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Stonefly

The sun slowly disappeared behind the hills. The colour of the sky changed hues by the minute. I was at the banks of the Cauvery at Galibore sitting under a gigantic Arjuna tree Terminalia arjuna, soaking in the lovely evening.

Soon it became dark and was now the time for the stars to adorn the sky. A small lantern was brought in and placed on the table. In no time the lantern attracted scores of small insects – some familiar, some too small and some that made a brief appearance, not to be seen again.

Among these visitors was one little insect that decided to move about in the area where the lantern cast its light. It was neither unusual nor colourful. On the contrary, it looked like any other insect and was a dull brown except that it had a flatter appearance.

It had black beady eyes, a pair of antennae. A pair of tail like organs (cerci) that was very noticeable attracted my attention. So, it was photography time! I shot several pictures of this very active little insect until I was satisfied with what I got.

Later, when I was reviewing the pictures I realised that I had seen this insect earlier. The previous occasion was also close to the water and I had then identified it as a Stonefly (Order Plecoptera).

Stonefly

Stonefly

Stoneflies, like you may have guessed, spend their early days in water. The aquatic nymphs are in found in streams, along shores of lakes and often under stones. Now you know where they get their name from! The nymphs live in water until it is time for them to emerge as adults. Some of them have a very long nymphal stage –in some species lasting up to 3 years. Most stone flies do not feed as adults and those that do are known to be herbivorous. As adults they are not good fliers and hence seen in the vicinity of water bodies.

Reproducing is the main responsibility of adult insects. It is not different for stoneflies. To this end, the male stonefly has evolved a very interesting way of attracting the female. He taps on the substrate (often waterside vegetation) with his abdomen! Unmated females respond to this by drumming themselves. And the drumming signals are specific to each species!

I will leave you with another interesting aspect of the stoneflies before I close. These insects generally require unpolluted waters to survive. Hence their presence in a water body is (thought to be) an indicator of very good water quality!

Moulting spiders

It was during the latter half of the eighties that I witnessed an extraordinary event; an event that even to this day leaves me marvelling when I think about it!

Seeing a tarantula is an exciting experience in itself; but witnessing one moulting is even more so! I had the fortune of witnessing a tarantula which had just started to moult. The exoskeleton covering the carapace (cephalothorax; the first segment of a spider’s body) had just split from the exoskeleton covering the chelicerae (the organ that houses the fangs).

As I watched, the split widened and eventually the entire carapace separated from the rest of the exoskeleton barring a hinge attaching it to the abdomen. Next, the pedipalps (leg-like appendages next to the fangs) came out one after the other. One by one, the fangs and all the appendages came out! The last to come out was the abdomen as the spider crawled out leaving behind an almost intact skin (exoskeleton)! The tarantula with its new exoskeleton looked beautiful; the colour of the spider was darker and brighter and the fangs were white. The fangs turned to a deep brown as time passed. The ‘fresh’ spider sat still for a long time without any perceptible movement, allowing the new skin to dry.

The whole process took close to two hours as I sat, transfixed, watching it. The unfortunate part of the story is that I did not have a camera those days to document this fascinating natural history event.

All spiders, like other arthropods, have an exoskeleton that is restricting. It has to be shed periodically for the spider to be able to grow. The frequency and the number of times a spider moults, depends on the species, age and sex of the individual.

I had described one such incident earlier involving a grasshopper.

From the time, I rediscovered my interest in spiders in the recent times, I have seen tarantulas several times. I have also come across the shed exoskeleton but I have not been lucky enough to see another tarantula moulting. Nevertheless, I have chanced upon many other spiders doing so and the watching the process continues to fascinate me!

Events like this are happening all around us – in our little gardens or perhaps within our own homes. Look out and you may be rewarded. Here, I leave you with these two images of spiders moulting.

Giant Wood Spider moulting.

Giant Wood Spider moulting.

Ant mimic spider with discarded exoskeleton.

Ant mimic spider with discarded exoskeleton.

The fact that glow worms routinely eat snails is well established. I have on umpteen occasions seen a glow worm making a meal of a snail.

Glow worm feeding on a snail

Till now, however, I had not had an opportunity to actually witness the ‘hunt’. It was during a visit to Old Magazine House, Ganesh Gudi that I got this chance. It was October and the tail end of the monsoon season. The overcast sky and the occasional drizzle were a constant reminder that monsoon was still active.

