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What

Sri Lanka White-Eye Zosterops ceylonensis

Observer

dushylarge

Date

June 2, 2017 10:08 AM +0530

Description

Endemic Sri Lanka white-eye, Zosterops ceylonensis, found only in the hill country feeds on insects and nectar. Near threatened status.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

May 30, 2017 10:47 AM +0530

Description

Hedyotis dendroides, Rubiaceae, is a shrub endemic to the montane zone Sri Lanka. This plant was seen in Horton Plains.

It is an example of heterostyly. These images are of the short-styled form.

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

dushylarge

Date

May 30, 2017 12:52 PM +0530

Description

Hedyotis dendroides, Rubiaceae, is a shrub endemic to the montane zone of Sri Lanka. This plant was seen in Horton Plains.

It is an example of heterostyly. This image shows the long styled form.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

May 30, 2017 10:07 AM +0530

Description

Rhododendron arboreum subsp. zeylanicum, Ericaceae, is endemic to the upper montane zone of Sri Lanka. This was seen at Horton Plains.

Subsp. zeylanicum has leaves with srongly recurved margins.

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

dushylarge

Date

May 30, 2017 01:04 PM +0530

Place

Sri Lanka (Google, OSM)

Description

Cyathea crinita, Cyatheaceae, is endemic to southern Western Ghats, India and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka it is found at about 1500-2000 m. This group was seen at Horton Plains national park.

Reaching about 12 m, this is Sri Lanka's tallest tree fern. One of its diagnostic characters to distinguish it from other Cyathea species in Sri Lanka are the leaf scars on the trunk (these are visible in the image).

This species is endangered.

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

dushylarge

Date

May 31, 2017 10:39 AM +0530

Description

Exacum trinervium, Gentianaceae, is endemic to Sri Lanka. According to the Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon this variable species has 4 subspecies (however, they are not accepted by Plant List); this is subsp ritigalensis.

Photos / Sounds

What

Trellis-Vine Pergularia daemia

Observer

dushylarge

Date

February 27, 2017 01:41 PM +0530

Description

Pergularia daemia, Apocynaceae, is a climber from Old World tropics, including Sri Lanka. Its parts contain toxic chemicals such as cardenolides.

In dry coastal areas of Sri Lanka, it is a major food plant (leaves only) of the Plain Tiger butterfly larva, Danaus chrysippus chrysippus (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

In Ayurveda, leaves and flowers are used for treating snakebite.

Photos / Sounds

What

Crown Flower Calotropis gigantea

Observer

dushylarge

Date

February 27, 2017 04:19 PM +0530

Description

Calotropis gigantea, Apocynaceae, is a shrub from Asia, including Sri Lanka. Its leaves exude a latex containing cardiac glycosides.

In Sri Lanka, it is the main food plant (leaves and flowers) of the Plain Tiger butterfly larva, Danaus chrysippus chrysippus (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

Roots, flowers, stem and latex are used in Ayurveda for treating a variety of conditions and illnesses, including snakebite.

Photos / Sounds

What

Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus ssp. chrysippus

Observer

dushylarge

Date

March 1, 2017 02:12 PM +0530

Description

Plain Tiger, Danaus chrysippus chrysippus, wingspan 60-75mm. This is a male (see sex brand on underside of hindwing - a black patch with a white centre).

It is widespread in dry zone coastal areas of Sri Lanka. The larva feeds on plants of the Apocynaceae many of which have toxic chemicals, hence its (and the adult's) poisonous nature. The main food plant is Calotropis gigantea, but, according to the Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016), in dry coastal areas it also feeds on Pergularia daemia and Pentatropis capensis as often as on C. gigantea. See my other observations on C. gigantea and P. daemia.

This butterfly is probing a Cardiospermum halicacabum flower (see second uncropped image).

Photos / Sounds

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What

Indian Grey Mongoose Urva edwardsii

Observer

dushylarge

Date

March 2, 2017 10:58 AM +0530

Description

Indian grey mongoose, Herpestes edwardsii, Herpestidae, from West Asia and the Indian subcontinent, including Sri Lanka. Found throughout the island, more common in the northern dry zone

Photos / Sounds

What

Lesser False Vampire Bat Megaderma spasma

Observer

dushylarge

Date

August 19, 2016 12:38 PM +0530

Description

Greater false vampire bat, Megaderma lyra, roosting in the water tower at Popham’s Arboretum, Dambulla, Sri Lanka. Widespread from the Indian Subcontinent to SE Asia.

