Monday, January 23, 2012

The rare lesser blue wing dragonfly sighted at the Thenmala Butterfly Safari Park in Kollam district.

The lesser blue wing dragonfly (Rhyothemis triangular) considered a rare dragonfly in South India has been spotted and photographed at the Thenmala Butterfly Safari Park in Kollam district.

This feast for the eyes sighting was made on January 14 by the butterfly and bird enthusiasts, C. Sushanth and M.S. Akhil during the monthly butterfly and dragonfly monitoring exercise.

The slow-flying lesser blue wing is a medium-sized elusive dragonfly with metallic blue markings on the base of its wings. Ponds and marshes are the favourite spots of these dragonflies since they love perching near water bodies. This could be because it breeds in marshes and similar habitats.

But in the southern part of the country they are rarely sighted. The previous recorded sighting of this dragonfly was some last year by wildlife photographer and dragonfly enthusiast T. Dragon fly close to a wetland in Vithura of Thiruvananthapuram district.

Mr. Sushanth said that one of the fascinating aspects of the lesser blue wing is that it can float in the air for long periods without flapping the wings. Both Sushanth and Akhil recorded sighting rare dragonflies and damselflies within and around the Thenmala butterfly park

Amazing.... But I think Facebook still rocks.....

NEW YORK: Google's online social networking service 'Google Plus' has crossed 90 million users mark since its launch in June.

Google Plus now has attracted 90 million users, reflecting the huge interest in the social networking site which was opened to the public on September 20. That more than doubles the 40 million that Google reported in October.

Earlier, Google Plus service was available only through invitation as part of trial runs.

Interestingly, rival Facebook took about four years to reach 90 million users. Facebook, founded in 2004, has now 800 million users globally.

"I am super excited about the growth of ... Google Plus, which now has 90 million users globally - wellover double what I announced just three months ago. By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google Plus we will create amazing experiences across our services," Google CEO Larry Page said while announcing the company's latest quarterly earnings.

Google unveiled 'Google Plus' in late June as part of efforts to garner a share of the lucrative social networking space that has so far been dominated by Mark Zuckerberg--led Facebook.

Since launch, Google has added toolbars and other buttons on its websites to aggressively promote the service.

During the quarter, Google has reported a net income to $ 2.71 billion in for October-December, which analysts termed as below market expectation.

It registered revenue of $ 10.58 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, an increase of 25 per cent from the year-ago period.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rising CO2 emissions 'damaging' fish brains

LONDON: Rising levels of human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous system of sea fishes, thereby threatening their survival in the long run, a new study has suggested.

According to Professor Philip Munday of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University, carbon dioxide concentrations predicted to occur in the ocean by the end of this century will interfere with fishes' ability to hear, smell, turn and evade predators.

"For several years our team have been testing the performance of baby coral fishes in sea water containing higher levels of dissolved CO2 - and it is now pretty clear that they sustain significant disruption to their central nervous system, which is likely to impair their chances of survival," Prof. Munday said.

In their latest paper Prof. Munday and colleagues reported world-first evidence that high CO2 levels in sea water disrupts a key brain receptor in fish, causing marked changes in their behaviour and sensory ability.

"We've found that elevated CO2 in the oceans can directly interfere with fish neurotransmitter functions, which poses a direct and previously unknown threat to sea life," Prof. Munday insisted.

Prof. Munday and his colleagues began by studying how baby clown and damsel fishes performed alongside their predators in CO2-enriched water. They found that, while the predators were somewhat affected, the baby fish suffered much higher rates of attrition.

"Our early work showed that the sense of smell of baby fish was harmed by higher CO2 in the water - meaning they found it harder to locate a reef to settle on or detect the warning smell of a predator fish. But we suspected there was much more to it than the loss of ability to smell."

The team then examined whether fishes' sense of hearing - used to locate and home in on reefs at night, and avoid them during the day - was affected.

"The answer is, yes it was. They were confused and no longer avoided reef sounds during the day. Being attracted to reefs during daylight would make them easy meat for predators."

Other work showed the fish also tended to lose their natural instinct to turn left or right - an important factor in schooling behaviour which also makes them more vulnerable, as lone fish are easily eaten by predators.

"All this led us to suspect it wasn't simply damage to their individual senses that was going on - but rather, that higher levels of carbon dioxide were affecting their whole central nervous system."

The team's latest research shows that high CO2 directly stimulates a receptor in the fish brain called GABA-A, leading to a reversal in its normal function and over-excitement of certain nerve signals.

While most animals with brains have GABA-A receptors, the team considers the effects of elevated CO2 are likely to be most felt by those living in water, as they have lower blood CO2 levels normally.

The main impact is likely to be felt by some crustaceans and by most fishes, especially those which use a lot of oxygen.

Prof. Munday said that around 2.3 billion tonnes of human CO2 emissions dissolve into the world's oceans every year, causing changes in the chemical environment of the water in which fish and other species live.

"We've now established it isn't simply the acidification of the oceans that is causing disruption - as is the case with shellfish and plankton with chalky skeletons - but the actual dissolved CO2 itself is damaging the fishes' nervous systems," Prof. Munday added.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Select Aquatics

A very nice site I came across .....Its in Colarado, for an Indian its useless but felt its worth paying a online visit. Click on this page to get more information.

Nesaea pedicellata

Nesaea pedicellata is a stem plant from Africa that has thick stems and large leaves that are soft green with shades of red and yellow. Until 2009 this plant was rare in the USA and only imported occasionally, but since then has been grown commercially by Florida Aquatic Nurseries and sold by their retailers. It requires moderate to bright light and added C02 is recommended. Some web sites describe this as a difficult plant to grow, but mine started growing and turning red at the tops within the first week, and has even started growing side shoots and roots.

It tolerates hard or soft water, and responds well to a nutrient rich substrate. Becuase of its large size it should be placed toward the rear of the aquarium.




Country of origin
West Africa

20-40+ cm

10-20+ cm

Light requirements
medium-very high


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