Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ethics in Photography

What’s your “Focus” in Wildlife Photography? Self Satisfaction or just “likes”

Recently I was doing nature photography trail in Maharashtra Nature Park, Mumbai which is a cultivated city garden developed on the old dumping yard. I saw one photographer spraying water from spray gun on butterflies, bugs and other insects to get the dew drop effect. I found it very unnatural and unethical. Being a macro photographer I have seen many foreign photographers regularly refrigerate their butterflies, insects and spiders before their shoot. Here are few quotes from them –

“Insects are cold-blooded, so cooling them off for a few minutes in the refrigerator will slow them down and make them more relaxed subjects”

“Flies are easiest to capture early in the morning while they are still half asleep and cold.”

“I put the butterflies in the refrigerator to slow them down. Some of my best photos were soon after they were released and in a quiet cool mood. I can get closer.”

“By refrigerating a flying insect for 20 minutes prior to shooting, I can usually get 2-3 minutes of shooting before the insect will exhibit signs that it is considering flight. I then recapture and stuff it back in the fridge for another few minutes.”

Do you think this is right and ethical just to get a good shot of spider or butterfly? I have spent hours and hours running after butterflies or other insect to get a descent quality photo. Many a times they simply don’t pose or fly high and run away without giving a single shot even a record shot also. I personally feel that a good nature / wildlife photographer who manages the shot with the available light and environment conditions as it is and make a best photo out of it. But these days many photographer’s managed everything just like studio setup with props and even rains also. 

Few years back in the 2011 National Geographic contest winner, whose image of a dragonfly in a supposed rainstorm won him the grand prize in the nature category. In his original photo submission, he claimed he was caught in a sudden downpour when he happened upon the dragonfly. Only after winning the grand prize did the “truth” shift. Careful analysis of several other similar photographs from “winner” revealed something fishy about the way the “rain” was hitting the insect. “winner” later admitted that his friend sprayed water on the dragonfly to get the shot. He claimed that the original caption he submitted alongside the photograph had been manipulated for added effect. Regardless of the truth, National Geographic angered nature photographers across the globe when it stood by its decision to award “winner” the grand prize that year. 

Photographs of Dancing frog or Dancing Geckos by same photographer gone viral on internet few years back. These photos won many international photography contests and been published in media. The photographer claimed these photos are captured naturally but that's a far-fetched reality. A nature enthusiast can easily tell that these animals are staged and posed, some animals are suspected to be abused. When I look at these photos, i can only say I am really amused. The frogs or the geckos were pets but were managed by the wire or thread which was removed in post processing later. 

As per me this is not at all acceptable and I feel we macro photographers (if those are really nature lovers) should follow some discipline while shooting in our forests. 

Many times we observe a mating pair of butterflies or beetles, try to approach them very carefully and slowly. Do not try to bump on them. They might startle and release the mate instantly. Similarly in the case of some insect or spider is caught some prey and eating the prey. They have spent tremendous amount of energy as well as time to get the prey, our sudden movements might startle them and they try to drop the prey and run or fly off. Many times we might not get a perfect angle or eye-to-eye contact or there might be some disturbing twig in between, but try to wait patiently to get perfect angle and not to try to touch the insect. Some photographers choose to create artificial perches to make the photo beautiful. I have seen photograph of Hump nosed Pit Viper which is totally ground dwelling species, but the photographer kept the specimen on the tree trunk just like Bamboo Pit Viper. Many times I have seen people collecting specimen, bringing back to home or other closed area to do the photography. If you are not doing any scientific research and doing photography just as a hobby then this should be certainly avoided. Not only collecting but you should avoid touching the subject directly… many of us are very new in this filed and may not know about the species and their behavior. Either it may stressed out the specimen and other way if it is venomous or poisonous or may be giving itchy feeling to skin then it might be harmful for us also. Do not pluck any leaf though it is obstacle in your photo. It might be harmful for the insect or its nest which you keep open to their predators. Try to reduce footing on leaves / grass or shrubs as there might be many insect homes around them. OF course this seems very idealistic but then at least we can try to reduce harm to nature / habitat. 