Photos / Sounds

What

Lavender Sorrel Oxalis barrelieri

Observer

dushylarge

Date

November 8, 2016 09:37 AM +0530

Description

Oxalis barrelieri, Barrelier’s woodsorrel, Oxalidaceae, is a small herb from tropical America naturalised in Sri Lanka in the hill country.

It is a butterfly nectar plant (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

Photos / Sounds

What

Orange Jasmine Murraya paniculata

Observer

dushylarge

Date

November 6, 2016 12:50 PM +0530

Description

Murraya paniculata, Orange Jessamine, Rutaceae, is a wild citrus relative from Sri Lanka, India and SE Asia. It is a shrub or small tree with highly scented flowers.

It is a butterfly nectar plant (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

Bark, roots, leaves and flowers are used in Ayurveda medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including hypertension.

Photos / Sounds

What

Nettleleaf Velvetberry Stachytarpheta urticifolia

Observer

dushylarge

Date

October 26, 2016 07:28 AM +0530

Description

Stachytarpheta urticifolia, Blue Rat-tail, Verbenaceae, is a herb from tropical America naturalised in Sri Lanka. Flowers open only a few at a time on the long spike.

It is a nectar source for butterflies (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

I have observed an Acherontia lachesis (Bee Robber) moth larva devouring the leaves of this plant.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

October 21, 2016 11:18 AM +0530

Description

Atalantia ceylanica, Rutaceae, is a wild citrus species from Sri Lanka and S India. Its flowers and leaves and scented and it produces small fruit which turn purple when ripe.

Its leaves are a larval food plant of several butterfly species, Blue Mormon (Papilio polymnestor parinda), Common Mormon (Papilio polytes romulus), Lime Blue (Chilades lajus lajus) and Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus demoleus); it is also a butterfly nectar source (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

Its leaves, bark and flowers are used in Ayurveda medicine.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

October 26, 2016 08:09 AM +0530

Description

Psiadia ceylanica, Asteraceae, is a shrub from only Sri Lanka and South India. Found at higher elevations in grassland and scrub, it flowers year round.

It is a nectar source for butterflies (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

Photos / Sounds

What

Obscure Morning Glory Ipomoea obscura

Observer

dushylarge

Date

October 26, 2016 09:06 AM +0530

Description

Ipomoea obscura, Lesser glory, Convolvulaceae, is a slender vine from tropical Africa and Asia, including Sri Lanka, generally found in disturbed places.

Its leaves are used in Ayurveda medicine to treat aphthous infections.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

October 21, 2016 10:50 AM +0530

Description

Solanum violaceum, Indian nightshade, Solanaceae, is a shrub from Sri Lanka and India. Its flowers are buzz-pollinated by bees.

The edible, but bitter, fruits are usually collected from the wild for turning into curry.

Photos / Sounds

What

Bush Plum Carissa spinarum

Observer

dushylarge

Date

October 21, 2016 10:25 AM IDT

Description

Carissa spinarum, Apocynaceae, is a small tree from Sri Lanka, India and Myanmar, found in overgrazed or disturbed vegetation. It is armed with stout spines. Its unscented flowers are eaten by macaques. Its fruit turn black when ripe.

It is a nectar source for butterflies (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

The ripe fruits are eaten fresh and roots are used in Ayurveda for treatment of pains.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

October 21, 2016 11:08 AM +0530

Description

Rotheca serrata, syn Clerodendrum serratum, Lamiaceae, is a shrub from Sri Lanka, India and SE Asia. In Sri Lanka it is found in wet low country and up to mid elevations.

Roots are used in Ayurveda medicine to treat malarial fever.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cerulean Flax-Lily Dianella ensifolia

Observer

dushylarge

Date

October 21, 2016 10:47 AM +0530

Place

Sri Lanka (Google, OSM)

Description

Dianella ensifolia, Harebell, Asphodelaceae, is a herb with sword-like leaves and glossy blue berries found in montane woodlands of Sri Lanka. Also in Mozambique, Madagascar and India.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

February 13, 2017 03:44 PM +0530

Description

Erythrina fusca, Coral bean, Fabaceae, is the only Erythrina species native to both the Old and New Worlds, its wide distribution attributed to dispersal by water. In Sri Lanka it is found along rivers and its conservation status is near threatened.

