01 Aug Wildbuzz: a fish mousetrap-a chandigarh
Alongside the banks of a wetland, life thrives in all its resplendent glories and diversities. And so do hunters and illegitimate killers. Rambling alongside the thorny and undergrowth-lined northern banks of Mirzapur dam within the Shivalik foothills on Tuesday, I used to be making heavy headway with a cautious eye for serpents. However one thing impelled me to maintain transferring on, lured as I used to be by the unexplored wilderness. Maybe, it was one thing else that Nature was driving my fated footsteps in direction of.
I stumbled upon a suspicious, basket-like contraption positioned in a wedge of submerged weeds. The weeds poking out of water would twitch nervously from a submerged supply. I realised it was a fish lure, an revolutionary contraption long-established from riverine grasses and slim bamboos with a door of sharpened spikes that lets a fish are available however the trapdoor closes behind the fish. It really works very very like a mousetrap with nine-tenths of its construction submerged in water and is often used to nail massive fish. The lure permits the poacher to fetch the trapped fish at his leisure because the fish stays alive and flesh preserved throughout the water even because the sufferer paces the aqueous lure like a tiger wandering distractedly alongside the sides of a zoo enclosure.
That is the second event that I’ve come throughout such a mousetrap for fish, the primary being whereas on a tour of the Harike Wildlife sanctuary in December 2015. The wildlife officers had eliminated the lure from Harike’s waters.
I proceeded to tug out the Mirzapur lure and found there was no huge fish however practically a 100 very small fish or minnows, tinier than goldfish that had entered the lure and couldn’t get out. They’d been left to rot and stagnate within the lure as their measurement was too small to appease the style buds of the poacher. They appeared helpless with a wide-eyed innocence as human infants snatched from the comforting bosom of free waters. I liberated the little ones, who bounded away within the waters with out a lot as a grateful look over their shoulder. I didn’t fault the fish for his or her lack of grace and normal mistrust of humanity.
The Fish spider with a dragonfly prey on the Mirzapur financial institution.
Photograph: Vikram Jit Singh
SPIDER HUNTS THE DRAGON
From that fish poacher a real hunter was just some steps and 24 hours away on the Mirzapur banks. The day after, on Wednesday, I once more made my approach to the spot the place I had dismantled the fish lure. As I stood gazing on the waters and imagining the happiness of the freed ones beneath the light ripples, I noticed a whitish twig that appeared like a chunk of driftwood that had washed ashore and had dried. However the humorous factor was that a stupendous Pink-veined Darter dragonfly was poking out of 1 finish of the supposed driftwood. On nearer examination, I realised it was an enormous spider which had preyed upon the insect.
Not solely did the spider mimic a chunk of pure financial institution litter but it surely was fully nonetheless. Not a twitch, as nonetheless as its lifeless prey. The ingestion of the dragonfly was so measured that it appeared it will take a lifetime. As I watched, one other dragonfly and a damselfly hovered dangerously near the spider. However the spider didn’t hassle. It had its meals and wouldn’t prey till it wanted to take action once more. Neither, like people, wouldn’t it kill many extra that it wanted to, simply to cater to unexpected eventualities like a frenzied over-stocking of rations for a Covid lockdown. Or, succumb to the sheer lust to kill and stack up, and assert a murderous dominance just like the Chinese language dragon!
On verification from consultants later, the Mirzapur spider was recognized as a Fish Spider belonging to the genus, Nilus. It derives its identify from its penchant for preying upon small fish that nibble alongside the shores and are deceived by this ingenious ‘bagula bhagat’.