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Journal of the

Bombay Natural History Society

h Vol. 56, No. 1

Editors

SXLIM ALI & H. SANTAPAU, s.J.

APRIL 1959

Rs. 15

NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS

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Roepke, W. (1949): The Genus Nyctemera Hubner. Trans, ent. Soc. Lond. 100 (2): 47-70.

Prater, S. H. (1948): The Book of Indian Animals, Bombay.

Titles of papers should not be underlined.

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Editors,

91, Walkeshwar Road, Bombay 6.

Journal of the Bombay Natural

History Society.

CONTENTS OF VOLUME 56, NO. 1

PAGE

The Love and Life of Fiddler Crabs. By Rudolf Altevogt. (With six plates) 1

Some Edible Wild Plants from the Hilly Region of the Poona District, Bombay State. By V. D. Vartak. (With a sketch map) .. ..8

Unusual and Supplementary Food Plants of Kumaon. By K. S.Bhargava 26

Observations on the Mackerel Fishery of the Netravati Estuary, West Coast, South India. By P. C. George, M. H. Dhulkhed, and V. Rama- mohana Rao. (With three text-figures) . . . . .. ..32

The Life-History and Biology of the Wax-Scale, Ceroplastes pseudoceri- ferus Green (Coccidae : Homoptera). By T. Sankaran. (With two Tables and three Plates) . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Some New and Interesting Forms of Oedogonium from Uttar Pradesh. By G. S. Venkataraman. (With eighteen figures) . . . . 60

Notes on the Butterfly Genus Ypthima. By Sir Keith Cantlie and Dr. T.Norman. (With a text figure) . . .. .. ..66

ZOOGEOGRAPHIC CONSIDERATIONS ON THE INDIAN AVIFAUNA. By S. Dillon

Ripley .. .. .. .. .. ..72

The Biology of the Weevil Alcidodes bubo (Fabricius) (Coleoptera : (Curcu- lionidae). By T. R. Subramanian. (With two plates) . . . . 82

Observations on the Flora of Marunduvalmalai, Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin). By C. A. Lawrence. (With a map) .. .. ..95

The Biology of Sclerogibba longiceps Richards and Sclerogibba Embiidarum (Kieff). (Sclerogibbidae : Hymenoptera) Parasitic on Embioptera. By K. S. Ananthasubramanian and T. N. Ananthakrishnan. (With one plate) . . 101

Reviews :

1. Animals in India (E.P.G.) .. .. .. ..114

2. Bibliography of the Arabian Peninsula (E.G. S.) . . .. ..115

3. The Young Naturalist's Year (Barbara J. Tufty) . . ..117

4. The Love-life of Animals (D.E.R.) .. .. .. ..118

5. The Living Forest (D.E.R.) . . . . . . ..119

6. Practical Animal Biology for the Tropics (M.R.R.) . . . . 120

7. The World of Butterflies and Moths (D.E.R.) . . . . . . 121

8. The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882 (D.E.R.) . . 122

CONTENTS OF VOLUME 56, NO. \—(contd.)

Miscellaneous Notes :

1. Urine of bats as a means of offence. By J. L. Harrison (p. 125). 2. The Flying Fox of Addu Atoll, Maldive Islands A correction. By W. W. A. Phillips (p. 125). 3. ' Wild' Cattle in northern India. By H. K. Dang (p. 127). 4. Notes on a tame Takin {With a plate). By Editors (p. 128). 5. Does the Takin produce twin calves? By Editors (p. 130). 6. An albino Barking Deer {With a photo). By Editors (p. 131). 7. Communal nest-feeding in Babblers. By Malcolm Macdonald (p. 132). 8. A composite Swift-Swallow nest {With a photo). By Joseph George (p. 134). 9. Artificial nests for Swallows and Swifts {With 1 plate and 1 text-figure). By Joseph George (p. 135). 10. A Leathery Turtle Dermochelys coriacea (Linnaeus) coming ashore for laying eggs during the day. By S. Jones (p. 137). 11. The Gouramy Osphronemus gourami in Ceylon. By E. R. A. De Zylva (p. 139). 12. A preliminary note on the food and feeding habits of Pseudorhombus elevatus Ogilby. By M. J. Pradhan (p. 141). 13. Observations on the breeding of Indian carps in the GaruaNala (Bhopal) {With a map). By Mohammad Sagirullah Khan (p. 144). 14. Two new fish records from Assam. By K. L. Sehgal (p. 147). 15. A quick and easy method of mounting fish specimens {With a text-figure). By A. H. Musavi (p. 149). 16. Some leaf-miners of agricultural importance in Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh. By D. V. Murthy (p. 151). 17. Notes on the nymphal instars of Laccotre- phes griseus (Guer.) (Nepidae : Heteroptera) from India {With six text-figures). By T. K. Raghunatha Rao (p. 155). 18. Individual host discrimination by blood sucking insects. By G. B. Dashputre (p. 158). 19. Identification of certain crustaceans collected from rainwater pools near Pilani, Rajasthan. By N. S. Sidhu (p. 159). 20. The leaves of Alseodaphne semecarpifolia Nees. By H. Santapau (p. 160). 21. The 1 red triangle ' Bougainvillea. By K. N. Kaul (p. 160).