Despite the drizzle, I stepped out early in the morning, armed with an umbrella, and went down the path leading to the gate of Old Magazine House. I was stopped in my tracks by what I saw on the ground just at the edge of the track – a mass of froth! I was not sure as to what could have created such a large volume of froth.

Froth

I looked around and saw a snail and wondered if the snail could have produced it. But then, I had never heard of snails producing froth.

My attention was drawn to a glow worm moving about actively in the vicinity. There was an adrenalin rush in my system. Was there going to be an interaction between the glow worm and the snail? Will the glow worm attack the snail and devour it? These were questions that were going on in my mind. All these were immensely possible events and I could be a witness to it!

The glow worm came close to the snail, perhaps by using the slime trail that a snail leaves behind. It walked about the snail and followed it for a while.

Glow worm following the snail.

It attacked the snail once and got its mandibles into the soft flesh. The snail retracted and the glow worm was caught between the body of the snail and the hard shell. It quickly wriggled out and wandered about only to come back to the snail. This time it bit the snail on the tentacle. The snail withdrew only that tentacle and did not evert it to its full length for as long as I observed it!

Withdrawn tentacle after being bitten.

The glow worm after wandering about some more, came back and this time climbed on to the snail’s shell and waited there looking for an opportunity to bury its mandibles into the snail. It did that once and the snail withdrew, resulting in a similar situation as before. The glow worm had to let go and eventually it climbed back on to the shell.

Glow worm riding the snail.

Throughout this drama, I noticed the glow worm continuously cleaning itself. For this purpose it used a brush-like organ (pygopod) on the last segment of its abdomen. This organ is used for both locomotion and cleaning.

Pygopod of a glow worm.

The snail moved a bit and stopped. It also withdrew into the shell more or less completely and started producing the froth again.

Snail withdraws into the shell and produces froth.

The glow worm that was riding the snail dismounted and moved about in the vicinity of the snail.

The glow worm walks away.

It eventually settled down in one place and started cleaning itself continuously for a few minutes. After this intense frantic bout of cleaning, it became motionless and led me to suspect that it was paralyzed or even dead.

The watch continued with a hope that something more would transpire. Eventually, the glow worm became active and started walking about. The snail by now had produced enough froth to cover itself and this froth kept the glow worm at bay. As the morning progressed, the incessant drizzle became heavy and gradually thinned the froth. The snail now started moving about and went on its way. The glow worm did not show any interest in the snail and wandered off far away from the snail.

Only when the snail and the glow worm parted ways, leaving in their wake many unanswered questions, did I realize that I had watched this interaction for over an hour!

It was several years ago, on the outskirts of Bangalore, that I first chanced upon a flower; it was hardly like any other flower I had seen before! I was very curious to find out what it was and also understand why the flowers were so differently shaped. There were no answers coming by for a long time after that. It was much later that I stumbled upon the same flower again – this time in Bannerghatta. There were several flowers on the creeper. I photographed it to my heart’s content. Rummaging through some books in my library, I finally managed to identify the flower as Ceropegia candelabrum.

Ceropegia candelabrum

Ceropegia candelabrum

Ceropegia candelabrum

Ceropegia candelabrum cluster

More recently, while on a holiday in the Western Ghats I was taken on a short trek through some beautiful forest. We saw some butterflies as we went along the partly shaded trail until we stopped and I was pointed to a slender creeper with flowers on it. It was another species of lantern flower – Ceropegia fantastica - a fantastic flower indeed!

Ceropegia fantastica

Ceropegia fantastica

Armed with the identity of these plants, I went about searching for some information on this group of curious plants and learnt some interesting aspects.

The genus Ceropegia has about 200 species and occurs largely in India, south Asia, parts of Australia and Africa with South Africa being home to the largest diversity of Ceropegias. In India itself some 51 species have been recorded hitherto; Himalayas and the peninsula seem to be the ‘hot spots’ with most species occurring in these regions. Of these, over 40 are considered to be threatened, rare or endangered – and I had seen 2 very rare plants!

Most species of the genus Ceropegia are twiners while some are herbs and are erect. The structure of the flowers of all species of the genus Ceropegia is basically the same. The flower, as in the images above, is a long tube with the petals, in most species, fused at the tip creating little windows. This structure is perhaps due to their very interesting strategy for achieving pollination.