This is about the macro wildlife photography but what about the Bird or Mammal photography ?

We all love to go in big forests / sanctuaries / national parks. As our India is pride for its Big Cats like Asiatic Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard and Snow Leopard, we often visits to photograph these majestic beauties in various forests. Now today in every Tiger Reserve there are boom of so called nature photographers and everybody wants the BEST shot and that too from very close distance. I have witnessed even people having cell phones wants to capture best shots and fighting for the best place to stand there in front of Tigers. But when we go in big forests then we should follow some rules which are now internationally known as ethics of wildlife photography. 

View wildlife from a safe distance. Trust your camera zoom lenses, they are quite powerful and can capture wildlife from distance. We further have option to crop the subject while post processing. Never force an action. If you stay there for some time you will certainly get good action. And it is not required that you will get always “action” shots. Never come between a parent and its offspring. Mothers are always extra cautious so let them go as they wish. Never encroach on nests or dens as certain species will abandon their young. Internationally bird photography is banned and you cannot put those photos for competitions as well as photography exhibitions. Few years back one crazy nature lover (??) cum photographer promoted nest photography tours in Tadoba National Park. The photographer spotted few nesting spots near the buffer zone of Tadoba forest and he started inviting photographers for the bird nest photography claiming the bird species. Soon it was published in local newspapers and then the matter was settled down. 

Few years back when Bharatpur was in full bloom, many photographers hired guides or cycle-rickshaw drivers specifically to locate the Sarus Crane’s nest and its hatchlings. After getting the tip from local guide the photographer’s set up their entire equipment very near to the nest and take close ups. Even there are few photos of the photographer’s taking macro images of the eggs / newly hatched chicks when the parents went for food. There was news that the Jackals were specifically fed meat pieces to get fight sequence amongst the jackals or meat thrown in air and they were capturing those in air. Recently there were several news about the Bangalore based photographers who are specialized in Bird’s of Prey photography especially with the snakes or rat kills. It was claimed that all the snakes were captured and kept as a bait for raptors. After reading such news and seeing the photo of the same it feels really bad. Frankly I have also used fruits baits for butterfly photography for few species which attracts only on rotten fruits. But I will not dare to keep the live or specifically half dead snakes as bait for raptors. 

Just like a good citizen and real nature lover think twice before shoot such unethical clicks in nature. Also when you are on field trip in a group let the person who finds the object, allow him to shoot first. Do not try to go very near to object to get 1:1 macro. Try to shoot some record shots from behind. Let others also get few shots and then you can slowly move towards the object. Also do not try to do experiments there when other fellow photographers are waiting for their turn. I have observed several time that when someone is shooting others go opposite and try to shoot but then obviously the photographer getting the subject with “you” as a background. If you are not part of the group then ask permission politely though its not that group’s personal property but they have done efforts and have skills to find that subject in nature. I am sure if we follow some basic rules and simple ethics, our photography will give smiles to the thousand viewers and that will certainly more great and joyful than 1000s likes on Facebook or Instagram. 

Yuwaraj Gurjar

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Testing – Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD (F017)

First of all I am not at all technical person / do not expect a very high end / technical review / testing of this lens. I am Tamron lover and using Tamron lenses since 1996 till date, and I love all my Tamron lenses from my bottom of heart. At the same time I am not a professional photographer so I do not have any access to many other lenses, so frankly I can not compare this lens with any other brand's macro lenses.  But at the same time I have used Tamron 90 mm Macro (Non VC version - Model 172E) for 6/7 years,  Tamron 180 mm Macro (Model B01) for more than 6 years and now using 90 mm VC macro (Mode F004) which is predecessor of this lens for nearly 3 years. I am pretty much happy with my 90 mm VC (F004) but when i got this new 90 mm VC (F017) which is more robust, beautifully designed with top class finishing and some superior and much needed features for real nature / wildlife photographers. 

Here are few key features of the new upgraded lens which is in SP series (Super Performance) :
  • Outstanding Depictive Capabilities and Anti-reflection Efficiency
  • Featuring VC with Shift Compensation
  • Optimally Tuned USD Actuator for Macro Photography with Manual Override for Instantaneous Focus Control
  • Moisture-Proof and Dust-Resistant Construction
  • Reduction in Flare and Ghosting: Superiority of eBAND Coating
  • Optimized for spectacular background blur effects (bokeh)
  • A durable Fluorine Coating on the front element repels water and fingerprints
  • Use of circular aperture to achieve beautiful, rounded blur effects (bokeh)
  • Compatibility with TAMRON TAP-in Console

Of course I have not tested for all the features, but the superior VC and faster Auto Focus even in low light is surely amazing. Here are few test shots using this lens

(All photos were clicked with Nikon D7100 DSLR body)

(Gulbakshi flower pollens - Mirabilis jalapa)
(f9,1/100, ISO 400, Aperture Priority, Handheld, No flash)

(f8,1/320, ISO 400, Aperture Priority, Handheld, No flash)

(f8,1/320, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, No flash)

(f16,1/60, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, Built in flash)

(f16,1/80, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, Built in flash)

(Bee on Mango Flowers)
(f16,1/100, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, Built in flash)

(f3.5,1/2000, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, No flash)

(f14,1/125, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, No flash)

(f18,1/80, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, Built in flash)

(f14,1/160, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, No flash)

(f14,1/800, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, Built in flash)

(Scale Insect on Rose Leaf - heavily cropped)
(f13,1/60, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, Handheld, Built in flash)

Soon monsoon will hit our forest and then there will be blooming on wild flora and many tiny & colorful beasts will appear. So I will post some additional images from real / wild places like Yeoor, Nagla, Matheran, Phansad, Goa or Amboli. This particular macro lens was given by Tamron, India so there were lots of restrictions on testing in wild n outdoors. But I think soon I will buy one for me personally along with Nikon D500 and the I will upload few more stunning shots.... till then keep connected .... and keep commenting.

Yuwaraj Gurjar

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Molting: Fresh skin every time.

All insects have segmented bodies made up of many small sections. Insects have three major body divisions, the head, thorax and abdomen. Mouthparts, eyes and antennae are found on the head, while legs and wings grow from the thorax. In some insects these body divisions are easy to see. In others they are not so separate. The antennae, which are often long and carry sense organs for touch and smell. The head also has the usually large compound eyes and some ocelli or simple eyes. The head carries several pairs of mouthparts, which are very important in distinguishing the insect order. Some are adapted for biting, with two mandibles, and some are modified to form a tube for sucking the liquid food. The thorax has legs and wings. The legs have spines and claws. The thorax carries a pair of wings. The wings are often colored and may have hairs or scales.

The outer covering of the insect is strengthened on all or some parts of the body by a hard cuticle, which protects the body, gives it a shape and as an external skeleton or exoskeleton provides a fixture for the soft body parts. This strengthened skin or cuticle consists of chitin and sclerotin. These two substances together form a very hard and resistant, but very light structure which in the course of evolution has served a variety of functions. Finally the cuticle is covered by a waxy layer, which acts as water repellant. 

This very resistant and powerful form of skin has, however, one great disadvantage. Once formed it can not be altered, that is, it can no longer grow. As the rest of the insect’s body grows, a new skin begins to form under the old one. When the insect molts, the old skin splits and the insect crawls out. The soft, new exoskeleton expands at first just like elastic, but once it has dried and hardened, it will not grow any longer. Some newly molted insects eat their old skins, other just leave them behind.

Yuwaraj Gurjar.

Giraffe Weevil.

This is an unusual beetle found in Yeoor hills (Sanjay Gandhi National Park, India) called “Giraffe Weevil”. It is called as giraffe as its abnormal long neck. It is very tiny insect just less than one centimeter, but very colorful and active. Its flight was also very funny and wobbling.

These are types of beetles known as weevils or snout beetles or elephant beetles due to their long mouth parts. These weevils are minute to large species as much as three inches. One of the commonest weevils we can easily find in our wheat grains. Many of this species are wingless but many others fly well. Males and females are usually similar in appearance. In some species male can be easily distinguished by the form of the snout, forelegs or antennae. The legs are moderately long for walking.

Normally these weevils lay eggs on the plants or inside the plants. But this particular species prepare cases of green leaf. First the leaf is cut across near the base, the cut reaching to the midrib or crossing the midrib from one margin only. Then it is folded vertically and the tips rolled in; an egg is then laid and the rolling process continues till the leaf, up to the cut. This forms a compact cylindrical roll with the egg deposited in the centre. No silk or gum is used and the insect works with legs and jaws in folding and packing the leaf. The roll is left hanging to the remainder of the leaf, the egg hatches and the grub feed on the leaf inside the roll. The roll subsequently dries and falls off with the pupa inside. August / September are the perfect month to observe these rolls and the adult insects in our forests.

As a defense mechanism, weevils have the habit of “shamming dead” when disturbed, the legs and antennae get folded close to the body and the insect drops to the ground. It is very difficult to find the insect in the thick vegetation.

Yuwaraj Gurjar.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mantis Fly - A perfect mimic for Preying Mantis

I was having my photography walk at Karnala Bird Sanctuary in monsoon. Though the season was very good for macro life, somehow on that particular day the insect activity was very low. No butterflies and other insects were visible. I spotted few spiders with egg sacks. So i was busy with shooting of the spider moms and their tiny spiderlings. Suddenly i saw some movement around me... a small wasp settled on a dry twig few meters away. It was very tiny hardly 5-8 mm in size. This is very tiny Mantis Fly female from family Mantispidae (of course i came to know this afterwards as i was not seen such creature in last so many years). The female Mantis Fly landed on the small twig and stared laying eggs by circling. Soon the entire twig was covered with tiny white eggs. This entire process took more than 30 minutes. 

The mantis fly is actually a remarkable creature. From a distance, it looks almost exactly like a wasp. As you look closer, though, you'll notice it has claws like a praying mantis. Despite its fearsome appearance, mantis flies don't sting and are pretty much harmless to humans. They get their name from their mantis-like appearance, as their spiny "raptorial" (raptor-like) front legs are modified to catch small insect prey and are very similar to the front legs of mantis. The Mantispoidea are a superfamily of lacewing insects in the suborder Hemerobiiformia. Mantispidae, known commonly as mantis flies, mantispids, mantis lacewings or mantis-flies, is a family of small to moderate-sized insects in the order Neuroptera. There are many genera with around 400 species worldwide. Mantis fly larvae are predatory especially on spider eggs so they generally ride on female spiders. There are not common because they are nocturnal but more active hunters than true preying mantis.   

The subgroups of mantis fly have different specialized larvae. One subgroup has larvae that are parasite on bees, wasps. Another group's larvae are predators of small Arthropods. Third group have larvae parasitic on spider eggs. These larvae have well developed legs like the larvae of beetle so they can search out spider egg sacs or female spiders. They ride on female spiders and are even transferred from one spider to another during mating or cannibalism.  These larvae enter the egg sacs as the female spins them.. That means these larvae remain on spider like lice on our head. 

Location : Karnala Bird Sanctuary, on 23.08.2015 9.56 am
Nikon D7100, Tamron 90 mm VC macro with Nikon R1C1 flash

Yuwaraj Gurjar

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Baby Bugs : Just emerged from the eggs.

Animals have two ways to make sure that they leave offspring in the world, so that their genes survive. One is to have few children and care for each one intensely. The other is to have huge numbers of offspring, so that even though many die enough survives. That is what insects do. Most of those eggs, or the larvae they give birth to, will die in one way or another, so there have to be many of them.

In most insects, life begins as an independent egg. This type is reproduction is known as ovipary. Each egg is manufactured within the female's genital system and is eventually released from her body through an ovipositor, a tube-like, saw-like, or blade-like component of her external genitalia. The egg-laying process is known as oviposition. Each insect species produces eggs that are genetically unique and often physically distinctive as well - spherical, oval, conical, sausage-shaped, barrel-shaped, or torpedo-shaped. Yet regardless of size or shape, each egg is composed of only a single living cell.

In most insects the egg is covered by a protective "shell" of protein secreted before oviposition by accessory glands in the female's reproductive system. This eggshell, called the chorion, is often sculptured with microscopic grooves or ridges that may be visible only under the high magnification of an electron microscope. The chorion is perforated by microscopic pores that allow respiratory exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with relatively little loss of water. The micropyle, a special opening near the anterior end of the chorion, serves as a gateway for entry of sperm during fertilization.

A female receives sperm from her male partner during the act of mating. She can store that sperm for long periods of time in a special part of her reproductive system, the spermatheca. As a developing egg moves past the opening to the spermatheca, a few sperm are released onto its surface. The sperm swim toward the micropyle - the first one to reach its destination enters and injects its nucleus into the egg. The sperm nucleus quickly fuses with the egg nucleus to form a one-celled embryo. This event is known as fertilization. After the egg is fertilized, it undergoes a period of rapid growth and development known as embryogenesis, literally the "embryo's beginning".

Many insects pass the winter in the egg stage. Insect eggs are ideally suited for withstanding the hardships of winter. The eggs have shells that are thick and watertight. In many cases the eggs are covered with hairs, silk, or frothy materials produced by the female before she died. These provide an extra degree of protection by insulating the eggs. Most butterfly or moth caterpillars eat their eggshell just after the hatching as they get maximum proteins out of eggshell. But these “Baby Bugs” just crawling here without eating the eggshell.

Yuwaraj Gurjar.

Caterpillar : Greedy eating machines.

Butterflies and moths undergo major developmental changes during their growth. The moth lay eggs, which hatch into creeping forms with chewing mouthparts. These are called as caterpillars or larvae. Incidentally, the word caterpillar is derived from two Latin words, catta pilosa, meaning hairy cat, which is quite descriptive of some kinds. During this stage the moth feeds and grows. It is only during the larval stage, that actual growth occurs, and a caterpillar’s only aim in life is to feed and store up food.

The caterpillar eats through the top of the egg, creative a hole through which it emerges. After hatching, it often eats the eggshell as its first food and this gives it invaluable nutrients. Since this is the only growing stage in a moth’s life, it has to consume as much food and store as much energy as possible. Its jaws works like scissors very rapidly and efficiently and it finishes leaf after leaf on branch after branch. The caterpillar grows rapidly so periodically it has to molt. A moth caterpillar casts off its outer skin layers five times in its life.

Although most caterpillars feed on leaves, there are strict preferences for specific host plants. These strict preferences are dictated by the chemical composition of the plant parts that the caterpillar eats. Therefore, the caterpillar feeding on a particular plant species or set of species will not eat leaves of other species. Some caterpillars may prefer slightly mature leaves, some may refuse to eat anything other than tender ones; most prefer to tender leaves but otherwise eat whichever are available on the plants where their mothers as eggs place them.

The coloring is usually such that the larvae are well camouflaged, and can thus avoid or fool predators. Sometimes there are scary looking eye designs or bristles to frighten the enemy.

When the larva is ready to pupate, it attaches itself to a spot with silk pad and cremaster. After a period of rest, it starts wriggling and makes undulating movements from tail up, until the skin bursts near the head. The skin is then pushed upwards till it gets collected near the tail. The pupa then draws it tail out and by means of some minute hooks in the cremaster, fixes it to a surface again after casting off the old skin. The pupa hang there for some days and then the adult will emerges out of that pupa for a new flying life.

Yuwaraj Gurjar.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ceropegia Flowers – Beautiful flytraps.