Notes and News . . . . . . . . . . ..163

Corrigendum

164

JOURNAL

OF THE

BOMBAY NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY

1959 APRIL Vol. 56 No. 1

The Love and Life of Fiddler Crabs

BY

Rudolf Altevogt, Dr. rer. nat. Dozent at Munster University, Germany

{With six plates)

Back in 1953 I met the first fiddlers of my life on a muddy stretch of beach some 15 miles from Bombay. These swift-footed and keen-sighted crabs (genus Uca) inhabit the mud banks and sand shores, sometimes by the thousand as seen from a distance. But as soon as I tried to approach their living quarters the flat seemed completely deserted. Walking across a fiddlers' mud flat is like wading through some miraculous lake with the waves receding before one's feet: in front, the waves of hundreds of fiddlers vanish with the crabs dashing underground into their burrows, only to emerge again in the. wake of the person causing the general alarm. Thus, in spite of patience and tele-lenses I did not get any satisfactory shots of live fiddlers that year (R. Altevogt 1955 a, b) and was comforted only by the thought that even in the 'professional' literature there were hardly any.

But in 1955 I was back in India. This time it was only fiddlers, and my wife was with me to assist in observation and perseverance. We were settled to spend a full Indian summer on nothing but crabs on the beach. Much was to be done as there were quite a number of blank spots on the behaviour chart of tropical crabs in general and of fiddlers in particular. There were open questions with regard to the feeding technique of these mud-eaters; the 'meaning' and function of the waving movements of the crabs' big claws was still an argument (among some zoologists; and nobody had so far seen any copulation in the Indian species, the total number of fiddler copulations seen in

2 JOURNAL, BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol. 56 (1)

the field amounting to a meagre five witnessed some years ago in the Americas by Miss J. Crane (1941-1944).

There we sat on the sunbaked beach and waited for the turn of the tide and for the fiddlers to come out of their holes in which, guided by some miraculous rhythm, they know how to spend the high water period. And no sooner had the water left the mud flat than the first fiddler peeped out of his, or rather her, hole, for she was a female. Somewhat dazed by the glaring brightness after the dark six hours underground, she made an easy victim for a forced portrait on my wife's thumb. Watching her running along in the field she seemed a terrifyingly small object for the camera's eye though she was of quite an average fiddler's size. The largest Indian species (Uca marionis) is at best about 32 mm. broad at the 'shoulders' (i.e. front of carapace) and, because of their extreme shyness, photo- graphing fiddlers in the field is about as difficult as camera-stalking the domestic fly in the laboratory (though the latter activity definitely affords less perspiration). Gradually the flat became covered with fiddlers, all feeding eagerly. The females with their small claws of equal size used them alternately in picking up 'handfuls' of mud while the males could only eat with one hand, one of their claws being grossly enlarged to serve less 'primitive' functions than eating. Weeks later we had found out about the mechanism used in separat- ing the edible contents from the inedible material of the soil. Highly specialized mouth parts with hundreds of 'spoons' on tiny hairs strain out the particulate matter from the mud in a process comparable to the flotation procedure of the gold washer with bowl and sieve. The coarse particles of the soil are rejected from the mouthparts and deposited in the form of pellets besides the advancing crab. Typical patterns are thus formed on the ground which have also been found in fossil deposits and were mistaken for extinct starfishes and crinoids.

With the feeding activity ceasing, the fiddlers entered the second phase of their daily routine, that of waving, fighting and copulating. 'Waving' denotes a typical movement which gave the fiddlers their popular name and which has been referred to as 'beckoning'. The type of waving differs with the species. In the Indian Uca marionis it is a relatively simple affair: the animal rises on tiptoes, and at the same time the major cheliped moves upwards and outwards. According to motion picture analysis this takes from J up to several seconds. Then follows a very precise-looking and constant down- ward and inward movement of the claw during which the body is lowered again to its normal position touching the ground. After at least J of a second the next waving movement is commenced, and

Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.

Plate I

Fig. i. Typical habitat of fiddler crabs. Sympatric population of Uca annulipes and Uca triangularis, (After R.

Altevogt 1957b)

Fig. 2. Fiddlers migrating to new habitats (see text Photos : R. Altevogt

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION 41/81 7 1MT

Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.

