Friday, April 13, 2012

Fauna of Sri Lanka - Field Trip

For once I liked zoology for its practicality since we got to go on a field trip for Fauna of Sri Lanka course unit and actually LEARNED something practical about zoology other than memorizing all the stupid characteristics,similarities,differences, so on and so forth. Aanyway enough about stupidity of zoology, lets talk about the bright side.

The course was done by Dr. Mayuri Wijesinghe and a few other lecturers.
First thing first, don't ask me who are the rest of the lecturers because I wasn't there in many of the lectures and when I was there I was half asleep most of the time.

So anyway back to the field trip... The trip was to Dambulla. We were planing to see Dambulla Arboretum managed by Ruk Rakaganno stay there overnight and see Kaludiya Pokuna and Minneriya or Kaudulla National parks or both the next day.

When all of us were gathered around the Sal tree at university we departed in the morning in the two vans armed with binoculars and field guides provided by university. Few of the friends joined us on the way. As usual journey towards Dambulla was fun and full of food than the journey back home :D We stopped on our way and had breakfast and they had to stop again to drink Young Coconut due to the strong request by us all.

When we reached Dambulla it was nearly Lunch time.

An Arboretum is a place where trees are grown and maintained so they can be studied. The arboretum at Dambulla is Sri Lanka's only dry zone arboretum founded by F. H. Popham and now maintained by Ruk Rakaganno. Since all our expenses were covered by the Zoology Department of our university we did not know whether they charged us but a quick search in the net suggests that the access to the place is free. It was suggested we have a look around with our guide while our lunch was being prepared.

Do you know butterflies are best observed when there is some sunshine around and not in shade? Well that is one of the things we learned from that trail. And learned to identify some of the common butterflies that live associated with the plants in the arboretum. believe it or not by the end of the field trip we were in a state where whenever we saw a butterfly we would try to identify it and often identify and utter things like " look there goes a Crimson Rose!" or " Isn't that a Common Jezebel perched on that tree?"

Some butterflies stayed patiently until they were photographed while some flew and changed path with such speed and agility we could not even recognize the colours on their wings!

Here are some butterflies we managed to photograph during the field trip. Some at the arboretum(day trail and night trail) some near Minneriya National Park.

The Common Indian Crow - Photo Credit: Kajanka Mathiaparanam, taken at the arboretum, during the night trail

  The Common Indian Crow - Photo Credit: Kajanka Mathiaparanam, taken at the arboretum
Danaid Eggfly(Hypolimnas misipus) mimicking Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus), taken at Minneriya National Park 

White fourring (Ypthima ceylonica) , taken at the arboretum

The Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis)  - Photo Credit: Kajanka Mathiaparanam, taken at the arboretum, during the night trail 

The Crimson Rose ( Atrophaneura hector - Photo Credit: Kajanka Mathiaparanam, taken at the arboretum, during the night trail 

The Complete list of Butterflies we were able to sight at Dambulla Arboretum

  1. White Four Ring
  2. Plains Cupid
  3. Blue Mormon
  4. Common Rose
  5. Common Grass Yellow
  6. Crimson Rose
  7. Glassy Tiger
  8. Lemon Emigrant
  9. Plain Tiger
  10. Common Indian Crow
  11. Common Jezebel
  12. Common Birdwing
  13. Nigger or Smooth Eyed Brush Brown 
  14. Tailed Jay
  15. Blue Tiger
  16. The Monkey Puzzle 
  17. Common Leopard 


  1. Field trips..fauna and national parks.. cool! They should include these kinds of course units to Physical science too u know. I'm kinda jealous :)

    1. yeah! but zoology always have a price to pay. You can get a lot of fun and field work, but the marks don't come in bucket fulls :)

  2. Can u please post photos of undermentioned butterflies? I like your butterfly photos and would like to see more of them as I too am highly interested in those tiny buggers!

    1. Sorry to disappoint but the rest of the sightings were quite brief. I'll see if I can find any photos in my friends' albums but I don't think any of us could capture them.