The name derives from the Greek words 'keros', a wax candle and 'pegnynai', assemble or unite; for the chandelier like flower structures of some of the species. Ceropegia contains a diverse group of 160 named species distributed over a wide range including the Canary Islands, Africa, Madagascar, Arabia, India, Ceylon, China, Indonesia, Phillipines, New Guinea and Australia. About 40 species from India occur mostly in the peninsula, with the Sahyadri or northern Western Ghats alone home to 20 species of this specialised plant group, most of them endemic to the area. Ceropegias are uncommon small herbs that appear only during the monsoon months, blooming for just a couple of weeks, in very remote habitats. Since their habitats become even more inaccessible in the rains, sightings of these flowers are rare and adventure for shooting. I clicked this particular flower in Tungareshwar Sanctuary on a rock cliff around 75 feet high.

Ceropegia attenuata

 Flowers occur either singly or in clusters and have a tubular corolla 2 or more times as long as its diameter and longer than the 5 lobes. The base of the tube is usually inflated and the tube may have downwardly orientated hairs on the inside and hairs on the outside and at the edges of the lobes. Colors include reds, purples, yellows, greens and mixtures of these. The hairs until the flower wilts may trap flies entering the corolla. The tips of the lobes are fused together to form a cage-like flower structure in many species, but are open in others. The five lateral entrance windows on the lantern are decorated with frills of vibrating colored hair. The inside of the pitcher has dark colored bands, which seem to guide insects to the nectary. The purpose of evolving this complex structure of flower is to ensure pollination without loosing much pollen and nectar.

Ceropegia media

 If an insect is trapped in the pitchers and has brought in pollens from another flower, which is picked up by the sticky stigma as the insect was attracted towards the sweet nectar. Once pollination has occurred, the stalk of the flower bends and the pollinated flowers turns limp, bending over and releasing the trapped insect. Once the critical process of pollination is completed successfully, fruiting begins.

Ceropegia hirsuta - TOP view
Ceropegia media - TOP view

Ceropegia huberi - TOP view

Ceropegia jainni

Ceropegia rollea

Ceropegia vincaefolia 

Ceropegia vincaefolia - TOP view

Yuwaraj Gurjar.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pelicans : Feeding with unity.
This is Rosy or White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) out of eight species of pelican found in the world. They are found throughout the tropical and warm temperature zones, on both fresh and salt water. They are powerful, graceful flyers, using the air currents for soaring, although their huge size makes the task of getting airborne a difficult one. When they sight food, they dive perpendicularly into the water, sometimes from a great height. Their diet primarily consists of surface dwelling fish but may include crustaceans. Their enormous pouches, which are modification of the lower part of the bill, are their most obvious distinguishing features contrary to popular belief the pouch is used as sort of fishing net rather than as a place for storing food.
The pelican feeds by scooping up fish with its enormous bill, which may hold 20 ltrs. water at a time. When an individual scoops water, many fishes escape by swimming away from the bill. The pelicans frequently feed in small groups, which swim in a horseshoe pattern, and then all moves forward and scoop the water at the same time. Small fish, which dart away from one pelican's bill are likely to be caught by another, thus all the birds benefit from feeding together. The fishes swallowed immediately and never carried in the pouch.
The nesting season is from November to April. Nest is build with large stick platform in tall trees and often far from water. There are several nests in the same tree and this colony covers a large area.
Among the adaptation of birds, which have contributed to their success, is flight, and the possession of feathers contributed to this adaptation. All birds have feathers but no other animal has them. The feather is formed from the cells of the skin just similar to the formation of scales on the legs of birds or on the bodies of reptiles. The feather grows from the base inside a sheath. Bird's flight feathers have sufficient strength and firmness to remain quite rigid when moved through the air despite being anchored only at the base. Birds spend a significant proportion of their lives engaging in feather maintenance activities. Dirt on the wings is removed by bathing in water or in dust and any water or dust is subsequently removed by flapping the wings, ruffling the feathers and by preening movements. For preening they apply oil from preen or oil gland. This gland is found in most birds and is situated on the rump above the base of the tail. It produces an oily secretion and is most active in aquatic birds. The secretion helps to keep feathers supple so that they do not break and increase their water proofing qualities. Despite their resistance to wear, feather must be renewed at intervals. The moulting process, during which old feathers fall out and are replaced by new ones growing in the same place, also allows birds to change from juvenile to adult plumage or from non-breeding to breeding plumage.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Not a spider – Not a Scorpion
This strange animal is called “Tailless Whip Scorpion”. This spider like animal is famous for their long, whip like front legs. Actually these tailless whip scorpions are neither true scorpions nor true spiders, but resemble a cross between the two. They live in humid habitat and prefer to hide under cavities of large tree roots and under the rocks. They prefer to hunt in night and rests in days. There are around 70 species worldwide.
The body of most tailless whip scorpion is around 2 inches long but the front leg pair is extremely long; up to 10 inches in few species. The tailless whips scorpion has one pair of eyes in the front side and three pairs of eyes on the side of head. The long, feeler-like front legs are important sensory organs for hunting and orientation at night. The tailless whip scorpion walks sideways with these legs leading the ways. The leg-like mouthparts are stout, spiny and used to capture and hold insect prey while it is ton by the fangs. Whip Scorpions are purely nocturnal hunters feeding mostly on insects such as cockroaches, grasshoppers and sometimes on centipedes. These are not at all venomous for human. Although these animals may look extremely dangerous and frightening, they are perfectly harmless and very shy.
Mating involves a brief courtship which begins with the male holding the females forelegs in his forelegs with their tips and walking backwards until the female raises her abdomen. The pregnant female digs a special burrow with a larger area at the end, when the eggs are laid they are inside a special membrane that prevents them from drying out. The female remains in the end of her burrow guarding the eggs. When the eggs hatch the young are white and look nothing like their mother, they climb onto her back and attach themselves there with special suckers. After a while they moult and the creature which now emerges looks like a miniature Whip Scorpion. After first moult they leave their mother. The young are slow growing and they gain maturity around the age of three years.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.
Whitenosed Bushfrog.
Frogs are members of the class called Amphibia. Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrate animals. They differ from reptiles in that they lack scales and generally return to water to breed. Amphibians together with reptiles make up a larger group called Herps. The study of reptiles and amphibians is called Herpetology. Herp comes from the Greek word herpeton, which basically means "creepy crawly things that move about on their bellies."
Most amphibians lack scales on their skin, and it is usually smooth. Mucous and granular glands are present in the skin. Skin helps in oxygen uptake and release of carbon dioxide from the surrounding environment. Due to permeable nature of skin, water readily evaporates from the skin and dehydrates the amphibians easily. Hence they tend to restrict their activity only to high humidity and low wind periods to avoid evaporation stress. One can probably find more amphibians in moist environments and they are active during nights. Amphibians in the dry region tend to absorb water through skin from moist soils. Amphibians can change their skin color according the surrounding environment. Amphibians use gills, lungs and skin for the respiratory purposes.
Asian tree frogs are most closely related to true frogs (Ranidae) but seem to be the ecological equivalents of New World hylids by being arboreal and having enlarged toe disks at the ends of the fingers to aid in climbing. Most Asian tree frogs have large eyes with horizontal pupils and dorsal coloration ranging from green to brown and gray to black and white. Many have flash coloration (bright, patterned colors) on the inner thighs, which confuse predators when the frog leaps away and exposes these areas, thus distorting the frogs overall body pattern to the predator. There are members in the family Rhacophorous with extensive webbing that are able to glide by extending their limbs out as they jump, thus serving to increase their surface area. These species are arboreal, with strong jumping skills. This particular frog is Philautus waynadensis, one of the widely distributed and a common frog in the Western Ghats. In the past this species was referred to as Philautus leucorhinus. It is commonly called whitenosed bushfrog. It is endemic bushfrog with lower risk of extinction. Among the leaf frogs, eggs are usually deposited on leaves above ponds, where mothers keep them wet by urinating on them. Hatchlings fall into the water below.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.