Plate II

Fig. 4. Traces of mud-feeding fiddlers : rejected mud balls in linear patterns radiating from crab's hole. Scale 10 cm.

Photos : R. Altevogt

THE LOVE AND LIFE OF FIDDLER CRABS

3

so the crab goes on and on, often for hours. In another smaller Indian species, Uca annulipes, waving is quite different and shows a wide outward flexion of the cheliped to an extremely lateral position and then a rapid inward and downward movement. Travellers in the tropics have time and again been fascinated by the attractive spectacle offered by a densely crowded population of waving fiddlers, and there has been much arguing about the meaning and function of this remarkable feature.

We thought of all this while sharp shells gradually made their way through the mud to our naked feet, and the field glasses before our eyes became wet with perspiration. Six hours of low tide on a steamingly hot muddy or sandy beach is quite a long time when you have to sit absolutely motionless on some barnacle-fringed stone with your feet in an oozy mud of some 105 degrees F. and yet, what an exciting experience was provided by each ebb tide session out on the beach through all the months. The slightest motion on the part of the observer sends the fiddlers scuttling down their holes. Thus, it was exasperating, when Leica and movie tele-lenses had been care- fully focussed on a spot where we confidently expected a fiddler's copulation or some ardent fight between two rival males to take place or a nuptial couple to indulge in love affairs, to find this happening in an adjacent spot just out of the camera's range and focus !

Finally, however, we learned how to 'handle' the fiddlers, and were able to make a full movie (R. Altevogt 1957 a) on their life and love. Almost every scene had to be taken with reasonable teles, and the quick movements of the tiny animals rapidly changing their distance from the cameras made sharpness of definition and focal depth quite a problem.

I would not say that in the long run the fiddlers of Bombay, Madras, and Rameshwaram fed right from our hands, but feed them with sweets we did, offering paper rolls soaked with sugar solution. Remarkably enough the little gourmets very readily found out the genuine sugar 'candies' from the array of paper rolls presented them soaked with solutions ranging from bitter quinine and salts to arti- fical sweetners like saccharine and dulcine. The fiddlers' ability to distinguish genuine sugars from artificial sweet substances in choice tests is shared, for instance, by the honey-bee (but not by the domestic chicken). If offered food which was different from the usual mud diet, our fiddlers would always prefer the former. This fact suggests that it may be out of selectional and ecological com- petition and necessity that fiddlers were forced to take to their

4 JOURNAL, BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol. 56 (1)

difficult and time-consuming technique of mud-feeding a long time ago in the course of evolution.

The love affairs of fiddlers are highly intricate. In order to shadow the individuals and to trace their ways through the crowds of fellow fiddlers we painted several dozens of them with bright colours using my wife's nail polish as the base to make the colours last through the high and low tides for several days. We thus found out that individual crabs left their living place, supposed to be their 'territory', all of a sudden and without any apparent reason, moving away as far as 66 m. from their first hole within the period of four hours. There were many others travelling 30-40 m. within the same period. Sometimes groups of 20-25 fiddlers, male and female, would gather, form a 'goose line', and leave their native quarter to migrate to a new habitat which did not differ a bit with regard to its ecological data pH, moisture, temperature, salinity, and so forth. Such a striking behaviour sometimes reminded us of the routine migrations of 'army crabs' on the shores of south-east Asia and Australia. Apparently, however, one must group such spontaneous mass migrations under the heading of 'sport' as there is no apparent reason for the animals to indulge in this kind of 'wanderlust'. Sporting in fiddlers is also seen when a couple, or two or three Ucas run closely together and seem to really enjoy it. As such sprinting couples are sometimes males only, sometimes females only, and sometimes mixed, the activity seems to have no sexual significance, and one cannot but call it 'sport'. There is another kind of sport in some American fiddler species : sometimes funnels or igloo-like superstructures are erected over the entrance of the holes (fig. 7, show- ing such structures in the closely related Indian Dotilla blanfordi, another crab of the fiddler family), and repeatedly fiddlers have been seen to deliberately tear down the neighbour's igloo. Others seal the entrance of the neighbour's hole by plugging it with mud balls. Thus, quite a number of almost human 'nasty' traits of behaviour can be seen on a fiddlers' beach.

Almost human, too, are the females' reactions to the males' often frantic waving efforts. In Uca marionis, the largest Indian species, this is not nearly so pronounced as in the smaller Uca annulipes or Uca triangularis. In the former, the males, becoming pale white with excitement, chase the females often over a considerable distance always waving their claw until they finally get hold of the female and mount her for copulation. Surprisingly enough, this had not been observed so far by former authors reporting on Uca marionis, and this lack of information was apparently one of the reasons for the assumption that waving in fiddlers was a means of demarcating

Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. Plate III

Fig. 6. Male fiddler crab (Uca marionis). Note big waving and small feeding claw. Stalked eyes can be folded down sideways.

Scale i cm. Photos : R. Altevogt

Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.

Plate IV

Fig. 8. Top display of male Uca annulipes. Note wide lateral flexion of big claw which has totally bleached. Scale i cm. (After R. Altevogt 1957b)

Photos : R. Altevogt

THE LOVE AND LIFE OF FIDDLER CRABS

5

permanent living and feeding 'territories'. It became quite clear to us, however, that waving is definitely a means of courting and attracting the opposite sex. This was especially obvious in Uca annulipes. The males of this small species would wave their cherry- red to white claw frantically as soon as a female, inconspicuously brown and almost hidden by her superb camouflage, approached the love- hungry creatures. Sexual excitement tends to bleach claws, legs, and carapace in this species also, and at the height of the display a male sports a dazzlingly white claw which he waves at top speed once every quarter second (in the larger Uca marionis the maximum frequency of waving is about one per second). If a nuptial female responds to the male's ardent love efforts she approaches him, and he after a final beckoning movement with a deep bow on his knees goes down into his hole, and she follows him into that subterranean chambre d'amour where copulation is accomplished. In several hundreds of female responses we have only twice seen that a male did not stick to the codes of the tribe forbidding the rape of the female and the copulation above ground by force. We could photograph one of these extremely rare occurrences of copulation above ground in Uca annulipes, in spite of the very bad light in the early morning.

From all our experiences it became clear that waving, courting, and copulating were intimately connected with each other. Some- times the males' drives and activities were so vigorous that, for a moment, even males were mistaken for females and intense display wavings were aimed at them until they showed their big claw identifying them as males themselves.

The fights turned out to be well-regulated, too. When two oppo- nents met each other, their big claws were opened in threat, and then inserted so that a push and pull game resulted, until finally one gave way and moved off. Never have we been able to observe a deadly hit in these often gruesome-looking fights. Often the urge for a fight was so strong that a peacefully feeding male was approached from distances of 1-2 meters and challenged to a fight which was usually accepted. This active spoiling for a fight suggests that fighting in fiddlers is also a means of stimulation, as it is in a number of other animal species, e.g. birds.

A real thriller was our discovery that lovesick fiddlers will fight their own image in a mirror. This is so surprising because in the realm of invertebrates a clear reaction to the own mirror image has so far been found only in the octopus. But the octopus has eyes functionally and anatomically resembling the human type whereas fiddlers, being typical arthropods, possess compound eyes of the

JOURNAL, BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol 56 (1)

insect type which seemed not too well suited for the perception of patterns. Mirrors placed in the field of nuptial fiddlers evoked ardent fights against the fictitious opponent who seemed somewhat 'irregular' as he would not (and obviously could not) insert his claw for the typical push-pull fight. Sometimes two males were engaged in this type of shadow-boxing in front of one mirror. Often these fights came to an end when the puncher finally got hold of the mirror's edge, apparently 'thinking' that after all the opponent had inserted his claw for the push-pull. In such cases usually the mirror was uprooted from its place in the mud, and neatly turned 'on its back'. One could well understand the little fighter congratulating himself upon his victory!

Thus it seemed that, with fighting for fun and stimulation and with plenty of opportunities for courting, the fiddlers were having a nice time while out on the beach. There were some enemies, however, trying to catch fiddlers and other semi-terrestrial and aquatic crabs. Most cunning of the enemies from the animal world for, as we shall see, man is also a persecutor of fiddlers is the Indian House Crow, Corvus splendens, so common on the beach and yet so difficult to photograph because of its clever alertness. Next come the Paddybird, Ardeola grayii, a small heron with a dull brown and white plumage, and the Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus. The last is a specialist in catching fiddlers. With his long carved beak this bird probes into the fiddlers' holes and pulls the inhabitants out by their big claw. Even when the crab autotomizes this limb the bird is not bluffed or distracted by the manoeuvre. He calmly drops the claw from his bill and seizes the escaping victim. Several smaller mammals of the cat relationship (e.g. civet cats, mongooses) and the jackal are also known not to despise shore crabs. Finally, man himself often goes out 'crabbing', even as a non-zoologist. In Europe, where southern- most Spain is the only known habitat of fiddlers Uca tangeri lives there, a species which vanished from Tangiers long ago— man is a grave enemy of these crabs. Up to modern times the big claw of Uca tangeri was an important accessory in the typical costume of the local Senoritas the ladies wore them as a sort of necklace on their blouses. But the Senores in southern Spain, where we went on a crabbing tour in 1956 and 1957, seem to be not any friendlier to the fiddlers, as they eat the claws cooked and soaked in wine. Significantly enough we were not able to find any really full-grown fiddlers on the sandy mud shores of the Guadalquivir River. Only small to medium- sized males were met with, whereas the size of the females was definitely larger. This does not go with general zoology, since in crabs the males are usually larger than the females. And the Spanish

Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.

