BNHS camp to Namdapha - October 27 to November 1st, 2012



Arunachal Pradesh has really smitten me in 2012. Within 6 months of my Eaglenest trip, I am again back in this beautiful region in North-Eastern India. From the North-Western tip of Arunachal bordering Bhutan  in April for hardcore birding, this time it is post monsoon to the south-eastern tip for hardcore insect watching. Despite the long travel, rigours and quite a bit of roughing out, this is one area that really gets me excited. The North-Eastern Himalayan region is one of the two Bio-diversity hotspots in India, the other being the Sahyadris (Western Ghats). It boasts of an amazing array of beautiful flora and fauna, a good number of which is endemic. Post monsoon is not a great time to see birds, but another very interesting activity beckons nature lovers – that is the insect watch. Never mind if this gets thrown in with leeches. We are duly informed that there are 4 different species of leeches – some bio-diversity indeed!
After a long and arduous  overnight bus  journey from Guwahati, our BNHS group finally reaches our first campsite at Gibbon-land. It is a campsite especially set up for us with very basic tent facilities and we are going to spend two exciting  nights here and the remaining three at Deban Forest Rest House about 13 kms deeper into the interior. When I say basic it means bare tents with our own sleeping bags. No electricity, mobile towers, internet or all those frills that city slickers take for granted. We find our way around with our own torches. A mini generator provides us with a bulb during dinner time and a mercury lamp for the few hours of the  light trap. In comparison our accommodation at Deban was sheer luxury! A bed to sleep on and attached baths along with a beautiful view of the Namdapha River!!! However, if you love nature, do not let these lack of what we consider necessities deter you.  It just means that we are rolling in the lap of nature & moreover mercifully spared the hordes of  tourists that throng most of our pristine places with blaring music, loud talk, and inappropriate behaviour. Anyway, the mere mention of leeches and creepy crawlies is enough to keep them away! For more information see the last section on Information and acknowledgements.
This blog will introduce you to the beautiful insect life of the area. The sections are Butterflies, Moths (yes they are beauties too), other interesting & equally beautiful creepy- crawlies  and finally some breathtaking scenes, flora and of course we humans. My Macro lens has been put to full use. Yes it is macro photography throughout the trip. In many cases scientific names have been used; but do not be overwhelmed by them.  This blog is in 2 pages. To go to the next page, please take your cursor on the right side of “Home” at the bottom of each page and click on “Older Posts.”
Come join me as I recapture the wonderful memories of my forays into this enchanting and totally different world & enjoy the cyber - ride!

Beautiful Butterflies

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful creature on earth with a wide variety of colours and markings. North-eastern India after the monsoons is a real haven for meeting butterflies some of which are endemic to the region. at this time of the year, Namdapha is the place that can really give you your fill of butterlies. You focus your lens on one butterfly, lo & behold another beauty has landed near you; where do you give your attention before they both fly away? That is the excitement of this great place. Here's taking you through a few of the many species that I feel privileged to meet. You might find the common names strange. most of them were given by British Army officers and that explains the connection with royalty and the military.

Common Lascar Pantoporia hordonia

Clear Sailor Neptis clinia

Blackvein Sargent - Athyma ranga

Dusky Diadem Ethope himachala

Jungle Glory Thaumantis diores

Plain Earl Tanaciea Jahnu

Dark Archduke (female) Lexias dirtea khasiana

Common Spotted  Flat Celaenorrhinus leucocera

Common Windmill Atrophaneura polyeuctus

Punchinello Zemeros flegyas

Yellow Spot Swift - Polytremis eltola

Popinjay Stibochiona nicea

Small Green Awlet Bibasis amara

Common Mormon papilio polytes

Fulvous Pied Flat Pseudocoledinia dan


Leopard Lacewing Cethosia cyane

Nigger Orsotrionea medus

Golden Sapphire Heliophorus brahma

UNID caterpillar possibly of a butterfly

Golden Sapphire (with wings open) Heliophorus brahma

Common Maplet Chersonesia risa

Jungle Glory with open wings
 Thaumantis diores
Commander Moduza procris

Long-banded Silverline Spindasis Lohita

An endangered species, the White Dragontail Lamproptera megis

Commander Moduza procris

A caterpillar possibly of a butterfly

mudpuddling

Common Peacock Papilio Polytes

Red lacewing Cethosia biblis

White-edged Blue Baron Euthalia Phemius

Large Yeomen Cirrochroa aoris

Another shot of the Clear Sailor Neptis clinia


Small Staff Sargeant Athyma zeroca

Magnificent Moths

The less glamourous cousins of the butterflies and more mis-understood, moths outnumber butterflies 10:1 in India and the world over. The nights were surely reserved for moth watching. Dr. Shubbhalaxmi set up a light trap & we had a real feast of a variety of moths; some sober, some cryptic and some as colourful as butterflies. And not all butterflies are colourful either as you would have seen in the previous section. During our trails we also came across some day flying moths. How do we differentiate between moths and butterflies? Well, the best indicator is the antenna; butterflies have them clubbed, moths do not have them clubbed, instead they may be hairy in some species.
Very limited studies and literature is available on Moths. So Identifying them is that much more challenging. Fortunately, Dr. Shubbha has done her Phd on these charming creatures and was able to help in  giving upto order level ID of  most of them. So you will frequently see the names of the orders as Geometirdae, crambidae etc.
 Here are a selection of some of the misunderstood beauties of the night (&even the day). For more photos, pls visit my Namdapha Moth album on https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/112250072654186799432/albums/5811333086278149105?authkey=CKf-naXlmqD4kAE

One of my real favorites & the first to be seen this is the Giant Uranid Moth; scientific name is Lyssa Zampa

Caterpillar of the Arctiid Moth

Geometridae, Ennominae

Deprenidae - Hooktip Moth

Erebidae, Arctiinae, Syntomoides imaon - Handmaiden Moth

Bombycidae

Geometridae

Crambidae???

Erebidae, Arctiinae, Creatonotos gangis

Arctiidae - Tiger Moth

Erebidae, Arctiinae, Barsine

Geometridae, Ennominae

Crambidae - Grass Moth species

Arctiidae


Zygaenidae, Eterusia aedia



Erebidae,Lymantriinae, Carriola ecnomoda

Lasiocampidae, Taragama siva

Erebidae, Arctiinae, Barsine cruciata

Geometridae, Ennominae

Arctiidae

Limacodidae - Slug Moth

Noctuidae - Asota caricae - White Sptted Asota

Notodontidae, Baradesa sp nr lithosioides (Openwing)

Geometridae, Geometriinae, Eucyclodes gavissima

Geometridae, Ennominae

wooly Bear caterpillar of the Arctiidae moth

UNID caterpillar of Moth

Moth lady Dr. Shubhalaxmi near the light trap

Noctuidae Aganainae Asota egens

Crambidae, Spilomelinae, Glyphodes bivitralis

UNID Moths mating

Bombyciidae

Geometridae, Ennominae, Tanaorhinus sp

Tussock Moth - Langka Lymantridae Numenes siletti

UNID Moth

Geometridae

Caterpillar of the Deathshead Hawkmoth

Arctiidae

Crambidae -Grass Moth


Geometridae, Ennominae

Drepanidae - another Hook tip Moth

Again an Arctiidae - Erebidae, Arctiinae, Barsine orientalis

Geometridae, Ennominae

Erebidae,Lymantriinae

Geometridae

And finally before say goodbye to Namdapha, found this interesting mating pair on a tree in the Forest Rest house at Deban - Notodontidae, Metanastria sp.