue-tailed Beeeater

C, M

134

Merops orientalis Latham, 1801

Small Bee-eater

C, R

135

Merops leschenaulti Vieillot, 1817 #

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater #

RR, LM

C, R

V

Cuculidae 107

Clamator jacobinus (Boddaert, 1783)

Pied Crested Cuckoo

108

Clamator coromandus (Linnaeus, 1766) #

Red-winged Crested Cuckoo #

109

Hierococcyx varius (Vahl, 1797)

110

O, M, a

Brainfever Bird

C, LM

Cuculus micropterus Gould, 1838

Indian Cuckoo

O, M

111

Cacomantis passerinus (Vahl, 1797) #

Indian Plaintive Cuckoo #

U, M

112

Eudynamis scolopacea (Linnaeus, 1758)

Asian Koel

C, R

113

Centropus sinensis (Stephens, 1815)

Greater Coucal

Tytonidae 114

Tyto alba (Scopoli, 1769)

Barn Owl

Strigidae

C, R

C, R

U, R

Otus bakkamoena Pennant, 1769

Collared ScopsOwl

116

Ketupa zeylonensis (Gmelin, 1788) #

Brown FishOwl #

U, R?

117

Strix ocellata (Lesson, 1839)

Mottled WoodOwl

U, R?

118

Glaucidium radiatm (Tickell, 1833)

Jungle Owlet

C, R

119

Athene brama (Temminck, Spotted Owlet 1821)

U, R?

120

Ninox scutulata (Raffles, 1822)

U, R

SH, a

Caprimulgidae 121

Caprimulgus atripennis Jerdon, 1845 #

Jerdon’s Nightjar #

Apodidae 122

Apus affinis (J.E. Gray, 1830)

House Swift

C, LM

123

Apus pacificus (Latham, 1801)

Pacific Swift

SH

124

Tachymarptis melba (Linnaeus, 1758)

Alpine Swift

U, LM

125

Hirundapus giganteus (Temminck, 1846)

Brown-backed Needletail-Swift

U, SH

1668

136

Coracias benghalensis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Indian Roller

137

Coracias garrulus Linnaeus, 1758 #

European Roller #

115

Brown Hawk-Owl

Coracidae

Bucerotidae 138

Ocyceros griseus (Latham, 1790) #

Malabar Grey Hornbill #

Upupidae Upupa epops Linnaeus, 1758

Common Hoopoe

Capitonidae

140

Megalaima viridis (Boddaert, 1783)

White-cheeked Barbet

141

Megalaima haemacephala Coppersmith Barbet (P.L.S. Müller, 1776) #

139

Picidae Browncapped Pigmy Woodpecker #

142

Dendrocopos nanus (Vigors, 1832) #

143

Dendrocopos mahrattensis (Latham, 1801) #

144

Dinopium benghalense (Linnaeus, 1758)

Lesser Goldenbacked Woodpecker

145

Celeus brachyurus (Vieillot, 1818) #

Rufous Woodpecker #

Yellow-fronted Pied Woodpecker #

Pittidae 146

147

Pitta brachyura (Linnaeus, Indian Pitta 1766) Alaudidae

Eremopterix grisea (Scopoli, 1786)

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark

O, SH, a

U, LM

C, R

C, R

U, LM

O, R

C, R

O, SH

UN, M

O, LM

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148 149

S.P. Narayanan et al.

Scientific name

Common name

Status

Breeding

Galerida malabarica (Scopoli, 1786)

Malabar Crested Lark

O, LM

Alauda gulgula Franklin, 1831

Eastern Sky Lark

U, LM

C, M

Hirundinidae 150

Hirundo rustica Linnaeus, 1758

Common Swallow

151

Hirundo daurica Linnaeus, Red-rumped 1771 Swallow

C, LM

152

Hirundo smithii Leach, 1818 #

Wire-tailed Swallow #

U, LM

153

Hirundo fluvicola Blyth, 1855 #

Streak-throated Swallow

U, LM, a

154

Hirundo tahitica Gmelin, 1789

House Swallow

O, SH, a

155

Riparia diluta (Sharpe & Wyatt, 1893)

Pale Martin

V, a

C, M

Motacillidae

Scientific name

Common name

Lanidae 173

Lanius cristatus Linnaeus, Brown Shrike 1758

174

Lanius schach Linnaeus, 1758 #

Rufous-backed Shrike

Turdinae

Status

Breeding

U, M

O, LM

175

Zoothera citrina cyanotus

Orange-headed Thrush

O, LM

176

Copsychus saularis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Oriental MagpieRobin

C, R

177

Saxicoloides fulicata(Linnaeus, 1776)

Indian Robin

O, LM

178

Saxicola torquata (Linnaeus, 1766) #

Common Stonechat #

O, M

179

Saxicola caprata (Linnaeus, 1766)

Pied Bushchat

O, LM

180

Luscinia svecica (Linnaeus, 1758) #

Bluethroat #

O, M

Timalinae

181

Turdoides affinis (Jerdon, 1847)

White-headed Babbler

U, R

182

Turdoides striatus (Dumont, 1823)

Jungle Babbler

C, R

Sylviinae

183

Prinia hodgsonii Blyth, 1844

Franklin’s Prinia

U, R

184

Cisticola juncidis (Rafinesque, 1810)

Streaked FantailWarbler

C, R

Dendronanthus indica (Gmelin, 1789) #

Forest Wagtail #

157

Motacilla alba Linnaeus, 1758

White Wagtail

C, M

158

Motacilla cinerea Tunstall, 1771

Grey Wagtail

C, M

159

Motacilla flava Linnaeus, 1758

Yellow Wagtail

A, M

160

Motacilla citriola Pallas, 1776

Citrine Wagtail

U, M

161

Motacilla maderasparensis Gmelin, 1789

Large Pied Wagtail

C, R

185

Prinia socialis Sykes, 1832

Ashy Prinia

C, R

162

Anthus rufulus Vieillot, 1818

Paddyfield Pipit

C, LM

186

Prinia inornata Sykes, 1832

Plain Prinia

C, R

187

Acrocephalus dumetorum Blyth’s ReedBlyth, 1849 Warbler

C, M

188

Acrocephalus stentoreus (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833)

Indian Great Reed-Warbler

C, R

189

Orthotomus sutorius (Pennant, 1769)

Common Tailorbird

C, R

190

Phyoscopus trochiloides (Sundevall, 1837)

Greenish LeafWarbler

C, M

191

Phyoscopus magnirostris Blyth, 1843 #

Large-billed LeafWarbler #

O, M

Muscicapinae

Muscicapa dauurica Pallas, 1811 #

Asian Brown Flycatcher #

U, M

Monarchinae

193

Terpsiphone paradisi (Linnaeus, 1758)

Asian ParadiseFlycatcher

C, M

194

Hypothymis azurea (Boddaert, 1783)

Black-naped MonarchFlycatcher

O, SH

Rhipidurinae

O, LM?

156

Campephagidae 163

Coracina macei (Lesson, 1830) #

Large Cuckooshrike #

U?, LM

164

Coracina melanoptera (Rüppell, 1839) #

Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike #

U?, LM

165

Pericrocotus cinnamomeus

Small Minivet

U?, LM

166

Pericrocotus flammeus (Forster, 1781) #

Scarlet Minivet #

U?, LM

167

Tephrodornis pondicerianus (Gmelin, 1789) #

Common Woodshrike

U?, LM

U, R

#

Pycnonotidae 168

Pycnonotus jocosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Red-whiskered Bulbul

169

Pycnonotus cafer(Linnaeus, 1766)

Red-vented Bulbul

Irenidae 170

Chloropsis cochinchinensis (Gmelin, 1788)

Jerdon's Chloropsis

171

Chloropsis aurifrons (Temminck, 1829)

172

Aegithina tiphia (Linnaeus, 1758)

C, R

U, R

Gold-fronted Chloropsis

O, LM

Common Iora

C, R

192

195

White-browed Rhipidura aureola Lesson, Fantail1830 # Flycatcher #

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197

Scientific name

Common name

Paridae

Parus major Linnaeus, 1758 #

Great Tit #

Dicaeidae

Dicaeum erythrorh-ynchos Tickell’s (Latham, 1790) Flowerpecker

Status

Breeding

Black Drongo

C, R

Dicrurus leucophaeus Vieillot, 1817

Ashy Drongo

O, M

220

Dicrurus aeneus Vieillot, 1817 #

Bronzed Drongo #

U, LM

221

Dicrurus paradiseus (Linnaeus, 1766) #

Greater Racket– tailed Drongo #

C, R

C, R

Dicruridae

C, R

218

Dicrurus macrocercus Vieillot, 1817

219

C, R

198

Nectarinia zeylonica (Linnaeus, 1766)

Purple-rumped Sunbird

C, R

199

Nectarinia asiatica (Latham, 1790)

Purple Sunbird

U, R

200

Nectarinia lotenia (Linnaeus, 1766)

Loten’s Sunbird

C, R

Zosteropidae

Zosterops palpebrosus (Temminck, 1824) #

Oriental Whiteeye #

O, SH

Estrildidae

202

Lonchura striata (Linnaeus, 1766)

White-rumped Munia

C, R

203

Lonchura punctulata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Spotted Munia

U, R

204

Lonchura malacca (Linnaeus, 1766)

Black-headed Munia

U, LM

Passeridae

205

Passer domesticus (Linnaeus, 1758) #

House Sparrow

U, R

206

Petronia xanthocollis (Burton, 1838) #

Yellow-throated Sparrow

U, M (BV)

Artamidae

Ploceinae 207

Ploceus philippinus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Baya Weaver

C, R

208

Ploceus manyar (Horsfield, 1821)

Streaked Weaver

U, R

Sturnidae

C, M

O, SH

209

Sturnus malabaricus malabaricus (Gmelin, 1789)

210

Sturnus malabaricus blythi Blyth’s Myna

211

Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus, 1766)

Common Myna

C, R

212

Acridotheres fuscus (Wagler, 1827)

Jungle Myna

C, R

213

Sturnus roseus (Linnaeus, Rosy Starling 1758) #

U, M

214

Sturnus pagodarum (Gmelin, 1789) #

Brahminy Starling

O, M

Oriolidae

215

Oriolus oriolus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Eurasian Golden Oriole

C, M

216

Oriolus chinensis Linnaeus, 1766 #

Black-naped Oriole #

O, M

217

Oriolus xanthornus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Black-headed Oriole

C, R

1670

Breeding

Common name

Nectarinidae

201

Status

Scientific name

Grey-headed Starling

222

Artamus fuscus Vieillot, 1817

Ashy Woodswallow

Corvidae 223

Dendrocitta vagabunda (Latham, 1790)

Indian Tree Pie

C, R

224

Corvus splendens Vieillot, 1817

House Crow

C, R

225

Corvus macrorhynchos Wagler, 1827

Jungle Crow

C, R

R - Resident; M - Migrant; LM - Local Migrant; SH - Straggler from hill; V - Vagrant; A - abundant; C - Common; UN - Uncommon; O - Occasional; BV - Breeding visitor; a - Sightings made by others but validated by author(s); # - Not recorded from Kole wetlands;

Migrants

Residents

Local migrants Straggler from the hills

Vagrants

196

S.P. Narayanan et al.

Figure 2. Status of the birds recorded from the Kuttanad wetlands

melanogaster, Greater Grey-headed Fish-Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and European Roller Coracias garrulus are listed in the Near Threatened category (IUCN 2010). Among the 225 species of birds recorded, 55 species are found to breed in the Kuttanad wetlands. Kumarakom heronry is the biggest of all heronries reported from Kuttanad and so far 12 species of wetland birds were found to breed in this heronry. The Near Threatened Oriental Darter and Oriental

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Figure 3. Percentage distribution of feeding guilds of birds in Kuttanad wetland

White Ibis were found to breed during monsoon. Among the colonial nesting waterbirds Oriental White Ibis, Indian Shag Phalacrocorax fuscicollis, Large Egret Casmerodius albus, Median Egret Mesophoyx intermedia were found to breed only in the Kumarakom heronry, and Little Cormorants Phalacrocorax niger and Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii were found to nest in more than two areas. Kuttanad wetland support relatively large flocks of Egret spp., Oriental White Ibis, Little Cormorants, Indian Shag, Darter, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus. The birds that are of interest owing to their rarity as far as Kerala is concerned, and which were sighted during the period of the study period from Kuttanad region are given below. Sightings of special interest Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster - Zacharias & Gaston (2003) reported that the Oriental Darter population had declined in Kerala during last three decades. But it is one among the common species of wetland bird of this wetland. Narayanan & Vijayan (2007) recorded about 8% of the South Asian population of Oriental Darter during the breeding season of 2004. Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala - A flock of six birds were sighted at Parippu in the Kayal Kuttanad region on 05 January 2000. There were only a handful of sightings of this species from Kerala during the period of study. Eurasian Spoonbill Platelia leucorodia - four

sightings from Kayal and Lower Kuttanad. Solitary bird in a paddy field close to the MoncompuChampakkulam road near Moncompu on 29 November 1996; one at Judgy Aarayiram paddy fields on 13 April 2003 (K.M. Sajith pers. comm. 2003); one individual on flight at Ramankary on 21 September 2003 and on the same day Dipu Sasi (pers. obs.) saw a flock of seven individuals on flight at Kumarakom. Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus - A loose flock of 10 birds were located (04 November 2001) on the mud flats of Erupathinaalayiram paddy field at Kayal Kuttanad. This formed the second sight record of this species from Kerala State. Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta - Sighted and photographed by Sathyan Meppayur, Tim Inskipp and Carol Inskipp from Pathinaalayiram paddy fields on 04 December 2006 (Sathyan Meppayur pers. comm. 2008). This could be the first report of this species from Kerala. Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca - One male individual of this species has been sighted by the second author on December 1976 along with a Brahminy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea between Pathiramanal Island and Thannermukkom Bund. This is a very rare duck species and has very few records so far from Kerala State. Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata - A dead specimen with a ring on the tarsi, having the ring number DB26299 was found on 03 July 1998 at Puthenchantha, near Vaakathanam, Kottayam (9030’N & 76032’E). The same was ringed at Bird Island, Seychelles (3041’N

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& 55013’E) by British Museum on 08 September 1997 and this bird has moved 2800km in 328 days (Dave Anning in litt. 17 August 2001). White-winged Black Tern Childonias leucopterus - Total three sightings of this species from Kuttanad. Eight individuals of these birds were seen on Vembanad Lake on 11 April 2003, a loose flock of 12 individuals on 13 April 2003 and two individuals at Chama paddy field near Neelamperoor on 02 October 2003. Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis - Recorded from Vembanad Lake on 19th January 2003 and Kavanattinkara on 21 January 2007. Mainly a winter visitor to the northern areas of the country. Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga - Four individuals were recorded on three occasions. Two individuals were recorded from Pallathuruthy in the Lower Kuttanad region on 19 January 2003; one individual at Kaippuzhamuttu on 18 January 2004 and the last one was from Thollayiram Kayal (16 January 2005). Mainly a winter visitor to the northern areas of the country. Greater Grey-headed Fish-Eagle Icthyophaga icthyaetus - This species has been recorded from Pathiramanal Island in the Vembanad Lake by Sethumadhavan C.P. and Saju Vasan on 20 January 2002. This is the only record of this species from the Kuttanad part of Vembanad Lake, even though Saju Vasan has another sighting of the same from the Chithrappuzha, Ernakulam District. Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia - These are mainly a birds of the forest biotope and it seldom seen on the wetlands. An uncommon bird - first record of this was in 05 August 2003. After the first record, regular sightings during monsoon seasons from the Kayal Kuttanad and North Kuttanad. Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus - An endemic species of Western Ghats. One individual recorded on 15 January 2005 by P. Manoj (pers. comm. 2005) at Kumarakom heronry. A small relict population of this species is still surviving at Ponthanpuzha forest in the midlands of Kottayam District. Individual sighted from Kumarakom would be from the Ponthanpuzha population. European Roller Coracias garrulus - One individual was seen at Erupathinaalayiram paddy fields of Kayal Kuttanad, 29 September 2002. This was the first report of this species from Kerala State. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca - One 1672

individual of this forest species were recorded from Kumarakom heronry on 16 February 2005 by P. Manoj (pers. comm. 2005). Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus - The species was recorded only once from Chennithala in the Upper Kuttanad region on 23 February 1997. Large-billed Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris - Once heard on 10 January 2004 from the tree-dominated area of Ayamanam. This is essentially a bird of the evergreen forests of the hills. Pacific Swift Apus pacificus - A huge flock of around 2000 individuals from Kumarakom and adjacent areas (north Kuttanad and Vaikomkari divisions) by David V. Raju (pers. comm. 2006) and various visiting birders to this area on 24–26 December 2006 and a flock of more than 500 individuals on 29 December 2006. Pale Martin Riparia diluta - Sighted and photographed by Sathyan Meppayur, Tim Inskipp and Carol Inskipp from Pathinaalayiram paddy fields on 04 December 2006 (Sathyan Meppayur pers. comm. 2008). This is the first report of this species from Kerala. Major threats to the avifauna of this region Thanneermukkom salt-water barrage (1250m long) commissioned in 1975 was constructed across the narrow portion of the Vembanad Lake to prevent the saltwater intrusion during summer from sea and to spill out floodwater during monsoon. The Thanneermukkom barrage has greatly influenced the ecology of the region. When this regulator is closed, there is virtually no flow of water beyond it on the southern side making the entire Kuttanad a static pool. At present the barrage is open from 22 December to 22 March. Water with heavy loads of pesticides and fertilizers from the paddy fields were drained into this stagnant water body. Persistence of these kinds of situations triggered several ecological backlashes like proliferation of weed growth, deterioration of the water quality, increased morbidity among the local fish population and destruction of subsistence fishery on which the local fishermen depended (Abhilash et al. unpublished). Barrage also impaired the migration of marine and estuarine fauna. Horizontal and vertical shrinkage of Vembanad Lake, vanishing mangroves, eutrophication, increased interventions in the area by tourism, Thottappally spillway, sewage and industrial pollution etc. are the major problems of Kuttanad

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wetlands (Abhilash et al. unpublished). The loss of habitat through direct and indirect anthropogenic activities causes immense threat to the birds especially the migratory birds of Kuttanad. The most important threats to the wetland birds are the following. Landscape alteration: The key threat factor is the landscape alteration in Kuttanad. Encroachment of the wetlands for the construction of new buildings and settlements are very common in Kuttanad, even though it is legally banned. Before and after the year 1947, huge area of the Vembanad Lake has been converted to paddy fields to enhance the rising demand for food. This adversely affected the migratory birds such as ducks and teals by reducing available roosting place, foraging areas and food in the lake. Thus the formation of mudflats in the reclaimed areas provided ideal foraging areas for the wintering waders. Hunting: Hunting pressure is intense in some areas of Kuttanad, Sashikumar & Palot (2002) have earlier reported heavy poaching of the birds from this area. The main hunting methods involve a combination of shooting, with hooks and line using fishes as bait, picking of nestlings from nests, especially from heronries. The main species caught by shooting is winter migrants like ducks, godwits and the species belonging to the ardeidae family. Black-crowned Night-Herons and egrets are the species heavily trapped by hook and line method (S. Dipu pers. comm. 2004). Heavy poaching of nestlings of Purple Heron from the nests situated in the thickets of Phargmites karka is prevailing in the â&#x20AC;&#x153;R Blockâ&#x20AC;? area. Overgrowth of exotic vegetation: Infestation of the exotic waterweeds like Eichhornia crassipes, Slavinia molesta are causing serious harms to the water birds (Sashikumar & Palot 2002), but at the same time this provides foraging areas for the species like Jacanas and Moorhens. Exotic vegetation also poses immense threats to the native flora and fauna of this region. Vembanad Lake is covered by Eichhornia crassipes which is drastically affecting the life of fishermen and local people, who are dependent on this lake for their basic needs. Pesticides: Intensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticide as a part of the agriculture activities have played havoc on the traditional farming system and life style of Kuttanad, affecting birds, other wildlife as well as human beings (Sashikumar & Palot 2002). Organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides

S.P. Narayanan et al.

are widely used in paddy cultivation all over the state. Studies conducted in the Kuttanad ecosystem show that these chemicals are present well above the permissible limits. Seedikkoya & Shukkur (2004) reported the presence of organochlorines such as DDT, DDE, Dieldrin, Aldrin and heavy metals such as zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) in the Indian Pond Heron, Little Egret Egretta garzetta and Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis from northern Kerala. But such studies on birds are not yet conducted in Kuttanad. Felling of nesting and roosting trees: Cutting down of tall trees used by colonial nesting waterbirds is rampant in Kuttanad, and small heronries in Kerala face similar threats from local people. Loss of local flora is huge in Kuttanad wetland. The reduction in size or the total felling of sacred groves has also created trouble in the form habitat loss for land birds and wetland birds; which uses tiny patches for feeding, roosting and nesting. The extent of mangrove trees in the Kumarakom heronry, Pathiramanal has drastically reduced. After the taking over of Kumarakom heronry by KTDC, 13 hectares of the land was given to a venture company by KTDC. They cleared the mangrove belt along the lake and converted them into a lawn and constructed a tourist jetty. With this, a species of mangrove Kandelia candel was totally wiped out from the Kumarakom heronry (Ramachandran & Mohanan 1990; Sreekumar 2001). Tourism: Ali (1984) reported that large flocks of wintering ducks roost in the calm waters of Vembanad Lake. At present, amplified promotion of tourism by using boats and speedboats force migratory ducks to desert roosting place in the lake. Most of the tourist resorts in and around the Vembanad Lake and Kuttanad do not have any proper solid waste and waste-water treatment facilities, therefore all waste materials are dumped into the lake during night hours. This activity adversely affects self-sustaining capacity of the Lake. House boats discharge effluents and wastes directly into the lake and large amount of oil are spilled into the system. In the name of tourism the authorities, which owns the Kumarakom heronry clear pure stands of Phragmites karka, where Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, Median Egret Mesophoyx intermedia, and Large Egret Casemerodius albus nests. This activity has drastically affected nesting habitats of the breeding birds. Kuttanad wetlands show high diversity in terms of

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number of species especially the wetland birds; this is higher than the total terrestrial species and total wetland species recorded from the Kole wetland of Kerala (Sivaperuman & Jayson 2000). Thirty-eight species from the Kuttanad wetlands are not recorded from the Kole wetlands (Table 1). According to Kumar et al. (2005), 128 wetland birds were included in the revised Indo-Russian agreement on the migratory birds list; of this 50 species were recorded from different parts of Kuttanad wetlands during the present study. In Upper Kuttanad region and the eastern boundary of Kuttanad, tree diversity is high compared to the main wetland. Hence most of the land birds were recorded from this area, some were restricted this area alone. Indian Shag, Large Egret, Median Egret were found to breed only in the Kumarakom heronry; loss of nesting habitat and the disturbance caused by increased anthropogenic activities throughout the Kuttanad wetlands may be reason for this situation. Little Cormorants and Indian Pond-Heron were found to nest in more than two nesting areas. Little Cormorants and Indian Pond Heron may have the capacity to withstand the disturbance caused by human beings; this could be the possible explanation for the use of more than two nesting sites compared to the other colonial nesting water birds, but most of the other colonial nesting water bird species are congregating at Kumarakom Heronry for breeding. During the 2004 breeding season 157 nests of Darter were reported and 276 birds were counted in a single count (Narayanan 2004). According to Rahmani et al. (2002) world population of Darter was estimated as 10,000. Kumarakom heronry holds about 8% of the South Asian biogeographical population of Darter (Narayanan & Vijayan 2007), which qualifies Criterion 6 of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention). Kumarakom heronry has the biggest known breeding birds of Oriental White Ibis from Kerala (Narayanan 2004). Although the Ramsar site designated in 2002 includes both Vembanad Lake and Kole wetlands, there is no definite connection between Vembanad and the Kole wetlands, and both have the potential to become independent Ramsar sites (Narayanan & Vijayan 2007). Hence, we propose that Vembanad Lake should be declared as a Ramsar site in its own right. During the winter months massive flocks of Glossy Ibis, which contains 500 or more birds visit the mud 1674

fields in the paddy fields and the 1% threshold of Glossy Ibis is 250 (Kumar et al. 2005). Other than Darter, species such as Oriental White Ibis, Indian Shag, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Little Cormorant in the Kumarakom heronry during the breeding season is well above the limit of 1% biogeographic population (Narayanan 2004). Conservation action plan The following action plan is proposed for the conservation of birds and wetlands of Kuttanad. a. Active patrolling should be carried out by the forest department, at least five groups with four forest guards are recommended for patrolling at different parts of the Vembanad area to stop poaching. b. Nature awareness programmes regarding birds, mangrove forests and importance of wetland ecosystem for daily sustenance of life to be given to the local people for the conservation of this eco-system. A documentary film could be produced to with the prediction of future major changes in the Kuttanad titled “Kuttanad – after twenty years”. This will give a grim picture with a clear message to the people. c. Elevate the status of Kumarakom heronry to a full-fledged sanctuary as per Wildlife (Protection) Act for the protection of 11 species of breeding birds and its unique nesting habitat. d. “Pathiramanal”, an island in the Vembanad Lake, should be protected giving a special status as “community reserve” for preserving the typical flora and fauna of the Kuttanad region. e. Regulation of inflow and outflow from the Thanneermukkom saltwater barrage should be done properly according to the management strategies proposed in the earlier published works. f. Reclamation of wetlands for industrial, settlement, plantation and cultivation purposes should be restricted and Government departments should be persuaded to have strict environmental impact assessment (EIA) before the implementation of any new projects in the area. g. Restoration of mangroves in the area should be executed. For the production of new plants, vegetative propagation and tissue culture methods can be opted. h. Remaining sacred groves must be preserved under the guidance of forest department and local owners like temple authorities. i. Solid waste and wastewater treatment facilities

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must be developed in all tourist resorts in the Vembanad region. j. All tourist establishments must provide a fraction of money from the yearly profit for the restoration activities of the Kuttanad wetlands through government and local NGO’s. k. Mobile checking facilities should be initiated to seize polluting boats and its license should be withheld. l. A detailed study on the movements of the birds of this area should be conducted during various seasons to determine the spatial and temporal pattern of bird migration and ecological reasons should be identified to determine the drastic reduction in the population of many bird groups.

Conclusions This study increased the information and knowledge available on the avifauna of Kuttanad wetlands. Kuttanad wetland is rich in wetland bird species. Degradation of this unique wetland ecosystem, hunting and habitat alteration is still prevailing in this part of the Vembanad-Kole Ramsar this threatens the birdlife directly as well as indirectly. As Kole wetlands, Kuttanad wetland is also serving as halting area for the trans-continental migrants; urgent measures should be taken to protect this wetland ecosystem for the conservation of birds especially migratory and breeding colonial nesting birds. This region holds more than the estimated number of South Asian biogeographical population of six species of waterbirds. At present the low lands of Kerala are under high threat of landscape modification due to population growth, tourism and other infrastructure developmental activities. Regular monitoring of wetland should be taken up. In-depth studies on the avifauna, especially endangered birds, should be undertaken. Hence urgent conservation measures have to be implemented and a protected area has to be evolved for preserving the remaining tract of mangroves and faunal heritage of this unique region. Local people should be made aware of the importance of wetlands, waterfowl (Sashikumar & Palot 2002) and other common birds. Without the involvement of common people of this region conservation of the wetlands will not be successful.