Plate V

Fig. 10. Male Uca marionis starting the mirror fight (see text). Note bleached

carapace and claw Photos : R. Altevogt

Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.

Plate VI

Fig. 12. An unsolved problem in fiddler biology : "Posing", a sort of trance in which the animal's reactions are markedly blocked. Scale i cm. (After R.

Altevogt 1957b)

Photos : R. Altevogt

THE LOVE AND LIFE OF FIDDLER CRABS 7

gourmets soon gave us the explanation of this fact; large males are caught and, after amputating their big claw, they are let loose again in the field. After some weeks a new claw begins to develop which, however, will never reach its original size. Hence, there is a real 'harvesting' of fiddlers' claws in Spain which provides a typical indigenous item ('bocas') on the menu card. Talking of the only European fiddler Uca tangeri we might mention that the type of waving and copulating has only recently been cleared up (R. Altevogt, in the press).

With the low tide advancing, the fiddlers' fighting and courting activities gradually turned over into the last of the typical inter-tidal phases, that of hole digging. Sometimes a fight would ensue for a hole already existing, but equally often the crabs built a new hole by carrying mud balls with their small claw and legs and depositing them about half a yard or so from the hole's entrance. After the hole had become sufficiently deep and wide the deepest holes opened by us went down as far as 90 cm. the fiddlers receded into it and closed the entrance with a plug of mud. About 10 minutes before the tide reached the bank all fiddlers had vanished from the scene awaiting the water in their underground shelters and ready to emerge again after these dark six hours.

Whether any environmental factor gives a clue to the fiddlers, guid- ing them in their wonderfully synchronized inter-tidal activities, or whether some internal rhythm tells them about the tide's come and go, is only one of the many open problems in the field of fiddlers.

References

The following papers contain the bulk of quotations on Uca by former authors:

Altevogt, R. (1955a) : Beobachtungen (1958) : Zur Okologie und

und Untersuchungen an indischen Win- Ethologie von Uca tangeri (Eydoux),

kerkrabben. Z. Morphol. u. Okol. Tiere Europas einziger Winkerkrabbe. Proc.

43 : 501-522. of the XV Internat. Congress of Zoology,

(1955b) : Some studies on two London.

species of Indian fiddler crabs, Uca (1958): Okologische und etho-

marionis nitidus (Dana) and U . annulipes logische Studien an Europas einziger

(Latr.). JBNHS 52 : 702-716. Winkerkrabbe. Uca tangeri Eydoux. Z.

(1956) : Der Mechanismus der Morphol. u. Okol. Tiere (in press). ,

Nahrungsaufnahme bei Winkerkrabben. Crane, J. (1941) : Crabs of the genus

Naturw. 43 : 92-93. Uca from the West Coast of Central

(1957a) : Zur Biologie indischer America. Zoologica (N. Y.) 26 : 145-207.

Winkerkrabben. Hochschulfilm des In- —(1943a): Crabs of the genus

stituts fur den Wissenschaftlichen Film, Uca from Venezuela, ibid. 28 : 33-44.

Nr. 756. (1943b) : Display, breeding and

(1957b): Untersuchungen zur relationships of fiddler crabs (Brachyura,

Biologie, Okologie und Physiologie in- genus Uca) in the north-eastern United

discher Winkerkrabben. Z. Morphol. u. States, ibid. 28: 217-223.

Okol. Tiere 46 : 1-110. (1944) : On the color change of

(1957c): Beitrage zur Biologie fiddler crabs (genus Uca) in the field.

und Ethologie von Dotilla blanfordi ibid. 29 : 161-168.

Alcock und Dotilla myctiroides (Milne- (1957) : Basic patterns of display

Edwards) (Crustacea, Decapoda). Z. in fiddler crabs (Ocypodidae, genus

Morphol. u. Okol. Tiere 46 : 369-388. Uca). ibid. 42 : 69-82.

Some Edible Wild Plants from the Hilly Region of the Poona District, Bombay State

BY

V. D. Vartak M.A.C.S. Laboratory, Poona 4

(With a sketch map)

The area dealt with in this work covers the hilly region of the Poona District along the Western Ghats. It is loosely known in Maharashtra as the Mawal Hills. The area consists of the Mawal, Mulshi, and Bhor Talukas, Velhe Mahal, and the south-western part of the Haveli Taluka (see map).

