Friday, March 26, 2010

Common House Lizard, your Companion!

The first animal that usually becomes a member of an Indian household (disapprovingly) is a lizard creeping on the wall or the ceiling. It is the Common House Lizard - the Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus, 'Palli' or 'Gouli' in Tamil). It is a silent nocturnal lizard. But sometimes it makes sounds suddenly, that alerts and stuns us. Beliefs are attached with its sounds: that its such utterance at that instant means that the decision being made by the person is agreed and approved by it also! Another belief is that it foretells an impending event! I heard also such sounds when these lizards chase and fight or mate.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wasps paint walls with antibiotics!

In the past, man grew fungus and found out that it produced a substance that killed other disease - producing germs. It is the science about the production of Penicillin from the fungus, Penicillium notatum. But in the remote past millions of years ago wasps had found this fact and used this technique in protecting their developing offspring, the larvae! Yes, the Beewolf wasps (Philanthus crabroniformis) produce a cocktail of antibacterial substances from Streptomyces since ages.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Common Tailorbird cobbling its nest!

One bird that I watched and wondered in my childhood made me to continue Bird-watching as a hobby. It is the Common Tailorbird (Orthotonus sutorius, 'Thaiyal kuruvi' in Tamil). What attracted me to it so much? It is its tiny size compared to that of a hen, its incessant calls, its upright moving tail and its amazing behavior of nest - building!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cooling under Indian Almond Tree!

Then, in 1960s, here in my home town a lane was called after a tree that had been grown along its side. It was called as 'Vaadhaankottaimara Theru' (in Tamil). That tree's common English name is Indian Almond Tree ('Terminalia cattappa', Tropical Almond, ' Vadhaankottai maram' in Tamil)! The tree is characteristic with all its broad, large and deep greenish leaves that turn bright red before they fall down.

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