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Thursday, September 5

Rare orchid spotted from Kullu after 119 years


Flowers of Calanthe davidii, rare orchid, orchids western ghats
Flowers of Calanthe davidii (Image Credit:Ashutosh Sharma/JOTT)

A rare orchid, Calanthe davidii, has been reported from Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh after a gap of 119 years. According to researchers, the last available record of the plant from India dates back to 1899, from Mussoorie in Uttarakhand. 

As per a report published in the latest issue of Journal of Threatened Taxa, Ashuthosh Sharma, a researcher associated with DR YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, happened to come across an unknown orchid in August 2018 while carrying out a survey in Kullu. A detailed study from the available specimens of the plant in the herbarium later helped in identifying it as Calanthe davidii.

Wednesday, July 24

Yellow-legged gull eggs wriggle to warn nest mates about danger, induces survival traits

Yellow-legged gull chicks in their nest (image credit: Contando Estrelas)


Birds and animals emanating alarm calls to warn their offspring about possible predator presence is a common occurrence in the animal world. However, a new study published in nature Ecology and Evolution journal shows that Yellow-legged gull eggs which are exposed to such alarm calls can imbibe that information and pass it on to other nest mates through vibrations, inducing developmental changes at embryonic stage and also influencing anti-predator behavior in later life.

As part of the study, the researchers collected 90 eggs from a large colony of Yellow-legged gulls from Salvora Island in Spain and conducted an experiment to investigate whether alarm calls about predators ‘heard’ by the eggs induce anti-predator traits in the chicks when they hatch. They have created an experimental group – clutches of 3 eggs each, (totaling 45) which were exposed to alarm calls – and a control group –clutches of 3 eggs (totaling 45) which were not exposed to alarm calls. 

Tuesday, July 23

Population of Long-Billed Vultures in India still declining: Environment Ministry



Indian Long Billed Vulture, indian vulture, vulture population in india
Indian Long-billed vultures in Orcha, Madhya Pradesh (Image Credit: Yann Forget / Wikimedia Commons)

Despite conservation efforts, the population of the critically endangered, Long-billed vultures is declining in India. According to Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, there are only 12000 Long-billed vultures left in India as per the latest survey figures.

Answering a query in the Lok Sabha, the Ministry informed that surveys in the past showed that the population of the vultures in the country was establishing after a sharp decline during the mid-90s till 2007. However, the latest surveys show that the Long-billed vulture population is still declining.