This region has always been known for its food scarcity. Its local food produce is hardly sufficient to make up about two-thirds of the local requirements. Thus, for about four months in each year some of its unfortunate inhabitants have to migrate to the neighbouring cities, and the remainder are obliged to subsist on a starvation diet. During the harvest, and also afterwards, these people use many plants occurring naturally in neighbouring jungles as supplementary food which alone enables them to carry on with their half-starved existence.

The young leaves of some plants are used as food (e.g. Chloro- phytum tuberosum Baker, Cassia tora L., Smithia conferta Sm.s etc.). In some cases it is the flowers which are used as food (e.g. Clerodendrum serratum Moon, Dioscorea pentaphylla L., etc.). The fruit, whole or part, is also sometimes used as food (e.g. Salmaiia malabarica Schott, Ficus glomerata Roxb., Meyna laxiflora Robyns, etc.). In some cases underground tubers or rhizomes are useful as food (e.g. Ceropegia lawii Hook., Ceropegia hirsuta Wight & Arn., Vigna capensis Walp., etc.). In the summer even the gum from soma trees is utilised as food. During the monsoon, several types of puffballs and toadstools spring up, some of which serve as a valuable supplement to the diet.

Some of these wild plants can be used as food without much preparation, while in some cases they have to be washed, fried, and mixed with standard food.

Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc.

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—REFERENCE

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SOME EDIBLE WILD PLANTS OF POONA DISTRICT 9

It is possible that large scale use as food of some of these plants may lead to harmful effects. For example, it is believed that tubers of Ceropegia when eaten frequently cause temporary blindness. Hence it would be worth while to make a thorough investigation of their useful properties and harmful constituents.

On the other hand the extensive use of these plants as food results in a rapid decrease in their occurrence and some of them are already on the verge of becoming extinct. Hence botanists must find out ways and means to preserve them. Similarly if some other non- indigenous plants could be grown in these areas as supplementary food, they would be a boon to the indigenous population. This can indeed be looked upon as an important adjunct to the 'Grow More Food Campaign' of the present day.

The author has recorded a number of plants used as food in the course of his study of the vegetation of this region. The information thus gathered has been counterchecked with that available in other places. The author has himself tasted most of the plants listed. Even though some of them may not be quite tasty from urban standards, they are extensively used as food in rural areas.

In this paper a brief account of some wild edible plants found within the Poona District is given. Under each species will be found (i) its botanical name, (ii) reference to Cooke's flora of the Bombay presidency to which one should refer for complete morphological description of the species, (iii) the family to which it belongs, (iv) common local name, (v) habit, habitat, exact locality with frequency.

A check-list of these species and their distribution where worked out is given in this note. Further lists will be published from time to time as material accumulates.

A complete set of the species referred to in this paper is deposited in the Herbarium of the Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science, Poona 4. The arrangement of families, genera, and species ^n the following list is according to Cooke's flora of the Bombay presidency. It is hoped that this will prove useful to research workers and others interested in this particular problem.

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to Prof. V. V. Apte, Fergusson College, Poona 4, and Rev. Father H. Santapau of the St. Xavier's College, Bombay, for kindly going through the manuscript and suggesting im- provements. He is also grateful to Dr. S. P. Agharkar, Director, M.A.C.S. Laboratory, Poona 4, for his valuable guidance and encouragement from time to time.

10 JOURNAL, BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol. 56 (1)

List of Plants

1. Nymphaea pubescens Willd. (= N. lotus Hook. f. & Thorns.) Cooke

1 : 25. (Nymphaeaceae) Kamal kakdi.

An aquatic herb occasionally seen in tanks or in shallow wells.

Roots, petioles, and peduncles are collected and eaten locally. The roots, which contain a large quantity of starch, are usually boiled, though sometimes eaten raw; the stems are cooked in curries; the unripe fruit is eaten as vegetable and seeds are parched (Watt). Cooke states that the seeds are also eaten and this may account for the rarity of fruits.

Localities: (1) Khandala : in Khandala village tank common, Santapau; (2) Malavli : in village tank common, Vartak.

2. Capparis zeylanica L. (= C. horrida L. f. Suppl.) Cooke 1 : 48. (Cap-

paridaceae) Vaghati ; Govindphal.

A rambling shrub armed with recurved stipular spines. Common plant along the hedges in the low rainfall tract of the area.

The ripe fruits are occasionally used to prepare chatni which is usually used during the fasting period. The chatni is not tasty and hence not so popular among the local people.

Localities: (1) Khandala: occasionally seen, Santapau; (2) Katraj : along hedges common, Vartak; (3) Sinhagad : along hedges com- mon, Vartak; (4) Nasrapur: common, Vartak.