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REFERENCES Abhilash, P.C., S.P. Narayanan & B. Ajayakumar (Unpublished). The Kuttanad wetland ecosystem: an endangered wetland system of Kerala, 24pp. Ali, S. & S.D. Ripley (1987). Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan I–X Vol. Compact Edition. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 737pp. Ali, S. (1984). Birds of Kerala. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 444pp. Chandy, M. (2003). Study on the avifauna of rice fields in and around Vembanad Lake. PhD Dissertation, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala. Grewal, B., B. Harvey & O. Pfister (2002). A Photographic Guide to Birds of India and the Indian Subcontinent. Periplus Edition (HK) Ltd. Singapore, 513pp. Grimmet, R., C. Inskipp & T. Inskipp (2000). Pocket guide to the birds of the Indian Subcontinent. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 384pp. Indo-Dutch Mission (1989). Kuttanad water balance study plant report. Government of Kerala, Trivandrum, Kerala, 70pp. Islam, Z.M & A.R. Rahmani (eds.) (2004). Important Bird Areas in India: Priority for Conservation. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, xviii+1133pp. IUCN (2010). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 March 2010. Kumar, A., J.P. Sati, P.C. Tak & J.R.B. Alfred (2005). Handbook on Indian Wetland Birds and their Conservation. Zoological Survey of India, 468pp. Maltby, E. & R.E. Turner (1983). Wetlands of the world. Geographical Magazine 55: 12–17. Maltby, E.R. (1986). Waterlogged Wealth: Why Waste the World’s Wet Places?. Earth scan, London, UK, 132pp. Manakadan, R. & A. Pittie (2002). Standardized English and common names of the birds of the Indian sub-continent –2002. Newsletter for Bird Watchers 42(3): 1–36. Mitsch, W.J. & Gosselink (2000). Wetlands. John Wiley & Sons Inc, United States of America, 356pp. Nameer, P.O., R.R. Nair, K.R. Anoop, S.G. Nair, S. Lekshmi & P. Radhakrishnan (2000). Birds of Kerala Agricultural University campus, Thrissur. Zoos’ Print Journal 15(4): 243–246. Narayanan, S.P. & L. Vijayan (2007). Status of the colonial breeding waterbirds in Kumarakom heronry in Kerala, Southern India. Podoces 2(1): 22–29. Narayanan, S.P. (2004). Kuttanadan pakshinamamgal (bird names of Kuttanad). Malabar Trogon 2(3): 2–3. (In Malayalam). Narayanan, S.P., S. Dipu & L. Vijayan (2005a). Breeding of Black-winged Stilt in Kumarakom part of Vembanad Lake, Kerala. Indian Birds 1(5): 116. Narayanan, S.P., M.S Sajith, S. Dipu, Ajay & B. Sreekumar (2005b). Sightings of Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula

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Author Details: S. Prasanth Narayanan is  a research scholar at Mahatma Gandhi University. As part of his PhD programme, he is working on the ecology of the Oriental Darter of Kuttanad wetlands. A.P. Thomas is the Director of the Advanced Centre of  Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development, an inter-university centre  of Mahatma Gandhi University. He has contributed more than 50 research papers  in the field of environmental sciences. B.  Sreekumar is a professional orthopaedic surgeon and the President of Kottayam  Nature  Society. Since 2001, who regularly conducts the annual waterfowl census at Vembanad Lake and adjacent regions, with the help of Kerala Forest and  Wildlife Department.   Author Contribution:   SPN collected data and wrote major portion of the  manuscript. BS helped in collecting the data and partially assisted in the  preparation of the manuscript. APT assisted in writing the manuscript and provided all facilities during the preparation of the manuscript.

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JoTT Communication

3(4): 1677–1685

Ecological effects on morphometric development of the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis Satish Pande 1 & Neelesh Dahanukar 2 Ela Foundation, C-9, Bhosale Park, Sahakarnagar-2, Pune, Maharashtra 411009, India Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Sai Trinity, Garware Circle, Pune, Maharashtra 411021, India Email: 1 pande.satish@gmail.com, 2 n.dahanukar@iiserpune.ac.in (corresponding author)

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Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Mario Melletti Manuscript details: Ms # o2609 Received 20 October 2010 Final received 18 February 2011 Finally accepted 21 March 2011 Citation: Pande, S. & N. Dahanukar (2011). Ecological effects on morphometric development of the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1677-1685. Copyright: © Satish Pande & Neelesh Dahanukar 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Author Details: Satish Pande is a fellow of the Maharashtra Academy of Sciences. He is an interventional vascular radiologist and associate professor of radiology at B.J. Medical College, Pune and post-gradute guide for Radiology. He conducts research in ecology and field ornithology and has conducted several surveys. He has made several video films on raptors (eagles, falcons and owls) ecology, marine ecosystem and conservation. Neelesh Dahanukar works in ecology and evolutionary biology with an emphasis on mathematical and statistical analysis. Author Contribution: SP conducted field study. ND performed statistical analysis. Both SP and ND wrote the paper. Acknowledgements: see end of this article.

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Abstract: Univariate analysis based on logistic growth curve fitting and multivariate analysis using principle component analysis (PCA) were used to analyze complex patterns and correlations in morphometric data from 16 individuals of the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis from the Deccan Plateau. Wing chord length, tarsus length, claw length, beak length, tail length and weight were measured from hatching until fledging (1-58 days old) . A logistic growth curve showed a good fit for all characters. Different characters showed different growth patterns according to their function in the developing nestling. PCA analysis revealed that different morphological characters are loosely coupled together during growth, and this could be attributed to the behavioural ecology of nestlings. By comparing the patterns in our data with data published from southern India, we also show that there is plasticity in the development in these geographically isolated populations. Keywords: Bubo bengalensis, development, morphometry, principle component analysis

INTRODUCTION Growth rates are subject to selection based on the ecological and environmental factors. Interspecific variations in growth rates are often attributed to a trade-off between growth and yield rate in terms of biomass (Ricklefs 1979; Urban 2007). Fast-growing organisms spend more energy per unit time and thus contribute to less biomass or offspring size; however, they are vulnerable to predators for shorter periods. On the other hand, slow-growing organisms require less energy per unit time and thereby permit larger family size; however, they are more prone to predation. Even within a particular species, there could be different growth patterns, and these could be related to geographical locations (Caley & Schwarzkopf 2004), nutritional stress (Negro et al. 1994) and other environmental factors (Ricklefs 1979; King & Hubbard 1981). It has been previously observed that within the same individual, different body parts have different rate of growth (Springer 1979; Bortolotti 1984; Kristan et al. 1996; Nagarajan et al. 2002; Penteriani et al. 2005) and this is often attributed to the compromise between allocation of tissue to embryonic and mature functions (Ricklefs 1979). There are population variations in growth patterns, and different body parts also differ in their growth rates. This fact suggests that within the same species, growth patterns of different body parts in different populations can differ. This plasticity in the development is gaining increased attention (Yearsley et al. 2004), as it can shed light on the ecology of growth and help in understanding stressors in the conservation of threatened species. Studies on the development of nestlings, their ecological interpretations

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and plasticity in development are relatively rare for Indian birds. In the current study we have focused on these aspects of development in the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis (Franklin), until recently considered a subspecies of the Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo (Linnaeus) but now recognized as a species in its own right (Wink & Heidrich 1999; Penhallurick 2003). The distribution of the Indian Eagle Owl is restricted to outer hills of the western Himalayas to about 1500m, and rarely up to 2400m altitude, and extends from western and central Nepal to the entire Indian peninsula (Ali & Ripley 1969; Pande et al. 2003). Detailed information is available concering feeding behaviour (Ramanujam 2006), intimidating behaviour in nestlings (Ramanujam 2003a) and adults (Ramanujam 2004), calling behaviour (Ramanujam 2003b) and other acoustic and visual traits (Ramanujam 2007). However, a detailed account of nestling development is not available, although some preliminary observations on nesting (Eates 1937), parental care (Dharmakukarsinhji 1940) and development of the young (Ramanujam & Murugavel 2009) do exist. In this study we have undertaken a detailed quantitative analysis of nestling development from hatching to fledging of Indian Eagle Owls from the Deccan Plateau of India. We have tried to correlate the patterns in development of different body parts with the ecology of the organism. We have also compared the patterns in development observed in our study with those observed in the study by Ramanujam & Murugavel (2009) to better understand the plasticity in development of B. bengalensis in western and southern Indian populations.

of 319 measurements were available for each of the six characters, namely, wing chord length (carpal joint to the tip of the longest primary with the wing in neutral position), tarsus length (ankle joint to the attachment of toes where measurements were taken using flexion at proximal and distal joints), tail length (from the root of tail to the tip by flexing the tail upwards), beak length (the exposed part of the culmen from the cere to the tip), claw length (middle claw from insertion to tip) and body mass. We used Vernier calipers (least count 0.001mm), wing-stop and tail rulers (least count 0.1mm) for measurements and Pesola spring scales (least count 0.1g) to determine the body mass. Body mass was taken at sunset, allowing the Indian Eagle Owl forages at dusk or at night, this assured an empty stomach, which minimized the effect of meals. This also caused minimal disturbance to the nestling and assured uniformity in methodology. To each biometric character we fitted a logistic model to understand its growth pattern and growth rate (Ricklefs 1979). The logistic equation is:

METHODS

a Character value = -------------------------1 + b . exp (- c . Age)

We studied 10 nests south of Pune (Fig. 1). Morphometry of 16 nestlings from hatching till fledging at 58 days was recorded, with data entered serially for each nestling identified by a numbered aluminium ring placed on the tarsus. At around 25 days of age nestlings leave the nest even when unable to fly, but despite roosting away from the nest they remain dependent on their parents for food. Thus it was not possible to get data from all 16 individuals, and as a result the sample size decreased after 33 days of age (Table 1) and a total

Where a, b and c are positive constants. Constant a is the maximum possible value of the character, constant b is the delay in growth associated with the lag phase and constant c is the growth rate. The goodness of fit was determined by coefficient of determination, R 2. Univariate analysis based on the logistic regression was capable of depicting the growth pattern in a given character. However, to understand the simultaneous development of different characters we used

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Figure 1. Point locality map for the 10 nests used for this study from western Maharashtra, India. Nest sites are depicted by cross.

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Morphometric development of the Indian Eagle Owl

multivariate technique called Principle Component Analysis (PCA). PCA is a statistical technique that reduces the dimensionality of the multivariate data while retaining most of the variation in the data set. It can be used as an effective method to understand the structure in the data and relationships between various variables. To account for the unit and scale differences between different morphological characters we used PCA on the correlation matrix of the variables. We performed Bartlett’s sphericity test with the null hypothesis that there is no correlation significantly different from zero between the variables and alternative hypothesis that at least one of the correlations between the variables is significantly different from zero (Harris 2001). Correlation biplot was plotted to visualize PCA results (Legendre & Legendre 1998). All statistical analysis were performed in Statistica 10® and figures were prepared in Microsoft EXCEL 2003® and CorelDraw X4®. In the current study we have applied PCA in a different manner than what has been already suggested. Research focusing on the evolution of ontogenic patterns and understanding the allometric relationships in growth have often used modified PCA using covariance matrix for each age group separately so as to remove the effect of size and shape from the final analysis (Anderson 1963; Klingenberg 1996; Badyaev & Martin 2000). Even though these techniques are more robust to the scale differences they are mathematically rigorous and relatively difficult to interpret. On the other hand we have used the PCA technique for a different purpose. We have used PCA and the resulting biplot simply as a convenient way to understand the simultaneous effect of different variables on the growth pattern. To nullify the size and scale effect we have used PCA on the correlation matrix rather than the covariance matrix as suggested by Sommers (1986). An important reason why we do not use the alternate PCA method is that when comparing the growth patterns in our study with the previous study by Ramanujam & Murugavel (2009) we only have the information about the mean value of the character at a given age. As a result PCA method suggested by Anderson (1963), Klingenberg (1996) and Badyaev & Martin (2000) cannot be used for the data provided in Ramanujam & Murugavel (2009).

S. Pande & N. Dahanukar

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Average value of various morphometric characters at different ages are given in Table 1. The plots of character value against age (Fig. 2) showed good fit to the logistic growth curve equation (all regressions were significant at p < 0.001). The parameters for the logistic growth model are given in Table 2, where we observe that the growth rates of different morphological characters increase in the ascending order from beak, tail, tarsus, wing, claw to weight. Growth patterns of Indian Eagle Owl are comparable to the growth patterns observed for other raptors (Springer 1979; Bortolotti 1984; Kristan et al. 1996; Nagarajan et al. 2002; Penteriani et al. 2005), but there are subtle differences which could be attributed to the ecology of Indian Eagle Owl. Beak length was about 40% of its asymptotic value at hatching. This could be because of the possible role of the beak in breaking the egg shell. Beak underwent less lag phase and increased rapidly till 20 days of age and then its growth slowed down. At hatching, tarsus was about 20% of its asymptotic value. It underwent a lag phase for first four days after hatching and then it increased rapidly till about 30 days of age and then its growth slowed down. Claws were completely absent at birth but they appeared in two to four days. Their growth followed short lag till first five days then they grew very rapidly till 20 days of age after which their growth slowed down. Rapid growth and early maturation of above three characters, namely beak, tarsus and claw, reflects their early functioning in nestling development. As the ground dwelling nestlings desert the nest by walking out of the nest at about 25 days of age and roost away from the nest, the early development of tarsi is essential for its survival. At hatching, wing length was about 6% of its asymptotic length and it underwent a long lag phase till about 25 days of age after which it grew rapidly till fledging. Tail was completely absent at hatching and it also went a long lag phase of growth for about first 30 days after which it grew rapidly till fledging. At hatching the weight was about 4% of the asymptotic weight. It underwent some lag phase in growth for first 11 days after which it grew rapidly till 30 days of age and then the growth rate decreased. For the weight, even though logistic growth curve shows a good fit, there is a sudden break in the growth pattern at about

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Table 1. Average values of morphometric characters at different age of Indian Eagle Owl Age (days)

n

1

Average value of the character (standard deviation) Beak length (mm)

Tarsus length (mm)

Claw length (mm)

Wing length (mm)

Tail length (mm)

Weight (g)

16

13.98 (0.31)

19.03 (0.25)

0.00 (0.00)

19.41 (0.59)

0.00 (0.00)

33.41 (0.80)

2

16

14.36 (0.29)

19.46 (0.23)

2.00 (0.00)

20.31 (0.63)

1.78 (0.25)

38.59 (0.79)

3

16

14.93 (0.25)

20.87 (0.31)

4.86 (0.14)

21.34 (0.63)

3.78 (0.43)

56.21 (2.59)

5

16

15.33 (0.29)

22.96 (0.73)

5.86 (0.13)

26.25 (0.59)

5.72 (0.39)

129.69 (4.71)

6

16

15.49 (0.34)

26.43 (0.59)

6.40 (0.13)

34.56 (0.70)

7.72 (0.31)

184.63 (7.23)

7

16

20.06 (0.82)

27.51 (0.73)

6.89 (0.13)

37.75 (0.61)

9.81 (0.39)

207.00 (7.11)

8

16

20.59 (0.41)

29.59 (0.72)

7.19 (0.12)

38.91 (0.71)

10.59 (0.40)

217.69 (5.74)

9

16

21.76 (0.44)

33.46 (0.80)

7.45 (0.09)

41.34 (0.79)

11.09 (0.44)

232.06 (4.32)

10

16

22.14 (0.39)

36.35 (0.78)

8.43 (0.13)

44.25 (0.87)

11.91 (0.48)

245.38 (3.67)

12

16

22.99 (0.34)

39.49 (0.52)

8.93 (0.10)

46.09 (0.76)

14.97 (0.48)

269.38 (3.67)

15

16

24.57 (0.45)

50.14 (0.35)

9.95 (0.09)

51.59 (0.73)

20.81 (1.13)

290.06 (4.48)

18

16

29.36 (0.75)

53.26 (0.21)

10.95 (0.07)

69.16 (1.43)

44.81 (2.88)

348.88 (5.94)

20

16

30.61 (0.46)

57.74 (0.26)

13.91 (0.11)

90.47 (2.23)

55.38 (2.37)

533.69 (7.38)

23

16

31.06 (0.47)

63.81 (0.21)

14.91 (0.09)

105.50 (2.72)

62.19 (2.29)

617.25 (9.97)

25

16

31.41 (0.54)

66.23 (0.85)

15.45 (0.06)

127.75 (2.88)

65.81 (2.10)

649.25 (9.51)

28

16

31.96 (0.51)

67.81 (0.29)

15.69 (0.06)

189.63 (4.36)

70.00 (1.66)

702.63 (9.12)

30

16

33.20 (0.49)

72.89 (0.12)

16.68 (0.09)

210.13 (4.09)

80.63 (2.12)

724.75 (8.16)

33

16

34.74 (0.54)

74.91 (0.10)

17.56 (0.09)

234.50 (4.35)

93.25 (2.56)

730.94 (7.55)

37

11

37.28 (0.80)

77.86 (0.32)

17.94 (0.09)

240.18 (2.48)

107.36 (2.57)

745.09 (6.08)

43

7

38.03 (0.71)

82.66 (0.26)

18.26 (0.07)

280.00 (4.14)

144.71 (3.73)

771.57 (5.42)

50

7

38.24 (0.41)

86.00 (0.37)

18.41 (0.06)

310.14 (2.99)

164.86 (3.31)

828.57 (4.14)

58

6

38.27 (0.33)

87.03 (0.59)

18.55 (0.08)

339.83 (4.41)

182.00 (4.04)

888.17 (4.63)

20 days of age (Fig. 2f). This sudden decrease in the weight could be attributed to the stress faced by the nestling, which deserts the nest at this age, and roosts away from it. PCA could depict the complex patterns of morphological changes with growth. PCA extracted only one significant factor, with eigenvalue more than unity, which explained 94.90% of the total variability in the data. Second factor had an eigenvalue 0.212 and it explained 3.56% of the total variation in the data. Together, the first two factors explained 98.46% of the total variability in the data. Bartlettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sphericity test suggested that the correlation between variables 2 was significantly different from zero (c = 4905.778, df = 15, p < 0.0001). Correlation biplot of PCA is given in Fig. 2. On the first PCA factor, the scores of observations increased with age indicating that the first factor depicted overall increase in the size. This was further supported by positive factor loading on F1 axis for all different morphological variables indicating all 1680

characters increased in size with age. On the second factor, however, both factor scores for observations and different variables showed positive and negative factor loading indicating that different morphological characters showed different growth patterns. We could see that claw and beak growth were coupled together and their growth was rapid in early days of the development. Both the characters had short lag period and they grew rapidly till 20 to 25 days of age after which their growth rate decreased. Both characters are essential during the early development of the nestlings. While the beak is essential for breaking of the egg shell and during feeding, claws are essential for defence during nestling competition, thus coupled growth of these characters could be justified. Growth of tarsus and weight were loosely coupled together and they had slightly more lag phase than beak and claw. Tarsus and weight grew rapidly up to 25 to 30 days of age and then they grew very slowly. Coupled growth of tarsus and weight can be attributed to the

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Figure 2. Logistic growth curve fitted to six different characters (a) beak length, (b) tarsus length, (c) claw length, (d) wing length, (e) tail length and (f) weight of Indian Eagle Owl. All regressions are significant at p < 0.001.

behavioural ecology of Indian Eagle Owl. The nest of Indian Eagle Owl is made on the ground and we observed that after 20 to 25 days of age the nestling leaves the nest by walking out. This explains why tarsus growth is rapid till 20 to 25 days of age. The coupling of increased weight with tarsus length perhaps enable the nestling to move from place to place by walking, because during this period nestlings cannot fly. During

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this phase, the nestling is still dependent on the parents for food and it is stressed. After a long period of lag, wing and tail growth starts. These two characters are coupled together and it is obvious because both the wing and tail are required for flight. The differential pattern in development of the tarsus and wing depicts an effective method of resource allocation for growth. Nestling Eagle Owl leaves the nest before it can fly.

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Parameters of logistic growth curve Western Indian population (This study)

Character

Southern Indian population (Ramanujam & Murugavel 2009)

a*

b

c

a

b

c

Beak length

38.2727

2.0178

Tarsus length

85.0858

4.1909

0.0944

42.9611

2.0259

0.0271

0.1080

69.3262

2.9571

0.0683

Claw length

18.3599

5.2819

0.1333

-

-

-

Wing length

342.5934

25.5547

0.1161

355.3626

9.4882

0.0854

Tail length

187.6243

29.6824

0.1056

-

-

-

Weight

830.5012

11.3443

0.1419

986.2860

10.3488

0.1104

Therefore, tarsus, which is required for walking, develops rapidly before wings within the first 25 days, while wing development shows a long lag phase of about 25 days after which it starts growing rapidly. In the above arguments we focused on the ecological effects on differential growth patterns in different morphological characters of Indian Eagle Owl. Even though we justified our findings with the observed ecology of the bird it is likely that the same species inhabiting different environments may have different patterns in growth. To check out whether such plasticity exists in development of the Indian Eagle Owl we compared the findings of our study, a western Indian population of Indian Eagle Owl from Deccan plateau, with the study by Ramanujam & Murugavel (2009), a southern Indian population of Indian Eagle Owl from coastal region. This comparison, however, should be taken with caution because Ramanujam & Murugavel’s (2009) study is preliminary and has a smaller sample size. Nevertheless, there are some interesting findings emerging from this comparison which can be explored further. Comparison of logistic growth curve parameters for both the studies is given in Table 2. All the morphological characters had smaller growth rate and less lag phase in southern Indian population than the western Indian population. To understand whether the growth rates affect the size at fledging we compared different morphological characters using unpaired t test assuming unequal variance. Except for beak length, which was marginally larger in the western Indian population (t = 13.1025, p = 0.0485), no other character, namely tarsus, wing and weight, differed significantly between the two populations (tail was not measured in the southern population). The asymptotic weight of southern Indian population 1682

Table 2. Parameters of logistic growth model ‘character value = a/[1+b.exp(-c.Age)]’ fitted to the data in this study and the work of Ramanujam & Murugavel (2009).

was higher than that of western Indian population (ca. 19% larger). This finding coupled with the fact that growth rate of weight was lesser in southern Indian population than in western Indian population, possibly reflects the growth rate versus yield tradeoff, which suggests that higher growth rate is coupled with lower yield and vice versa (Gadgil & Bossert 1970). This trade off is an outcome of natural selection acting on partitioning the resources either to increase growth rate or yield but not both (Gadgil & Bossert 1970). An interesting outcome of this comparison is that even though the growth rates of characters in southern Indian population were lower than the western Indian population, both achieved maturity at same time, and this could be attributed to the smaller lag phases in southern Indian population. A more direct comparison can be done based on the PCA analysis of growth (Fig. 4). To keep minimum discrepancies in comparisons we considered only a subset of our data from 10 days onwards. For both populations, PCA was done on mean values of the characters as actual data was not available for Ramanujam & Murugavel (2009). Similar to the western Indian population, southern Indian population showed correlated growth among tarsus and weight. However, the pattern in growth for wing and beak was different. Unlike in the western Indian population, the beak length, in southern Indian population, increased till fledging, while wing grew along with tarsus and weight, with relatively shorter lag period than in the western Indian population. This has a significant contribution on the behavioural ecology of the nestling and explains the development plasticity in the two populations. Behaviour of the nestling regarding the nest abandonment prior to gaining the ability of flight is

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PCA F2 (3.56%)

Morphometric development of the Indian Eagle Owl

PCA F1 (94.90%) Figure 3. Principle Component Analysis (PCA) of developmental morphometry based on all six characters in our study of western Indian population of Indian Eagle Owl. Graph shows the biplot of eigenvectors, shown by red lines, and factor scores, shown by colored points. Numbers besides the factor scores gives the age of Indian Eagle Owl. Percentage in parenthesis is the variation explained by each PCA factor.

Figure 4. Comparison of growth patterns in (a) western Indian, based on this study, and (b) southern Indian, based on study by Ramanujam & Murugavel (2009), population of Indian Eagle Owl. PCA is performed for mean values of each character for four of them, namely wing chord length, weight, tarsus length and beak length, which were common to both the studies. Percentages in parenthesis are variation explained by each PCA factor. Solid black line is a best fit polynomial to the factor scores drawn just to eyeball the pattern in PCA.

an important stage in the life of several owl nestlings (Duncan 2003; Austing & Holt 1966). In the western Indian population, we observed that between 23 and

28 days from hatching the chicks abandon the nest and move a few meters away from it which could be possibly attributed to the adaptive strategy of the

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nestling to escape predation from ground predators and avoid the poor nest hygiene. Dharamkumarsinhaji’s (1940) bewildering experience of mysterious disappearance of the Indian Eagle Owl chick around 23rd day in his observation from Saurashtra could be the same phenomenon which points out to the fact that the age at which the nestling deserts the nest is same. Surprisingly, in the southern Indian population, the nestlings leave the nest much later on 35 days of age (Ramanujam & Murugavel 2009). Furthermore, we observed that since the wing development in western Indian populations starts rapidly only at the age of 25 days, the nestling that deserts the nest at 25 days of age cannot fly at all. They fly only from the age of 58 days. This is also consistent with the observations made on Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus, which leaves the nest around 21 days of age but can fly only at the age of 60 days (Austing & Holt 1966). Surprisingly, in the southern Indian population, as the lag phase of wing growth is less (Table 2), the nestling that deserts the nest around 35 days of age is capable of gliding (Ramanujam & Murugavel 2009). These differences between the western Indian and southern Indian populations reflect the plasticity in development of the Indian Eagle Owl. Even though it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for the differences in the growth patterns in western and southern Indian populations, habitat characteristics and food availability may be playing an important role. Ramanujam & Murugavel (2009) have stated that their study area is an environmental disaster with severe habitat degradation. On the contrary, our study area in the western India is relatively undisturbed with rocky areas, grasslands and agricultural fields that sustain high rodent populations, which is the preferred prey of the Indian Eagle Owl (Ramanujam 2006). Such constraint on the availability of energy to the nestling is considered as a major limiting factor for its growth (Ricklefs 1984). In conclusion, in this study we have given a detailed quantitative account of growth patterns in different morphological characters of Indian Eagle Owl. We also tried to correlate the growth patterns with relevant ecological observations. We further showed that growth patterns in southern Indian and western Indian populations vary suggesting that there is plasticity in the development of this owl. However, our reasoning of ecological effects on growth is still limited because 1684

we have not considered other factors like predation, population size and density (Ricklefs 1984) that may have profound effects on growth and growth rate.

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Morphometric development of the Indian Eagle Owl

Negro, J.J., A. Chastin & D.M. Bird (1994). Effects of short-term food deprivation on growth of hand-reared American Kestrels. Condor 96: 749–760. Pande, S., S. Tambe, F. Clement & N. Sant (2003). Birds of Western Ghats, Kokan and Malabar (including birds of Goa). Oxford University Press, India, 371pp. Penhallurick, J. (2003). What’s in a name? DNA sequencing and the classification of Owls, pp. 76–80. In: Duncan, J. (ed.). Owls of The World. Key Porter Books, Canada, 319pp. Penteriani, V., M.M. Delgado, C. Maggio, A. Aradis & F. Sergio (2005). Development of chicks and predispersal behaviour of young in the Eagle Owl Bubo bubo. Ibis 147: 155–168. Ramanujam, M.E. (2003a). Inter-specific intimidatory behaviour in nestling Indian Eagle Owls Bubo bengalensis (Franklin). Zoos’ Print Journal 18(10): 1213–1216. Ramanujam, M.E. (2003b). On the “long call” of the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis (Franklin). Zoos’ Print Journal 18(7): 1131–1134. Ramanujam, M.E. (2004). Inter-specific intimidatory behaviour of adult Indian Eagle Owls Bubo bengalensis (Franklin) in defense of their nestlings. Zoos’ Print Journal 19(2): 1343–1345. Ramanujam, M.E. (2006). On the prey of the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis (Franklin, 1831) in and around Pondicherry, southern India. Zoos’ Print Journal 21(5): 2231–2240. Ramanujam, M.E. (2007). A catalogue of auditory and visual communicatory traits in the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis (Franklin, 1831). Zoos’ Print Journal 22(8): 2771–2776. Ramanujam, M.E. & T.A. Murugavel (2009). A preliminary report on the development of young Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis (Franklin, 1831) in and around Puducherry, southern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1(10): 519–524. Ricklefs, R.E. (1979). Patterns of growth in birds. V.A comparative study of development in the starling, common tern, and Japanese quail. Auk 96: 10–30. Ricklefs, R.E. (1984). The optimization of growth rate in altricial birds. Ecology 65: 1602–1616. Somers K.M. (1986). Multivariate allometry and removal of size with Principal Components Analysis. Systematic Zoology 35: 359–368. Springer, M.A. (1979). Growth analysis for aging: female Great Horned Owl. Ohio Journal of Science 79: 37–39. Urban, M.C. (2007). The growth-predation risk trade-off under a growing gapelimited predation threat. Ecology 88: 2587–2597. Wink, M. & P. Heidrich (1999). Molecular evolution and systematics of the Owls (Strigiformes), pp. 39–57. In: Konig, C., F. Weick & J.H. Becking (eds.). Owls: A Guide to The Owls of The World. Yale University Press, New Haven, 462pp,. Yearsley, J.M., I. Kyriazakis & I.J. Gordon (2004). Delayed costs of growth and compensatory growth rates. Functional Ecology 18: 563–570.

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S. Pande & N. Dahanukar Acknowledgements: We thank Amit Pawashe, Kumar Pawar, Dr. M.N. Mahajan, Unmesh Barbhai, Banda Pednekar, Prashant Deshpande and late Pramod Pawashe for assistance in field work. Cornelius Mascarenhas checked the English language, Ela Foundation, Pune supported the study. We thank the Forest Department for their support and necessary permissions. We thank an anonymous referee for constructive suggestions on the earlier draft of the manuscript. We are also grateful to Dr. Hemant Ghate and Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Pune.

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Systematic status of Systomus rubrotinctus Jerdon (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) with notes on the Puntius arulius group of fishes J.D. Marcus Knight 1, K. Rema Devi 2 & Vidyadhar Atkore 3 Flat ‘L’, Sri Balaji Apartments, 7th Main Road, Dhandeeswaram, Velachery, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600042, India Zoological Survey of India, Southern Regional Centre, 100, Santhome High Road, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600028 3 ATREE, Royal Enclave, Sriramapura, Jakkur Post, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560064, India Email: 1 jdmarcusknight@yahoo.co.in, 2 remadevi_zsi@yahoo.com (corresponding author), 3 vidyadhar.atkore@gmail.com 1 2

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Anonymity requested Manuscript details: Ms # o2684 Received 27 January 2011 Final received 11 April 2011 Finally accepted 13 April 2011 Citation: Knight, J.D.M., K.R. Devi & V. Atkore (2011). Systematic status of Systomus rubrotinctus Jerdon (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) with notes on the Puntius arulius group of fishes. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1686–1693. Copyright: © J.D. Marcus Knight, K. Rema Devi & Vidyadhar Atkore 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Author Details: J.D. Marcus Knight is a naturalist based in Chennai. Amongst others, his interest is in exploring the freshwater habitats and is currently studying the Puntius filamentosus group of fishes. K. Rema Devi is a senior scientist in the Southern Regional Centre of the Zoological Survey of India and an ichthyologist who has published over hundred papers including descriptions of several new species. Vidyadhar Atkore is a PhD student at ATREE working on conservation biology of native freshwater fishes in the Western Ghats, India. His interest lies in the community ecology of fishes and river restoration. Author Contributions: JDMK recognized the validity of P. rubrotinctus and initiated the study. He speculated natural hybridization and all putative hybrids were collected by him. All the photographs used in the paper were provided by him. KRD carried out the morphometric study to distinguish P. rubrotinctus as a valid species. She provided help in writing the paper. VA also provided comparative material and helped in the morphometric study. Acknowledgements: We wish to thank the Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata for the facilities provided and Rohan Pethiyagoda for his help in designating the Neotype. We also wish to thank Andrew Rao, Ashwin Rai, Rahul Kumar, Balaji Vijayakrishnan, Beta Mahatvaraj, Madhusoodhanan, Prasoon Nair, Shankar Balasubramanian and Sadashiv Nayak for helping us obtain comparative material of the Puntius filamentosus group of fishes from various drainages and sharing their unpublished field notes.

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Abstract: Systomus rubrotinctus Jerdon has long been considered a synonym of Puntius arulius. Examination of ‘P. arulius’ collected from various parts of the Western Ghats revealed the presence of two distinct species: and the fish considered by Day as ‘P. arulius’ from Wayanad is in fact P. rubrotinctus. Based on the colour pattern, morphometrics and meristics, P. rubrotinctus is retrieved from the synonymy of P. arulius and redescribed. Puntius rubrotinctus can be distinguished from P. arulius by the unique colour pattern consisting of three well-defined black blotches on the body, two scales high and three scales wide, as distinct from the diffused blotches in P. arulius. It further differs from P. arulius in having a shorter dorsal-to-hypural distance (49.8–54.6 % SL, vs. 57.3–57.6 % SL), a smaller interorbital width (28.4–35.6 % HL, vs. 39.1–39.7 % HL) and a higher number of gill rakers (10–11 in the first gill arch, vs. 8). Puntius rubrotinctus is wide distributed in the Cauvery River and its tributaries in the Western Ghats region across the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The results revalidate the identity of the ‘Puntius filamentosus group’ of previous authors drawing attention to the presence of intermediate forms among this group, in which natural hybrids appear to occur, of which P. exclamatio may be one. Keywords: Cyprinids, natural hybridization, Puntius exclamatio, P. filamentosus, P. tambraparniei, revalidation.

Introduction Jerdon (1849) described two barbs, Systomus arulius and S. rubrotinctus, now be referred to Puntius. These fishes possess three black blotches on the body, the former with large diffused blotches, and the latter with smaller blotches. Jerdon described P. arulius as having “a large diffused black spot on side beneath the commencement of the dorsal fin, another over the anal, and another at base of caudal” and in the same work he described P. rubrotinctus a species with “3 small black spots on sides, one under dorsal, the 2nd over the anal and the 3rd near base of caudal”. Though Jerdon (1849) does not give the exact type locality of P. arulius and P. rubritinctus, he mentions that P. arulius is called ‘aruli’ at Seringapatam [=Shrirangapattana] in Karnataka and that he procured P. rubrotinctus from the Manantoddy River (= Mananthavadi River) in Kerala. Subsequently, Day (1878) placed P. rubrotinctus in the synonymy of P. arulius. During an examination of the specimens deposited in the Southern Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India and recent collections from the Western Ghats, the presence of two distinct species fitting the description of P. arulius and P. rubrotinctus given by Jerdon (1849) were observed. In this paper we retrieve P. rubrotinctus from its synonymy with P. arulius and distinguish it from its closely related congeners P. arulius, P. tambraparniei and P. Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1686–1693


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srilankensis, which we here refer to as the P. arulius group of fishes owing to their shared gross adult colour pattern.

count. Specimens of P. srilankensis were not examined and the data in Pethiyagoda & Kottelat (2005) was used for comparison.

Materials and Methods

Puntius rubrotinctus (Jerdon, 1849) (Images 1, 2A; Table 1.) Puntius arulius Day, 1878: p 575, Plate CXLII, fig. 5.

The material for the present study is based mostly on the specimens from earlier surveys in the collections of the Southern Regional Centre of the Zoological Survey of India and recent collections from Bhadra River, Karnataka and Tambraparni River, Tamil Nadu (Fig. 1). The other specimens used in this study are registered in the Reserve Collections of the Zoological Survey of India, Southern Regional Centre, Chennai (ZSI/SRS) and Zoological Survey of India, Western Ghats Regional Centre, Kozhikode (ZSI/WGRC). Measurements were taken using a dial caliper to the nearest 0.1mm. Quantification of characters follows Devi et al. (2010). Subunits of the head are expressed in proportions of head length (HL). Numbers in parenthesis after a count denote the frequency of that

Figure 1. Descriptive map of southern peninsular India, showing the various locations from which P. arulius group of fishes were examined in this present study: A - KIOCL plant, Bhadra River; B - Khabini river; C - Bhavali River; D - Mavanahalla, Moyar River; E - Varkhala, Kallada River; F - Kodaimel Azhakian Anicut, Tambraparani River; G Cheremadevi, Tambraparani River; H - Tirunelveli Town, Tambraparani River. (Map not to scale)

Material examined: Putative topotypes - 2 ex., 71.8–86.2 mm SL, Kabini River, (date: unknown), ZSI/SRS F.8373, coll. R.S. Lal Mohan. The smaller specimen 71.8mm SL is designated as the neotype. Others: 6 ex., 65.0–80.0 mm SL, Mavanahalla, Moyar River drainage (~11031’N & 76042’E), Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu, ZSI/WGRC F.5077, coll. K.N. Nair; 07.xii.1985, 4 ex., 62.7–74.0 mm SL, Bhavali River drainage (~11055’N & 76045’E), Coorg District, Karnataka, ZSI/WGRC F.3954, coll. K.N. Nair. Designation of Neotype As a thorough search of Jerdon’s collections maintained in the Senckenberg Natural History Museum, Frankfurt and British Museum of Natural History, London revealed no specimen of Puntius rubrotinctus (R. Pethiyagoda, pers. comm.), a neotype is designated to stabilize the identity of Puntius rubrotinctus to differentiate it from P. arulius. As the type locality of S. rubrotinctus is the Manantoddy River (= Mananthavadi River) which falls in the Kabini River drainage from where the putative topotypes (ZSI/SRS F.8373) were collected, we designate the more intact smaller topotype (71.8mm SL, ZSI/SRS F.8373) as neotype as it was collected as nearly as practicable from the original type locality. The presence of three small black blotches on sides, one under dorsal, the 2nd over the anal and the 3rd near base of caudal, consistent with the original description by Jerdon, clearly distinguishes it from P. arulius, which has three large diffused black blotches on the side (Jerdon 1849). The photograph (Image 1) and the morphometric data of the neotype is provided in Table 1. to ensure recognition of the specimen designated. The neotype belongs to the registered collections of the Southern Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India which is a recognized scientific institution that maintains a research collection, with proper facilities for preserving name-bearing types, and makes them accessible for study.

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Image 1. Puntius rubrotinctus Neotype, 71.8 mm SL, ZSI/SRS F.8373

Diagnosis Adult P. rubrotinctus can be distinguished from the other members of the P. arulius group of fishes by having a unique colour pattern of three well defined blotches two scale high and three scales wide

restricted to the sides of the body when compared to the large diffused blotches in P. arulius (Image 2D), P. tambraparniei (Image 2E) and P. srilankensis. It further differs from P. arulius in having a shorter dorsal to hypural distance of 49.8–54.6 % SL (vs.

Table 1. Morphometric data of P. rubrotinctus (ZSI/SRS F.8373; ZSI/WGRC F.5077 and F.3954), P. arulius (ATREE unregistered), P. tambraparniei (ZSI/SRS F.4452) and P. srilankensis (Pethiyagoda & Kottelat 2005) Characters

P. rubrotinctus n = 12 Range

Standard length [mm]

Mean ± SD

62.7–86.2

P. arulius n = 3

neotype

Range

71.8

69.5–79.8

Mean ± SD

P. tambraparniei n = 10 Range

Mean ± SD

40.3–53.2

P. srilankensis n= 8 Range

Mean ± SD

64.3–77.8

% SL Head length

28.3–32.8

30.0 ± 1.6

29.1

26.4–28.0

27.1 ± 1.1

24.6–30.0

27.8 ± 1.6

24.8–26.7

25.6 ± 0.8

Head depth

19.0–23.2

20.9 ± 1.4

21.8

22.0–22.5

22.2 ± 0.3

18.3–21.6

20.3 ± 1.1

Predorsal length

49.2–55.3

52.2 ± 1.6

53.6

51.8–52.3

52.1 ± 0.3

49.5–56.4

53.0 ± 2.5

49.5–52.6

50.9 ± 1.3

Dorsal to hypural distance

49.8–54.6

52.5 ± 1.6

54.5

57.3–57.6

57.5 ± 0.2

49.5–53.7

51.5 ± 1.2

52.6–55.5

54.5 ± 0.9

Maximum body depth

34.9–41.8

37.5 ± 2.2

41.8

37.0–38.1

37.6 ± 0.7

32.6–39.0

35.4 ± 2.1

28.0–31.9

29.9 ± 1.4

Maximum body width

12.2–17.9

15.4 ± 1.8

17.9

15.9–19.1

17.5 ± 2.2

13.3–16.8

14.9 ± 1.0

16.2–19.3

17.1 ± 1.1

Caudal peduncle length

11.8–18.4

16.3 ± 1.9

14.3

17.1–17.6

17.3 ± 0.3

12.8–17.0

15.5 ± 1.3

18.5–21.4

19.7 ± 0.9

Caudal peduncle depth

13.1–15.1

14.1 ± 0.6

14.9

14.1–15.1

14.6 ± 0.7

13.7–15.9

14.6 ± 0.5

10.9–13.3

12.5 ± 0.8

25.2–30.6

28.1 ± 1.9

25.8

25.5–29.0

27.2 ± 2.4

25.8–29.1

27.6 ± 1.0

25.9–34.2

31.5 ± 2.5

% HL Snout length Eye diameter

29.3–35.8

33.2 ± 1.9

34.4

33.4–34.2

33.8 ± 0.5

35.0–41.7

38.4 ± 2.4

25.5–30.4

28.8 ± 1.8

Interorbital width

28.4–35.6

32.5 ± 2.1

34.4

39.1–39.7

39.4 ± 0.4

28.3–35.8

33.1 ± 2.3

37.8–42.5

41.0 ± 1.4

Internarial width

18.7–25.7

22.1 ± 2.2

24.8

25.0–26.3

25.6 ± 0.9

15.8–22.8

18.9 ± 2.0

21.5–24.4

23.2 ± 1.1

Length of maxilla

26.5–32.3

28.8 ± 1.9

28.7

28.1–29.8

29.0 ± 1.2

19.0–21.6

20.5 ± 0.8

Maxillary barbel length

7.3–13.4

10.6 ± 2.1

11.9

19.0–23.2

21.1 ± 2.9

11.7–16.7

14.1 ± 1.5

0.0–1.8

1.1 ± 0.7

Postorbital head length

38.7–47.5

43.2 ± 2.5

43.5

47.7–52.7

50.2 ± 3.4

34.1–47.2

42.1 ± 4.2

39.5–45.4

42.6 ± 2.2

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Image 2. A - Puntius rubrotinctus (ZSI/WGRC F3954, 62.7mm SL); B - P. arulius juvenile (ATREE unregistered, 24.3mm SL); C - P. tambraparniei juvenile (Live/unregistered); D - P. arulius (ATREE unregistered, 79.8mm SL); E - P. tambraparniei (ZSI/SRS F8369, 57.0mm SL); F, G, H, I - Putative P. tambraparniei X P. filamentosus hybrids (Live/unregistered); J - P. exclamatio (ZSI/SRS F5520, 70.0mm SL). Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1686â&#x20AC;&#x201C;1693

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57.3–57.6 % SL), smaller interorbital width of 28.4– 35.6 % HL (vs. 39.1–39.7 % HL) and higher number of gill rakers 10(8)–11(4) gill rakers in the first gill arch (vs. 8(3)). It differs from P. tambraparniei and P. srilankensis in having a more terminal mouth as compared to the sub-terminal and inferior mouth of the latter, respectively, and absence of filamentous extensions to the branched dorsal fin rays of males (vs. presence in P. tambraparniei and P. srilankensis). It can further be differentiated from P. tambraparniei by its longer maxilla, which is 26.5–32.3 % HL (vs. 19.0–21.6 % HL) and from P. srilankensis by a longer head length 28.3–32.8 % SL (vs. 24.8–26.7 % SL), greater body depth of 34.9–41.8 % SL (vs. 28.0–31.9 % SL), smaller interorbital width of 28.4–35.6 % HL (vs. 37.8–42.5 % HL), and longer barbels 7.3–13.4 % HL (vs. 0.0–1.8 % HL). Description Morphometric data of 12 specimens are given in Table 1. General body shape and appearance as in Image 1 and Image 2A. Body elongate, laterally compressed; dorsal contour ascending, indented at nape, profile of back convex anterior to dorsal-fin origin, tapering gradually thereafter; ventral profile equally convex anterior to pelvic-fin origin, curving gently up to analfin origin; caudal peduncle deep, its depth a little less than its length. Head length 28.3–32.8 % SL; eye large, its diameter 29.3–35.8 % HL, positioned nearer to snout than to opercular margin; interorbital wide, almost equal to eye diameter; snout length less than eye diameter; males with a few minute tubercles on snout, extending up to infra-orbital region. Mouth terminal; lips thick, maxilla extending almost to anterior border of eye. A pair of short maxillary barbels present, 7.3– 13.4 % HL. Dorsal fin inserted nearer to tip of snout than to caudal-fin base, with three simple and 8½ branched rays, its distal margin slightly concave. Anal fin with three simple and 5½ branched rays. Pelvic fin with one simple and eight branched rays, its origin slightly posterior to dorsal-fin origin. Pectoral fin with one simple and 13(7) or 14(5) branched rays. Pectoral and pelvic fins short, not reaching pelvic and analfin origins, respectively. Caudal fin with 1+9+8+1 principal rays, deeply forked, with pointed lobes. 7(4)8(8) predorsal scales. Lateral line complete, with 20 (1), 21(10) or 22(1) scales on body including one scale on caudal-fin base. Transverse scales from dorsal1690

fin origin to pelvic-fin origin ½4+1+2. An axillary pelvic scale present. Eighteen circumferential scales (counted as number of scales around greatest depth of body beginning from first scale anterior to dorsal-fin origin), 12 circumpeduncular scales. Well-defied gill rakers, 2(6), 3(6) + 7(2), 8(10) on the first gill arch. Coloration Formalin-fixed and alcohol-preserved specimens light brown above with a cream underside with three black, well-defined mid-body blotches, the first below the dorsal fin, the second above the anal fin, and the third on the caudal-fin base. Preserved specimens over time lose pigments and the blotch below the dorsal fin resembles the letters W or M. All fins hyaline. Distribution The type locality of P. rubrotinctus is Manantoddy River (= Mananthavadi River) which falls in the Kabini River drainage in the Wyanad District of Kerala. Also specimens from Bhavali River drainage and Moyar River drainage in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were examined showing that P. rubrotinctus is widespread in the Cauvery and its tributaries across the States of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Discussion Even though Kortmulder (1972) highlighted the similarities between the juveniles and adults of P. filamentosus and P. arulius, it was the revision of the P. filamentosus group by Pethiyagoda & Kottelat (2005) which brought P. filamentosus and P. arulius under the same group on the basis of their treating the juvenile colour pattern of these fishes as synapomorphic. The P. filamentosus group currently involves eight valid species, six of which are endemic to India: Puntius arulius (Jerdon), P. assimilis (Jerdon), P. exclamatio Pethiyagoda & Kottelat, P. filamentosus (Valenciennes), P. rohani Devi et al. and P. tambraparniei (Silas), and two to Sri Lanka: P. singhala (Duncker) and P. srilankensis (Senanayake). Of these Puntius arulius, P. rubrotinctus, P. tambraparniei and P. srilankensis can be termed as the ‘P. arulius group of fishes’, characterized by three mid-body blotches in adults, in comparison to the other members of the P. filamentosus group, which have either a single blotch

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above the anal fin in the case of P. filamentosus, P. assimilis and P. singhala, or two blotches in the case of P. exclamatio. Due to their resemblance to each other, P. tambraparniei was considered a subspecies of P. arulius (Silas 1953; Jayaram 1991; Jayaram 1999; Menon 1999), as was P. srilankensis (Jayaram 1991; Jayaram 1999) until Pethiyagoda & Kottelat (2005) restored them as valid species. Puntius arulius was described by Jerdon (1849) as a fish with “a large diffused black blotch on side beneath the commencement of the dorsal fin, another over the anal, and another at base of caudal” and in the same work he describes P. rubrotinctus a species with “3 small black spots on sides, one under dorsal, the 2nd over the anal and the 3rd near base of caudal” clearly distinguishing it from the large diffused blotches seen in P. arulius. Day (1878), in his work on the Fishes of India placed P. rubrotinctus as a synonym of P. arulius. He described a fish from Wayanad with three small spots as P. arulius (plate CXLII, fig 5 in Day 1878) with a pair of barbels, which he mentions were possibly overlooked in the original description by Jerdon (1849). Though Jerdon (1849) just mentions P. arulius is called ‘aruli’ at Shrirangapattana he clearly mentions that he procured P. rubrotinctus from the Mananthavadi River, which flows into the Kabini, a tributary of the Cauvery that flows through the small town, Mananthavadi, in the Wyanad District of Kerala. Jerdon’s (1849) Manantoddy River (= Mananthavadi River) flows into the Kabini, which is a tributary of the Cauvery that flows through the small town, Mananthavadi, in the Wyanad District of Kerala. Therefore the fish described by Day (1878) from Wayanad was clearly P. rubrotinctus and not P. arulius. Currently P. arulius is known from Coorg in the Cauvery River drainage (Pethiyagoda & Kottelat 2005) and the Tungabadra River basin (Arunachalam et al. 2005), based on recent collections. Puntius runrotinctus is known from, Wayanad (Day 1878), Moyar River drainage in the Nilgiris, and from the Cauvery River drainage in Coorg. Furthermore, P. arulius has been recorded from Travancore, Thenmalai, Kulathupuzha and Kottayam (Day 1878; Jenkins 1909; Mukerji 1932; Silas 1953; Menon 1999; Gopi 2000; Arunachalam et al. 2005; Arunachalam & Murugan 2007). As no specimens were examined from the above locations in the present study, we are unable

J.D.M. Knight et al.

to confirm whether the fish identified as P. arulius by earlier authors was indeed P. arulius. While P. arulius has a relatively wide distribution, P. tambraparniei is restricted to the lower reaches of the Tambraparni River, while P. srilankensis is endemic to a single location in Sri Lanka. A search for P. arulius at Shrirangapattana by Pethiyagoda & Kottelat (2005) resulted in no specimens being collected; these authors mentioned that even the local fishermen were unable to identify photographs of the fish. They concluded that the P. arulius had been extirpated in that locality, as the river had been impounded upstream. However Arunachalam et al. (2005) extended the range of P. arulius to the Tungabhadra River drainage, which is also an east flowing drainage flowing from the Western Ghats, similar to the Cauvery. Recent survey of the Bhadra River resulted in fresh specimens of P. arulius being collected on comparing these with the specimens of P. arulius-like fish from Kabini River deposited in ZSI/SRS, it was clear that two distinct species are involved. The P. arulius collected from Bhadra matched the description given by Jerdon (1849) by having three large, diffused, saddle shaped blotches, the first one 4 scales high and three scales wide, the second 2 scales wide and 3 scales high, and the third covering the entire caudal-fin base. On the other hand the fish from Kabini had three small blotches consistent with Jerdon’s (1849) original description of P. rubrotinctus. It is clear therefore that P. rubrotinctus is a valid species and not a synonym of P. arulius. Further examinations of specimens deposited in ZSI/SRS revealed the presence of P. rubrotinctus in Bhavali River drainage (~11055’N & 76045’E) and the Moyar River drainage (~11031’N & 76042’E) in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu respectively. Puntius rubrotinctus can be distinguished still further from P. arulius and the other members of the P. arulius group also by possessing a more terminal mouth position, compared to subterminal in P. tambraparniei and inferior in P. srilankensis. Puntius tambraparniei can be distinguished from P. arulius, P. rubrotinctus and P. srilankensis by the presence of an additional spot at the posterior base of the dorsal fin, clearly visible also in juveniles (Image 2C). Though Pethiyagoda & Kottelat (2005) restricted the range of P. arulius to the Cauvery River basin,

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other authors have shown a wider range of P. arulius extending up to Tenmalai reservoir in southern Kerala (Day 1878; Jenkins 1909; Mukerji 1932; Silas 1953; Menon 1999; Gopi 2000; Arunachalam & Murugan 2007) with Arunachalam et al. (2005) confirming the presence of a fish very closely ressembling P. arulius from Thenmalai, Kulathupuzha and Kottayam. Incidentally Thenmalai is the type locality of P. exclamatio which gives rise to the question whether P. exclamatio is a hybrid between the P. arulius likefish and the widespread P. filamentosus as that (i.e., P. exclamatio) is the only fish in this group which has a mid-body ‘W’ shaped blotch like P. rubrotinctus, which belongs to the P. arulius group and an elongated caudal peduncle blotch which resembles the other fishes of the P. filamentosus group. Moreover P. exclamatio was described as a fish with sub-terminal mouth (Pethiyagoda & Kottelat 2005) but the specimen collected from Kallada River which we observed had terminal mouth which is the character of P. rubrotinctus. Pethiyagoda & Kottelat (2005) stated that the males of P. exclamatio lacked the filamentous prolongations of the dorsal-fin branched rays. In our earlier work (Devi et al. 2010) we attributed this to seasonal shedding of the filaments as the specimens we observed from Kallada possessed dorsal fin filaments; but the lack of the dorsal fin filaments in some populations of P. exclamatio could also be attributed to hybridization as P. rubrotinctus too, lacks dorsal filaments. Moreover a specimen of P. exclamatio we observed from Varkala, Kallada River drainage in Kerala had black caudal-fin tips, which are characteristic of P. filamentosus (Image 2J). To add impetus to the question of possible hybridization within the P. filamentosus group of fishes, we found intermediate forms between P. filamentosus and P. tambraparniei (Image 2 F, G, H, I) at Cheramadevi in Tambraparni River drainage. These intermediate fishes were found where P. filamentosus and P. tambraparniei co-existed in the Tambraparni River at Cheremadevi. These intermediate fishes either resembled P. filamentosus with an extra midbody blotch, which is a character of P. tambraparniei or they looked like P. tambraparniei with a black bar on the tips of the caudal fin, which is a character of P. filamentosus absent in the typical P. tambraparniei. The possibility of these two species hybridizing is high as they are closely related and the exchange of genes 1692

among P. arulius and P. filamentosus has already been speculated (Arunachalam & Murugan 2007) and could be the reason for the high genetic variation among P. filamentosus in the Tambraparni drainage (Johnson et al. 2007). Hybridization in cyprinidae is more common than in any other group of freshwater fish (Scribner et al. 2000). Hybridization in the genus Puntius was investigated by Kortmulder (1972) and he produced viable hybrids by crossing P. conchonius × P. stoliczkanus, P. cumingi × P. nigrofasciatus and P. stoliczkanus × P. nigrofasciatus. He even observed fertile eggs being produced in a cross between a P. conchonius female and P. filamentosus male and speculated that the reason for the larvae not surviving could also be due to certain specific conditions of the experiment. Recent studies have shown that hybridization does lead to adaptation through the creation of new genes and morphologies (Seehausen 2004; Bell & Travis 2005; Pfennig et al. 2007; Schwenk et al. 2008; Hayden et al. 2010). Some of these hybrids are fertile (Wood & Jordan 1987; Wyatt et al. 2006; Hayden et al. 2010) and possess unique phenotypic characters which are intermediate between the parental species, which helps them exploit niches unavailable to the parental species, thereby out-competing them, particularly in novel habitats (Seehausen 2004; Nolte et al. 2005). Thus the presence of intermediate forms in the P. filamentosus group could also be attributed to hybridization as it plays a role in adaptive radiation and the evolution of new lineages. We hope to investigate this question further in the Puntius filamentosus group by future genetic studies. Comparative material Puntius arulius: 24.xi.2010, 3 ex., 24.3–79.8 mm SL, Iron bridge near KIOCL plant, 13012’21”N & 75014’47”E, Bhadra River drainage, ATREE unregistered, coll. Vidyadhar Atkore. Puntius tambraparniei: 11.i.2010, 1 ex., 57.0mm SL, Tirunelveli Town, Tambraparani River drainage (8044’12”N & 77043’7”E), ZSI/SRS F.8369; coll. J.D. Marcus Knight; 9.iv.1995, 10 ex., 40.3–53.2 mm SL, Kodaimel Azhakian Anicut, Tambraparani River drainage (~ 8042’N & 77022’E), ZSI/SRS F.4452, coll. M.B. Raghunathan. Putative Puntius tambraparniei X Puntius

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filamentosus hybrids: 26.viii.2010, 7 ex., 32.0–68.0 mm SL, Cheramadevi (8041’59”N & 77033’42”E), Tambraparani River drainage, Live/unregistered; coll. J.D. Marcus Knight. Puntius exclamatio: 03.iv.1998, 1 ex., 70.0mm SL, Varkala (8053’N & 76042’E), Kallada River draiange, ZSI/SRS F5520, coll. P.T. Cherian.

References Arunachalam, M., J.A. Johnson, A. Manimekalan, A. Sankaranarayanan, R. Soranam, P. Sivakumar & M. Muralidharan (2005). Extension range of Puntius arulius arulius (Jerdon) in various streams in Thungabadra River basin. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 102(3): 343-344. Arunachalam, M. & M. Murugan (2007). Cytogenetic and cytotaxonomic considerations of two endangered ornamental fishes Puntius arulius and P. tambraparniei (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) from Western Ghats, India. Zoos’ Print Journal 22(7): 2739–2741. Bell, M.A. & M.P. Travis (2005). Hybridization, transgressive segregation, genetic covariation, and adaptive radiation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20(7): 358–361. Day, F. (1878). The Fishes of India; Being a Natural History of the Fishes Known to Inhabit the Seas and Freshwaters of India, Burma and Ceylon. Bernard Quaritch, Piccadilly, London, xx+778pp, 196 pls. Devi, K., T.J. Indra & J.D.M. Knight (2010). Puntius rohani (Teleostei: Cyprinidae), a new species of barb in the Puntius filamentosus group from the southern Western Ghats of India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2(9): 1121–1129. Gopi, K.C. (2000). Freshwater fishes of Kerala State, pp. 57–76. In: Ponniah, A.G. & A. Gopalakrishnan (eds.). Endemic Fish Diversity of Western Ghats. NBFGR/NATP Publication, 1: 347pp. Hayden B., D. Pulcini, M. Kelly-Quinn, M. O’Grady, J. Caffrey, A. McGrath & S. Mariani (2010). Hybridisation between two cyprinid fishes in a novel habitat: genetics, morphology and life-history traits. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 169. Jayaram, K.C. (1991). Revision of the genus Puntius (Hamilton) from the Indian Region (Pisces: Cypriniformes, Cyprinidae, Cyprininae). Records of the Zoological Survey of India, Occasional Paper 135: 1–178. Jayaram, K.C. (1999). The Freshwater Fishes of the Indian Region. Narendra Publishing House, New Delhi, 551pp. Jenkins, J.T. (1909). Fish from Travancore and Cochin. Records of the Indian Museum 3: 287–293.