I had some time ago written about the Birthworts wherein I had discussed various interesting aspects about them. This included their strategy to achieve pollination. Though Lantern flowers belong to a completely different family, the strategy used is very similar to that of the birthworts.

As in the birthworts, the Lantern flowers too have small downward pointing hair along the tube. This deters the pollinators (flies) from turning around and leaving the flower. This therefore acts as a trap, albeit a temporary one, for the pollinators. As the pollinators move about in the bulb at the bottom of the flower, they pick up pollen. As the flower ages and begins to wilt, the hair lining the tube of the flower droops or falls off allowing the pollinator to fly out. As the pollinator enters another flower, pollination is effected.

It is very interesting that two different families have managed to use the same strategy to ensure that their flowers are pollinated. The bizarre looking flowers and the pollination strategy make the Lantern flower very interesting.

So, when you do chance upon a Ceropegia, just let it be, appreciate and admire the beauty of these rare and endangered plants.

Fungi are found all around us! They perform an extremely crucial role in the environment – much more than what meets the eye. We often do not realise this because we don’t see them often. Apart from being nature’s recyclers, fungi also nurture life. To be able to do this, they need to reproduce and disperse their spores.

In fact, in the monsoon and post-monsoon months, which are perhaps the best times to look out for fungi, we can see them growing on the ground, on tree-trunks, on termite mounds, on rotting logs, etc.

During this season, we see them putting forth their fruiting bodies (which contain spores). These fruiting bodies come in an amazing array of shapes, sizes and colours. Fungi also use different mechanisms to disperse their spores. I have earlier written about the Stinkhorn Mushroom where the dispersal mechanism is explained.

Here, I am going to introduce you to two very interesting fungi. Both of them are dependent on rain to disperse their spores!

Earth Star

I visited a friend a couple of days ago in Bangalore on an invitation to see the different fungi growing in his garden. Little did I realise that he would point towards a partly shrivelled and at the same time very different looking fungus. This was on the ground at the base of a thicket lining the path leading to the house.

This instantly reminded me of what I had seen and photographed during a routine visit to the River Tern Lodge, Bhadra during August 2010. While walking about the campus, I happened to see a strange star-shaped object amid leaf litter at the base of a tree. Soon, I realised that it was a fungus. On closer observation, it was apparent that the bulb in the middle of the ‘star’ had a small hole. When I gently touched the bulb out of curiosity, a column of fine black dust (spores) came out. Later, I learnt that each time a drop of water falls on the bulb, the spores are released due to the pressure exerted by the drop of water and then carried away by the wind effecting dispersal over a larger area!

Earth Star_MG_1396

Earth Star Geastrum sp., River Tern Lodge, Bhadra

Earthstars are closely related to the Puffball fungi which use a similar mechanism to disperse spores.

Bird’s Nest Fungus

A large silk cotton tree on Infantry Road in the heart of Bangalore had a very severe infestation of borer beetles. It was a very weak tree and was brought down by the authorities for fear of it falling down due to strong winds.

The first monsoon that followed the felling of the tree turned out to be a treat for me. I used to inspect the tree stump and its vicinity as a matter of routine through that monsoon season and a little after. Several different kinds of mushrooms grew on the stump and eventually wilted away. One species of fungus caught my fancy – it was very different from anything that I had seen before!

Each individual fungus was a tiny stalked cup containing 3-4 egg-like structures; each one by itself was insignificant and easy to miss. However, as a cluster it was impressive. Well over a dozen of these little cups, complete with little ‘eggs’ in them was quite a sight. This resemblance to a bird’s nest is what gives this fungus its common name – Bird’s Nest Fungus.

Bird's Nest Fungi

Bird's Nest Fungi, Cyathus sp., Bangalore

Each ‘egg’ is a capsule that contains spores. The mechanism used to dislodge the ‘egg’ is very interesting indeed. The ‘eggs’ are propelled out of the cup when a drop of water falls into the ‘nest’ with sufficient force. If the angle and force of the water droplet is right, the ‘egg’ can be ejected to considerable distances. In some species each ‘egg’ has a string attached. When it is projected out of the cup, the string snags on to any stem / branch it encounters and thereby attaching the ‘egg’ to it. And the Bird’s Nest Fungus has achieved spore dispersal! The spores then germinate in the new place and start the process all over again.

It is truly amazing to see and learn about the extent to which the fungi have gone to devise mechanisms to ensure that spores are dispersed and that the next generation of fungi continue to perform their role in the ecosystem.

Crab Spiders

Bees are very active insects as we all are aware. Be it while on their hive or when they are visiting a flower, they are abuzz with activity. However, on one occasion, I saw a bee sitting on a flower for a protracted period of time without signs of any activity. This inactivity on part of the bee was very intriguing to me. When I got close, I realised why. The bee had become a victim of a beautifully camouflaged Crab Spider. This is how many of us have perhaps seen our first crab spider.

Crab Spider Thomisus sp. with a bee

Crab Spiders are a large and interesting family of spiders. There are over 2000 species world over belonging to the family Thomisidae. Their resemblance and behaviour to crabs is quite pronounced in many while not so in some others. The first 2 pairs of legs are very well developed in all crab spiders. They hold these legs in a manner that is very characteristic of Crab spiders. Their movement is also reminiscent of crabs – they can move sideways and backwards too.

Being such a diverse group it is only natural to expect them to occupy a variety of habitats with ample variation in their lifestyles. Among crab spiders one can find those that live on the ground, and those that live on plants (grass, bark, leaf, and flower). And, depending on where they live, they exhibit an interesting array of adaptations suitable for their survival.

Crab spiders, like all other spiders, can produce silk. But they do not build webs for the purpose of catching prey; they instead rely on camouflage and stealth.

Crab Spider Thomisus sp.

While some, as we have seen, hide in flowers and take on the colour of the flower, others merge with their backgrounds. There are still others which have taken this to another level altogether – they resemble objects in their environment.

I have seen several species of crab spiders to date. However, the most fascinating of them all are the ones I witnessed while on a trail at the Kabini River Lodge and another at the River Tern Lodge, Bhadra. It so happens that both of them were Bird-dropping Crab Spiders. They sat with their legs pulled in, looking like a lump; their warty appearance enhancing their resemblance to a bird-dropping. It is thought that they make a meal of flies and other insects that may get attracted to a “bird-dropping”.

Bird-dropping Crab Spider Phrynarachne sp.

The one from River Tern Lodge was coloured with various shades of brown.

Bird-dropping Crab Spider Phrynarachne sp.

In the more recent sighting of one at Kabini, the spider slowly crawled from under the leaf to the upper surface of the leaf. This was largely similar to the previous one but with legs coloured black and white, reinforcing the “bird-dropping” effect.

However, the one that I happened to see during a visit to Coorg completely took me by surprise. It turned out to be an Ant-mimic Crab Spider! I had only seen Ant-mimic spiders earlier, all of which were jumping spiders.

Ant-mimic Crab Spider Amyciaea sp.

Crab spiders occur in a variety of environs. Wherever they are found, they quietly control populations of other little creatures. So, try and encourage them to be part of your garden to begin with – it may be well worth the effort!

If you have already done so, the next time you stroll through the garden make sure that you look carefully at the flowers. For all you know you may see a beautiful little crab spider lurking amid the blossoms. More crab spider pics.

Life in urban areas, for that matter, anywhere, can never be boring if you so choose. Well, I am not referring to the innumerable choices for recreation that are available.

One fascinating pastime could be to start looking for the myriad organisms that share the space with us; we often don’t even pay heed to them. Spotting them and learning about them can be very interesting indeed. Most times, when we see one of these organisms, fear stemming from ignorance takes over. This blinds our thinking and numbs our capability to appreciate other fellow denizens.

This reminds me of my sister, who ran out of the bathroom one morning screaming loudly. After settling down, she told us how she was shocked by the presence of a large lizard on the wall. I went in to check and was pleasantly surprised to see a very special lizard indeed – a Termite Hill Gecko!

Adult Termite Hill Gecko

Adult Termite Hill Gecko

For as long as I can remember, the Termite Hill Gecko Hemidactylus triedrus has been an integral part of my house. Like many of the other geckos it is nocturnal. However, in my residence, I have almost always seen the Termite Hill Gecko active much later in the night than the other commonly seen geckos; like the Brook’s Gecko so frequently seen in homes.

The adult Termite Hill Gecko is a large lizard though not quite as big as the Tokay Gecko. The Termite Hill Gecko grows to a maximum of about 7 inches from tip of snout to tail tip. This is also a gecko with black and white dots forming bands making it look very handsome; this and the larger size making it easy to identify. The large head is also quite characteristic.

