Friday, January 1, 2010

Some interesting observations of Goa's backyard natural history from my notebook-2009

I thought of sharing some concerns related to ecological simplification and biodiversity in view of International year of biodiversity-2010.

Human interference in local ecosystems and presumptive Climate change:- some interesting observations of Goa's backyard natural history from my notebook-2009

1. Fireflies are vanishing-I kept records of the first rains and the first and last appearances of the Fireflies (kazule, Photinus sp. ) after I moved to Goa University campus at Taleigao, a grassland ecosystem with scrub vegetation. In the year 2001 I noticed fireflies first on May 21 st night and the last sighting for the season was made on 15 Nov. 2001.Looks like we may have to launch another campaign-"save Goa's fireflies/kazule' from 2010.

Very few fireflies were sighted this year and last sighting was made in September, 2009-this is a trend which I noticed since 2005.Very alarming. Can't imagine, Goa without fireflies!

2. Millipedes (kotarli, gothani) and snails are dominating:-This is unusual. I found that Millipedes have adjusted to climate very well and now these are found from June to December. The normal period is June to October. Then they hibernate till monsoon. Snails are proliferating during the monsoon-in far greater number as compared to the past.
3. How the beautiful Cassia fistula (golden showers/bahavas/amaltash) could flower in December?. But this is happening. The normal season is February to May.
4. Biological clock of Silk Cotton trees (Savar, Bombax ceiba/Salmalia malabarica) is upset:- These are key stone species in our campus under our research. I am familiar with 15 trees of different age. The earliest date of their flowering is December 8-10th. But there is a delay of three weeks this year which is unusual. The trees are very sensitive to winds and rains.
5. Termites are prospering:- This is not new in humid tropics. But the climate change has actually helped these industrious social insects in Goa. There is heavier of infestation of living trees for past few years. Now they’re ferociously coming indoors through smallest of crevices and even through floor tiles. Their foraging behavior has also altered. A promising future for pest control agencies in Goa.
6. Kannam/Karondas-Carissa caronda-flowering during monsoon?. This is what I noticed on small scale during July on our plateau since 2007. The insect pollinated flowers normally appear at end of February but never during monsoon.
7. Dangerous polistine paperwasps and stinging wasps/hornets (Ganjil moos) moving and adapting to Goa’s coastal urban areas:-

So far these insects were confined to forests. Now there is a wholescale migration and adaptation to urban and semi urban environment in Goa. We destroyed a huge hornet's nest at Santa cruz, Tiswadi-built inside the drawer of an old table dumped on terrace. There were similar reports from Taleigao and Mashel.

8. The troublesome weed Eupatorium occupying more open spaces:- Most of Goa’s natural roadside and hillslope vegetation has disappeared only to be replaced with Eupatorium odoratum (locally known as ranmari-) -an invasive weed. It is throttling local biodiversity.
9. Vanishing wildflower diversity in the countryside:- All the lateritic plateaus of Goa sport an amazing, kaleidoscopic diversity of wildflowers from June to September. In my own campus 60+ species were catalogued during 1995-6. This year we could survey only 40-45. Mindless surface concretization of our plateaus has fragmented their habitats.At the most we can conserve what remains.
10. Found a new species of Termitomyces mushroom in my garden at Bondir, Santa cruz:- Having worked on mushroom biodiversity for 23 years, this was an amazing discovery-how climate change is also influencing speciation in Genus Termitomyces, Goa’s most popular but overexploited and endangered wild edible mushrooms (Download and read my research paper at and on Ecoconservation aspects at . The species claimed to be new to science on perusal of all available taxonomic literature is named Termitomyces petaloides sp. nov. Kamat , Desouza and Priolkar (under publication). View my videoclips on this topic at and

The observations would continue during 2010.

Friday, February 20, 2009

List of Sacred Groves in Goa
Name of Grove Taluka Location
Rashtroli Pernem Gavadewada (Mandrem)
Kurlyachi wadi Pernem Varkhand
Shevro Bicholim Kharpal
Sidhdachirai Bicholim Vadawal
Ajobachirai Sattari Keri
Maulichirai Sattari Vagheri (Keri)
Pishyachirai Sattari Keri
Sidhdachirai Sattari Morle
Devachirai Sattari Saleli (Onda)
Devachirai Sattari Nagve
Holayechirai Sattari Caranzol
Ajobachitali Sattari Brahmakarmali
Devachirai Sattari Koparde
Dhupachirai Sattari Derode
Devachirai Sattari Satre
Poshyachirai Sattari Bondir
Devachirai Sattari Shelop – Khurd
Devachirai Sattari Surla
Nirankarachirai Sattari Bambar–Nanode
Devachirai Sattari Thane
Devachirai Sattari Pali
Devachirai Sattari Shel – Melavali
Devachirai Sattari Shiranguli
Devachirai Sattari Assodde
Devachirai Sattari Malpona
Devachirai Sattari Shirsode
Devalachemol Sattari Dabe
Devachirai Sattari Bhironde
Devachirai Sattari Golauli
Devachirai Sattari Mauxi
Devachirai Sattari Ivre – Budruk
Devachirai Sattari Ivre – Khurd
Devachirai Sattari Pendral
Avali Dano Canacona Cotigao
Kuske Dano Canacona Cotigao
Badde Dano Canacona Cotigao
Paikapann Sanguem Neturlim
Paikapann Sanguem Salgini
Paikapann Sanguem Kumbhari
Paikapann Sanguem Bhati
Devadongor Sanguem Rivon
Vasantagal Sanguem Rivon
Patryatali Devrai Sanguem Rivon
Vaghryapann Sanguem Rivon
Paikapann Quepem Morpilla
Paikapann Quepem Cazur
Betalapann Quepem Barce
Vaghryapann Quepem Barce
Gadgyapann Quepem Barce
Siddhmaddi Quepem Barce
Shivapann Quepem Barce
Devipann Quepem Barce
Mahadevapann Quepem Barce
Durgadevipann Quepem Gokulde
Devatipann Quepem Bennudde

Rajendra Kerkar

A Blog About Biodiversity of Goa, India

Information on all the aspects of Biodiversity of Goa-Ecosystem diversity, Species diversity, Genetic diversity and issues of conservation and sustainable management