3. Portulaca oleracea L. Cooke 1 : 68. (Portulacaceae) Gholu.

A succulent sub-erect herb; leaves obovate, sessile, fleshy. Common in moist waste places, usually along the village streets, or in the cultivated land.

The leaves and succulent stem are used as a vegetable. Localities: Common throughout the area.

4. Garcinia indica Chois. Cooke 1 : 76. (Guttiferae) Kokam ; Amsul.

A small evergreen tree usually seen in the ravines of high rainfall region. It bears a conspicuous spherical purple fruit, the size of a small orange, which ripens about April.

The rind of the fruit is used locally for pickling; the pulp is eaten and has a delicious flavour.

Localities: (1) Khandala: in the ravines common, Santapau; (2) Bhutande: near Rajgad— common, Vartak.

SOME EDIBLE WILD PLANTS OF POONA DISTRICT 11

5. Salmalia malabarica Schott. & Endl. ( = Bombax malabaricum DC.)

Cooke 1 : 120. (Bombacaceae) Savar ; Katesavar ; Lal-savar.

A tall deciduous tree usually seen along the slopes in the open forests. It is also planted along the roads, or in the cultivated land. Flowers bright red, 5-7 cm. across, arising before the leaves.

The flower buds and young fruits, locally known as Suirdcodhe, are used as a vegetable.

Localities: Fairly common throughout the area. (1) Khandala: common, Santapau; (2) Sakhar : fairly common, Vartak; (3) Katraj : near the base of the ghat common, Vartak; (4) Sinhagad : in the ravines and along the roads common, Vartak; (5) Torna: near the base common, Razi and Vartak; (6) Malavli and Bhaja: culti- vated, Razi and Vartak.

6. Grewia abutifolia Vent. Cooke 1 : 144. (Tiliaceae) Mdkad meva. A straggling shrub fairly common along the nalas in moist

shady places. Drupes 1.5 cm. across, fleshy, minutely stellately hairy, obscurely 4-lobed, wrinkled.

The fruits are eaten by local people. The village boys use it as a snack while tending grazing cattle.

Localities: (1) Khandala: on Monkey Hill and Battery Hill plateau occasionally seen, Santapau; (2) Lohogad: occasionally seen along the hedges, Vartak; (3) Katraj: near Padmavati along the sides of the stream, Vartak; in ravines near Bhelare Wadi, Vartak; (4) Sinhagad: near Atkar Wadi common, Vartak.

7. Zizyphus mauritiana Lamk. (= Z. jujuba Lamk.) Cooke 1 : 240.

(Rhamnaceae) Bora ; Ran-bor.

A large, much-branched crooked shrub armed with stipular spines. Common in open forests, or along the slopes of the denuded hills.

The fruits are of various sizes and taste. Some agreeable types are eaten by the local people.

Localities: More or less common throughout the area. (1) Khan- dala: along railway line; by the side of the main road common, Santapau; (2) Sakhar: common, Vartak; (3) Sinhagad: near Atkar Wadi common, Vartak; (4) Katraj: along the ghat common, Vartak; (5) Torna: near the base common, Vartak and Razi.

8. Zizyphus rugosa Lamk. Cooke 1 : 243. (Rhamnaceae) Tor an.

A rambling shrub heavily armed with spines forming impenetrable thickets along the edge of the forest.

The ripe fruits are eaten by the local people for quenching thirst. The taste of the pulp is similar to Mimusops elengi L.

12 JOURNAL, BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol. 56 (1)

Localities: Common, all over the region. (1) Khandala: common, Santapau; (2) Rajgad: common, Vartak; (3) Sinhagad: near Budhla Machi common, Vartak; (4) Torna: along the slopes - common, Vartak and Razi.

9. Rhus mysurensis Heyne Cooke 1 : 273 (Anacardiaceae) Amani.

A much-branched shrub armed with spines.

Common in the -open forests, along the slopes of the hills in the low rainfall tract. Drupes 3-4 mm. across, greenish brown.

The author has noted that the fruits are bitter to taste with, however, very good effect for controlling thirst. The fruits are collected and eaten by village boys.

Localities: (1) Poona: hills near about, Woodrow, Vetal Hills- common, Vartak; (2) Katraj : along the ghat abundant, Vartak.

10. Buchanania lanzan Spreng. Cooke 1 : 275 (Anacardiaceae) Char. A tree, 20-25 metres high, tolerably common along the hill slopes

of the low rainfall region. Drupes obliquely lentiform, 1-1.5 cm. long, black, stone hard, 2 valved. The fruit is eaten by the local people.

Localities: (1) Katraj: along the ghat Woodrow; along the northern slopes common. Vartak; (2) Sinhagad : in the ravines - Woodrow; near Atkar Wadi occasionally seen, Vartak.

