The jewels of Simlipal

Photo Story

Sourabh Biswas

  The wonders and colours of nature are a sight to behold as we present to you our first photo-story about the Simplipal National Park.

  Simlipal National Park a Biosphere Reserve, especially known for it's Tiger population, is situated in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. Simlipal is distinguished for its lush green forest, sprawling over 2750 square kilometers of area and rich biodiversity in the Eastern Ghats region. This photo story, about the biodiversity of Lulung and Sitakund areas of the park, is composed of the photographs I clicked during my visit in March 2019.

Signature Spider

1. Signature Spider (Argiope sp.)

  Spiders are one of the most successful stealth hunters in the world. Signature spiders are one of a kind. They got their names from the ‘X’ like the zig-zag pattern they wave in their web. These patterns are called ‘stabilimentum’, and it reflects UV light. It helps the spider to capture flying insects and also serves as warning signals to more massive creatures.

2. Rock Agama (Psammophilus sp.)

  Rock Agamas are endemic to the rocky hills of peninsular India and are known to be active during daylight hours. Males of this species are well known for bright colours, mostly red and orange. Females are greyish in colour. The tone gets more glaring when the male performs behavioural displays to persuade females or during territorial combat.

Rock Agama

3. Five-bar Swordtail (Graphium antiphates)

  Not all butterflies love nectar, but some of them relish on dead plant materials, carrions or mud to procure nutrients and minerals. Males from Papilionidae and Pieridae family form congregations on mud or decaying forest litter. This is known as mud-puddling behaviour is known to enhance reproductive success. Females receive spermatophore (a protein capsule containing sperms) along with sodium and amino acids collected during mud-puddling, as nuptial gifts from males. Nutrients enhance the survival rate of the eggs.

Five-bar Swordtail

4. Common Pierrot (Castalius rosimon)

  This little butterfly from the Lycaenidae family is widespread in the Indonesian archipelago, but some species are also found in India. Males and females of this species are quite similar in appearance except for the upper wing and black marking on the underwing.

Common Pierrot.jpg

5. Orchid Tit (Hypolycaena othona)

  This beautiful butterfly also belongs to the family Lycaenidae, commonly called ‘blues’. The upper wing of the males are metallic blue. This butterfly is mostly found in Himalayas and the Eastern and Western Ghats.

Orchid Tit

6. Coorg Bambootail (Caconeura ramburi)

  This Coorg Bambootail or Indian Blue Bambootail damselfly is present in both the Eastern and Western Ghats. The stomach of this species are segmented like bamboo; that's how they got their name. Males of this species are azure in colour, the females are yellow.

Coorg Bambootail


  1. Craig, Catherine L. & Bernard, Gary D. (1990): Insect attraction to ultraviolet-reflecting spider webs and web decorations. Ecology 71: 616–623. doi:10.2307/1940315
  2. Radder RS, Saidapur SK, Shanbhag BA. 2006. Big boys on top: Effects of body size, sex and reproductive state on perching behaviour in the tropical rock dragon, Psammophilus dorsalis. Animal Biology 56 (3): 311-321. doi:10.1163/157075606778441903
  3. Medley S.R. & Eisner, T. (1996): Sodium: a male nuptial gift to its offspring. PNAS93(2): 809—813. PDF fulltext
  4. Kehimkar, Isaac. (2016). BUTTERFLIES OF INDIA - BNHS FIELD GUIDES. 241 pp, 311 pp, ISBN: 9789384678012.
  5. Nair, M.V. 2011. Dragonflies and Demselflies of Orissa and Eastern India, Wildlife Organisation, Forest and Environment Department, Government of Orissa, 232 pp.

Sourabh Biswas is a 2nd year PhD student at the Behaviour and Ecology Lab, IISER Kolkata. He is an ardent nature lover and a passionate macro photographer. He loves to explore different parts of India specially in search of butterflies.

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