Tuesday, December 30, 2014

සීනි-ආතා/අනෝදා[seeni-aatha/Anodha]/Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)

Probably a native tree of West indies. Introduced and cultivated in home gardens as a fruit plant. Also naturalized in coastal scrubs and secondary forests in the dry lowlands. Whole plant medicinal.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Common Bullfrog (Kaloula taprobanica)

A common frog found in anthropological habitats, paddy fields, plantations and forest borders in both wet and dry lowlands up to about 500m a.s.l. Nocturnal in habits and stay hide under decaying logs, rock crevices, under leaf litter and inside humus or soil during the day time. Its calls resembles the bellowing of a bull. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014

Double Branded Crow (Euploea sylvester montana)

An uncommon butterfly though widely distributed in most parts of the island from lowlands to about 1000m a.s.l. It takes part in migrations. Only known larval host plant is Gymnema sylvestre [මස්බැද්ද] (van der Poorten, G. and van der Poorten N., 2011

References:
van der Poorten, G. and van der Poorten N., 2011. New and revised descriptions of the immature stages of some butterflies in Sri Lanka and their larval food plants (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Part 1: Sub-family Danainae. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera, 44: 1–16.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

මැහෝගනී[Mahogani]/Honduran mahohany(Swietenia macrophylla)

Native plant of tropical America. Introduced to Sri Lanka in 1888 and grown as a timber production tree in forest plantations and home gardens in wet and intermediate zone. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mountain Reedling (Indolestes gracilis gracilis)

Locally common damselfly confined to the central hills of the island between 1800 and 2500 elevations. It can be found at grassy edges of lakes and ponds. Indolestes gracilis gracilis is an endemic Sri Lankan subspecies. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cup-of-gold (Solandra maxima)


An introduced woody climber native to Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Cultivated in gardens due to its attractive very large flowers.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Vagrant Finches and Buntings (Family: Fringillidae and Emberizidae) recorded in Sri Lanka

     Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post summarizes up to date published sight records of 3 vagrants of the family Emberizidae (Buntings) and single vagrant of the family Fringillidae (Finches)  in Sri Lanka. All four are here considered as unconfirmed vagrants*. 

*Species for which there are only one or two sight records exist categorized here as unconfirmed vagrants. Problematic records without sufficient details are also included.


     1) Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus)
Single sight record at Horton Plains National Park in February 2002 by Uditha Hettige (Siriwardana, U., 2003).

     2) Grey-necked Bunting (Emberiza buchanani)
C.D. Kaluthota, Dammithra Samarasinghe, Dilshan de Silva and Hasith de Silva observed and photographed a bird at NirmalapuraDaluwa area of Kalpitiya peninsula on 16th December 2008. It is the first and only known occurrence of Grey-necked Bunting in Sri Lanka (Kaluthota et. al., 2009)

     3) Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)
Single sight record from Udawalawe National Park in February 2005 by Deepal Warakagoda is the first record of its occurrence in Sri Lanka (Sirivardana U. & Warakagoda  D. , 2006). Second record of it is also given by Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U. in/near Yala Block 1 in the report of Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011 periods (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011)

     4) Red-headed Bunting (Emberiza bruniceps)
Single sight record from Udawalawe National Park in February 2005 by Deepal Warakagoda is the only record of its occurrence in Sri Lanka (Sirivardana U. & Warakagoda  D. , 2006)



References:
Kaluthota, C.D., Samarasinghe, D., de Silva, D. & de Silva, H. 2009 First record of the Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani from Sri Lanka. Malkoha 30(1):4 
Siriwardana, U., 2003. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2002. Loris, 23(3&4), 36-39.
Sirivardana U. & Warakagoda  D. , 2006. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2005 Loris 24(3& 4), 24 - 28
Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011, Loris 26 (1&2)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

නඟා-මැරූ-අල [Naga-Maru-Ala]/Daffodil Orchid (Ipsea speciosa)

Rather common endemic ground orchid occurs in patana lands  in montane and sub-montane areas. One or two leaves sprout at the end of flowering period and shed when mature, followed by a resting period and after that flowers blooms at the end of spike rising out of the ground among grasses. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Small Grass Yellow (Eurema brigitta rubella)

Locally common butterfly occurs in grasslands of the hills from 200-2200m asl. larva feeds on Chamaecrista kleinii [බින් සියඹලා] , C. mimosoides [බින් සියඹලා  (van der Poorten, G. and van der Poorten N., 2013), C. auricoma, and C. nictitans (Jayasinghe H.D. et. al. 2014)

References:
Jayasinghe H.D., Rajapaksha S.S. & de Alwis C. 2014 A Compilation and Analysis of food plants utilization of Sri Lankan butterfly larva (Papilionoidea) Taprobanica Vol 6(2) 110-131pp.

van der Poorten, G. and van der Poorten N., 2013. New and revised descriptions of the immature stages of some butterflies in Sri Lanka and their larval food plants (Lepidoptera : Pieridae). Part 1 : Subfamilies Pierini (in part) and Coliadinae. Tropical Lepidoptera, 23: 22–31.

Monday, December 15, 2014

සප්සඳ[Sapsanda]/Indian Birthwort (Aristolochia indica)

An indigenous twining herb common in low country moist areas up to 1000m a.s.l. Leaves and rhizomes use in traditional medicine. Flowering from September to January.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike (Hemipus picatus)

An uncommon breeding resident inhabiting forest and well wooded areas of all climatic zones. But much common in the hills and  more or less restricted to the riverine forests in the dry zone.  It keeps in pairs or groups and often goes with 'Bird waves' of many species. Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike feeds on insects in the canopy. It frequently darting out like 'Flycatchers'  from its perch to catch flying insects. The breeding season lasts from March to May. The nest is a shallow cup made out of fibres, cobwebs, etc., well camouflages outside with fragments of bark, lichens etc. and places on the upper side of a branch high in the canopy. 




Friday, December 12, 2014

හිඟුරු-වැල්[Hinguru-Vel] (Acacia caesia)

Large indigenous woody climber mainly grows in the dry lowlands of the country though also occurs in waste lands, along rivers and near bridges in the intermediate and wet lowlands.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Common Mime (Papilio clytia lankeswara)

Common Mime is a very common butterfly distributed in all climatic zones from lowlands to about 700m a.s.l. It occurs in two forms 'white' and 'brown'. White form [form dissimilis] mimics one of the poisonous 'Blue Tigers' (Tirumala (1)(2) or Parantica(1)(2)) and Brown form [form clytia] 'Crows' (Euploe spp.(1)(2)(3)(4)) Larval food plants are Litsea glutinosa [බෝ මී], Cinnamomum verum [කුරුඳු] (van der Poorten, G. & van der Poorten N., 2011), Alseodaphne semecarpifolia [වෑවරණි], Litsea longifolia [රත්කෑලිය] and Neolitsea cassia[Wild cinnamon/දවුල් කුරුඳු\කුඩු දවුල] (Jayasinghe H.D. et. al. 2014)

Jayasinghe H.D., Rajapaksha S.S. & de Alwis C. 2014 A Compilation and Analysis of food plants utilization of Sri Lankan butterfly larva (Papilionoidea) Taprobanica Vol 6(2) 110-131pp.
van der Poorten, G. and van der Poorten N., 2011. New and revised descriptions of the immature stages of some butterflies in Sri Lanka and their larval food plants (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera, 44: 111–127.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

දෙළුම්[Delum]/Pomergranate (Punica granatum)

An introduced shrub or small tree native to central Asia. Widely cultivated as a fruit tree particularly in the low and mid-country. Flowering throughout the year. An outer layer of the seeds is edible. Roots, fruits, barks and leaves medicinal. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Vagrant Rails and Crakes (Family: Rallidae) recorded in Sri Lanka

    Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post summarizes up to date published sight records of vagrants of the family Rallidae (Rails and Crakes) in Sri Lanka.     


     1) Water rail (Rallus aquaticus) R.Indicus
3 or 4 specimens procured by Lieut. Long of H.M. Ceylon rifle regiment at Jayelle (Sic = Jaela) paddy-fields and given to Layard is the only record of the occurrence of this rail in Sri Lanka (Legge V. 1880: 1018).

      2) Corn Crake (Crex crex)
Two immature females procured from Bambalapitiya, one by Dr. Thelma Gunawardane from a garden near the sea on 9th October 1970 and another one in exhausted condition by David Bartholomeusz in the same area on 18th September 1972 are the only records of Corn Crake in Sri Lanka. Both are believe to be just arrived birds from the Indian mainland (Phillips W.W.A., 1978:23). Another previous sight record exists in 1950 on board a ship close to Ceylon. (Hoffmann, T. W., 1974)

References:

Hoffmann, T. W., 1974. Notes From The Ceylon Bird Club 1970-1973. Loris, 13(4), 211-214.
Legge V., 1880. A History of the birds of Ceylon  1983 second edition.
Phillips W.W.A., 1978 Annotated checklist of the Birds of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1978 revised edition.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Australian bottle plant (Jatropha podagrica)

Native shrub of tropical America. Cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant especially in the dry areas of the country due to its drought resistance characteristic.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

නාග-දරණී [Naga-darani]/Tiger's claws(Martynia annua)

Native plant of Mexico and central America. Introduced and widely naturalized in waste places, along roadsides etc. in the dry areas of the country. Flowering throughout the year. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dingy Lineblue (Petrelaea dana)

Dingy Lineblue is rather rare butterfly flies from lowlands to about 500 m a.s.l elevations. Males often settle on damp patches of the roads or stream beds. Hitherto no records available on its early stages of life cycle or on larval host plants in published materials on Sri Lankan butterfly fauna. Recently egg laying and larva feeding on Terminalia catappa (කොට්ටම්බා) flowers were observed by Sujeewa Gunasena (Sujeeva Gunasena ‎ Personal communication, October 28, 2014 &  https://www.facebook.com/kamanijeeva/media_set?set=a.811498772250436.1073741853.100001709620688&type=1&pnref=story)