Like all other geckos these too have the ability to drop their tails only to re-grow the same eventually.

Termite Hill Gecko with re-grown tail

Termite Hill Gecko with re-grown tail

Found over parts of Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, the Termite Hill Gecko is shy and nocturnal in habit. Perhaps, these geckos feed primarily on cockroaches when they take up residence in human dwellings. Away from an urban setting, they are probably at home under large stones or in crevices and burrows. They feed on a variety of insects which could include grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and of course termites. Though they are known to be frequently found in termite mounds, I have seen one peep from a termite mound only once in all these years…no points for guessing why the lizard gets its name!

I am leaving you with the chocolate brown and yellow banded young Termite Hill Gecko; the yellow bands becoming white only on the tail. They are prettier than the adults and are absolutely charming little creatures!

Young Termite Hill Gecko

Young Termite Hill Gecko

PS : Mid last week my mother called me to say that she found a ‘Lakshmi palli’ (Termite Hill Gecko) in the bathroom and that it was not moving at all. So, I suggested that she pick it up and leave it in a safe place so that it could go away when it decides to. However, in the evening, when I went home it was dead and had attracted ants. So, we decided to leave it in the garden. By morning it had disappeared. I would rather not guess what happened to it.

Mantisfly

I chanced upon a very weird insect up in the tree some 10 ft from the ground. I managed to get a record shot before I even tried to get closer to it. I slowly pulled the drooping lower end of the branch down as much as it would yield to get some close-up shots of the insect in question. This was way back in 2007 while visiting the Dubare Elephant Camp.

Doing macro photography with one hand is always challenging. More so when you are holding the branch which is resisting being pulled! When the subject was close enough, I managed to get some pictures. While looking through the viewfinder, what struck me most was the naked neck with several folds to it! In some sense it reminded me of a vulture! Later, when I sent the picture to Shyamal, he identified it as a Mantisfly (sometimes also referred to as mantidfly).

Mantisfly from Dubare

Mantisfly from Dubare

It was in recent times, when I happened to see a mantisfly in my garden, that I was reminded about the above incident and the antics that went in to photographing it. This took me by surprise since I had not seen one in all the years that the garden has existed. I was on the terrace of my house when I saw the mantisfly. It was perched at eye-level on a leaf and not particularly disturbed by the interest that was being showered upon it. It co-operated long enough for me to take my pictures. In fact, it was still there when I had finished shooting and had packed my equipment.

Mantisfly from my garden, Bangalore

Mantisfly from my garden, Bangalore

The second incident renewed my interest in this creature and what I learnt about it was very interesting.

The name mantisfly is a complete misnomer because it is neither a mantis nor a fly! Mantisflies have characters typical of two different insects, primary one being their strong resemblance to praying mantids. Their first pair of legs is very well developed. The triangular head with large eyes also strongly resemble the praying mantids. The other resemblance is their wings which are characteristic of lacewings. In fact, mantisflies are relatives of lacewings, antlions and owlflies (all belonging to order Neuroptera).

As adults, mantisflies feed upon a variety of small insects. They use their well developed first pair of legs to capture prey much like a praying mantis. However, it is the larvae of the mantisfly that has an interesting life style.

The larvae are also predators. They feed on a variety of things that include beetle larvae, flies, bees, etc. However, the habit of the larvae of some species to get on to an unwary spider and wait until she builds an egg case to surreptitiously enter it before it is completed is very interesting. It later makes a meal of the eggs! If the spider that the mantisfly larva is riding happens to be a male, it will wait for the male to get close to a female for mating before moving to the female which would eventually make an egg case!

Very little is known about the 400 or so species of mantisflies in the world. Further research about these creatures would perhaps throw up some very interesting facts about their lifestyles.

A trip to Nagaland

The very thought of going to Nagaland was exciting! So, when I was asked if I would like to go there, it was very difficult for me to resist the temptation. Before I realised, the date for departure from Bangalore to Dimapur was staring me in the face.

The trip to Nagaland during April-May 2012 was to primarily look at butterflies. Of course, anything else that came by was a bonus. Here is a very brief trip report.