It is a a food plant (leaves only) of the Chestnut Streaked Sailor (Neptis jumbah nalanda) and Common Sailor (Neptis hylas varmona) butterfly larvae (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

The bark, roots and seed are used in Ayurveda medicine.

Photos / Sounds

What

Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis

Observer

dushylarge

Date

November 29, 2016 02:49 PM +0530

Description

Male oriental magpie-robin, Copsychus saularis, from the Indian subcontinent, including Sri Lanka, and SE Asia. It's an Old World flycatcher (Muscicapidae). It's a delightful songster and was once, sadly, kept as a cagebird for this reason. It has a similar shape to the European robin, but has a much longer tail which is usually kept cocked upright. The female has less bright plumage with a greyish cast.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Giant Velvet Mites Genus Dinothrombium

Observer

dushylarge

Date

November 21, 2016 07:11 AM +0530

Description

This is tentatively identified as Dinothrombium gigas. It is an arachnid about 2-3cm long seen in Sri Lanka in sandy soil in the dry zone, usually after rain.

Please see the discussion below about this identification. Any comments and a definitive identification are welcome.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Lesser False Vampire Bat Megaderma spasma

Observer

dushylarge

Date

December 9, 2016 12:38 PM +0530

Description

Greater false vampire bat, Megaderma lyra, roosting in the water tower at Popham’s Arboretum, Dambulla, Sri Lanka. Widespread from the Indian Subcontinent to SE Asia.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

November 19, 2016 03:44 PM +0530

Description

Acacia planifrons (alternative name Vachellia planifrons), Jungle Nail, Fabaceae. A small armed tree, about 7m tall, with a typical flat crown from South India and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, it is restricted to the arid sandy areas of Mannar Island and the coast opposite on the mainland.

The tree has two types of thorn at the base of petioles, two short somewhat curved thorns or two long straight thorns (both can be seen in the image). The pods curl into spirals or rings.

This is a butterfly nectar plant (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

Please note that Acacia planifrons is the current accepted name for this species. See http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/ild-33022.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

August 7, 2016 12:49 PM +0530

Place

Sri Lanka (Google, OSM)

Description

Eulophia epidendraea, Orchidaceae, is a terrestrial orchid with an inflorescence up to 100cm tall. It is found usually on rocks in small patches of leaf litter. I observed these growing in the full sun. This orchid is supposed to be rather rare.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Aroma Dichrostachys cinerea

Observer

dushylarge

Date

November 21, 2016 09:51 AM +0530

Description

Dichrostachys cinerea, Sickle bush, Fabaceae. A thorny shrub forming thickets in the dry and arid zones of Sri Lanka. It is also found in other drier parts of Asia, including India, and Africa.

In Sri Lanka, this is the main food plant of the African Babul Blue butterfly, Azanus jesous gamra (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

Bark, leaves, roots and seeds have many uses in Ayurveda medicine. It is an abortifacient, diuretic, analgesic and laxative.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

dushylarge

Date

January 11, 2017 03:13 PM +0530

Description

Crateva adansonii subsp. odora, the caper tree, Capparaceae. C. adansonii has a wide distribution from tropical Africa to Asia. There are four accepted subspecies; subsp odora is from Sri Lanka, India and Myanmar. In Sri Lanka, it is found at low altitude in dry woodland and scrub.

The tree generally blooms when leafless and produces white or creamy yellow flowers in inflorescences at the end of twigs. The flower has four clawed petals and 18-22 stamens. The ellipsoid ovary is on a long gynophore which is 3-5cm long.

In Sri Lanka, this is the only known food plant of the Chocolate Albatross butterfly (Appias lyncida taprobana) and one of the food plants of Striped Albatross (Appias libythea libythea), Great Orange Tip (Hebomoia glaucippe ceylonica) and Psyche (Leptosia nina nina) butterflies (van der Poorten & van der Poorten, 2016, The Butterfly Fauna of Sri Lanka).

Root and stem bark and leaves are used for treating urinary problems in Ayurveda medicine.

Photographed at Royal Botanic Gardens Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Bee Robber Acherontia lachesis

Observer

dushylarge

Date

November 30, 2016 07:40 AM +0530

Description

The larva of Acherontia lachesis, Greater death's head hawk moth, feeding on leaves of Stachytarpheta urticifolia (Verbenaceae). This larva was nearly 10cm long. Soon after I photographed it, it moved up into a large Lantana camara shrub and disappeared from sight.

A native moth of Sri Lanka, India and SE Asia.

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