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Jerdon, T.C. (1849). On the freshwater fishes of southern India. Madras Journal of Literature and Science 15: 302–346. Johnson, J.A., R.P. Rajesh, L.A. Mary & M. Arunachalam (2007). Comparative analysis of inter population genetic diversity in Puntius filamentosus using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. African Journal of Biotechnology 6(23): 2682–2686. Kortmulder, K. (1972). A comparative study in colour patterns and behaviour in seven Asiatic Barbus species (Cyprinidae, Ostariophysi, Osteichthyes). Behaviour, Supplement. 19, 331pp. Menon, A.G.K. (1999). Check list - fresh water fishes of India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, Miscellaneous Publication, Occasional Paper No. 175, 366pp. Mukerji, D.D. (1932). On a small collection of fish from the Bhavani River (S. India). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 35: 162–171. Nolte, A.W., J. Freyhof, K.C. Stemshorn & D. Tautz (2005). An invasive lineage of sculpins, Cottus sp (Pisces, Teleostei) in the Rhine with new habitat adaptations has originated from hybridization between old phylogeographic groups. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 272(1579): 2379–2387. Pethiyagoda, R. & M. Kottelat (2005). A review of the barbs of the Puntius filamentosus group (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) of Southern India and Sri Lanka. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 12: 127–144. Pfennig, K.S. (2007). Facultative mate choice drives adaptive hybridization. Science 318(5852): 965–967. Scribner, K.T., K.S. Page & M.L. Bartron (2000). Hybridization in freshwater fishes: a review of case studies and cytonuclear methods of biological inference. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 10(3): 293–323. Schwenk K., N. Brede & B. Streit (2008). Introduction. Extent, processes and evolutionary impact of interspecific hybridization in animals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 363(1505): 2805– 2811. Seehausen, O. (2004). Hybridization and adaptive radiation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19(4): 198–207. Silas, E.G. (1953). New fishes from the Western Ghats, with notes on Puntius arulius (Jerdon). Records of the Indian Museum 51(1953[1954]): 27–37. Wood A.B. & D.R. Jordan (1987). Fertility of roach X bream hybrids, Rutilus rutilus (L) × Abramis brama (L), and their identification. Journal of Fish Biology 30(3): 249–261. Wyatt P.M.W., C.S. Pitts & R.K. Butlin (2006). A molecular approach to detect hybridization between bream Abramis brama, roach Rutlius rutilus and rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus. Journal of Fish Biology 69: 52–71.

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Detrimental effects of low atmospheric humidity and forest fire on a community of western Himalayan butterflies Peter Smetacek The Butterfly Research Centre, The Retreat, Jones Estate, Bhimtal, Nainital, Uttarakhand 263136, India Email: petersmetacek@rediffmail.com

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: George Mathew Manuscript details: Ms # o2307 Received 07 September 2009 Final received 02 January 2011 Finally accepted 10 March 2011 Citation: Smetacek, P. (2011). Detrimental effects of low atmospheric humidity and forest fire on a community of western Himalayan butterflies. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1694–1701. Copyright: © Peter Smetacek 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Author Details: Peter Smetacek runs the Butterfly Research Centre in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand. He has worked on Lepidoptera for more than 30 years and has published 50 scientific papers. He is the first Indian to discover and describe a butterfly taxon, Neptis miah varshneyi. He has described a dozen moths and butterflies new to science. Acknowledgements: I am grateful to the Rufford Small Grant Foundation, U.K. for funding this work; to Ashok K. Nayak of the Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research, Bhimtal for rainfall data and to the anonymous referees whose comments considerably improved this paper.

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Abstract: Compared to previous years, the period from October 2008 to March 2009 showed marked reductions in species number and population size in the butterfly community of the Maheshkhan Reserve Forest, Nainital District, Uttarakhand. Desiccation of pupae due to abnormally low atmospheric humidity after the failure of seasonal rains appears to have been a major cause of this reduction. The drop in humidity also appears to be linked to the unusual spread of fires affecting broadleaf forests, one of which in May 2009 wiped out the remaining Maheshkhan butterfly community. Keywords: Climate change, forest fire, Himalaya, Kumaon, Lepidoptera, pupal desiccation.

Introduction The Kumaon Himalaya adjoin the western border of Nepal, and along with the Garhwal Himalaya further west comprise the Indian state of Uttarakhand. In Nainital District of the Kumaon Himalaya the Gagar range is southernmost, rising from the Gangetic plain at roughly 400m elevation to Naini Peak near the town of Nainital at an elevation of 2600m. Rainfall is heavy, between 2029mm and 3048mm (80 to 120 inches) annually (Osmaston 1927) with 80% of the precipitation received during the south west monsoon between June and September, while 20% arrives during the remainder of the year, mostly during a fortnight of winter rains in January or February. Maheshkhan Reserve Forest (roughly at 29026’7”N & 79035’40”E) lies west of the town of Bhowali, extending from the crest of the Gagar range and Gagar Peak (2400m) to the village of Shyamkhet (roughly 1800m). The forest comprises of a mix of Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii) and dense subtropical evergreen forests of Himalayan oaks (Quercus floribunda, Q. leucotrichophora and Q. glauca) and other species (Alnus nepalensis, Rhododendron arboreum, Pieris ovalifolia, etc.). This forest is the headwaters of the Khalsa River, which is a perennial rain-fed tributary of the Gola River. Besides many butterfly species, the forest is home to mammals such as Sambar and muntjacs, leopards, common langurs, yellow-throated martens, with occasional reports of Himalayan Black Bear. The Maheshkhan forest has been visited sporadically during the spring and summer months since 1986. During the 24 years, the forest was visited more than 100 times during the summer months from March to June. During the summer months, there are often swarms of butterflies in the ravines and along streams of this forest. As soon as the south west Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1694-1701


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monsoon reaches and the rainy season begins in June, the butterflies stop congregating at water. Evidence from my breeding experiments indicates that there are broods of most species during the rainy season, but not as numerous as the spring and summer broods. The individuals comprising these broods do not congregate at water and are not as frequently seen as the dry season spring and summer broods. Weather parameters, particularly atmospheric humidity, are known to have a decisive effect on biodiversity. This is usually amply illustrated with the textbook comparison of faunal diversity of hot deserts on one hand, with tropical rainforest communities on the other. Butterflies, too, occur in greater variety and profusion in areas of heavy rainfall as compared with low rainfall areas. For example within India the northeastern states are home to over a thousand species of butterflies, compared to the plains of Uttar Pradesh with less than a hundred, or the Thar Desert with less than 50 species (Peile 1937). While the effect of humidity on such extensive landscapes is well known, relatively little is known about factors that limit the abundance and distribution of butterfly species within smaller landscapes, such as hillsides or forests. In this study, an attempt is made to evaluate the effect of reduced atmospheric humidity on butterfly populations in the Maheshkhan Reserve Forest in the Kumaon Himalaya.

Materials and Methods Data pertaining to butterfly population trends in this forest area has been generated through observations made during past visits since 1986. During 2009, a rigorous survey was made for 65 days during March to May. The forest was surveyed from 1000 to 1400 hr, after which butterfly activity is greatly reduced. Since dawn and dusk is the period of activity for most Grypocera (Hesperiidae), these are not included in this paper, although a few species were observed during the daytime.

Observations The observations were mainly made during the summer months from April to June when butterflies

P. Smetacek

congregate in the ravines and along streams of this forest and are consequently easily observed. Certain species like Lasiommata schakra (Kollar) do not visit water, but these butterflies were encountered along paths and elsewhere in the forest. Also, not much attention was paid to groups such as Yphthima Hübner; Mycalesis Hübner; Eurema Hübner, etc. A single specimen of the recently described taxon Ypthima kedarnathensis Singh was recorded in Maheshkhan (Smetacek 2010). A list of butterfly species observed in Maheshkhan Reserve Forest since 1989 is given in Table 1. However, Y. kedarnathensis has not been included in Table 1 pending confirmation of its taxonomic status. In 2009, the winter rains failed (Table 2), with practically no precipitation between the end of September 2008 and April 2009, resulting in a rather dry spring and summer 2009. Although there were very meager rains during the winter of 1998–1999, due to which some annuals did not germinate the following spring causing a drop in numbers of a butterfly species dependent on them (Smetacek 2002), the effects on butterfly populations then were by no means so widespread or as severe as experienced during spring and summer 2009 due, evidently, to the failed winter rains. The State Government officially declared the district to be affected by drought in 2009. I had the good fortune to visit the forest rather frequently in spring and summer 2009, due to which it was possible to track the presence or absence of the butterfly species that make up the community there. As the season progressed, it became evident that the reduced number of species and butterflies was not solely a matter of delayed emergence caused by the lack of sufficient atmospheric humidity, but a matter of desiccated pupae resulting in the death of butterflies before they could emerge. This became evident when all the overwintering pupae I had bred the previous autumn dried out and died by April 2009. Even pupae formed by larvae in April 2009, which should have emerged the following month, dried out and died. Upon opening the pupae, I found fully developed but desiccated moths that had not managed to emerge (Unfortunately, it was not possible to identify them since the wings had not expanded). Only a single overwintering Hyles nicaea lathyrus (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) pupa from the cold desert of Ladakh survived to emerge on 19 May. No doubt,

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Table 1. Butterflies recorded from Maheshkhan Reserve Forest, Nainital District, between 1989 and 2009 and their status in general and in summer 2009. Earlier status

Status in summer 2009

Remarks

Atrophaneura aidoneus Doubleday

Not rare

Not rare

Stable population. Larval food plant (LFP) Aristolochia dilatata.

Byasa polyeuctes Doubleday

Absent

Not rare

Highly unstable population. LFP as above.

Byasa dasarada Moore

Common

Common

Population reduced over the years. LFP as above.

Papilio agestor Gray

Not rare

Not rare

Stable population. LFP Persea duthiei.

Papilio protenor Cramer

Not rare

Not rare

Only spring brood recorded. LFP Zanthoxylum.

Papilio demoleus Linnaeus

Recorded once

Graphium sarpedon Linnaeus

Rare

Absent

Not regularly seen at water.

Graphium cloanthus Westwood

Rare

Absent

Might be commoner at canopy level.

Pazala cashmirensis Rothschild

Common

Common

Stable population. LFP Machilus duthiei.

Pieris brassicae Linnaeus

Common

Common

Not frequently met within the forest.

Artogeia canidia Sparrman

Common

Common

More frequent than Pieris brassicae within the forest.

Aporia soracta Moore

Recorded

Absent

Recorded during the 1980s.

Aporia agathon Gray

Very common

Not rare

Normally swarms, much reduced population in the year 2009. LFP Berberis chitra.

Delias belladonna Fabricius

Common

Rare

A few in April 2009. Flies before D. sanaca.

Delias sanaca Moore

Very common

Absent

Normally swarms. Entirely absent in the year 2009.

Gonepteryx rhamni Linnaeus

Common

Common

Common in early spring. Stable population in the year 2009. Overwinters as an imago.

Eurema hecabe Linnaeus

Not rare

Not rare

Recorded occasionally within the forest.

Colias fieldii MĂŠnĂŠtries

Common

Not rare

Somewhat scarcer in 2009 than in previous years.

Anaphaeis aurota Fabricius

Not rare

Not rare

Migrant

Catopsilia pomona Fabricius

Not rare

Not rare

Migrant

Pontia daplidice Linnaeus

Not rare

Absent

Highly susceptible to drought.

Parantica aglea Cramer

Rare

Absent

Infrequent in the forest in good years.

Parantica sita Kollar

Rare

Absent

Rarely met in spring.

Euploea mulciber Cramer

Rare

Absent

Very occasionally seen in the forest.

Danaus chrysippus Linnaeus

Rare

Absent

Stragglers from lower elevation.

Danaus genutia Cramer

Rare

Absent

Stragglers from lower elevation.

Mycalesis francisca sanatana Moore

Not rare

Absent

Nomally a stable population, but none seen in the year 2009.

Zophoessa sidonis vaivarta Doherty

Not rare

Not rare

A few seen in spring 2009.

Lethe insana Kollar

Rare

Rare

A few in spring 2009

Lethe verma Kollar

Common

Rare

Very much scarcer than in other years.

Lasiommata schakra Kollar

Not rare

Not rare

A few about in spring.

Orinoma damaris Gray

Rare

Absent

A forest insect. None seen in the year 2009.

Erebia annada Moore

Not rare

Absent

None of the spring or summer broods seem to have emerged.

Erebia nirmala Moore

Very common

Not rare

Very few about in the year 2009 compared to normal years.

Yphthima nikaea Moore

Common

Not rare

As abundant as E. nirmala in some years. Only a few about in the year 2009.

Melanitis leda Drury

Rare

Rare

At the upper extremity of its distribution. A few were about in the year 2009.

Neope pulaha Moore

Not common

Absent

The spring brood was absent in the 2009.

Species Papilionidae

Straggler from low elevation.

Pieridae

Nymphalidae

Satyrinae

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Earlier status

Status in summer 2009

Remarks

Polyura dolon Westwood

Rare

Absent

None seen in 2009.

Sephisa dichroa Kollar

Not common

Absent

None seen in 2009.

Limbusa patala Kollar

Not common

Absent

None seen in 2009.

Auzakia danava Moore

Not common

Absent

None seen in 2009.

Athyma opalina Kollar

Common

Not common

A few about in spring 2009.

Neptis mahendra Moore

Not common

Absent

None seen in 2009.

Neptis sappho Pallas

Common

Absent

Normally several about, but none in the year 2009.

Neptis soma Moore

Common

Absent

Also entirely absent in the year 2009.

Neptis sankara Kollar

Common

Absent

Quite frequent at water normally, none seen in 2009.

Neptis ananta Moore

Not rare

Absent

Rather less common than other Neptini, none seen in the year 2009.

Neptis narayana Moore

Common

Very rare

Only a single individual seen in the year 2009.

Cyrestis thyodamas Kollar

Common

Not rare

A few about in spring 2009.

Pseudergolis wedah Kollar

Rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Junonia iphita Cramer

Common

Rare

Much reduced in numbers in the year 2009.

Vanessa cardui Linnaeus

Not rare

Rare

A few about in spring 2009.

Vanessa indica Herbst

Common

Rare

Much less frequently met than in other years.

Vanessa canace Linnaeus

Common

Common

Several, perhaps belonging to a single batch of eggs, on the wing together in summer 2009.

Aglais cashmirensis Kollar

Not rare

Absent

None seen in 2009, although this is normally a common insect.

Symbrenthia niphanda Moore

Rare

Absent

Only recorded once in 1998. Absent in the year 2009.

Childrena childreni Gray

Not rare

Absent

Several usually about in summer. None about in the year 2009.

Issoria issaea Doubleday

Rare

Absent

Recorded occasionally, but not usually met within the forest. None about in the year 2009.

Phalanta phalantha Drury

Very rare

Absent

Straggler from lower elevation.

Acraea vesta Fabricius

Common

Absent

A large brood usually emerges in summer. None in the year 2009.

Libythea lepita Moore

Common

Absent

Several usually about in early spring. None about in the year 2009.

Dodona durga Kollar

Extremely common

Common

The only butterfly about in any numbers in the year 2009, but still, much fewer than in other years.

Dodona dipoea Hewitson

Common

Common

More or less as common as in other years.

Dodona eugenes Bates

Common

Common

More or less as common as in other years.

Dodona ouida Moore

Rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Abisara fylla Doubleday

Rare

Rare

A few about in early spring.

Acytolepis puspa Horsfield

Not rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Arletta vardhana Moore

Rare

Absent

None about in the year 2009.

Udara albocaerulea Moore

Rare

Absent

None about in the year 2009.

Celastrina argiolus Linnaeus

Common

Absent

None seen in the year 2009, although this is normally quite a common butterfly.

Species Nymphalinae

Lycaenidae

Celastrina huegelii Moore

Common

Common

Common about its LFP, Princepia utilis and thistle flowers.

Celastrina gigas Hemming

Common

Common

Found in company with C. huegelii. Similarly abundant.

Aricia agestis Denis & Schiffermuller

Rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Pseudozizeeria maha Kollar

Common

Absent

Surprisingly, none seen in the year 2009.

Lampides boeticus Linnaeus

Very common

Common

A migrant.

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Species

Earlier status

Status in summer 2009

Remarks

Heliophorus sena Kollar

Common

Absent

A local butterfly found near its LFP, Rumex hastatus. None about in the year 2009.

Euaspa milionia Hewitson

Rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Euaspa ziha de Niceville

Very common

Absent

Swarms in some years. Never absent until in the year 2009.

Chrysozephyrus ataxus Doubleday

Not rare

Absent

Not a single one seen in the year 2009.

Chrysozephyrus birupa Moore

Not rare

Absent

Scarcer than C. syla. Entirely absent in the year 2009.

Chrysozephyrus syla Kollar

Very Common

Absent

Normally difficult to miss, but entirely absent in the year 2009.

Arhopala dodonea Moore

Common

Common

A few about at water in early spring.

Arhopala rama Kollar

Common

Common

A few about at water in spring.

Panchala ganesa Kollar

Extremely common

Very rare

Swarms by the hundred every year. Only three specimens seen in the year 2009.

Spindasis nipalicus Moore

Not rare

Rare

Regular visitor to water: only one seen in the year 2009.

Lycaena pavana Kollar

Not rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Chaetoprocta odata Hewitson

Rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Pratapa ctesia Hewitson

Rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Pratapa icetas Hewitson

Not rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Tajuria illurgioides de Niceville

Rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Horaga onyx Moore

Rare

Rare

A single individual seen in the year 2009.

Chliaria kina Hewitson

Rare

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Rapala manea schistacea Moore

Not common

Absent

Normally rather frequently met, but none seen in the year 2009.

Rapala selira Moore

Not common

Absent

None seen in the year 2009.

Rapala nissa Kollar

Not common

Absent

Regularly seen in other years, but none in the year 2009.

Table 2. District rainfall (mm.) for last five years of Nainital District (Anonymous 2010) Year

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

R/F % Dep.

2005

46.9 -8

71.4 68

27.1 -33

24.8 6

33.5 -41

67.9 -69

467.3 -14

292.2 -40

404.0 48

14.5 -80

0.0 -100

7.9 -53

2006

4.4 -91

0.3 -99

62.3 55

10.8 -54

102.3 81

108.4 -51

295.0 -46

317.4 -35

88.4 -68

15.9 -78

4.3 -14

13.4 -20

2007

152.7 259

121.6 202

33.7 44

71.7 27

198.4 -9

262.8 -52

420.5 -13

259.1 -5

11.7 -84

0.0 -100

2.2 -87

2008

10.2 -80

4.5 -89

0.9 -98

22.3 -5

38.5 -32

333.6 52

495.9 -9

527.0 9

353.1 29

11.5 -84

4.7 -6

0.0 -100

2009

0.6 -99

14.3 -66

3.2 -92

22.2 -5

51.4 -9

62.6 -71

226.2 -59

493.7 2

301.0 10

194.1 164

24.7 394

2.8 -83

being a xerophytic species, it found nothing unusual in the dryness of spring and summer. The Chir Pine forest patches in the Reserve Forest burnt twice in 2009: once in April, when the humus of the previous year burnt and again a fortnight later in May, when the trees shed their resinous needles. In one major fire in May, even the broadleaf forest burnt over most of the area, after which butterfly 1698

populations dropped almost to zero and I discontinued observations. The fact that forest fires in broadleaf forests resulted in an almost total decimation of the butterfly population, while regular annual fires in Chir Pine forests in the adjoining areas do not greatly affect butterfly populations, strongly suggests that the butterfly populations concerned do not depend on Chir Pine forest for survival. Once broadleaf forests begin to

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burn, the effect on insect biodiversity is devastating.

Discussion The Maheshkhan Reserve Forest has changed little during the more than two decades it has been studied. Cattle, which were frequently met during the 1990s, are now absent but local women lopping broadleaf trees for cattle fodder are met more frequently than 20 years ago. On the whole it is a well preserved forest, and with perennial streams rising in some of the ravines presents a most interesting case study for what a forest should be like in order to regulate the water regime of perennial rain fed springs and streams in this area. Over the years a total of 95 butterfly species have been identified with certainty from this forest. Many are common and some which are reportedly rare or even very rare in other parts of their range, such as Neptis narayana and Euaspa ziha (Evans 1932) are common. The only thing that changed in 2009 compared with earlier years was that the winter rains failed, although Maheshkhan got a sprinkling of snow on 12 February 2009 (Image 1). This was evidently not enough to offset the dryness experienced during March to May, which caused the State Government to declare a state of drought in the district in May. On the basis of the fact that all the pupae from different areas in Nainital district that I had overwintering indoors dried out in Bhimtal, roughly 20km away, it is reasonable to assign a similar reason to the failure of the spring and summer broods of 50 species comprising 52.6% of the total species recorded from this forest. The most conspicuous absence was of Delias sanaca, which is extremely common every summer. To give an idea of the numbers involved, I discovered many dead butterflies in a small stream in the forest on 04 June 1998, presumably poisoned by pesticides infiltrating into the water from apple orchards on the other side of the hill. The figures of dead individuals from my notes are: Delias sanaca 200+; Aporia agathon 200+. There were still many more individuals of both species flying about on that and subsequent days. While D. sanaca presumably feeds on members of the parasitic Loranthaceae in the larval stage, A. agathon has been recorded on Berberis chitra in the area. In the summer of 2009, there were some A.

Image 1. A part of Maheshkhan Reserve Forest under a sprinkling of snow in February 2009. Light green foliage of Chir Pine; darker green of broadleaf forest, mainly Himalayan Oak. Gagar Pass (2400m) at the lowest part of the skyline.

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agathon about, but very many fewer individuals than was usually the case. Both these species appear to be univoltine in the area. The eggs of A. agathon are laid in batches of up to a hundred. Two batches of these eggs located on leaves of Berberis chitra in May 2009 and left in situ failed to hatch out, presumably due to desiccation. One could therefore predict that there would be a reduced number of A. agathon about in the spring and summer of 2010. The Neptini were another interesting discovery. For more than 20 years, I have observed the following species regularly in the forest. N. narayana is usually common, as common as N. sankara. N. ananta usually is about in fewer numbers. To give an idea of numbers, one might see around 20 N. narayana every day for a few weeks in May and June; roughly the same number of N. sankara and perhaps three to four individuals of N. ananta a day during the same period. While the larval host plants of N. narayana, N. sankara, N. ananta and N. mahindra in the area are unknown, N. soma feeds on Celtis australis (Wynter-Blyth 1957 as N. yerburyi). Normally this group is found in hilly regions with moderate to heavy rainfall, attaining their greatest diversity in the wetter part of North Eastern India and Indo-China. Their nearly complete absence during 2009 strongly suggests that their overwintering stages are susceptible to desiccation, which is probably a major factor restricting their range to wetter regions. Of the butterflies that managed to maintain their

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population levels in 2009, Dodona dipoea and D. eugenes are noteworthy, since their allies, D. durga and D. ouida seem to have suffered. The former two, although bred on bamboo in the Mussoorie area in Garhwal (Mackinnon & de Nicéville 1897–1898), have only been bred on the plant Myrsine semiserrata in this area (mihi). This plant grows in damp, shady ravines, where the larvae were apparently not only preserved from desiccation but also from forest fires. The Troidini are of interest, since 2009 marked the re-appearance in Maheshkhan of Byasa polyeuctes after a gap of nearly 20 years. Byasa dasarada and Atrophaneura aidoneus were about in the usual numbers. The absence of Troides aeacus from Maheshkhan Reserve Forest is noteworthy, since it feeds on the same species of Aristolochia as the other Troidini mentioned above (mihi). It was seen on the northern face of the range during the 1970s and is common in pockets in other parts of the Gagar range. The Lycaenidae as a whole appear to have suffered greatly. The Hairstreaks, comprising Chrysozephyrus Shirozu & Yamamoto and Euaspa Moore in this area, were almost wiped out, as were Pratapa Moore and Tajuria Moore. Horaga onyx, which feeds on Coriaria nepanensis, a common plant in the area, was about, for I saw and photographed one of them and there were doubtless others of this elusive species about. Panchala ganesa swarms by the hundred in ravines during May and June. It was about in greatly reduced numbers in 2009. Arhopala dodonea and A. rama, which are on the wing throughout the year lower down at 1500m elevation, were about in their usual numbers. All these three species have been bred on Oak Quercus leucotrichophora in neighbouring Garhwal (WynterBlyth 1957) and this is presumably their hostplant in the area. Since A. dodonea and A. rama appear to have a brood during the winter months at 1500m elevation, it is likely that they have a brood later than P. ganesa in Maheshkhan, too, although one would not expect them to have a winter brood in Maheshkhan considering that it snows there every year in winter. The other butterflies that feed on Quercus leucotrichophora in the larval stage, Dophla patala and Sephisa dichroa, failed to appear in 2009. Since the trees were healthy and only deviated from normal in shedding their leaves in May, which is a month later than usual, it is assumed that the pupae of both these Nymphalids suffered due to desiccation. 1700

For the remaining species, not enough is known about their early stages to understand their presence or absence during the summer of 2009. It is apparent, though, that sustained low atmospheric humidity levels are capable of drastically altering the composition of a butterfly community in high humidity areas. The observations noted above strongly suggest that butterflies such as the Neptini, some Delias Hübner and Aporia Hübner species, etc, require a certain minimum level of atmospheric humidity to survive. If this falls below a certain level for a sufficient length of time, as during the winter of 2008-2009 (Table 2), the species can be exterminated from an area, despite the continued presence of their larval host plants. The observations noted above draw attention to the importance of humidity levels for butterfly communities. As with the example of a chain, which is as strong as its weakest link, many butterfly species appear to require a certain minimum amount of atmospheric humidity throughout the year in order to survive in an area. A dry spell of even a few months can wipe out populations in an area, even if the dry spell falls during a period when most butterflies are in their pupae, which is usually considered the stage least susceptible to desiccation. Even more drastic than low atmospheric humidity levels is the effect of forest fires in Himalayan broadleaf forests. Chir pine patches and forests in the area burn almost every year without any major effect on the butterfly community. In 2009, for the first time, I saw broadleaf forest in the area burn: the effect was immediate and drastic, for the butterfly population was practically wiped out within the week.

Conclusion Desiccation during the early stages is evidently one of the major factors preventing many butterfly species from colonising what would otherwise appear to be suitable habitat. Such species evidently require a minimum amount of atmospheric humidity throughout the year. If this requirement is not met, entire broods fail to emerge and a population can be wiped out. Atmospheric humidity levels are probably a major factor responsible for the restricted distribution of some butterflies that feed on widespread plants during the larval stage. Forest fires in Himalayan

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broadleaf forests are extremely destructive to butterfly communities in the area and are probably the most potent threat to butterfly communities in the short term. In the long term, habitat destruction is probably the most serious threat, since this results in the extinction of butterfly communities from an area.

References Anonymous (2010). Hydromet Division.India Metereological Department. http://www.imd.gov.in/section/hydro/ distrainfall/webrain/uttarakhand/nainital.txt. Accessed on 30 October 2010. Evans, W.H. (1932). The Identification of Indian Butterflies. 2nd Edition. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay, 454pp+ 32pl.

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Mackinnon P.W. & L. de Nicéville (1897-1898). Butterflies from Mussoorie and the Dun Valley. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 11: 205–221; 368–389; 585–623. Osmaston, A.E. (1927). A Forest Flora for Kumaon. Government Press, Allahabad, 34+605pp. Peile, H.D. (1937). A guide to collecting butterflies of India. Staples, London, 14+312pp+25pls. Smetacek, P. (2002). The genus Pontia Fab. (Lep.: Pier.) in the Kumaon Himalaya. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99 : 224–231. Smetacek, P. (2010). Ypthima kedarnathensis A.P. Singh (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) from the Kumaon Himalaya. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2(13): 1390–1391. Wynter-Blyth, M.A. (1957). Butterflies of the Indian Region. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay, xx +523+72pls.