11. Indigofera pulchella Roxb. Cooke 1 : 320 (Papilionaceae) Nerdi;

Nichardi.

An erect shrub 2-3 metres high; flowers numerous, purple, in close short-peduncled racemes. Common in open forests.

The flower-buds and flowers are used as a vegetable.

Localities: (1) Katraj : along the ghat, Kariitkar, fairly common, Vartak; (2) Rajgad: along the slopes very common, Vartak; (3) Sinhagad: along the slopes common, Vartak; (4) Raireshwar: along the slopes very common, Vartak; (5) Torna: along the slopes very common, Vartak and Razi.

12. Smithia conferta Sm. (= Smithia geminiflora var. conferta Baker)

Cooke 1 : 336. (Papilionaceae) Barka ; ifaichi-bhajL

Annual sub-erect profusely branched herb.

A common herb growing in grass fields or on grassy slopes. Usually seen growing in moist soil or sometimes in liquid mud along the banks of streams.

Leaves are extensively used as vegetable. It is said that mixed with crab legs, it makes a very palatable dish.

SOME EDIBLE WILD PLANTS OF POONA DISTRICT

13

Localities: (1) Khandala: very common, Santapau; (2) Rajgad: near Gunjavani very common, Vartak; (3) Sinhagad: near Poona Machi common, Vartak; (4) Bhor hills: near Padmavati common, Vartak; (5) Raireshwar: near Korla common, Vartak.

13. Phaseolus khandalensis Santapau (= Phaseolus grandis Dalz.)

Cooke 1 : 375. (Papilionaceae) Ran-shevga.

An erect woody herb, fairly common in open forests of the high rainfall region.

The seeds are eaten by the local people. It is said that frequent use of these seeds may lead to temporary blindness.

Localities: (1) Khandala: along Kune stream abundant; Bhoma Hills abundant, Santapau; (2) Purandhar Fort: northern slopes abundant, Santapau; (3) Rajgad: along the slopes— common, Vartak;

(4) Katraj : along the ghat occasional, Vartak; (5) Sinhagad : northern slopes abundant, Vartak.

14. Phaseolus radiatus L. (= Phaseolus sublobatus Roxb. = Phaseolus

trinervius Heyne) Cooke 1 : 377. (Papilionaceae) Ran-mug.

A perennial herb, twining when it meets a support.

Common along the edge of the forest, and by forest paths. The seeds are eaten by the local people in times of scarcity.

Localities: (1) Khandala: very common, Santapau; (2) Rajgad: along the slopes very common, Vartak; (3) Katraj : along the ghat common, Vartak; (4) Sinhagad: near Atkarwadi common, Vartak;

(5) Torna: near Velhe common, Vartak and Razi.

15. Vigna capensis Walp. (= Vigna vexillata R. Rich.) Cooke 1 : 379

(Papilionaceae) Halunda.

A twining herb, root fusiform.

Common in open forest, usually along the foot paths.

The fusiform roots and seeds afe eaten by the local people. Boiled or roasted roots constitute one of the major food articles of the hill tribes.

Localities: (J.) Khandala : common throughout the area, Santapau; (2) Rajgad: near Gunjavani— abundant, Vartak; (3) Lohagad: near Bhaja common, Vartak; (4) Sinhagad: near Atkarwadi common, Vartak.

16. Cassia tora L. Cooke 1 : 420 (Caesalpiniaceae) Takla ; Taroti. An erect woody herb, fairly common in waste places along

the road, or in the forest in open spaces.

The tender young leaves are extensively used as vegetable. The leaves give a typical odour which perhaps caused the elimination of

14 JOURNAL, BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol 56 (1)

this particular type from the city markets, otherwise the vegetable is quite tasty.

Localities: More or less common throughout the area; (1) Khandala: fairly common, Santapau; (2) Rajgad: near Gunjavni common, Vartak; (3) Sinhagad: near Atkarwadi, common; (4) Torna: near the base common, Vartak and Razi.

17. Acacia arabica Willd. Cooke 1 : 443 (Mimosaceae) Babhul.

A middle-sized crooked tree seen usually planted along the road- side or in the cultivated land.

The raw or slightly fried gum is eaten by local peoples in times of scarcity.

Localities: A common species seen cultivated or wild in dry region of the area.

18. Terminalia bellerica (Gaertn.) Roxb. Cooke 1 : 478 (Combretaceae)

Beheda.

A large deciduous tree. Fruits remain hanging on the tree for a long time.

Common in ravines of the hilly region of the high rainfall tract.

The hard seed coat is removed and the inner starchy portion is used as food in times of great scarcity. If taken in excess it is said to produce intoxication.

Localities: (1) Khandala: fairly, common, Santapau; (2) Rajgad: