Showing posts from August, 2023

Barefoot Notes: The Fall of Specialists and the Rise of Generalists, Or, What Ails Urban Insects?

Photographing moths in the central Western Ghats. Light curtains are the best way to explore moth diversity. Many years ago, I used to wait for moths to enter my urban home through the old casement windows, and hover over to photograph them on an incandescent light. It feels so long ago; today, those windows have changed to the sliding ones, coupled with a netted window that keeps most insects out – even when it is open, the only ones to sneak in are mosquitoes all year round. Moths that would visit were of various sizes and colours. Mind you, my house is in the middle of one of the most densely populated cities in India. Seeing any insect here was allowed due to proximity to the remnant copse comprising of mangroves, gardens and urban farms – and, perhaps more so, vegetable wholesale markets – more on the latter in a while. Moths from years ago: Top Underwings: Thyas coronata and Achaea janata ; Bottom Hawkmoths: Theretra alecto and Agrius convolvuli . From the Underwings to Hawkmot