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JoTT Tools

3(4): 1702–1710

Wildlife art and illustration: some experiments in Auroville, India M. Eric Ramanujam 1 & S. Joss Brooks 2 1 Principal Investigator (Faunistics), 2 Director, Pitchandikulam Bioresource Centre/Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants, Auroville, Tamil Nadu 605101, India Email: 1 ericramanujam@yahoo.co.in (corresponding author), 2 joss@auroville.org.in

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Stephen D. Nash Manuscript details: Ms # o2673 Received 12 January 2011 Final received 02 March 2011 Finally accepted 17 March 2011 Citation: Ramanujam, M.E. & S.J. Brooks (2011). Wildlife art and illustration: some experiments in Auroville, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1702–1710. Copyright: © M. Eric Ramanujam & S. Joss Brooks 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Author Details: M. Eric Ramanujam has been a wildlife illustrator for nearly two decades. Since 1997 he has been involved in full time conservation and has undertaken wildlife surveys in the Kaliveli region and Adyar wetland complex. His main sphere of interest is the natural history of the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis. He heads the design and art studios in Pitchandikulam. S. Joss Brooks established Pitchandikulam, a forest community in Auroville, and was one of the pioneers of reestablishing the indigenous coastal vegetation of this region. He is the lead consultant to the prestigious Government of Tamil Nadu’s Tholkappia Poonga eco-restoration project in Adyar, Chennai. Author Contribution: MER prepared the manuscript with inputs from JB. Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust (CRRT) for their permission to use images of artworks commissioned by them for the Tholkappia Poonga. We are also thankful to Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Park for also allowing us to use images of commissioned works.

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Abstract: The various media experimented with and some experiences have been discussed. The difference between traditional animal art (where religious and anecdotal insinuation, decoration and function are the onus) and wildlife art (where exactness to the natural form is the catchword) has been reiterated. The present schools of wildlife art (American and European) have been touched upon and so has the theory of our fascination for wildlife art. Keywords: Conservation education, illustration, imagery, sensitisation, visual media, wildlife art.

India has a significant history of art, and animal motifs have always been part of its culture: from the time of the Mohenjendaro and Harappa civilizations (Grigson 1977; Pati & Parpola 1987–1999), through the times of the ancient kingdoms (Walter 1958; Anselm & Hermann 1965; Asher & Spink 1989), to the medieval and Mughal period (Beach 1987, 1992; McKibben 1994), and even to this day. But animal motifs were and are still predominantly used for decorative and functional purposes, often with a religious or anecdotal insinuation. Such imagery, however impressive or awe-inspiring, cannot be termed ‘wildlife art’ in the true sense of the term. Wildlife art, as understood in the modern (and scientific and naturalistic) sense, and propagated by the likes of Ralph Thompson, Sir Peter Scott, Robert Bateman, Arthur Singer, David Shepherd and other stalwarts of the genre, is where the artist has sought and captured an exactness of proportion, form and detail. The striking divide between animal art for decorative and other purposes, and wildlife art is obvious within the Mughal School (1526–1857) itself. While Jalaludin Muhammed Akbar (1542–1605) was interested in historical and mythological events, Jehangir introduced portrait studies of fauna (Khanam 2009). In this sense, Nurud-din Salim Jehangir (1569–1627) can be considered to be the patron of the first wildlife artists in India, and as he himself was proficient with brush and pen, can be credited with being among the first wildlife artists in the country. As is a feature of the Mughal School, these portraits lacked depth, but the exactitude of proportion, line and colour showed a keen sense of observation and naturalistic rendering, a feature of wildlife art. Painting was a passion at the Mughal court and the first Europeans to seek trading favours in India brought paintings from their countries as presents or as items of trade. From the 1780s, India became a major attraction for a stream of painters from England. With them arrived the art of illusionist oil painting and naturalistic watercolours and, in association, the techniques of aquatint Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1702-1710


Wildlife art in Auroville

engraving and lithography (Guha-Thakurta 1992, 2003). These paintings introduced Indian painters to perspective, foreshortening, depth, and light and shade. Thus painters gradually changed their concepts and compositions in response to foreign influence and imperial taste (Beach 1987). By the time of the British rule, realism was the feature of art in the ‘educated circles’ of those times. During a period when photography was non-existent or rudimentary or nonapplicable to biological studies, illustration was the only medium for representation. Great heights were scaled by wildlife artists during that period (eg., Gould 1832) and many of their works and reproductions are sought after collector’s items today. Scientific illustration too employed many artists and draftsmen and their work can be seen in many books of that time (eg. Day 1889) and the trend continued well into the next century (eg. Pocock 1939, 1941). And then came the period of illustrated field guides when many artists of Indian origin like J.P. Irani, Carl D’Silva, Maya Ramaswami and Arnab Roy (Ali 2002; Grimmet et al. 1998; Shawl et al. 2009), to name a few, came to prominence. Today, in spite of formidable advances in photography and cinematography, art and illustration still hold their ground because its appeal is widespread and almost universal, with vast potential for use in conservation education (Nash 2009). The art and science of wildlife imagery has been experimented with by many, if not all, reputed conservation organizations and the outputs have been found to be quite encouraging. The reasons, still a subject of intense debate, may be imbued in us, as the first symbols of humankind were animals, the first paint was probably animal blood, and for thousands of years the human experience of the world was charted using animal signs (Berger 1980). Wilson (1984) pioneered ‘biophilia’ – a need we feel for the presence of other creatures around us, essential for the continued health of our own species. Add to this the evolutionary biologist’s point of view that there is an innate compulsion encoded in our genes – akin to our tendency to engage in conflict and altruism, and that ‘feelings’ of ‘dislike’, ‘fear’, ‘compassion’ and ‘love’ are part of our genetic makeup (Dawkins 1976; Goodall 1999) – and we have a case why imagery is so crucial to progressive thought. Whatever the reason, today we continue to represent and share our experiences of wildlife through imagery, and with the availability of a

M.E. Ramanujam & S.J. Brooks

variety of different media, everyone can express their interpretation in a personal way. Wildlife art seeks not only to generate an appreciation of and enthusiasm for the natural world, but also advance the interest, education and concern of the public in the conservation of wildlife. The experiments at Pitchandikulam in Auroville International Township carry on the tradition where naturalism, exactitude and dissemination of information are the catchwords. Pitchandikulam was established in 1973 and since then it has been experimenting with imagery to sensitize people to the need to conserve native biodiversity, especially the coastal forests, popularly referred to as the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF for short) and its denizens. It has experimented with various media. Some of the materials and methods employed so far are discussed below. Painting on Kadapa stone slabs: Kadapa stone, also known as Cuddapah stone (from the original Telugu, Gadapa) and Kadapa Black or Madras Black (the latter two trade names), is basically a black limestone intruding into other rocks (quadrites, dolmites and shale). While the pure black rock slabs are polished and used in interiors, the impure slabs which contain other rock types show a variety of colours and textures in the unpolished form. It is these unpolished stone slabs that are used in painting. The challenge of painting on stone is to use the natural colours and textures to advantage (Images 1–3). This demands clear cut composition of the theme to be portrayed and minimal painting of backgrounds. In fact, the crux lies in the background painting (or degree of the lack of it) as backgrounds should enhance the natural colours and textures, not suppress them. Painting on boulders: The onus here is to use the shape of the stone to form the natural contours of the animal (Image 4). Stone sculpture: Unlike the puristic stone carvings, the art forms produced so far have combined carving with painting to bring out form, texture and natural colours of the creatures depicted. Carvings on stones (Images 5–6, 8–10) have been produced as art forms in their own right or combined with other media to suit a purpose (for example, granite pillars combined with painted wooden planks were found most suitable for directional signage (Image 7)). Ferro cement sculpture: Scaled up versions of

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Image 1. The challenge of painting on stone is not to tamper too much with its intrinsic features. An eroded Kadappa stone slab was chosen to represent the interior of a termite mound with the highlight being the queen’s chamber (encircled). An added touch was the utilization of a Termite Hill Gecko Hemidactylus triedrus that has just shed its skin (if a normal specimen had been represented it would not have stood out from the background). Nilgiri Biosphere Park, Anaikatti.

animals were found to be eye-catching and popular (Images 11–13). The onus here is on strength and durability since most, if not all, sculptures were designed to occupy public spaces where they are accessible to the public. Life size models have also been produced. It was found more satisfying to represent fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds rather than mammals because fur does not translate easily to this medium. Mosaic: Wildlife art is a forum of imagery that will 1704

Image 2. Irregularity of form of the base material is always a challenge – in this case a ‘broken’ eroded stone slab like the last one, but with an even more irregular surface. The artist took the opportunity to represent a Centipede Scolopendra hardwickii seemingly moving under an overhang in its distinctive way. Pitchandikullam Forest, Auroville.

hold one’s interest and validate the passion for wildlife but occasionally it has the potential to push us out of our comfort zone. One such medium that borders on the abstract is mosaic. But unlike the majority of mosaics depicting animals the experiments here have a strong element of realism particularly where form, proportion and colour are concerned. The advantage of mosaic over painting is that it is permanent, though detail cannot be incorporated. Nevertheless, such semiabstract visual solutions can be useful in conveying graphic information (Images 14–16). Poster Art: It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words, and though photography can capture a moment, art can share an entire experience and is a

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Image 3. Mild tampering is sometimes required to make a point – in this case to represent different niches occupied by birds in a coastal forest along the southern Coromandel Coast. That is why the ground has been painted in, but very minimally. The natural ‘cloudy’ tone of the stone has been maintained to represent foliage. A minimal amount of green was used to make the subject stand out from the background. The use of rough cut granite pillars to frame the slab is another added touch. Species represented are Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata, Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis, White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola and Indian Pitta Pitta brachyura. Pitchandikulam Forest, Auroville.

Image 4. A boulder painted to represent a life-sized curled up Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica. A photograph can do only ‘so much’ and the naturalness of this form has to be seen to be believed. Even seasoned wildlifers have been startled when confronted with this piece in its natural surroundings. Pitchandikulam Forest, Auroville.

Image 5. Vertically implanted rough hewn pillars carved and granite painted over was found charming. This is a scaled up version of the Indian Chameleon Chamaeleon zeylanicus nearly 1m long. Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

Image 6. Even life sized representations can be interesting – in this case three Climbing Perch Anabas testudineus. These fish were observed actually climbing up granite pillars of huts and walls at this particular site (the holotype was found in a palmyra tree). Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

unique way of seeing and sharing the world (<www. bbcwildlifemagazine.com/artist2009.esp>). Poster art, perforce being visually striking and designed to attract attention, was found to be one of the best tools for conservation education (Image 17). The genre of poster art produced was a combination of research poster and classroom poster as the need was to produce a simple ‘one image’ format that could sensitise people to the biotic wealth of the region as well as being scientifically accurate. Poster art from the time of Toulouse-Lautrec and Cheret had depended on colour, but black and white images were also used – for example, the poster publicizing the Exposition Universelle of 1905 at Liege. Both colour and black and white (ink) have been experimented with and the

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Image 9. A disused grinding stone carved and painted to represent a Russell’s Viper Daboia russelii. Placed among herbage it has caused some consternation among the uninitiated. Pitchandikulam Forest, Auroville.

Image 7. A carved and painted Spotted Owlet Athene brama peering out of a cavity tops another rough hewn granite pillar to which planks with directional signage have been affixed. Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

Image 10. An example of carved granite blocks used as benches. Species represented: Bombardier Beetle Macrocheilus niger and Domino Roach Therea petiveriana. Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

Image 8. Sometimes even waste can be utilized – in this case a disused mortar has been carved in relief and painted over to represent the Grey Mongoose Herpestes edwardsi. The challenge was to satisfactorily represent the ‘ticked’ fur in minimal detail which is the feature of the species and so hard to paint. Pitchandikulam Forest, Auroville. 1706

results found quite satisfactory. The work at Pitchandikulam has leaned a lot toward the American School of wildlife art. Both the European School (which relies more on field work and spontaneity) and the American School (which is more studio oriented and technical) have their advantages, although the American has the upper hand today because the fashion is ‘ultra realism’ due to the ‘Wyeth syndrome’. Field culture or studio culture? The conundrum is very poignantly reflected by the art critic Brown (2000) who described the great David Shepherd’s

Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1702-1710


Wildlife art in Auroville

M.E. Ramanujam & S.J. Brooks

Image 11. Scaled up versions of animals were found to be dynamic and eye-catching. In this case an Indian Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis. In addition to the lizard, the tree trunk to which it clings also supports other faunal elements like the Green Vine Snake Ahaetulla nasutus, Brook’s Gecko Hemidactylus brooki and Red-lined Millepede Xenobolus acaticonus in addition to others. Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

work (European School) in the following way: “It is Shepherd’s shortcomings that make him interesting …….. the point of which his technical and artistic abilities fail him” on one hand, and “There is something exciting about the artist’s extreme overconfidence and unabashed sentiment, and, in spite of working within a tradition of such art, something frightfully authentic”. Pitchandikulam would like to take issues to the next

level, viz., to achieve the fine balance between field and studio cultures, but that is easier said than done. to replicate This does not mean that we are about to try Shepherd’s methodologies – to quote Durrell (1990) “Before I met him for the first time I was told that I was bound to get on with him as we were as mad as each other. When we met, I grant you there were certain similarities but I still maintain that David has the edge

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Wildlife art in Auroville

M.E. Ramanujam & S.J. Brooks

Image 12. Relief may represent form, but simple etching of outlines and painting the interior can also make a subject stand out from its surroundings. The challenge here is to use the shape of the base material to advantage and to create an ‘effect’. Here the uneven edge of discarded waste from a TAMIN factory has been used to advantage. Species represented: Jewel Beetle Sternocera sp. Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

Image 14. Mosaic panel - one panel from a set of three depicting butterflies of the southern Coromandel Coast. Species represented: Common Leopard Phalanta phalantha, Blue Pansy Junonia orithya, Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus and Blue Mormon Papilio polymnester. Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

Image 13. An artist working on a yet to be finished life sized ferro cement model of an Indian Cobra Naja naja. Detail is crucial to such efforts – every scale has to be faithfully represented, including the small cunate scale among the infralabials. Commissioned by Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Park, Anaikatti.

over me, for I would not be so idiotic to go palette in hand, trailing a BBC crew, in an effort to paint an original portrait of an elephant in the wild. I forget how many times they were charged in this ridiculous and dangerous process but I know Chris Parsons who produced it, came back from Africa with grey streaks in his hair and a haunted look in his eyes”.

1708

Image 15. Richness of colour is one feature of mosaic work that cannot be equaled by any other media. The cement ring which is used for seating is adorned by a Russell’s Viper Daboia russelli. Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

REFERENCES Ali, S. (2002). The Book of Indian Birds. 20th Edition. Bombay Natural History Society and Oxford University Press, 326pp. Anselm, J. & G. Hermann (1965). Mallapuram and the World

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Wildlife art in Auroville

Image 16. A mosaic of a Giant Crab Spider Heteropoda venatoria holding its egg case adorns a ball approximately 1m in diameter. Tholkappia Poonga, Chennai.

of South Indian Art. Scherpe Verlag, Krefelt, xxxpp. Asher, F. & W. Spink (1989). Maurya Figural Sculpture Reconsidered. Ars Orientalis 19: 1–25. Beach, M.C. (1987). Early Mughal Painting. Harvard University Press, 164 pp. Beach, M.C. (1992). Mughal and Rajput Painting. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Berger, J. (1980). “Why Look At Animals”. “About Looking”. Readers and Writers Publishing Cooperative, London.

M.E. Ramanujam & S.J. Brooks

Brown, N. (2000). David Shepherd. Frieze Magazine 51: 26. Dawkins, R. (1976). The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press, NY, 384 pp. Day, F. (1889). The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Fishes. 2 vols. Taylor & Francis, London. 544 & 509 pp. Durrell, G. (1990). The Ark’s Anniversary. Collins, London, 179pp. Goodall, J. (1999). Reason for Hope – a spiritual journey. Soko Publications Ltd. & Phillip Berman, 282pp. Gould, J. (1832). A Century of Birds from the Himalayan Mountains. Letterpress by N.A. Vigors. Grigson, C. (1977). Some Thoughts on Unicorns and Other Cattle Depicted at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. South Asian Archaeology. Eds: Allehin, B. and F.R. Allchin. Cambridge University Press, pp.166–169. Grimmett, R., C. Inskipp & T. Inskipp (1998). Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. Oxford University Press, Delhi, 888pp. Guha-Thakurta, T. (1992). The Making of a New “Indian” Art: Art, Aesthetics, and Nationalism in Bengal, c. 1850– 1920. Cambridge University Press. Guha-Thakurta, T. (2003). The Period of Colonisation and Nationalism, c., 1757–1947. Asher, F.M. (ed.). Art in India: Prehistory to the Present, pp. 109–128. Khanam, Z. (2009). Birds and Animals in Mughal Miniature Painting. Eastern Book Corporation, xvi+164pp+71pl.

Image 17. Pen and ink representation of life in a typical pond along the southern Coromandel Coast of India. The drawing is interspersed with informative text and 80 species have been represented (from vertebrates to microscopic life). A feature of this poster is the ‘undercurrent’ graphic representation of the web of life (with predation playing a major role). Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1702-1710

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Wildlife art in Auroville

M.E. Ramanujam & S.J. Brooks

McKibben, W.J. (1994). The Monumental Pillars of Firuz Shah Tughluq. Ars Orientalis 24: 105–118. Nash, S.D. (2009). Some thoughts and reflections on the use of illustration in Biodiversity Education Campaigns. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1: 119–125. Pati, J.J. & A. Parpola (1987–1999). Corpus of Indian Seals and Inscriptions. 2 vols. Suomalaineu Tiedeakatemia, Helsinki. Pocock, R.I. (1939). The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia—Vol I. Primates and Carnivora (in part), Families Felidae and Viverridae. Taylor & Francis, London, 463pp.

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Pocock, R.I. (1941). The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia—Vol II. Carnivora (continued from Vol I), Suborders Aeluroidea (part) and Arctoidea. Taylor & Francis, London, 503pp. Shawl, T., J. Takpa, P. Tashi & Y. Panchaksharam (2009). Field Guide to the Mammals of Ladakh. WWF-India and Dept. of Wildlife Protection, Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Walter, S. (1958). On the Development of Early Buddhist Art in India. Art Bulletin 40: 95–104. Wilson, E.O. (1984). “Biophilia”. Harvard University Press, Massachusetts.

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JoTT Short Communication

3(4): 1711–1718

A checklist of avian fauna at Jeypore Reserve Forest, eastern Assam, India with special reference to globally threatened and endemic species in the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot Prasanta Kumar Saikia 1 & Oinam Sunanda Devi 2 Associate Professor, 2 Research Scholar, Animal Ecology and Wildlife Biology Lab, Department of Zoology, Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam 781014, India Email: 1 saikiapk@rediffmail.com (corresponding author), 2 sunan_o@rediffmail.com 1

Abstract: Avifaunal survey of an Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot area - Jeypore Reserve Forest was carried out from July 2007 to July 2009. Altogether 270 species of avian fauna belonging to 56 families were identified during the survey, of which 58 species were frugivorous, 34 omnivorous, 15 carnivorous, 22 picivorous, five grainivorous and 136 were insectivorous in nature. Of all the bird species recorded, 14 were globally threatened species, five were endemic to this region, 153 were resident common species, 87 resident rare species, 16 migratory common species and 14 were migratory rare species. The endemic species recorded in the study area were Anorrhinus tickelli, Sphenocichla humei, Pellorneum palustre, Yuhina bakeri and Heterophasia pulchella. The globally threatened species include two Critically Endangered, Gyps indicus and Gyps bengalensis, one Endangered, Cairina scutulata, four Vulnerable, Leptoptilos javanicus, Francolinus gularis, Columba punicea, Turdoides longitostris, and seven Near Threatened, Anhinga melanogaster, Arborophila atrogularis, Anorrhinus tickelli, Buceros bicornis, Sphenocichla humei, Pellorneum palustre and Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus. Keywords: Biodiversity hotspot, birds, Eastern Himalaya, endemic, globally threatened. Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Dipankar Ghose Manuscript details: Ms # o2340 Received 05 November 2009 Final received 04 February 2011 Finally accepted 20 March 2011 Citation: Saikia, P.K. & O.S. Devi (2011). A checklist of avian fauna at Jeypore Reserve Forest, eastern Assam, India with special reference to globally threatened and endemic species in the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1711–1718. Copyright: Prasanta Kumar Saikia & Oinam Sunanda Devi 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for financial support to conduct the field survey of avian fauna in north and south bank landscapes of Eastern Himalayan biodiversity Hotspot. The authors are also thankful to the Ministry of Environment and Forests Government of Assam for providing permission to conduct the survey work.

The Jeypore Reserve Forest is one among the few remaining tropical forest patches of eastern Assam which is a part of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot region. This reserve is relatively undisturbed in terms of intrusions and disruptions by humans compared to other protected areas of the state. Jeypore along with five other protected areas form the Upper Dihing West Complex, an Important Bird Area (IBA) of eastern Assam, IBA Site No. IN-AS-45 (Islam & Rahmani 2004). Together they form the largest contiguous tropical rainforest area extent in the whole Brahmaputra Valley (Choudhury 1996). These sites are famous for the largest known population of the Endangered White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata (Choudhury 1996, 1998). Apart from this, the area also harbours five species of hornbills including the rarer Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli and the Rufousnecked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis (Choudhury 2000). Due to its unique habitat and terrain, the site harbours a large diversity of avian fauna including endemic and globally threatened species. Past studies on avifauna of the reserve forest are restricted to a few personal comments and observations but detailed avifaunal surveys were not done specifically. Data on avian fauna of the reserve is deficient even though it is a part of an important IBA of eastern Assam which provides refuge to a large number of endemic and threatened species. Detailed ecological studies of the endemic and globally threatened species are required for their conservation. Therefore, the present study was conducted to provide up to date information about the avian diversity of the reserve forest and their habitat utilization patterns in order to provide baseline information for future conservation programmes.

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Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1711–1718

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Birds of Jeypore Reserve Forest

P.K. Saikia & O.S. Devi

Study Area The Jeypore Reserve Forest (JRF) is located at Dibrugarh District of eastern Assam which falls between 27006’– 27016’N and 95021’–95029’E (Fig. 1). The total area of the JRF is 108km2. The terrain of the area varies with slightly undulating plains to hills which are the foothills of the Patkai Range. The JRF is continuous with the forests of Arunachal Pradesh. Burhi-Dihing and the Dilli rivers form a part of the boundary of the reserve. Many small perennial streams and nullahs also flow within the forest. Swamps and grassland patches also occur inside the forest (Kakati 2004). This forest is a part of an important IBA-the Upper Dihing West Complex, IBA Site No. IN-AS-45 and was notified as a reserve forest way back in 1888 (Kakati 2004). The habitat is tropical rainforest, Champion & Seth (1968) described it as “Assam Valley tropical wet evergreen forest” (category 1B/C1) also called the upper Assam Dipterocarpus – Mesua forest. The forest is characterized by a top canopy dominated by Dipterocarpus macrocarpus reaching heights of 50m, a middle canopy dominated by Mesua ferrea

and Vatica lanceaefolia and undergrowth consisting of woody shrubs such as Saprosma ternatum, Livistonia jenkinsiana and canes Calamus erectus, etc., (Kakati 2004). Bamboo species such as Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, Pseudostachyum polymorphum and climbers such as Derris oblonga are common. The major fauna of the reserve include large mammals such as Elephant Elephas maximus, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard Panthera pardus, Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, etc. Primates such as Hoolock Gibbon Hoolock hoolock, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus and Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta are also found in the reserve. Rock Python Python molurus and Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus are some notable reptilian species. Besides these major faunas the reserve also harbours a large diversity of butterflies and arachnid species. Although the forest is located in a matrix of tea plantations, settled agriculture and rural settlements, the degree of disturbance is much less compared to other protected areas of the state. The peripheral areas of the forest are encroached by the 95024’0”E

95028’0”E

27016’0”N

Auguri Jaipur

27012’0”N

Taratoli

Sarukheremia

2708’0”N

Arunachal Pradesh

Parbatpur

Nagamati

Agricultural land (Kharif)

Streams

Built-up Area (Rural)

Major Road

Forest (Evergreen/Sem Evergreen - Dense)

Figure 1. Map showing the study area of Jeypore Reserve Forest in eastern Assam. 1712

Locations

Agricultural Plantations (Tea Garden)

Forest (Evergreen/Sem Evergreen - Open)

Other Road Railway

Forest Blank

R.F. Boundary

River/Stream

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Birds of Jeypore Reserve Forest

P.K. Saikia & O.S. Devi

local people for tea plantations but the core area of the forest is intact and without any disturbance.

migrants or breeding migrants and hence a stray bird sighting.

