Showing posts from September, 2016

The Karvy Question

There is a shrub – an omnipresent one – on the gentle as well as steep slopes of the Western Ghats called Karvy (or Karvi), Strobilanthes callosus. It grows in dense thickets with its stems shooting straight up from the ground into a loosely held bunch. In summer they appear as a maze of bone-dry sticks which are collected by local communities to build walls – the sticks, being straight, are tied next to one another upon which a layer of mud and dung is plastered (these structures are very cool and very sustainable in their make). By late winter the leaves dry out, first developing warts, then turning yellow and orange, and then as they desiccate with rising temperatures they turn brown and crumble away. It is between these two seasons that they’re at their best – their leaves are dark and large, crenate, and shaped roughly like a spearhead. Right at the onset of monsoons, the new leaves arise in a bunch, and slowly regain their spread over the Ghats. They look marvellous, whether bar…

An Android-based Spider App for Common Spiders of India

The Corbett Foundation and Earthwatch Institute (India) have come up with an easy-to-use app called Spider Watch that looks at 50 common species of spiders belonging to 23 families found in India – whether you’re in a city, a garden, or a sanctuary – you’re likely to find them there. This app was made to facilitate on-field identification of common spiders of India, with an objective to bring these little tigers of the undergrowth to the forefront, and to inculcate further interest in them.
Just search for “Spider Watch” on Google Play store from your android phones, or follow this link. Its usage is fairly simple. Here are some screenshots of the app: