Sunday, 24 September 2017

Golden Jumping Spider

I have been taking particular interest in spiders found moving around on top of the potted plants in the verandah of my house, but today I spotted a strange looking spider no bigger than a grain of wheat, in fact, it must have been smaller. What made this spider distinct from all the others I have seen was its golden coat and almost translucent limbs. When I looked closer, I noticed that it had a rather colourful torso made up of pink, black and golden notes. The spider could also take giant leaps in a split second. I tried to take a few snaps of it from the front, but then it seemed to be rather shy. Nevertheless, I have pasted below a few photographs of this rather tiny, beautiful creature.

Could this be a new sub-species of the leaping spider? This question would probably best be answered by experts! 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

A Grasshopper's Portrait Photo by Rodrick Lal — National Geographic Your Shot

A Grasshopper's Portrait Photo by Rodrick Lal — National Geographic Your Shot: This is a snap of a grasshopper taken in the morning. I played with the aperture and used a flash to get the right part into notice.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Cataclysm - A Short Story

He had decided to take Tomkins to the palace by the underground and now he regretted having ever made such a decision! The incessant rain had made the whole city of Longarno a swamp, a virtual sea of water and they were stuck inside the underground. There seemed to be no way out! 

He glanced at Tomkins apprehensively who shrugged and said, "I guess we are in for a long haul!" he said with finality.
"Yes, Tomkins, I guess we shouldn't have stepped out after all" he replied apologetically. 
"OK, no problem at all, Roy, we will wait for the rain to stop," he added.

Just then there was a loud crash that reverberated throughout the underground station and before the eyes of the horrified spectators, a whole train on the tracks below the platform was tossed a few inches above the track by a gush of water rushing behind it. Clearly, the salvage pumps in the underground Metro Station had failed.

Roy grabbed hold of Tomkin's arm and shouted, "Let's get out of here, the station will soon be flooded!'

They took the escalator towards the exit but were hampered and hemmed in by who were headed the same way. Just as they reached the exit, the reason for the huge crowd became clear. A surge of water was headed over the lip of the entrance straight into the underground station. The water was a couple of feet deep inside the exit and people were hesitant about stepping into the street where the water would have been deeper! Tomkins and Roy however, took the plunge and literally waded into the street where the water was now waist deep.

The sky was overcast and it was pouring, thick drops of rain that seemed more like lead bullets than drops of water.

"Let's head that way," Roy shouted, indicated towards a rise in the ground.

They waded towards the spot indicated by Roy. It was an artificially created mound of debris, probably leftover from recently completed renovation work on the metro station. Shivering in the cold rain, they looked with dismay at the rapidly changing landscape. The streams of water had turned into torrents of water which had picked up speed. They watched helplessly as a couple of men who had emerged from the entrance of the metro station were swept off their feet by the rapidly moving torrent of water.

Far away in the distance came the wailing sounds of fire engines rushing towards them. Soon, however, the fire engines were forced to stop because of the rising levels of water. The firemen climbed onto the top of the fire engines looking around rather helplessly, unable to do anything to help the stranded passengers of the metro.

Both Roy and Tomkins realised that there was no point in staying on the island as it was evident that the deluge would soon overwhelm their island. With one accord they both looked in the direction from where the fire engines had come. They needed to head towards higher ground and for that to happen they would have to wade against the stream.

"Let's do it!" Tomkins shouted above the noise of the rain even as he nodded towards East.
"Sure, let's move before the rising waters become too difficult to fight!' Roy added.

Both of the men took their second plunge that day into the swirling waters of madness, the rain would simply not let up! 'So much so for global warming!' Roy thought even as he led his friend towards the deluge.

Thus it was that two tired, bedraggled and miserable men ended up at the foot of the hills overlooking the sinking town of Torquay. They turned and looked towards the West, it looked like the sea had finally swallowed up the town, or at least most of it. They would have to crest the hills in order to reach the town of Komso which they hoped would have been spared the flooding.

The rains had continued for another five days and by then the whole landscape of Longarno and its surround district had been changed completely. Roy and Tomkins had managed to escape the deluge and made their way inland to Tigrey, the capital of  Marseles.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Aphids and Ants share a very strange Relationship!

Yes, I mean it, Aphids and Ants do share a very strange relationship. I had read about this mutually beneficial relationship between two different insect species but today was the first time I was really able to see it for myself!

You can literally see the ants stroking the backs of the Aphids while the Aphids become perfectly still, exuding a white kind of stuff on to the plant's stem which the ants gulp!

It is clear that Aphids and Ants have a symbiotic relationship. The Aphids feed the Ants with a milk like stuff, while the Ants provide the Aphids with military protection!

The Ant in the above photograph is stroking the Aphid, probably to encourage it to produce milk.

Sometimes a plant stem will be covered with a multitude of Aphids. On looking at the plant stems, one might wonder if the white stuff might not be some kind of a fungus, however, if you see ants moving around, pausing at the white spots, take a more careful look and you will notice something strange.

The world of Ants and Aphids is a remarkable world in which one can see a remarkable example of inter-species cooperation. Look carefully and you might see the Aphids moving along the stem. They will stop of course when they come across Ants. Welcome to the strange world of insects!