Methods Field surveys were conducted for a period of two years starting from July 2007 up to July 2009 covering all the seasons i.e. Summer (March–June), Monsoon (July–October) and Winter (November– February). The surveys followed line transect and point count methods (Bibby et al. 1992). Altogether 16 permanent line transects of 2km length and 50m breadth each were laid randomly, four transects each on all the major habitats of the forest closed canopy, grassland, open canopy and degraded areas near the forest edge. Also point counts were conducted along the line transects of each habitat on different days. Points were of 50m radius, at least 100m apart from each other to avoid overlap and counts were of 5min duration. In each habitat, 15 point count surveys were carried out. All the counts were carried out early morning, during the first three hours after sunrise as counts need to be carried out at the time of highest bird activity (Buckland et al. 1993). Opportunistic observations were also added to the list so as not to miss any species during the survey period. Feeding guilds were classified as per direct observations and available literatures Ali & Ripley (1987). Birds were identified using field guide books of Ali & Ripley (1987) and Grimmett et al. (2000). The common and scientific names of the birds given in the checklist followed the Birds of the World, recommended English names (Gill & Wright 2006). The threatened status of the birds given in the checklist is as per IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Birdlife International 2001a,b). The common-rare, resident-migratory status of the birds are classified as per Saikia & Saikia (2000). C – Common species which are encountered frequently (eight times during 10 survey trips). R – Rare species which are encountered less frequently (1-2 times during 10 survey trips). R – Residents, species found in the study area throughout the year. WM – Winter Migrants, species found in the study area only during the winter. SM – Summer Migrants, species visiting the area during the summer seasons. Vr – Vagrants, species that are not regular, winter

Results A total of 270 species of birds belonging to 56 families were identified during the survey (Table 1). Of these, 58 species were frugivorous, 34 omnivorous, 15 carnivorous, 22 piscivorous, five granivorous and 136 were insectivorous in their feeding guild. Out of 270 species of birds, 14 were globally threatened species and five endemic species including 30 migratory species, of which 25 were winter migrants, five summer migrants and one vagrant species. Family Timaliidae dominates the list with 35 species belonging to 20 genera followed by family Muscicapidae with 20 species under 14 genera and family Columbidae followed close by with 15 species belonging to six genera. Nine species out of these 270 are new records of the area belonging to the families, viz., Nectariniidae (3), Dicacidae (1), Sittidae (1), Muscicapidae (1), Pittidae (1), Psittacidae (1) and Charadridae (1). Out of the 270 species, 153 are resident common species, 87 are resident rare species, 16 are migratory common species and 14 are migratory rare species. Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli, Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler Sphenocichla humei, Marsh Babbler Pellorneum palustre, White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri and Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella are the five endemic species. The 14 globally threatened species include two Critically Endangered species, Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus and Indian Whitebacked Vulture Gyps bengalensis, one Endangered species, White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata, four Vulnerable species, Lesser Adjutant Stork Leptoptilos javanicus, Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis, Purple Wood Pigeon Columba punicea, Slenderbilled Babbler Turdoides longitostris and seven Near Threatened species viz. Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, White-cheeked Partridge Arborophila atrogularis, Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli, Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler Sphenocichla humei, Marsh Babbler Pellorneum palustre and Greater Grey-headed FishEagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus. Discussion Eastern Assam falls under the endemic bird area of Eastern Himalaya which is one of the most important

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Birds of Jeypore Reserve Forest

P.K. Saikia & O.S. Devi

Table1. Checklist of birds of Jeypore Reserve Forest, identified during the two year study period starting from July 2007 up to July 2009. Common name

Status

Scientific name

Phasianidae 1

Red Jungle Fowl

Gallus gallus

R, C

2

White-cheeked Partridge

Arborophila atrogularis

R, r (NT)

3

Rufous-throated Partridge

Arborophila rufogularis

R, r

4

Kaleej Pheasant

Lophura leucomelanos

R, r

5

Grey Peacock Pheasant

Polyplectron bicalcaratum

R, r

6

Barred Buttonquail

Turnix suscitator

7

Small Buttonquail

Turnix sylvatica

8

Blue-breasted Quail

9

Black Francolin

10

Swamp Francolin

Ruddy Shellduck

Gyps bengalensis

CR, R, r

35

Greater Grey-headed Fish-Eagle

Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus

NT, R, r

Falconidae 36

Common Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

WM, C

Rallidae

R, C

38

Water Cock

Gallicrex cinerea

R, C

39

Purple Moorhen

Porphyrio porphyrio

WM, C

Coturnix chinensis

R, r

40

Common Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus

WM, C

Francolinus francolinus

R, C

Francolinus gularis

R, r, VU

Tadorna ferruginea

Charadrius dubius

Lesser Sand Plover

Charadrius mongolus

WM, C

WM, C

43

Little Stint

Calidris minuta

WM, C

44

Red-wattled Lapwing

Vanellus indicus

R, C

45

River Lapwing

Vanellus duvaucelii

R, C

Lesser Whistling Teal

Dendrocygna javanica

R, C

Ciconnidae 14

Openbill stork

Anastomus oscitans

R, C

15

Lesser Adjutant Stork

Leptoptilos javanicus

R, C (VU)

Ardeidae 16

Cattle Egret

Bulbulcus ibis

R, C

17

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

R, C

18

Large Egret

Casmerodius albus

R, C

19

Little Heron

Butorides striatus

R, C

20

Indian Pond Heron

Ardeola grayii

R, C

21

Cinnamon Bittern

Ixobrychus cinnamomeus

R, r

22

Yellow Bittern

Ixobrychus sinensis

R, r

R, r

Phalacrocoracidae Phalacrocorax fuscicollis

24

Great Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo

25

Little Cormorant

Microcarbo niger

WM, C R, C

Anhingidae Anhinga melanogaster

Charadridae Little-ring Plover

13

Indian Cormorant

R, r

42

R, r (EN)

23

R, C

41

Cairina scutulata

NT, R, r

Accipitridae 27

Crested Serpent Eagle

Spilornis cheela

R, C

28

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Accipiter nisus

R, C

29

Crested Goshawk

Accipiter trivirgatus

R, r

30

Pied Harrier

Circus melanoleucos

31

Black Kite

Milvus migrans

R, r

32

Shikra

Accipiter badius

R, C

33

Long-billed Vulture

Gyps indicus

R, r (CR)

1714

34

Amaurornis phoenicurus

White-wing Wood Duck

Oriental Darter

Status

White-breasted Waterhen

12

26

Scientific name

Indian White-backed Vulture

37

Anatidae 11

Common name

WM, r

R, C

Scolopacidae 46

Common Snipe

Gallinago gallinago

WM, r

47

Pintail Snipe

Gallinago stenura

WM, C

48

Common Greenshank

Tringa nebularia

WM, C

49

Common Sandpiper

Actitis hypoleucos

WM, C

Laridae 50

River Tern

Sterna aurantia

R, C

Columbidae 51

Pompadour Green Pigeon

Treron pompadoura

R, C

52

Yellow-footed Green Pigeon

Treron phoenicoptera

R, C

53

Thick-billed Green Pigeon

Treron curvirostra

R, r

54

Pin-tailed Green Pigeon

Treron apicauda

R, C

55

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon

Treron sphenura

R, C

56

Green Imperial Pigeon

Ducula aenea

R, C

57

Mountain Imperial Pigeon

Ducula badia

R, C

58

Purple Wood Pigeon

Columba punicea

R, r, VU

59

Ashy Wood Pigeon

Columba pulchricollis

R, r

60

Spotted Dove

Streptopelia chinensis

R, C

61

Oriental Turtle Dove

Streptopelia orientalis

R, r

62

Red Collared Dove

Streptopelia tranquebarica

R, r

63

Emerald Dove

Chalcophaps indica

R, r

64

Eurasian Collard Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

R, r

65

Barred Cuckoo Dove

Macropygia unchall

R, r

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Birds of Jeypore Reserve Forest Common name

P.K. Saikia & O.S. Devi Scientific name

Status

Psittacidae

100

66

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Psittacula krameri

R, C

67

Alexandrine Parakeet

Psittacula eupatria

R, C

68

Red-breasted Parakeet

Psittacula alexandri

R, C

69

Blossom-headed Parakeet

Psittacula roseata

R, r

Cuculidae

Common name

Scientific name

Status

Stork-billed Kingfisher

Halcyon capansis

R, r

Meropidae 101

Green Bee-eater

Merops orientalis

R, C

102

Blue-bearded Beeeater

Nyctyornis athertoni

R, r

Upupa epops

R, C

Upupidae 103

SM, r

Hoopoe

70

Drongo Cuckoo

Surniculus lugubris

71

Large Hawk Cuckoo

Heirococcyx sparverioides

R, r

104

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Anthracoceros albrostris

R, C

72

Common Hawk Cuckoo

Heirococcyx varius

R, r

105

Brown Hornbill

Anorrhinus tickelli

73

Indian Cuckoo

Cuculus micropterus

R, C

R, r, En (NT)

Rufous-bellied Plaintive Cuckoo

106

Wreathed Hornbill

Aceros undulatus

R, C

74

Cacomantis merulinus

R, r

107

Great Pied Hornbill

Buceros bicornis

75

Pied Crested Cuckoo

Clamator jacobinus

R, r (NT)

76

Red-winged Crested Cuckoo

Clamator coromandus

R, r

77

Asian Koel

Eudynamys scolopacea

R, C

78

Green-billed Malkoha

Phaenicophaeus tristis

R, C

79

Lesser Coucal

Centropus bengalesis

R, C

80

Greater Coucal

Centropus sinensis

R, C

SM, r

Strigidae 81

Spotted Owlet

Athene brama

R, r

82

Collared Owlet

Glaucidium brodiei

R, r

83

Asian Barred Owlet

Glaucidium cuculoides

R, r

84

Brown Fish Owl

Ketupa zeylonensis

R, r

85

Spotted Scops Owl

Otus spilocephalus

R, r

Caprimulgus indicus

R, r

Caprimulgidae 86

Grey Nightjar

Bucerotidae

Apodidae

Megalaimidae 108

Coppersmith Barbet

Megalaima haemocephala

R, C

109

Blue-throated Barbet

Megalaima asiatica

R, C

110

Lineated Barbet

Megalaima lineata

R, C

111

Great Barbet

Megalaima virens

R, r

112

Golden-throated Barbet

Megalaima franklinii

R, r

Picidae 113

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker

Dendrocopos macei

R, r

114

Grey-headed Woodpecker

Picus canus

R, r

115

Greater Yellownape Woodpecker

Picus flavinucha

R, C

116

Lesser Yelloenape Woodpecker

Picus chlorolophus

R, C

117

Rufous Woodpecker

Celeus brachyurus

R, C

118

Bay Woodpecker

Blythipicus pyrrhotis

R, C

87

Asian Palm Swift

Cypsiurus balasiensis

R, C

88

Himalayan Swiftlet

Collocalia fuciphaga

R, r

119

Himalayan Flameback

Dinopium shorii

R, C

89

House Swift

Apus affinis

R, C

120

Greater Flameback

Chrysocolaptes lucidus

R, r

121

Pale-headed Woodpecker

Gecinulus grantia

R, r

122

Crimson-breasted Woodpecker

Dendrocopos cathpharius

R, r

123

White-browed Piculet

Sasia ochracea

R, r

124

Speckled Piculet

Picumnus innominatus

R, r

Trogonidae 90

Red-headed Trogon

Herpactes erythrocephalus

R, C

Coraciidae 91

Indian Roller

Coracias benghalensis

R, C

92

Oriental Broad-billed Roller

Eurystomus orientalis

R, C

Pittidae

Alcedinidae

125

Blue Pitta

Pita cyanea

R, r

93

White-breasted Kingfisher

Halycyon smyrensis

R, C

126

Blue-naped Pitta

Pitta nipalensis

R, r

94

Common Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

R, C

95

Crested Kingfisher

Magaceryle lugubris

R, C

Aegithina tiphia

R, r

96

Ruddy Kingfisher

Halycyon coromanda

R, r

97

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Ceyx erithacus

Aegithinidae 127

Common Lora Campephagidae

128

Rosy Minivet

Pericrocotus roseus

R, r

129

Scarlet Minivet

Pericrocotus flammeus

R, C

Grey-chinned Minivet

Pericrocotus solaris

R, C

Long-tailed Minivet

Pericrocotus ethologus

R, C

98

Pied Kingfisher

Ceryle rudis

R, C

130

99

Blue-eared Kingfisher

Alcedo meninting

R, r

131

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WM, r

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Birds of Jeypore Reserve Forest

P.K. Saikia & O.S. Devi

Common name

Scientific name

Status

132

Large Cuckoo-shrike

Coracina macei

R, C

133

Black-winged Cuckooshrike

Coracina melaschistos

R, C

134

Large Wood-shrike

Tephrodornis gularis

R, C

135

Pied Flycatcher-shrike

Hemipus picatus

R, r

WM, r

Lanidae 136

Brown Shrike

Lanius cristatus

137

Grey-backed Shrike

Lanius tephronotus

R, r

Monarchidae 138

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Terpsiphone paradisi

SM, r

Motacillidae 139

White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

WM, C

140

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

WM, r

141

Citrine Wagtail

Motacilla citreola

WM, C

142

Paddyfield Pipit

Anthus rufulus

R, C

Paridae 143

Great Tit

Parus major

R, C

144

Sultan Tit

Melanochlora sultanea

R, C

145

Green-backed Tit

Parus monticolus

R, r

Timaliidae

Common name

Scientific name

Status

165

Greater-necklace Laughing Thrush

Garrulax pectoralis

R, C

166

Lesser-necklace Laughing Thrush

Garrulax monileger

R, C

167

Striated Laughing Thrush

Garrulax striatus

R, C

168

Rufous-vented Laughing Thrush

Garrulax gularis

R, C

169

Rufous-necked Laughing Thrush

Garrulax ruficollis

R, r

170

Blue Rock-Thrush

Monticola solitarius

WM, C

171

Red Faced Liocichla

Liocichla phoenicea

R, C

172

White-naped Yuhina

Yuhina bakeri

R, r, En

173

White-bellied Yuhina

Yuhina zantholeuca

R, r

174

Black-chinned Yuhina

Yuhina nigrimenta

R, r

175

Whiskered Yuhina

Yuhina flavicollis

R, C

176

Nepal Fulvetta

Alcippe nipalensis

R, C

177

Long-tailed Sibia

Heterophasia picaodes

R, C

178

Beautiful Sibia

Heterophasia pulchella

R, r, En

179

Cutia

Cutia nipalensis

R, r

180

Common Tailorbird

Orthotomus sutorius

R, C

181

Mountain Tailorbird

Orthotomus cuculatus

R, C

146

Striated Marsh-Warbler

Megalurus palustris

R, C

147

Abott's babbler

Malacocinda abbotti

R, C

148

Rufous-capped Babbler

Stachyris ruficeps

R, C

149

Golden Babbler

Stachyris chrysaea

R, C

150

Spot-throated Babbler

Pnoepyga albiventre

R, C

151

Pygmy Wren Babbler

Pnoepyga pusilla

R, C

185

Black-faced Warbler

Abroscopus schisticeps

R, C

152

Chestnut-capped Babbler

Timalia pileata

R, C

186

Rufous-faced Warbler

Abroscopus albogularis

R, C

153

White-browed Scimitar Babbler

Pomatorhinus schisticeps

R, C

187

Grey-sided Bushwarbler

Cettia brunnifrons

R, C

154

Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler

Pomatorhinus ruficollis

R, C

188

Aberrant-bush warbler

Cettia flavolivacea

R, r

Sphenocichla humei

R, r, En (NT)

Pellorneum palustre

R, r, En (NT)

155

156

Wedge-billed Wren Babbler Marsh Babbler

Phyllocopidae 182

Grey-cheeked Warbler

Seicercus poliogenys

R, C

183

Grey-hooded Warbler

Seicercus xanthoschistos

R, C

184

Greenish Warbler

Phylloscopus trochiloides

WM, r

Cettidae

Muscicapidae 189

Grey-headed Canaryflycatcher

Culicicapa ceylonensis

R, r

190

Pale Blue-flycatcher

Muscicapa unicolor

R, r

191

Little Pied-flycatcher

Ficedula westermanni

R, r

192

White Gorgetedflycatcher

Ficedula monileger

R, r

193

Sapphire Flycatcher

Ficedula sapphira

R, r

157

Striped Tit Babbler

Macronous gularis

R, C

158

Yellow-eyed Babbler

Chrysomma sinense

R, C

159

Striated Babbler

Turdoides earlei

R, C

194

Rufous Gorgetedflycatcher

Ficedula strophiata

R, r

160

Slender-billed babbler

Turdoides longitostris

R, r (VU)

195

Snowy Browedflycatcher

Ficedula hyperythra

R, r

161

Jungle Babbler

Turdoides striatus

R, C

196

Pygmy Blue-flycatcher

Muscicapella hodgsoni

R, r

162

Silver-eared Mesia

Leiothrix argentauris

R, C

197

Magpie Robin

Copsychus saularis

198

Common Stonechat

Saxicola torquata

199

Grey Bushchat

Saxicola ferrea

R, C

200

White-rumped Shama

Copsychus malabaricus

R, r

163

White-crested Laughing Thrush

Garrulax leucolophus

R, r

164

White-throated Laughing thrush

Garrulax albogularis

R, r

1716

R, C WM, r

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Birds of Jeypore Reserve Forest

P.K. Saikia & O.S. Devi

Common name

Scientific name

Status

Rufous-breasted Bush Robin

Tarsiger indicus

R, r

202

White-crowned Forktail

Enicurus leschenaulti

R, C

203

Black-backed Forktail

Enicurus immaculatus

R, C

204

Slaty-backed Forktail

Enicurus schistaceus

R, C

205

Small Niltava

Niltava macgrigoriae

R, C

206

Green Cochoa

Cochoa viridis

SM, r

207

White-capped Waterredstart

Chaimarrornis leucocephalus

R, r

208

Daurian Redstart

Phoenicurus auroreus

WM, r

209

Plumbeous Waterredstart

Rhyacornis fuliginosus

R, C

201

237

Common name

Scientific name

Maroon Oriole

Oriolus traillii

Status R, C

Dicruridae 238

Black Drongo

Dicrurus macrocercus

R, r

239

Bronze Drongo

Dicrurus aeneus

R, C

240

Spangled Drongo

Dicrurus hottentottus

R, C

241

Ashy Drongo

Dicrurus leucophaeus

WM, r

242

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo

Dicrurus remifer

R, r

243

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Dicrurus paradiseus

R, r

Corvidae 244

Rufous Treepie

Dendrocitta vagabunda

R, r

245

Grey Treepie

Dendrocitta formosae

R, r

246

Collared Treepie

Dendrocitta frontalis

R, r

247

Common Green Magpie

Cissa chinensis

R, r

Turdidae

248

Jungle Crow

Corvus macrorhynchus

R, C

213

Blue Whistling Thrush

Myophonus caeruleus

R, C

249

Common Crow

Corvus splendens

R, C

214

Orange headed Thrush

Zoothera citrina (SV)

SM, r

250

White-throated Fantail

Rhipidura albicollis

R, r

WM, C

251

Eurasian Jay

Garrulus glandarius

R, r

Passer domesticus

R, C

Ploceus philippinus

R, r

Zosterops palpebrosus

R, C

Cisticolidae 210

Grey-breasted Prinia

Prinia hodgsonii

R, C

211

Striated Prinia

Prinia criniger

R, C

212

Beavan's Prinia

Prinia rufescens

R, C

215

Scaly Thrush

Zoothera dauma

Passeridae

Chloropseidae 216

Blue-winged Leafbird

Chloropsis cochinchinensis

R, C

217

Golden-fronted Leafbird

Chloropsis aurifrons

R, C

218

Asian Fairy-bluebird

Irena puella

R, C

Pycnonotidae

252

Ploceidae 253

Red-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus cafer

R, C

220

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

R, C

221

White-throated Bulbul

Alophoixus flaveolus

R, C

222

Ashy Bulbul

Hemixos flava

R, C

223

Himalayan Bulbul

Pycnonotus leucogenys

R, r

224

Striated Bulbul

Pycnonotus striatus

R, C

225

Black Bulbul

Hypsipetes leucocephalus

R, r

226

Black-crested Bulbul

Pycnonotus melanicterus

R, C

227

Mountain Bulbul

Hypsipetes mcclellandii

R, C

228

Crested Finchbill

Spizixos canifrons

R, C

255

Scaly-breasted Munia

Lonchura punctulata

R, C

256

White-rumped Munia

Lonchura striata

R, C

257

Black-headed Munia

Lonchura malacca

R, C

Tichodroma muraria

W, V

Tichodromidae 258

Wallcreeper Dicacidae

259

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker

Dicaeum ignipectus

R, C

260

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Dicaeum cruentatum

R, C

R, C

Nectariniidae

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

Sitta frontalis

R, C

230

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch

Sitta castanea

R, C

261

Purple-rumped sunbird

Nectarinia zeylonica

262

Purple Sunbird

Nectarinia asiatica

R, r

263

Crimson sunbird

Aethopyga siparaja

R, C

R, C

264

Green-tailed Sunbird

Aethopyga nipalensis

R, C

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird

Anthreptes singalensis

R, C R, r

Saturnidae Common Myna

Oriental white-eye Estrildidae

Sittidae 229

231

Baya Weaver Zosteropidae

254

219

House Sparrow

Acridotheres tristis

232

Pied Myna

Sturnus contra

R, C

265

233

Jungle Myna

Acridotheres fuscus

R, C

266

Fire-tailed Sunbird

Aethopyga ignicauda

234

Grey-headed Myna

Sturnus malabaricus

R, C

267

Streaked Spiderhunter

Arachnothera magna

R, r

R, r

268

Little Spiderhunter

Arachnothera longirostra

R, C

R, C

269

Aegithalos concinnus

R, C

235

Hill Myna

Gracula religiosa

Aegithalidae

Oriolidae 236

Black-headed oriole

Oriolus xanthornus

Black-throated Bushtit

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1717


Birds of Jeypore Reserve Forest Common name

P.K. Saikia & O.S. Devi Scientific name

Status

Hirundo rustica

WM, C

Hirundinidae 270

Common Swallow

R - Resident; C - Common; r - Rare; WM - Winter Migrant; SM - Summer Migrant; V - Vagrant; EN - Endangered; En - Endemic; NT - Near Threatened; VU - Vulnerable; CR - Critically Endangered; NR - New Record.

biodiversity hotspot regions harbouring wide varieties of plants and animals inhabiting a diversified habitat mosaic (Stattersfield et al. 1998). The Jeypore Reserve Forest is one among the few remaining tropical forest patches of eastern Assam which is unique for its varied flora and fauna. The high diversity of frugivorous and insectivorous birds reveals the quality of the forest habitat. Apart from these, the study records 14 globally threatened species including two Critically Endangered species and five endemic species, which also adds to the uniqueness of this small forest patch. The site should be given first priority for conservation of rare and endemic galliforme species such as Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum, Kaleej Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos, White-cheeked Partridge Arborophila atrogularis and Rufousthroated Partridge Arborophila rufogularis. Beside galliformes, the forest also harbours the endangered White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata. Out of the five species of hornbills found in JRF (Choudhury 2000), four species have been recorded from the site during present survey, except the Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, which has not been encountered yet. Since the reserve is continuous with the Patkai Range of Arunachal Pradesh, it provides a unique habitat not only for birds but also to many large and small carnivores, herbivores, primates and reptiles. The Insect diversity is also high including a large number of unknown arachnids for which detailed studies are required immediately. Thus the site is an ideal place for conservation of endemic and globally threatened birds and also to a large number of important flora and fauna. Due to the increase in human population the forest is presently facing disturbance in the edges which will increase in due course of time if proper conservation measures are not taken up immediately. Conservation awareness programmes among the local people is required to sensitise the people about the sustainable use of the forest resources to conserve it for future generations. 1718

REFERENCEs Ali, S. & S.D. Ripley (1987). A Compact Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan, Second Edition. Oxford University Press, Delhi, 737pp. Bibby, C.J., N.D. Burgess & D.A. Hall (1992). Bird Census Techniques: Academic press, London, New York, San Deigo, Boston, 248pp. BirdLife International (2001a). Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book—Vol. 1. Birdlife International. Cambridge, UK,1516pp. BirdLife International (2001b). Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book—Vol. 2. Birdlife International. Cambridge, UK,1517–3038pp. Buckland, S.T., D.R. Anderson, K.P. Burnham & J.L. Laake (1993). Distance Sampling: Estimating the Abundance of Biological Populations. Chapman and Hall, London, 446pp. Champion H.G. & S.K. Seth (1968). A Revised Survey of the Forest Types of India. The Manager of Publications, Government of India, New Delhi, 404pp. Choudhury, A.U. (1996). Survey of the White-winged Wood Duck and Bengal Florican in Tinsukia District and adjacent areas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The Rhino Foundation for Nature in North East India, Guwahati. 82pp. Choudhury, A.U. (1998). Status and Conservation of the White-winged Duck in eastern Assam, India. OBC Bulletin 28: 14–17. Choudhury, A.U. (2000). The Birds of Assam. Guwahati Gibbon Books and World Wide Funds for Nature, 240pp. Gill, F. & M. Wright (2006). Birds of World: Recommended English Names. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Version 2.2 generated on 2009-08-25. Grimmett, R., C. Inskipp & Inskipp (2000). The Pocket Guide to the Birds of Indian Subcontinent. Oxford University Press, Delhi, 888pp. Islam, M.J & A.R. Rahmani (2004). Important Bird Areas in India: Priorities Sites for Conservation. Indian Bird Conservation Network: Bombay Natural History Society and Birdlife International (UK), 1133pp. Kakati, K. (2004). Impact of Forest Fragmentation on the Hoolock Gibbon in Assam, India. PhD Thesis. Wildlife Research Group, Department of Anatomy, Cambridge University, 230pp. Saikia, P.K. & M.K. Saikia (2000). Diversity of Bird Fauna in N.E. India. Journal of Assam Science Society 41(2): 379–396. Stattersfield, A.J., M.J. Crosby, M. J. Long & D. C. Wege (1998). Endemic Bird Areas of The World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. Birdlife International. Cambridge, U.K. Conservation Series 7, 846pp.

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JoTT Note

Record of Tetracerus quadricornis (de Blainville, 1816) in Pilibhit Forest division of Terai Arc Landscape, Uttar Pradesh, India Meraj Anwar 1, Harish Kumar 2 & Joseph Vattakavan 3 1,2,3 World Wide Fund for Nature-India, 172-B, Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110003, India Email: 1 anwar.meraj@gmail.com (corresponding author)

The occurrence of Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis from Terai Arc Landscape of India was dubious in the recent past (Krishna et al. 2009), and was considered locally extirpated from the north of the Gangetic plains (Sharma 2006). The only sighting of a Four-horned Antelope, also called Chausingha, with a fawn was reported from Kaladhungi area of Uttarakhand by Corbett (1953). In the Pilibhit Forest Division of Uttar Pradesh the photograph of  a T. quadricornis  (Image 1) was captured by camera trap during the exercises carried out for population estimation of the Tiger  Panthera

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)

3(4): 1719–1721

tigris between 22 May and 30 June 2010. The location where the photocapture of  T. quadricornis  was possible is at the coordinates 28039’00.5”N & 79056’17.0”E. It is in the Marwari Beat of the Mala Forest Range (Fig. 1). Camera trapping was carried out in an area of 150km² over 30 trap stations on 40 occasions (Anwar et al. 2010). This is the first photographic record of T. quadricornis from the Pilibhit District of Uttar Pradesh State. It is believed that T. quadricornis has traditionally occurred in Pilibhit Forest Division but sightings have escaped proper identification. From a distance clear identification of Chausingha from Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak and Hog Deer Axis porcinus may be confusing (Nowak 1991). In the Pilibhit Forest Division,  the ecological associates of T. quadricornis  include the Nilgai  Boselaphus tragocamelus, Hog Deer  and Muntjac, among other cervids. T. quadricornis  is differentiated from Nilgai on the basis of its smaller size and height (1:9 and 1:2, respectively) and the presence of four horns (Leslie & Sharma 2009). It differs in its body posture from Muntjac and Hog Deer (Meraj Anwar pers. obs.). Chousingha has a delicate-build, thin short yellowcreamy fawn pelage, whitish ventral and inner leg markings without clear demarcation, and has a most conspicuous elongated and well developed preorbital

Editor: L.A.K. Singh Manuscript details: Ms # o2591 Received 29 September 2010 Final received 10 February 2011 Finally accepted 30 March 2011 Citation: Anwar, M., H. Kumar & J. Vattakavan (2011). Record of Tetracerus quadricornis (de Blainville, 1816) in Pilibhit Forest division of Terai Arc Landscape, Uttar Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1719–1721. Copyright: © Meraj Anwar, Harish Kumar & Joseph Vattakavan 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Acknowledgements: We wish to thank Mr. Ravi Singh, SG & CEO, WWFIndia for providing resources, Mr. B.K. Patnaik, PCCF, Uttar Pradesh, and Mr. V.K. Singh, D.F.O. Pilibhit FD for permission and providing logistic support to carry out study. We would like to acknowledge Drs. Dipankar Ghose and Sejal Worah for coordinating the study. We are thankful to Mr. Qamar Qureshi, Dr. Y.V. Jhala and researchers of Wildlife Institute of India for their technical inputs in the study. Dr. Koustubh Sharma is acknowledged for providing literature. Two unknown reviewers are acknowledged for sparing time to improve this manuscript. OPEN ACCESS | FREE DOWNLOAD

Image 1. Four-horned Antelope captured in camera trap in Pilibhit Forest Division

Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1719–1721

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Tetracerus quadricornis in the Terai

Meraj Anwar et al.

UP

Map-A MAP-C Map-C MAP-A Map-C     Map-A Map-A

Map-C

MAP-B Map-B

Map-B Map-B

Figure 1. State of Uttar Pradesh (U.P. in Map-A) showing the location of Pilibhit Forest Division (square in Map-B). Map-C shows locations where camera traps were mounted (green dots) and the site where Four-horned Antelope was photographed (site no.2, marked with yellow circle) in Marwari beat of Mala range of Pilibhit Forest Division.

gland (Leslie & Sharma 2009). T. quadricornis is one of the most diminutive, noncongener members of the order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae, subfamily Bovinae and tribe Boselaphinae. It is a sexually dimorphic boselaphid and generally males are recognized by the presence of two anterior and two posterior smooth and sharp horns pointing slightly backwards. It prefers a dry deciduous forested habitat and hilly terrain and is secretive and has been little studied (Leslie & Sharma 2009). T. quadricornis is endemic to the Indian peninsula and Indus divisions of the Indian sub-region in the Asian Indo-Malayan Region (Corbet & Hill 1992) and occurs only in India and Nepal (Chesemore 1970; Krishnan 1972; Prater 1980; Rice 1991; Rahmani 2001; Singh & Swain 2003; Sharma et al. 2005). Historically, T. quadricornis was distributed from the Punjab and Terai region of Nepal to the Nilgiri Hills in the south and the Bengal region in the east to Sind province of Pakistan in the west (Jerdon 1874; Murray 1884; Blanford 1888). 1720

The species is considered to be abundant in central India and a small population from the forests of Kheri District in Uttar Pradesh State of India. Inference regarding the presence of T. quadricornis in Kheri District (Fig. 2) was based on a questionnaire survey but the status was unknown, and therefore, further confirmation was recommended by Sharma (2006). The inclusion of Pilibhit Forest Division in the distribution range of Chousingha is a record. The terrain of Pilibhit FD is characterized by very gentle slopes with a mosaic of grasslands, moist deciduous and dry deciduous forests. The present photographic record of T. quadricornis is from a forest dominated with Sal Shorea robusta trees. References Anwar, M., H. Kumar & J. Vattakavan (2010). Range extension of Rusty-spotted Cat to the Indian Terai. Cat News 53: 25–26.

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Tetracerus quadricornis in the Terai

Meraj Anwar et al.

Figure 2. Records of Four-horned Antelope in Terai Arc Landscape of Uttar Pradesh: present record (green dot) in Pilibhit District, and suspected record in Kheri District (orange dot). Earlier record near Kaladhungi in Uttarakhand is shown as a grey dot. The record from Pilibhit makes the range of distribution continuous from Kheri to Kaladhungi.

