Monday, October 31, 2011

තලහොයා[Thalagoya]/Land Monitor(Varanus bengalensis)

Land monitor is widely distributed throughout the country from sea level to mid hills up to about 500m a.s.l. It is diurnal and usually active after having got it body temperature up by basking in the morning. It spends the night in tree holes, crevices and even in the ceilings of the houses. Juveniles mainly feed on insects while adults prey on frogs, small mammals (rats, squirrels), snails, insects, grubs, crabs, eggs, etc. Its flesh is a delicacy among indigenous Vedda people. Also other jungle villagers hunt these lizards for its flesh which is believed to be easy to digest and hence good for pregnant women and invalids. Fighting among males during breeding season take place in ‘bipedal fashion’ can be occurred and it is believed that they probably breed all the year round and lays 10-30 eggs in a burrow in the ground, in termite mounds or inside decaying logs.

Friday, October 28, 2011

තල්[Tal]/Palmyra palm (Borassus flabellifer)

Introduced from India in unknown period of the history and cultivated and naturally spreading in dry coastal areas of North, North, East and South-Eastern part of the country including Mannar Island. Almost all part of the tree are used extensively for various purposes such as timber, leaves for thatching and as olas for writing,  inflorescence tapped for sugar and toddy,  fruit edible, etc. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tawny coster ( Acraea violae)

Common butterfly of the Sri Lanka found in open areas and scrub lands throughout the island, whole the year round. But it is much common below 2000ft a.s.l. Tawny coster is the only species of the family Acraeidae large number of butterfly species of which are found mainly in the Africa. Its larva feeds on varies plants of family Cucurbitaceae and Passifloraceae such as Delbatu(Passiflora foetida), Hodala (Adenia hodala), etc.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Impatiens acaulis

Locally common Impatiens species on wet rocks and stream banks of hill country forests (750-2050 m a.s.l.). Also found in South India.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

රෑන ගිරවා/මාල ගිරවා [Raana Girawa/Mala Girawa]/Rose-ringed Parakeet(Pstittacula krameri)

Very common breeding resident of low lands and foot hills of the island. It has a characteristic fast and noisy flight often in flocks. Rose-ringed parakeet feeds on fruits, buds and seeds and does considerable damages to ripening paddy. The breeding seasons is from November to June and nest usually a hole in a dead tree or decaying palm trunk.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

අරලිය[Araliya]/Frangipani/Temple tree (Plumeria rubra)

A native of Central America from Mexico to Panama. Introduced during some unknown period of the history and cultivate in home gardens and especially in temple premises since flowers are widely used as temple offerings. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Common paddy field frog/Vel madiya (Fejervarya. cf syhadrensis [Fejervarya limnocharis])

Common paddy field frog can be distinguished from similar two other Fejervarya species by the absence of the longitudinal ridges on the dorsal area of the body and having more or less round tubercles instead. It is one of the commonest frog of the island found in paddy fields, streams, ponds and such other water bodies. However sometimes it encounters even far away from the water. It is distributed in both wet and dry zones of the country below about 1400m a.s.l

Sunday, October 16, 2011

වෙල් රුක් අත්තන[Wel-ruk-attana]/Golden trumpet/Yellow allamanda(Allamanda cathartica)

Widely cultivated plant in home gardens and also naturalized in the wet zone and in the hill country. It is a native plant of Brazil and introduced as an ornamental plant due to its attractive yellow flowering throughout the year.  Variety hendersonii bear large flowers with about 10cm across while it is about 6cm of the other. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hedge Hopper (Baracus vittatus vittatus)

Common butterfly of patana grasslands above 1500m a.s.l.  Ormiston (Ormiston W. The Butterflies of Ceylon 1924) especially mentions it as a common insect on the Horton plains where above picture was also taken.  However he further says that it is occasionally taken along roadsides of Haldummulla (3000ft) and found common at Galaha near Kandy.  According to him those taken below 4500ft are usually smaller than those from the highest elevations. It is not uncommon in  Sinharaja (Guide to Sinharaja - IUCN) and some other lowland wet zone forest areas (personal observations). No records available on its food plant.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

තල[Tala]/Talipot palm(Corypha umbraculifera)

Leaves of Talipot palm tree have been using for writing since ancient times and it has a very restricted distribution (1) and it is always associated with human habitations. So it is believed that it was introduced to the Sri Lanka from India for the purpose of documenting Buddhist sacred text and other writings. Flowering occurs when the tree is around 40 years old and most probably all the trees in the vicinity blooms with flowers simultaneously possibly because they are of same age due to seed crop of same parent tree. Other than for writing, leaves use for thatching, as umbrellas and for basket and mat weavings.               

(1) According to the Flora of Ceylon Vol 14 its distribution is limited to the narrow belt bordering northern wet and intermediate lowlands [Molagoda, Warakapola, Mirigama, Gampaha Mathale, Gampola, Galewela] and the eastern intermediate lowlands [Badulla, Ranwala, Godakawela]

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Scarlet Basker (Urothemis signata signata)

Common dragonfly from lowlands to lower hills. Found in weedy tanks, paddy fields, streams and marsh lands.

Friday, October 7, 2011

වල් ලූනු[Wal lunu]/Barbados lily (Hippeastrum puniceum)

Native plant of tropical America. It is cultivated in home gardens as an ornamental plant from lowlands to mid hills. Also occurred as an escaped and naturalized plant in waste lands and roadsides. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

වී කුරුල්ලා[Wee Kurulla]/Scaly-breasted Munia/Spotted Munia (Lonchura puntulata)

Very common resident bird of grasslands, gardens and paddy fields throughout the island. It lives as flocks of about ten birds and feeds on grass seeds and paddy. Scaly-breasted Munia breeds throughout the year though most nests are found in the period of October to May. The nest is a ball of grass blades in trees or shrubs. Thorny trees like lime or orange and sometime areca palm flowers are much favored nesting sites.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

කටු කිතුල්[Katu Kithul] (Oncosperma fasciculatum)

An endemic palm with ‘black compressed spined trunk’ unlike much common Kithul palm (Caryota urens). It grows in wet lowland hilly areas such as foothills of Peak wilderness, Sinharaja, knuckles range etc. Usually found in steep rocky outcrops as clusters of trees.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Common Cerulean (Jamides celeno tissama)

A Common butterfly of the island found in all climatic zones throughout the year.  W.Ormiston described unusual habit of male Common cerulean of taking up a position for days, and attacking every butterfly of about its own size that passes (The Butterflies of Ceylon Ormiston W. 1924). Larva of Common cerulean feeds on Gal-karanda(Pongamia pinnata), Ashoka (Saraca asoca), Gas - Kela (Butea monosperma) and Olinda (Abrus precatorius) (An Illustrated guide to Butterflies of Ceylon – Rajika Gamage – 2007)