We (Vidya Venkatesh & I) stayed with Mr. Khrieni Meru and his family at our first destination – Khonoma. We were very well taken care of. The accommodation provided was basic, clean and comfortable. The food was tasty. The month of May is hot in most parts of the country. But, once we headed out into the hills from Dimapur, the weather was absolutely splendid – we had to use blankets to keep warm in the night!

A view from the Meru residence.

Though we did see a few butterflies while at Khonoma, the rain and cold weather on the first couple of days was a letdown. The highlights were the Great Blackvein, the Mongol, and the Veined Labyrinth.

Great Blackvein.

As planned, we moved to Dzuleke after staying in Khonoma for 3 days. Dzuleke, not very far from Khonoma, is a small hamlet in a valley completely surrounded by towering hills – an absolutely splendid place. The forests looked beautiful and full of promise.

The forest around Dzuleke.


We stayed in a guest house located not far from a stream. The accommodation was again very basic.

Our place of stay at Dzuleke.

Our hosts were very helpful and ensured a comfortable stay. The food was tasty and always piping hot, no matter what time of the day we returned from field work.

During the time spent in the field we also saw various other organisms that included scorpionflies, bugs, fungi etc.

A scorpionfly.

A bug.

One of the many fungi that we saw.

While at Dzuleke, we spent a lot of time walking on the road leading to Benrue. There was a good amount of butterfly activity along the road. The road itself was not in any great state. The road was dotted with potholes of all shapes and sizes which collected rain water. This attracted several butterflies for mud-puddling. But the number of butterflies we saw dead due to road kills (in spite of very few vehicles plying the road) was saddening. This included the Blue Peacock, Windmills, Stately Nawab, Spectacle and Four-bar Swordtails.

A rare and endangered butterfly - deNiceville's Windmill.

Pictures of some of the butterflies from our Nagaland visit can be seen here.

Waterscorpion

A creature that breathes with its ‘tail’?! Yes, there is one such – the Waterscorpion.

The name is misleading. As it suggests, it is not a scorpion that lives in water; but, an insect, a bug that lives in water! Waterscorpions get their name due to their superficial appearance of some members to scorpions.

Adult waterscorpions breathe with the help of their tail – two filaments sticking to each other that form the siphon. When they stay under water they keep the siphon above so that they can breathe, something akin to a snorkel.

Waterscorpions are essentially bugs. Though they have wings and can fly, they prefer walking at the edge of a water body or amidst aquatic vegetation.The first time I saw one was in a similar setting – well camouflaged, at the edge of the water and submerged. It was just deep enough to ensure that the tip of the tail was out of water. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, I could not capture it as it was. I persuaded the bug out of water briefly and got a few quick pictures. Even by the time I got a couple of frames it walked back into the water. This creature looked like a typical bug with a tail.

Waterscorpion Nepa sp. having a 'scorpion-like' appearance.

More recently, while on a nature trail at Bannerghatta, I saw yet another which resembled a stick insect. It sat on a stone at the water’s edge; the location posing a challenge for photography.

Waterscorpion Ranatra sp. resembling a stick insect.

Waterscorpions use their well developed first pair of legs resembling pincers of a scorpion for grasping prey. Being insects, they have only 3 pairs of legs unlike the scorpions that have 4 pairs. Like all bugs, waterscorpions also have piercing and sucking mouthparts. However, in waterscorpions the mouthpart is short and beak-like.

These are very slow moving insects. However when it comes to catching prey, their movements can be quite fast. Their prey consists of aquatic organisms like small fish, tadpoles, and other insects. After catching the prey they inject it with an enzyme which digests the innards of the prey. The waterscorpion then sucks the contents leaving behind the outer shell of the prey! Waterscorpions are in-turn food to a variety of aquatic organisms like fish.

Having adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, they also breed in water. Adult waterscorpions lay eggs on aquatic vegetation just near the water surface. Eggs are also laid in the mud or decomposing vegetation at times. The young ones are also aquatic and look like miniatures of the adult. They grow as they moult – usually five times before they are adults.

There are over 150 species of waterscorpions in the world. They are better represented over the warmer parts of the world. All of them are placed in a family that is exclusive to these aquatic bugs. In India, we have representatives of both the sub-families of waterscorpions, the above pictures being representative of them.

So, the next time when you are near a water body look out for the usually well camouflaged waterscorpions in the shallow area and also close to aquatic vegetation. For all you know you may get lucky and see one!

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