Blanford, W.T. (1888). The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma Mammalia. Taylor and Francis, London, 519–521pp.  Chesemore, D.L. (1970). Notes on the mammals of southern Nepal. Journal of Mammalogy 51: 162–166. Corbet, G.B. & J.E. Hill (1992). The Mammals of the Indomalayan Region: A Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, 488pp. Corbett, J. (1953). Jungle lore: Chapter 8. Oxford University Press, ElyHouse, London, 168pp. Jerdon, T.C. (1874). A Handbook of The Mammals of India. Reprinted in 1984 by Mittal Publications, New Delhi, India, 273–275pp.  Krishnan, M. (1972). An ecological survey of the larger mammals of peninsular India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69: 469–501. Krishna, Y.C., P.J. Clyne, J. Krishnaswamy & N.S. Kumar (2009). Distributional and ecological review of the four-horned antelope, Tetracerus quadricornis. Mammalia 73: 1–6. Leslie, D.M. Jr. & K. Sharma (2009).  Tetracerus quadricornis  (Artiodactyla: bovidae). Mammalian Species 843: 1–11. Murray, J.A. (1884). The Vertebrate Zoology of Sind. Richardson

and Co., London, 424pp. Nowak,  R.M. (1991). Walker’s Mammals of The World. 5th ed. Vol. II. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, 1629pp. Prater, S.H. (1980). The Book of Indian Animals. Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay, India, 428pp. Rahmani, A.R. (2001). India, pp. 178–187. In: Mallon, D.P. & S.C. Kingswood (comps.). Antelopes - Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland. Rice, C.G. (1991). The status of Four-horned Antelope  Tetracerus quadricornis. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 88: 63–66. Sharma, K. (2006). Distribution, status, ecology, and behavior of the four-horned antelope Tetracerus quadricornis). PhD dissertation, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India. Sharma, K., A.R. Rahmani & R.S. Chundawat (2005). Ecology and Distribution of Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis  in India. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India. Singh, L.A.K. & D. Swain (2003). The Four-horned Antelope or Chousingha (Tetracerus quadricornis) in Similipal. Zoos’ Print Journal 18(9): 1197–1198. 

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JoTT Note

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Site records of softshell turtles (Chelonia: Trionychidae) from Barak Valley, Assam, northeastern India Kulendra C. Das 1 & Abhik Gupta 2 Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Assam University, Silchar, Assam 788011, India Email: 1 kcdas23@rediffmail.com (corresponding author), 2 abhik.eco@gmail.com 1,2

Eight species of turtles belonging to the family Trionychidae (Reptilia: Chelonia) are known to occur in India and include Nilssonia gangetica, N. hurum, N. leithii, N. nigricans, Chitra indica, Amyda cartilaginea, Pelochelys cantorii and Lissemys punctata (two subspecies - punctata and andersonii). All the species barring N. leithii and P. cantorii have been reported from parts of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram in northeastern India (Das 1990, 1996; Bhupathy et al. 1992; Frazier & Das 1994; Choudhury 1995; Datta 1998; Sengupta et al. 1998; Pawar & Choudhury 2000; Praschag & Gemel 2002). However, most of the records are from the Brahmaputra plains of Assam and adjoining areas in lower eastern Himalaya, parts of Meghalaya and Mizoram. There is only a market survey record of trionychid species (Das & Gupta 2004) and diversity and ecology of chelonians (Das 2008) from the Barak Valley region in the southern part

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Indraneil Das Manuscript details: Ms # o2487 Received 18 June 2010 Final received 21 December 2010 Finally accepted 07 February 2011 Citation: Das, K.C. & A. Gupta (2011). Site records of softshell turtles (Chelonia: Trionychidae) from Barak Valley, Assam, northeastern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1722–1726. Copyright: © Kulendra C. Das & Abhik Gupta 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora, and UGC, New Delhi, for funding assistance. OPEN ACCESS | FREE DOWNLOAD

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of Assam, which is geographically distinct from the Brahmaputra Valley, being separated from the latter by the Borail range of mountains and the Meghalaya Plateau, and is a part of the Surma Valley of Sylhet District of Bangladesh, which in turn is a part of the Meghna Drainage. The present study, conducted during July 2002 to June 2007, reports for the first time the occurrence of four species of trionychid turtles, Nilssonia gangetica, N. hurum, Chitra indica, and Lissemys punctata andersonii from 57 sites in the three Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj in Assam, northeastern India, based on both live specimens and carapace records. Materials and Methods: The survey was conducted during July 2002 to June 2007, in the Barak Valley region of Assam that comprises the three districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj (24012’-2508’N & 92012’-93015’E). Records of turtles were made through direct sightings and by questioning the people in different areas, especially the turtle hunters. Live specimens were collected from the turtle hunters and fishermen as well as from the village markets and released after taking photographs and making morphometric measurements. Carapaces and/or plastrons were collected from the villages near the study sites. Identification was done using standard keys (Smith 1931; Das 1991). As all the trionychid species reported here are endangered and protected, photographs of live specimens and some carapace samples are deposited in the Animal Biodiversity Museum of the Department of Ecology & Environmental Science, Assam University, Silchar, India. Results and Discussion: During the survey, four species of trionychids, Nilssonia gangetica (Image 1) (AU-Ecol/ABM/Reptilia/Chelonia/ng-1a), N. hurum (Image 2) (AU-Ecol/ABM/Reptilia/Chelonia/nh-2a), Chitra indica (Image 3) (AU-Ecol/ABM/Reptilia/ Chelonia/ci-3a), and Lissemys punctata andersonii (Image 4) (AU-Ecol/ABM/Reptilia/Chelonia/lpa-6a) were recorded from 57 sites in the three Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj in Assam, northeastern India (Fig. 1, Table 1). Of these four species, Nilssonia gangetica (Cuvier, 1825) is Vulnerable (ATTWG 2000), which was first recorded

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in Assam by Bhupathy et al. (1992) from the Kaziranga, Orang and Nameri National Parks in Brahmaputra Valley, followed by records from Sibsagar and north Lakhimpur districts and the Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Tinsukia District (Choudhury 1995). Dutta (1997) reported this species from Dhubri District, while Sengupta et al. (1998, 2000) recorded its occurrence in Sibsagar, Dhubri and Kamrup districts. Ahmed et al. (2009) reported this species from Barak Valley. In the Barak Valley, live specimens of this species have been found in 25 sites, along with carapace records from 15 sites, in Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts. The habitats include rivers, streams in plains and foothills, ox-bows and floodplain lakes (beels). The size (Straight Carapace Length - SCL) and weight of the specimens ranged from 14-57 cm and 0.4-20 kg, respectively.

© K.C. Das

Image 3. Chitra indica

© K.C. Das

© K.C. Das

Image 4. Lissemys punctata andersonii

Image 1. Nilssonia gangetica

© K.C. Das

Image 2. Nilssonia hurum

Nilssonia hurum (Gray, 1831) is Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ATTWG 2000), was earlier recorded from Tinsukia, Bokakhat, north Cachar Hills, Kaziranga National Park, Guwahati, Dhubri and Kamrup districts (Bhupathy et al. 1992; Frazier & Das 1994; Barman 1996; Dutta 1997; Sengupta et al. 2000). Ahmed et al. (2009) recorded the distribution of this species throughout Assam. The present study reports its occurrence in 14 sites (live specimens from 10 and carapace from four sites) in all three Barak Valley districts from rivers, streams, ox-bows and floodplain lakes. The SCL and weight of the specimens ranged from 8-33 cm and 0.13.5 kg, respectively. Chitra indica (Gray, 1831) is Endangered (ATTWG 2000), the rarest Trionychid in this area, having been recorded from six sites in Cachar and Karimganj districts. Live specimens were recorded from Fulertal upstream of Barak River, downstream at the forking of Barak into Surma and Kusiyara near the India-Bangladesh border, and from a large ox-bow still having connections with Barak River at Baskandi.

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Figure 1. Map of Barak Valley showing sites of occurrence of Trionychid turtles. 1 - Nilssonia gangetica; 2 - N. hurum; 3 - Chitra indica; 4 - Lissemys punctata andersonii; → - Arrow signifies the flow of direction of river.

The SCL and weight ranged from 26-75 cm and 1.640 kg, respectively. Fishermen in Sylhet district of Bangladesh call Chitra indica “Dhush Kassim”, referring to its tendency to “hit blows with its head” (Frazier & Das 1994). The Bengali fishermen and turtle hunters of Barak Valley, who speak the same dialect of Bengali, also call this turtle “Dhush Kasim” or “Gutasol”, the latter word also referring to its tendency to thrust its head in aggression. Similarly, Lissemys punctata andersonii (Webb, 1980) is also called “Til Kasim” because of its blotched appearance. L. punctata andersonii has been recorded from 23 sites in the Valley, including live records from 12 sites, the 1724

SCL and weight ranging from 6.5-25 cm and 0.1-2.8 kg, respectively. Previous records in Assam are from Kaziranga National Park (Das 1990; Bhupathy et al. 1992), and Kamrup (Sengupta et al. 2000), and from Ranikor in West Khasi Hills, Meghalaya (Das 1990). Das (1990) assigned all the specimens from Assam seen by him to the subspecies andersonii because of their yellow-blotched heads and carapaces. A similar colour pattern is seen in all the specimens from Barak Valley examined by us. Interestingly, Talukdar (1979) recorded the subspecies punctata from Brahmaputra Valley (Talukdar followed Smith’s concept for the 2 subspecies. Webb 1980 felt that the yellow-spotted

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Table 1. Site records of softshell turtles from Barak Valley, Assam, northeastern India Site Records 1. Nilssonia gangetica (Bengali* - Kasrong / Jat Kasim; Dimasa – Kusang) Cachar District: (Town 24049’N & 92047’E) Rivers: Barak River at Lakhipur (24047’N & 93000’E) on 8.xi.2003 (2L); Fulertal (24047’N & 93001’E) on 14.viii.2002 (1L, 2C) and on 27.x.2006 (1L,1C); Lalmatidahr (24049’N & 92051’E) on 7.i.2004 (2L); Jatingamukh (Jatinga River - Barak River confluence) on 9.xii.2002 (1L); Sonai River at Monierkhal on 12.ii.2003 (1L); Amraghat on 12.ii.2003 (1L); Kaptanpur on 24.vii.2002 (1L, 2C) and 11.v.2005 (1L); Dolu River at Dolu T.E. on 14.xii.2002 (1L); Karati River at Mohanpur on 27.iii.2003 (1L, 1C) and 13.ix.2006 (1L); Jiri River at Mirpur on 28.xi.2002 (1C); Jatinga River at Balacherra on 9.xii.2002 (1L). Streams: Khulicherra (24029’N & 92050’E) on 09.i.2004 (1L, 1C) (Tributary of Rukni River). Floodplain Lakes (Beels): Bagiala on 1.viii.2002 (1L, 1C) and 23.v.2003 (1L,1C); Sheorartal on 2.viii.2002 (2C); Padmabeel on 22.vii.2002 (1L) (Rukni RC); Ganganagar on 12.ii.2003 (2C) (Sonai RC); Baukarabeel on 27.vii.2003 (2C) (Ghagra RC); Balirbond on 19.viii.2003 (2C) (Barak RC). Ox-Bows (Anuas): Satkorakandi on 20.xii.2003 (2C) and 25.xii.2003 (2L) (Sonai RC); Baskandi (24048’N & 92054’E) on 06.i.2004 (2L); Siyaltek on 24.viii.2002 (1C); Fulbari on 24.viii.2002 (1C) (Barak RC). Reservoirs: Haticherra on 14.xi.2003 (1L, 1C). Hailakandi District: (Town 24040’N & 92033’E) Rivers: Barak River at Katakhal (24049’N & 92039’E) (Katakhal River - Barak River confluence) on 27.xii.2002 (1L, 2C); Kalinagar on 30.xi.2002 (2L); Polarpar River-Barak River confluence on 23.viii.2002 (1L); Panchgram (24052’N & 92035’E) on 23.viii.2002 (1L, 2C); Katakhal River at Monipur T.E (24024’N & 92033’E) on 13.iii.2003 (1C). Karimganj District: (Town 24051’N & 92022’E) Rivers: Barak River at Haritikar (near bifurcation of Barak River into Surma River and Kusiara River near India-Bangladesh border) on 27.vii.2003 (1C); Kusiara River at Bhangabazar (24051’N & 92028’E) on 26.viii.2003 (1L, 2C); Lakhibazar (24054’N & 92015’E) on 19.i.2004 (3C); Longai River at Lowairpoa (24028’N & 92019’E) on 04.vi.2003 (1C); Jherjheri on 6.xi.2003 (1C); Rangamati on 05.vi.2003 (1L, 1C). Streams: Bazaricherra (24026’N & 92019’E) on 4.vi.2003 (2L) (Tributary of R. Longai). Floodplain Lakes (Beels): Ratabeel at Rakeshnagar on 20.vii.2003 (1L, 3C); Sonbeel at Ramkrishnagar Kalibari (24032’N & 92025’E) on 15.vii.2003 (2L, 2C) (Singla RC); Balidharabeel on 18.i.2004 (1C); Tesuabeel on 25.vii.2003 (1C) (Kusiara RC); Putnibeel on 12.vi.2003 (1C) (Longai RC). 2. Nilssonia hurum (Bengali* – Dhum Kasim, Bukum) Cachar District: (Town 24049’N & 92047’E) Rivers: Barak River at Lakhipur on 08.xi.2003 (3L); Rukni River at Hawaithang (24030’N & 92048’E) on 01.viii.2002 (4C); Dholai (24035’N & 92050’E) on 22.vii.2003 (3L); Madhura River at Lathigram (24050’N & 92050’E) on 17.v.2003 (1L, 1C); Dolu River at Dolu T.E. on 14.xii.2002 (1C). Streams: Jhingacherra (Tributary of Jatinga River) at Balacherra on 24.i.2003 (1L).

Floodplain Lakes (Beels): Baroalibeel (24034’N & 92051’E) on 03.viii.2002 (2L) and 24.i.2004 (2L, 1C) (Rukni RC). Ox-Bows (Anuas): Satkorakandi on 20.xii.2003 (2L) (Sonai RC); Baskandi on 13.vi.2005 (2L) (Barak RC). Reservoirs: Dolu on 14.xii.2002 (1C) Hailakandi District: Rivers: Barak River at Polarpar River - Barak River confluence on 23.viii.2002(1C); Katakhal River at Kuchila on 7.iv.2003 (1L); Matijuri on 24.ix.2002 (1C). Karimganj District: Streams: Bazaricherra on 20.viii.2002 (2L) (Tributary of Longai River) 3. Chitra indica (Bengali* – Dhush Kasim; Gutasol) Cachar District: Rivers: Barak River at Fulertal on 14.viii.2002 (1L) and 27.x.2006 (1L); Chiri River at Harinagar (24055’N & 93006’E) on 30.vi.2004 (1C). Floodplain Lakes (Beels): Harinbeel on 26.vii.2002 (1C) (Rukni RC). Ox-Bows (Anuas): Baskandi on 15.xii.2003 (2L) (Barak RC) Karimganj District: Rivers: Barak River at Haritikar (near bifurcation of Barak River into Surma River and Kusiara River near India-Bangladesh border) on 19.vii.2003 (1L). Floodplain Lakes (Anuas): Ratabeel at Rakeshnagar on 20.vii.2003 (1C) (Singla RC). 4. Lissemys punctata andersonii (Bengali* - Sip Kathua/ Kasim, Til Kasim) Cachar District: Rivers: Barak River at Lalmatidahr on 7.i.2004 (2L); Chiri River at Poilapool (24049’N & 93001’E) on 25.v.2003 (1L); Joypur (24052’N & 93003’E) on 26.v.2003 (2L); Karati River at Mohanpur on 19.iii.2004 (1C); Rukni River at Hawaithang on 1.viii.2002 (2L, 1C). Floodplain Lakes (Beels): Kalahaor on 9.i.2004 (3C); Bagiala on 1.viii.2002 (3L); Sheorartal on 2.viii.2002 (2C); Baroalibeel on 24.i.2004 (2L, 1C) and 3.viii.2002 (2L,1C); Suktala on 22.vii.2002 (4C); Harinbeel on 26.vii.2002 (2L) (Rukni RC); Masughat on 14.xii.2003(2C) (Barak RC). Ox-Bows (Anuas): Satkorakandi 20.xii.2003 (3C) (Sonai RC). Reservoirs: Dolu on 14.xii.2002(2C) Hailakandi District: Rivers: Katakhal River at Kuchila on 7.iv.2003 (2L, 1C); Monipur T.E. on 13.iii.2003 (1C) Karimganj District: Rivers: Barak River at Haritikar (near bifurcation of Barak River into Surma River and Kusiara River near India-Bangladesh border) on 19.vii.2003 (1L); Longai River at Lowairpoa on 5.vi.2003 (2L). Floodplain Lakes (Beels): Sonbeel at Ramkrishnagar Kalibari on 15.vii.2003(3C) (Singla RC); Balidharabeel on 18.i.2004 (1C); Bhekbhekibeel at Latu on 18.i.2004 (2L, 2C) (Kusiara RC); Putnibeel on 12.vi.2003 (2L, 1C); Solgoi-Sadhugutibeel (24031’N & 92019’E) on 18.vii.2003 (2C) (Longai RC).

Abbreviations: L - live specimens; C - carapace; T.E. - tea estate; RC - river catchment; (#L or #C) - (# signifies number of live specimens or carapaces record) along with date of documentation; GPS Location available only for a few sites. * Dialect of Bengali spoken in Barak Valley and the neighbouring Sylhet District of Bangladesh.

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form should bear the name andersonii). L. punctata andersonii is a fairly common species in Barak Valley, and frequents lentic systems such as floodplain lakes and ox-bows, besides rivers. Thus the present records, especially those of live specimens, from Barak River, its various tributaries, as well as the floodplain lakes and ox-bows, indicate that the softshell turtles are distributed much further upstream in the Meghna River system of Bangladesh of which Barak forms a part. N. gangetica is known to be able to survive in artificial lentic water bodies like ‘jheels’ that completely dry up in the lean season (Frazier & Das 1994). The numerous floodplain lakes and ox-bows that are associated with the meandering courses of Barak River and its tributaries, and maintain links with the river in the monsoon, are also found to serve as important turtle refuges, especially for species like N. gangetica and L. punctata andersonii, several records of these two species having been made in the floodplain lakes and ox-bows. N. hurum, although less frequently encountered than N. gangetica, appears to be distributed more upstream into the foothill stretches of rivers. It is likely that this species also occurs in the upper reaches of Rukni River inside Mizoram, as reported by the Dimasa turtle hunters who make annual forays into the upstream areas of this river. However, the carapace records should be treated as possible sites where these turtles may be found and not as definitive site records as had also been pointed out by Frazier & Das (1994). The villagers in this area hang turtle shells in their cow sheds and homes as they ascribe some magico-religious properties to them (Gupta 2002) and might, therefore, import them from distant places and not necessarily procure them from a nearby river or lake.

References Ahmed, M.F., A. Das & S.K. Dutta (2009). Amphibians and Reptiles of Northeast India - A Photographic Guide. Aaranyak, Guwahati, India, xiv+168pp. ATTWG (Asian Turtle Trade Working Group) (2000). Nilssonia gangetica. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. <www.iucnredlist. org>. Downloaded on 18 February 2011. Barman, R. (1996). Occurrence of Indian peacock softshell turtle in Guwahati University campus. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 93(3): 591. 1726

Bhupathy, S., B.C. Choudhury & M.O. Moll (1992). Conservation and management of Fresh Water Turtles and Land Tortoises of India. Technical Report, May 1991-July 1992. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. Choudhury, A. (1995). Turtles recorded in Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam. Journal of Ecological Society 8: 3-39. Das, I. (1990). Distributional records for the chelonians from North eastern India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 87: 91-97. Das, I. (1991). Colour Guide to The Turtles and Tortoises of the Indian Subcontinent. R & A Publishing Limited, Portishead, U.K., 133pp. Das, I. (1996). Biogeography of the Reptiles of South Asia. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, 87pp. Das, K.C. (2008). Diversity and Ecology of chelonians and their conservation in Barak Valley, Assam, North East India. PhD Thesis. Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Assam University, Silchar, 213pp. Das, K.C. & A. Gupta (2004). Turtle market survey in Silchar, Assam, northeastern India. Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter 8: 18-17. Datta, A. (1998). Records of turtles from Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 95: 121-123. Dutta, S. (1997). Fresh water turtles and land tortoises of Dhubri District. Zoos’ Print Journal 12(6): 1-4. Frazier, J.G. & I. Das (1994). Some notable records of testudines from the Indian and Burmese subregions. Hamadryad 19: 47-66. Gupta, A. (2002). The beleagured chelonians of northeast India. Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter 6: 16-17. Pawar, S.S. & B.C. Choudhury (2000). An inventory of Chelonians from Mizoram, northeastern India: new records and some observations of threats. Hamadryad 25(2): 144158. Praschag, P. & R. Gemel (2002). Identity of the black softshell turtle Aspideretes nigricans (Anderson, 1875) with remarks on related species. Faunistische Abhandlungen Staatliches Museum Fur Tierkunde In Dresden 23: 87-116. Sengupta, S., M. Baruah & N.K. Choudhury (1998). Report on turtles of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. NATCON 10(2): 209-210. Sengupta, S., N.K. Choudhury, N. Barua, S. Saikia & B. Hussain (2000). Turtle fauna of Kamrup District, Assam. India, Tropical Zoology 1(1): 138-142. Smith, M.A. (1931). The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma: Amphibia and Reptilia. Vol. I-Loricata, Testudines, Taylor and Francis Ltd., London, 185pp. Talukdar, S.K. (1979). Lissemys punctata punctata (Bonnaterre) (Testudines: Trionychidae): an addition to the chelonian fauna of the Brahmaputra Drainage, Assam. Indian Journal of Zootomy 20(3): 181.

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JoTT Note

Discovery of a possible hybrid of the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet Athene blewitti and Spotted Owlet Athene brama (Aves: Strigiformes) from northern Maharashtra, India Satish A. Pande 1, Amit P. Pawashe 1, Raju Kasambe 2 & Reuven Yosef 2,3 Ela Foundation, C-9 Bhosale Park, Sahakar Nagar-2, Pune, Maharashtra 411009, India 2 Sevadal Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Sakkardara chowk, Umrer Road, Nagpur, Maharashtra 440009, India 3 International Birding & Research Centre in Eilat, P.O. Box 774, Eilat 88000, Israel Email: 3 ryosef@eilatcity.co.il (corresponding author) 1

Owls (Strigiformes) are considered to have the lowest hybridization rate among birds (Mikkola 2003). It is believed that inherent isolation mechanisms in the owls are relatively effective in explaining the low frequency of hybridization between sympatric owl species (Mikkola 1983, 2003). The Forest Owlet Athene blewitti was recently rediscovered after 113 years in western and central India (King & Rasmussen 1998), specifically in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra (Rasmussen

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Boris P. Nikolov Manuscript details: Ms # o2553 Received 28 August 2010 Final received 06 December 2010 Finally accepted 16 January 2011 Citation: Pande, S.A., A.P. Pawashe, R. Kasambe & R. Yosef (2011). Discovery of a possible hybrid of the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet Athene blewitti and Spotted Owlet Athene brama (Aves: Strigiformes) from northern Maharashtra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1727–1730. Copyright: © Satish A. Pande, Amit P. Pawashe, Raju Kasambe & Reuven Yosef 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Acknowledgements: We thank Nathaniel J. Moses, Satish Ranade, Kedar Pawagi, and Tzadok Tzemach for their help in the field; and the officials and staff of the Indian Forest Department in Nagpur, Pune, and MTR for their support. Special mention is due to Mr R. Choudhary, CCF, MTR, Amravati, and Mr Prakash Thosare, CCF Pune, for their help in making our stay in the remote forest areas possible. Optics donated by Swarovski Optics facilitated our fieldwork. We greatly thank our anonymous donor who underwrote the expenses of the expedition. OPEN ACCESS | FREE DOWNLOAD

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& Collar 1998; Pande et al. 2003; Rithe 2003). Little is known about this endemic species, which has a very limited distribution in central India, and to date limited studies have been undertaken on their ecology and behavior (e.g., Rasmussen & Ishtiaq 1999; Ishtiaq et al. 2002). The species is considered to be Critically Endangered and at an extremely high risk of extinction (Collar et al. 1994; del Hoyo et al. 1999). The species is listed under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and hence we are unable to collect any kind of samples (feces, pellets, discarded feathers, etc.) or to capture and sample any of the birds for molecular studies. Hence, our study is based on visual observations (which include photographic and video 1 & 2) of the individuals reported here. Study Area and Methods To further enhance our understanding of the species’ habitat requirements, the Ela Foundation (ELA) and the International Birding and Research Centre in Eilat (IBRCE) arranged an expedition to the Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) in early February 2004. In the framework of this project, we undertook transects in MTR and mapped all known and newly discovered territories of Forest and Spotted Owlets. Because of the fact that the species is Critically Endangered, our activities were constantly monitored by a forest ranger who also prevented us from collecting any feather, feces or pellet samples of the owls. Results and Discussion During our study we became well acquainted with the different color morphs and behavioral idiosyncrasies of the two sympatric species. This enabled us to discern that a particular territory bordering on Forest and Spotted Owlet (A. b. indica) territories had owls with intermediate plumages, vocalizations, and behaviors. The family that defended the territory consisted of two adults and one recently fledged owlet. Since all our studies were photographed and videotaped, we were able to compare the two Athene species with this family, and we concluded that it was a fertile hybrid of the two species. The larger of the two adults was assumed to be the female and was verified in subsequent days when copulation was

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b

a

d

c Figure 1. Field sketches to stress characteristics of the Spotted Owlet (Athene brama); (a) Forest Owlet (A. blewitti); (b) hybrid (frontal view); (c) and lateral view (d). Photographs are inset to show field observations.

Video 1. Athene blewitti in the wild

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Video 2. Possible hybrid of Athene blewitti and Athene brama in the wild

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A. blewitti

73

Hybrid

34

A. brama

11

10

8

6

4

2

0

Fig. 2. Comparison of vocalization duration (in seconds) of the Spotted (Athene brama) and Forest Owlet (A. blewitti) at Melghat Tiger Reserve. The numbers of each bar denote sample size (N).

observed. All data were obtained from still and video photographic evidence collated by the authors, and are based on visual observations in the field (Fig. 1). The Spotted Owlet (Fig. 1a) has a heavily spotted crown, a darkish facial disc bordered by white around its sides; and curved white eyebrows (del Hoyo et al. 1999; this study). Its ear coverts are white. The dorsal side is gray-brown with scattered white spots. Its tail is short and has a conspicuous white-tip; the white tail bars are narrow. The breast is creamy white with short gray to brownish bars, and has a broad white gorget. Tail wagging is vertical (up and down) only. The duration of its call is 9s (± 1.3, N = 11) and it vocalizes all night (Fig. 2). In contrast, the Forest Owlet (Fig. 1b) has a mostly white facial disc with fine light brown to dark-brown barring (del Hoyo et al. 1999; this study). Its white facial disc is almost invisible in the field and its face appears brown. The head is very sparsely spotted and in many individuals it appears unspotted, as are the mantle and the back. Interestingly, it has an obsolete hind-collar, thin white eyebrows, and its flight feathers and rectrices have broad white bars. The tail is short and has a broad, white terminal bar that is visible below the wings when the owl is perched. The Forest Owlet’s ventral region is mostly white with a dark chocolate brown bar across the neck and a broad lateral band on the top third of its chest. The lateral lower breast and upper flanks are broadly barred and the central ventral region is white, in the shape of an inverted “U”. To date, juvenile owlets have not been fully characterized. The juvenile owlet that we observed had a buff-colored central breast; in adults

the lower abdomen is white. Tail wagging is lateral (sideways) only. The duration of its call is ca. 3s (± 0.8, N = 73; Fig. 2) and it vocalizes only during the day. When it vocalizes, its head is extended and the thin white gular band is visible. In addition, we also discovered individuals which displayed a combination of the markings of the two species and whose vocalizations were intermediate. This has led us to believe that these are most probably hybrids of the Forest and Spotted owlets that coexist in the forests. As expected, the hybrid individuals displayed characteristics that were intermediate to the two species described above (Fig. 1c). Two of the three birds had a few faint white spots on the head, a thin white-eye ring and eyebrows, but no white on the ear coverts. A thin white throat band was visible when it was resting and also when the bird stretched its neck or was engaged in vocalizing. The upper part of the chest was dark brown but fainter than in the Forest Owlet and the lower two-thirds of the chest had streaks shaped like inverted arrowheads on a white background. Notably, barring on the flanks was absent. The portion of the tail that protruded beyond the wings had a sub-terminal dark band and a white terminal band. Appreciable spotting on the wings was noted when the owl was viewed from the side or behind (Fig. 1d). Its dorsal color was brown and paler than that of the Forest Owlet, and was characterized by a grayish tinge and significant white spotting. The primaries were black. Surprisingly, the characteristic that alerted us to the possibility of these being hybrids was the tail wagging, which was lateral and horizontal. The duration of its call was ca. 6s (± 0.9, N = 34) and it vocalized during the day (05001100 hr) and from after noon until early night (16001900 hr). These findings are similar to that reported for hybrids between the Barred (Strix occidentalis) and Spotted Owls (S. varia) that give calls that are intermediate between the typical calls of the two species (del Hoyo et al. 1999). The differences described above also puzzled the local indigenous guide, from the Korku Adivasi tribe, who has been well-acquainted with the owls of the region for several decades, thus suggesting that this was a unique or infrequent situation. Also, RK showed a photograph of a similar individual in 2002, photographed in the same area, but unfortunately he was unable to identify it conclusively. This suggests

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that the hybrids may have a much wider distribution that could equal or surpass the very limited one of the Forest Owlet. Hybridization is comparatively well known in owls (del Hoyo et al. 1999). We assume that several demographic factors have influenced the populations involved and allowed them to cross the species-limit barrier and for hybridization to occur. The logic that the Forest Owlet is (i) limited geographically to the Satpura Range, (ii) attitudinally to the higher, forested parts, (iii) limited to habitats in the proximity of humans and resulting clearings that facilitate foraging (Yosef et al. submitted), and (iv) limited demographically to low population levels wherein (v) neighbouring territories are located far apart, leads us to assume hybridization with the far more common Spotted Owlet. It is possible that dispersing individuals that do not find conspecifics set up territories and mate with the abundant Spotted Owlets. Our observations strongly suggest that the hybrids are fertile; the female was subsequently observed (and filmed) while engaged in extra-pair copulation (EPC) with the neighboring male Forest Owlet. The biological implications of our discovery regarding conservation and our detailed description of the hybrids of the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet, thus confirming their existence, is of great interest in light of the fact that hybridization is rare in owls, but its consequences can be far-reaching and grave (Haig et al. 2004). Many a wild species have been known to loose their identity and legal protection, owing to genetic contamination, making their continued conservation a philosophically problematic question that could result in chaos (Sutherland 2000).

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References Collar, N.J., M.J. Crosby & A.J. Stattersfield (1994). Birds to Watch 2: The World List of Threatened Birds.Birdlife Conserv. Series no. 2. Birdlife International, Cambridge, 407pp. Del Hoyo J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.)(1999). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 5. Barn Owls to hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, 759pp. Haig S.M., T.D. Mullins, E.D. Forsman, P.W. Trail & L. Wennerberg (2004). Genetic identification of Spotted Owls, Barred Owls and their hybrids: legal implications of hybrid identity. Conservation Biology 18: 1347-1357. Ishtiaq, F., A.R. Rahmani & P.C. Rasmussen (2002). Ecology and behaviour of the Forest Owlet (Athene blewitti), pp. 8088. In: Newton, I., R. Kavanagh, J. Olsen & I. Taylor (eds.). Ecology and Conservation of Owls. CSIRO Publishing, Australia, 363pp. King, B.F. & P.C. Rasmussen (1998). The rediscovery of the Forest Owlet Athene (Heteroglaux) blewitti. Forktail 14: 51-53. Mikkola, H. (1983). Owls of Europe. T & A.D. Poyser, U.K., 397pp. Mikkola, H. (2003). Strangers in the dark: hybridization between owl species, pp. 82-87. In: Duncan, J.R. (ed.). Owls of the World. Key Porter books, Ltd., Toronto, Canada, 319pp. Pande, S., S. Tambe, C.M. Francis & N. Sant (2003). Birds of Western Ghats, Konkan and Malabar (including birds of Goa). Oxford University Press, Pune, India, 375pp. Rasmussen, P.C. & F. Ishtiaq (1999). Vocalizations and behaviour of the Forest Owlet Athene (Heteroglaux) blewitti. Forktail 15: 61-65. Rithe, K. (2003). Saving the Forest Owlet. Sanctuary Asia February: 30-33. Sutherland, W.J. (2000). The Conservation Handbook: Research, Management and Policy. Blackwell Science, Ltd., Oxford, 278pp. Yosef, R., S.A. Pande & R. Kasambe (submitted). Anthropogenic activity aids habitat selection and survival of the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet (Athene blewitti). Journal of Threatened Taxa.

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JoTT Note

Report on the extended distribution of two endemic plants (Angiospermae) in the central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India Gurumurthi R. Hegde 1 & Ganesh R. Hegde 2 P.G. Department of Studies in Botany, Karnatak University, Dharwad, Karnataka 580003, India Email: 2 grhbhadran@rediffmail.com (corresponding author)

1,2

The Western Ghats of India is one of the 34 global biodiversity hotspots of the world (Myers et al. 2000) and over one-third of its angiosperms are endemic (Kaveriappa & Shetty 2001). Both plant diversity and plant endemism are higher towards the wet southern region compared to the dry northern region (Nihara et al. 2007). An endemic taxon, being limited in range to the geographical area under consideration, no doubt has special phyto-geographical interest. In every flora there are many endemic species or small groups of endemics awaiting intensive investigation by combined field observation, experimental ecology and comparative taxonomy (Turrill 1951). It is likely that these endemics have gone unrecorded outside their present day distribution due to insufficient field surveys. Karnataka, one among the important areas falling under the Western Ghats track of peninsular India, Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: K. Ravikumar Manuscript details: Ms # o2448 Received 01 May 2010 Final received 01 April 2011 Finally accepted 05 April 2011 Citation: Hegde, G.R. & G.R. Hegde (2011). Report on the extended distribution of two endemic plants (Angiospermae) in the central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1731–1734. Copyright: © Gurumurthi R. Hegde & Ganesh R. Hegde 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to the UGC, New Delhi for the financial assistance through SAP-DRS-III programme and to the authorities of Karnatak University, Dharwad for the facilities provided. OPEN ACCESS | FREE DOWNLOAD

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harbours many endemic plants and is also the limiting range for the distribution of many southern endemics. The state being floristically rich, has been studied well resulting in pioneer works, regional floras, checklists, research articles and short papers as reviewed by Udayan & Ravikumar (2003). In several extensive floristic explorations in the state, many endemics have been rediscovered (Krishnakumar et al. 2004; Krishnakumar & Shenoy 2006; Punekar et al. 2005; Chandran et al. 2008; Mesta et al. 2009). Similarly, many restricted taxa of the Western Ghats have been newly reported from Karnataka State as their extended distribution (Bhat 1993, 2002; Krishnakumar et al. 1995; Ramesh & Pascal 1993; Ravikumar et al. 2001; Udayan & Ravikumar 2003; Udayan et al. 2004, 2006a,b; Datar et al. 2005). As a part of such a floristic diversity study in Uttara Kannada (13055’–15031’N & 74009’–75040’E) District of Karnataka State, we sighted the populations of two of the Western Ghat’s endemics, namely, Celastrus paniculatus Willd. subsp. aggregatus K.T. Mathew and Canscora sanjappae Diwakar & R. Kr. Singh. Critical examination of the plant specimens and comparison with the earlier literature confirmed their extended distribution up to the central Western Ghats. Celastrus paniculatus Willd. subsp. aggregatus K.T. Mathew (Image 1) in Kew Bull. 46: 540, f. l, 2. 1991; K. M. Matthew, Ill. Fl. Palni Hills: t. 122. 1996 & Fl. Palni Hills 1: 216. 1999. Material examined: 05.viii.2009, Devimane Ghat, Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka, India, coll. Gurumurthi R. Hegde & Ganesh R. Hegde, 516 (KUDB); 02.iv.2010, Khandagar (14036’21.0”N & 74026’08.6”E), coll. Gurumurthi R. Hegde and Ganesh R. Hegde, 565 (KUDB). Unarmed straggler or liana. Branchlets glabrous, lenticellate. Leaves broadly elliptic to obovate, 2-9 x 1-5 cm, subcoriaceous, base obtuse, margins shallowly crenulate, apex abruptly acute to retuse; petioles glabrous, up to 1cm long. Inflorescence a condensed panicle (often almost simple raceme), borne on lateral shoots, up to 7cm long, not exceeding the leaves. Flowers polygamous: male flowers 40–65

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A

B

C

Image 1. Celastrus paniculatus Willd. subsp. aggregatus K.T. Mathew A - habit with inclorescence; B - bisexual flower; C - infruitescence

per cluster, 4–5 mm across, pistillode conical, c. 1mm; bisexual flowers 10–25 per cluster, 3–4 mm across. Calyx cupular, lobes 5, sub-orbicular, c. 1 x 0.8 mm, imbricate. Petals 5, cream coloured, ovate to oblong, 2–5 mm x c. 3 mm, reflexed. Disc concave, 5-lobed. Stamens 5, along margin of disc. Ovary inserted on the disc, ovoid, 3-celled; ovules 2 per cell, collateral, erect; stigmas reflexed. Capsules loculicidal, c. 1.2 x 1.1 cm, 6–14 per cluster; seeds 2–4 per capsule, broadly ellipsoid, erect, 6–7 mm x c. 4 mm, brownish, enclosed in a fleshy, deep orange aril. Flowering and Fruiting: April–October. Habitat: According to Matthew (1991), this plant occurs in the montane forest at an elevation of 1300– 2100 m, often along the periphery, characteristically on tree tops. But in Uttara Kannada District, the plant occurs in the lower elevations ranging from 91m at moist deciduous forests (Khandagar) to 620m (Devimane Ghat) above MSL of tropical wet evergreen forests. Notes: The genus Celastrus L. has 32 species distributed in the world (Mabberley 2005) and in India seven species are reported (Ramamurthy 2000). Matthew (1991) studying the collections from the 1732

Palni Hills of Tamil Nadu in southern India segregated Celastrus paniculatus Willd. into two subspecies namely paniculatus and aggregatus based on the differences in position of inflorescences, number of bisexual flowers, number of capsules for infrutescence and leaf apex. But, the subsp. aggregatus was not recorded by any workers thereafter, till Francis et al. (2009) reported it from Aurangabad District of Maharashtra. In Karnataka, so far the genus is represented by only one species C. paniculatus Willd. (Sharma et al. 1984; Saldanha & Singh 1996). The present collection of subsp. aggregatus from central Western Ghats is an addition to the flora of Karnataka State and also connects the distribution link of this taxon between southern and northern Western Ghats. Canscora sanjappae Diwakar & R. Kr. Singh (Image 2) in Indian. J. Forestry 32(2): 337–342. 2009. Material examined: 29.xi.2010, Badal, Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka, India, 14025’40.8”N & 74038’36.7”E, coll. Gurumurthi R. Hegde and Ganesh R. Hegde 555 (KUDB); 03.iv.2010, Badal Ghat 14023’15.2”N & 74039’53.9”E, coll. Gurumurthi R.

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Extended distribution of two plants

G.R. Hegde & G.R. Hegde

D

E

F

Image 2. Canscora sanjappae Diwakar & R.Kr. Singh D - habit; E - close view showing dichotomous branching; F - enlarged view of flower

Hegde and Ganesh R. Hegde 567 (KUDB). Annual erect herb, with dichotomous branches reaching up to 65cm high. Stems quadrangular, not winged. Leaves vary in size and shape; lower cauline leaves 1.5–3.2 x 0.5–1.8 cm, elliptic, attenuated at base; petioles c. 1 cm long; upper leaves 0.5–1.6 x 0.5– 1.2 cm, broadly ovate, rounded to subcordate at base, sessile. Inflorescence a compound dichasial cyme. Bracts foliaceous, ovate, membranous. Pedicels c. 2cm long. Calyx-tube c. 8mm long, without wings, teeth triangular. Corolla almost actinomorphic, rosy pink to white, tube slightly curved, c. 9mm long, lobes 4, almost equal, some times two are slightly smaller. Stamens 4, didynamous, 2 upper with larger anthers and the lower with smaller anthers. Ovary oblong; style c. 5mm long; stigma bilobed. Capsules oblong; seeds irregular in shape. Flowering and Fruiting: October–March. Habitat: Along wet slopes and in between rocky crevices of moist deciduous and wet evergreen forests, at an elevation range of 50–450 m.

Notes: The genus Canscora Lam. is represented by about 30 species in the world (Mabberley 2005), mainly confined to the tropical regions. Out of eight species of this genus with two endemics in India, Karnataka State harbours seven species (Sharma et al. 1984). Recently, Canscora sanjappae, Diwakar & R. Kr. Singh, has been described from Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary of Udupi District (Diwakar & Singh 2009). The present collection, at an elevation range of 50–450 m along the wet slopes in wet evergreen and moist deciduous forests of Kumta Taluk of Uttara Kannada District, is outside the type locality, and extends its distribution towards the northern part along the Shimoga-Belgaum corridor of wet evergreen belt of central Western Ghats. In addition, our specimen measured about 65cm in height, almost three times the height of the type collection by Diwakar & Singh (2009).

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References Bhat, K.G. (1993). New plant record for Karnataka. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 90: 137–139. Bhat, K.G. (2002). Additions to the Flora of Karnataka. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99(3): 566–567. Chandran, M.D.S., D.K. Mesta, G.R. Rao, S. Ali, K.V. Gururaja & T.V. Ramachandra (2008). Discovery of Two Critically Endangered Tree Species and Issues Related to Relic Forests of the Western Ghats. The Open Conservation Biology Journal 2: 1–8. Datar, M.N., R. Manikandan, P. Lakshminarasimhan & P.S.N. Rao (2005). New plant records for Goa and Karnataka. Rheedea 15(2): 133. Diwakar, P.G. & R.K. Singh (2009). Canscora sanjappae (Gentianaceae) - A new species from Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka, India. Indian Journal of Forestry 32(2): 337–342. Francis, J.W., A.S. Dhabe & M.M. Sardesai (2009). Celastrus paniculatus subsp. aggregatus (Celastraceae), an addition to the Flora of Maharashtra State. Rheedea 19(1&2): 73–74. Kaveriappa, K.M. & B.V. Shetty (2001). Biodiversity of the Western Ghats with special reference to conservation of plant Diversity at Kaiga. International Journal of Nuclear Power 15(1–4): 40–42. Krishnakumar, G. & H.S. Shenoy (2006). Syzygium travencoricum Gamble (Myrtaceae)- A new record for Karnataka. Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 30(4): 900–902. Krishnakumar, G., G.K. Bhat & K.M. Kaveriappa (1995). Studies on the Vegetation of Kaiga (Uttara Kannada District) of Karnataka. My Forest 31(4): 29–41. Krishnakumar, G., H.S. Shenoy & K.M. Kaveriappa (2004). Rediscovery of Madhuca insignis (Radlkofer) H. J. Lam (Sapotaceae) - A critically endangered species of the Western Ghats, India. Phytomorphology 54 (3&4): 209–213. Mabberley, D.J. (2005). The Plant—Book: A Portable Dictionary of the Vascular Plants (Second Edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 124 & 137pp. Matthew, K.M. (1991). Precursory notes for a flora of the Palni Hills, south India. Kew Bulletin 46(3): 539–546. Mesta, D.K., H.V. Hegde, V. Upadhya, G.R. Rao, G.R. Hegde & S.D. Kholkute (2009). Cassipourea ceylanica (Gardn.) Alston (1925) (Rhizophoraceae) in Karnataka. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1(10): 530–532.

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Myers, N., R.A. Mittermeier, G.A.B. da Fonseca & J. Kent (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403: 853–857. Nihara, R.G., A.E.D. Daniels, I.A.U.N. Gunatilleke, C.V.S. Gunatilleke, P.V. Karunakaran, K.G. Nayak, S. Prasad, P. Puyravaud, B.R. Ramesh, K.A. Subramanian & G. Vasanthy (2007). A brief overview of the Western Ghats – Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot. Current Science 93(11): 1567–1572. Punekar, A.S., P. Lakshminarasimhan & P.S.N. Rao (2005). Rediscovery of Toxocorpus concanensis Hook. F. (Apocynaceae: Secamonoideae), a little-known endemic species of the Western Ghats. Phytotaxonomy 5: 8–11. Ramamurthy, K. (2000). Celastraceae, pp. 75–137. In: Singh, N.P., J.N. Vohra, P.K. Hajra & D.K. Singh (eds.). Flora of India—Vol. 5. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta. Ramesh, B.R. & J.P. Pascal (1993). Five new additions to the Flora of Karnataka. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 90: 323–325. Ravikumar, K., P.S. Udayan & S.P. Subramani (2001). Additions to the flora of Karnataka. My Forest 37(4): 619– 624. Saldanha, C. & B.G. Singh (1996). Celastraceae. In: Saldanha, C.J. (ed.). Flora of Karnataka—Vol. 2. Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 94pp. Sharma, B.D., N.P. Singh, R.S. Raghavan & U.R. Deshpande (1984). Flora of Karnataka Analysis. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta, 394pp. Turrill, W.B. (1951). Some Problems of Plant Range and Distribution. Journal of Ecology 39(2): 205–227. Udayan, P.S. & K. Ravikumar (2003). New plant record for Karnataka State. Indian Journal of Forestry 26(4): 384– 388. Udayan, P.S., K. Ravikumar & K. Udaiyan (2004). New plant record from the state of Karnataka. Indian Forester 130(5): 551–564. Udayan, P.S., S. George & I. Balachandran (2006a). Heliotropium keralense Sivar. & Manilal - A little known endemic and red listed medicinal plant from Agumbe, Sirsi and Udupi as a new report from the state of Karnataka, India. My Forest 42(2): 165–169. Udayan, P.S., K.V. Tushar, A.K. Pradeep & I. Balachandran (2006b). Phyllanthus kozhikodianus Sivar. & Mani. - A new report for the state of Karnataka, India. My Forest 42(3): 267–271.

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JoTT Note

Notes on the distribution of Maesa velutina Mez (Myrsinaceae) - a rare and endemic plant from India M.M. Sardesai 1 & S.R. Yadav 2 Department of Botany, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra 431004, India 2 Department of Botany, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Maharashtra 416004, India Email: 1 sardesaimm@gmail.com (corresponding author), 2 sryadavdu@rediffmail.com 1

While working on the floristics of Kolhapur District during 1999, some specimens of Maesa were collected. They were tentatively identified as M. indica var. dubia. However, on comparison with the herbarium specimens of related species deposited with the Botanical Survey of India, Western Circle, Pune (BSI) (MMS 1267) (Image 1), it became clear, that specimens collected by us differed from M. indica var. dubia by a number of characters. The publication by Kumar et al. (2008), wherein the authors have reinvestigated the identity of the species, enabled us to place the specimens collected by us correctly as M. velutina Mez. Earlier, the taxon was known only from three gatherings. Later, two additional populations were located, one in Kerala State and the other in Karnataka State (Kumar et al. 2008). The present report confirms the occurrence of this taxon in Maharashtra State (Image 2).

3(4): 1735–1736

Specimens examined: 20.iv.1999, Radhanagari, Kolhapur District, Maharashtra State, India, coll. Milind M. Sardesai, specimens are deposited in the Herbarium of the Department of Botany, Shivaji University, Kolhapur (MMS 1267). Maesa velutina Mez in Engl., Pflazenr. IV, 236: 35. 1902; T. Cooke, Fl. Pres. Bombay 2:142.1958 (Repr.); M.R. Almeida Fl. Maharashtra 3A: 164. 2001; Londhe in N.P. Singh et al. Fl. Maharashtra St., Dicot. 2: 289. 2002; Kumar et al. Rheedea 18 (1): 39–42. 2008. Large shrubs with young branches, ferruginous hairy. Leaves elliptic, margin serrate, densely ferruginous hairy, glabrous above except along the veins, densely pilose beneath. Inflorescence axillary or lateral raceme.

Date of publication (online): 26 April 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 April 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: M.K. Vasudeva Rao Manuscript details: Ms # o2248 Received 02 July 2009 Final received 17 March 2011 Finally accepted 04 April 2011 Citation: Sardesai, M.M. & S.R. Yadav (2011). Notes on the distribution of Maesa velutina Mez (Myrsinaceae) - a rare and endemic plant from India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4): 1735–1736. Copyright: © M.M. Sardesai & S.R. Yadav 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to Dr. E.S. Santhosh Kumar of Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Palode, Thiruvanantpuram, Kerala for confirming of identity of the taxon. OPEN ACCESS | FREE DOWNLOAD

Image 1. Herbarium of Maesa velutina

Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1735–1736

1735


Maesa velutina in Maharashtra

M.M. Sardesai & S.R. Yadav

Image 2. Distribution of Maesa velutina Mez in Peninsular India

Flowering and Fruiting: December–May Habitat: It grows at an altitude of 900m altitude along a stream bank in the semievergreen forests of Radhanagari forest range. Common associates include Boehmeria glomerulifera Miq., Callicarpa tomentosa (L.) Murr., Elaeocarpus serratus L., Euonymus indicus Heyne ex Wall., Ficus racemosa L., Garcinia talbotii Raiz. ex Sant., Glochidion ellipticum Wight, Holigarna grahamii (Wight) Kurz., Homalium ceylanicum (Gardn.) Benth., Hydnocarpus pentandra (Buch.-Ham.) Oken, Knema attenuata (Wall. ex Hook. f. & Thoms.) Warb., Mackenziea integrifolia (Dalz.) Bremek., Meiogyne pannosa (Dalz.) Sinclair, Nilgirianthus heyneanus (Nees) Bremek., Nothapodytes nimmoniana (Grah.) Mabb. and Symplocos cochinchinensis (Lour.) S. Moore subsp. laurina. (Retz.) Nooteb. Distribution: India (Western Ghats: Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra). Remarks Cooke (1901–08) reported two species and a variety of Maesa. However, he had doubtfully included M. velutina, stating that: “Of this I have seen no specimens; there are none in herbarium kew. According to Mez the plant grows in Bombay Presidency, Dr. Gibson’s 1736

specimens are in Herbarium Leiden. Almeida (2001) included this taxon for the Flora of Maharashtra based on Cooke’s report. Therefore, the present paper reports the first authentic collection in recent years and confirms the distribution of M. velutina in the state of Maharashtra.

References Almeida, M.R. (2001). Flora of Maharashtra—Vol. 3A. St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, 300pp. Cooke, T. (1901–08). The Flora of the Presidency of Bombay– Vol. II. London. (B.S.I. Reprint, 1958), Culcutta. Kumar, E.S.S., K. Radhakrishnan, C. Kunhaknan, J.F. Veldkamp & C.N. Mohanan (2008). Rediscovery of Maesa velutina Mez. (Maesaceae/Myrsinaceae): An endemic and endangered species of Western Ghats, India. Rheedea 18(1): 39–42. Londhe, A.N. (2002). Family Myrsinaceae, pp. 285–290. In: Singh, N.P., P. Lakshminarasimhan, S. Karthikeyan & P.V. Prasanna (eds). Flora of Maharashtra State, Dicotyledones– Vol 2. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta.

Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | April 2011 | 3(4): 1735–1736


Dr. Malcolm Pearch, Kent, UK Dr. Richard S. Peigler, San Antonio, USA Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda, Sydney, Australia Mr. J. Praveen, Bengaluru, India Dr. Muhammad Ather Rafi, Islamabad, Pakistan Dr. H. Raghuram, Bengaluru, India Dr. Sekar Raju, Suzhou, China Dr. Vatsavaya S. Raju, Warangal, India Dr. V.V. Ramamurthy, New Delhi, India Dr (Mrs). R. Ramanibai, Chennai, India Dr. M.K. Vasudeva Rao, Pune, India Dr. Robert Raven, Queensland, Australia Dr. K. Ravikumar, Bengaluru, India Dr. Luke Rendell, St. Andrews, UK Dr. Anjum N. Rizvi, Dehra Dun, India Dr. Yves Samyn, Brussels, Belgium Dr. K.R. Sasidharan, Coimbatore, India Dr. Kumaran Sathasivam, India Dr. S. Sathyakumar, Dehradun, India Dr. M.M. Saxena, Bikaner, India Dr. Hendrik Segers, Vautierstraat, Belgium Dr. Subodh Sharma, Towson, USA Prof. B.K. Sharma, Shillong, India Prof. K.K. Sharma, Jammu, India

Dr. R.M. Sharma, Jabalpur, India Dr. Arun P. Singh, Jorhat, India Dr. Lala A.K. Singh, Bhubaneswar, India Prof. Willem H. De Smet, Wilrijk, Belgium Mr. Peter Smetacek, Nainital, India Dr. C. Srinivasulu, Hyderabad, India Dr. Ulrike Streicher, Danang, Vietnam Dr. K.A. Subramanian, Pune, India Mr. K.S. Gopi Sundar, New Delhi, India Dr. P.M. Sureshan, Patna, India Dr. Karthikeyan Vasudevan, Dehradun, India Dr. R.K. Verma, Jabalpur, India Dr. W. Vishwanath, Manipur, India Dr. Gernot Vogel, Heidelberg, Germany Dr. Ted J. Wassenberg, Cleveland, Australia Dr. Stephen C. Weeks, Akron, USA Prof. Yehudah L. Werner, Jerusalem, Israel Dr. Hui Xiao, Chaoyang, China English Editors Mrs. Mira Bhojwani, Pune, India Ms. Mary Regen Jamieson, Massachusetts, USA Dr. Fred Pluthero, Toronto, Canada Dr. Krishnan Srinivasan, Chennai, India

Journal of Threatened Taxa is indexed/abstracted in Zoological Records, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Index Fungorum, Bibliography of Systematic Mycology, EBSCO and Google Scholar.


Journal of Threatened Taxa ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)

April 2011 | Vol. 3 | No. 4 | Pages 1637–1736 Date of Publication 26 April 2011 (online & print) Communications

Short Communications

An inventory of the chiropteran fauna of Himachal Pradesh, northwestern India with some ecological observations -- Uttam Saikia, M.L. Thakur, Mayur Bawri & P.C. Bhattacherjee, Pp. 1637–1655

A checklist of avian fauna at Jeypore Reserve Forest, eastern Assam, India with special reference to globally threatened and endemic species in the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot -- Prasanta Kumar Saikia & Oinam Sunanda Devi, Pp. 1711–1718

Effect of human feeding on the road mortality of Rhesus Macaques on National Highway - 7 routed along Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, India -- A. Pragatheesh, Pp. 1656–1662 Ornithofauna and its conservation in the Kuttanad wetlands, southern portion of Vembanad-Kole Ramsar site, India -- S. Prasanth Narayanan, A.P. Thomas & B. Sreekumar, Pp. 1663–1676 Ecological effects on morphometric development of the Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis -- Satish Pande & Neelesh Dahanukar, Pp. 1677–1685 Systematic status of Systomus rubrotinctus Jerdon (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) with notes on the Puntius arulius group of fishes -- J.D. Marcus Knight, K. Rema Devi & Vidyadhar Atkore, Pp. 1686–1693 Detrimental effects of low atmospheric humidity and forest fire on a community of western Himalayan butterflies -- Peter Smetacek, Pp. 1694–1701 Tools Wildlife art and illustration: some experiments in Auroville, India -- M. Eric Ramanujam & S. Joss Brooks, Pp. 1702–1710

Notes Record of Tetracerus quadricornis (de Blainville, 1816) in Pilibhit Forest division of Terai Arc Landscape, Uttar Pradesh, India -- Meraj Anwar, Harish Kumar & Joseph Vattakavan, Pp. 1719–1721 Site records of softshell turtles (Chelonia: Trionychidae) from Barak Valley, Assam, northeastern India -- Kulendra C. Das & Abhik Gupta, Pp. 1722–1726 Discovery of a possible hybrid of the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet Athene blewitti and Spotted Owlet Athene brama (Aves: Strigiformes) from northern Maharashtra, India -- Satish A. Pande, Amit P. Pawashe, Raju Kasambe & Reuven Yosef, Pp. 1727–1730 Report on the extended distribution of two endemic plants (Angiospermae) in the central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India -- Gurumurthi R. Hegde & Ganesh R. Hegde, Pp. 1731– 1734 Notes on the distribution of Maesa velutina Mez (Myrsinaceae) - a rare and endemic plant from India -- M.M. Sardesai & S.R. Yadav, Pp. 1735–1736

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of articles in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.

JoTT 3(4): 1637-1736 26 Apr 2011  

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