Wednesday, July 21, 2021

A rare spider spotted at our lake!

We are delighted to tell you that a rare spider called Chrysilla volupe was recently spotted at the lake. The lucky (most observant?) photographer, Mr. Satishchandra Karanth, from the neighbourhood, is a regular visitor to the lake and literally spends hours peering through his lens. Read about how he came across this unique little spider, a serendipitous experience in itself which gave him a classic photograph as well! : 

While I was trying portrait shots of a garden lizard in our Puttenahalli lake bed last week this colourful rare spider popped up on its head!

Chrysilla volupe male on a garden lizard's head
(Pic: Satishchandra Karanth)

Chrysilla volupe female 
(Pic: Satishchandra Karanth)

Chrysilla volupe male
(Pic: Satishchandra Karanth)

This spider species was considered extinct for 150 years until it was found in Wayanad, Kerala in 2018!

Male spiders measure 5.44 millimeter long including stretched legs and 1.76 millimeter wide!

Females measure 2.61 millimeter long and 0.88 millimeter wide!

Males have a carapace in reddish orange color with two iridescent blue stripes. Legs have iridescent scales that make them appear golden and purple shades. Females have greyish carapace with grey eyebrows with all legs yellow in color. The female was described 139 years after the species was first described by Karsch in 1879. Until 2018, only males had been identified and described, based on the male type specimen described by Karsch.

More strength to Mr. Karanth and all the naturalists who are helping us map the biodiversity at our little Puttenahalli lake!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Bioblitz event at Puttenahalli Lake

The continuous rains this week didn't deter us from planning our first Bioblitz event at Puttenahalli Lake. The overcast sky this morning did make us wonder if the participants would turn up. They did and the drizzle stopped just in time for 15 participants - a good mix of college students, high school students and a couple of nature enthusiasts - to start their walk around the lake to capture and document their observations. The next two hours opened our eyes to a whole new world.

The highlight was the first sighting of fruits on a Buddha coconut tree ( We have four of these trees in our lake, all planted in 2010, over the years they have grown very tall indeed! For the last two spring seasons, we have been eagerly waiting to see them flowering. This year too we missed spotting the flowers and would not have noticed the fruit either if it hadn't been for today's event. It made us slow down, look around, and observe the flora and fauna. Bingo! We saw the fruits!

Buddha coconut fruit

Incidentally, this was the tree which a drunken miscreant had broken in Aug. 2011. Fortunately, we were able to get our gardener to match the broken piece to the trunk and 'bandage' it without any delay. The tree survived. 

Buddha coconut tree
Patching up the Buddha coconut tree, Aug 2011 (Pic: Usha Rajagopalan)

One of the younger participants was the first to spot a fungus kind of growth on the Singapore Cherry.  "Thanks to the rain," said Dr. Kaustubh Rao, who led the walk. "You can expect to see more fungi varieties."

Fungus on Singapore Cherry tree

The participants will be uploading their observations on iNaturalist platform, do check them out at

If you want to spot the natural wonders at the lake, do come and join us in our next Bioblitz event (watch this space for the announcement of the next event).

Photos taken by: Govindan Iyer, Usha

Friday, July 9, 2021

Tracking the flora and fauna at our Puttakere

We are happy to have created a project space for Puttenahalli Lake on the iNaturalist platform 
- for all of us to track the flora and fauna found in our lake. 

Please explore  and add your observations - from the little spider in a corner of the gazebo at the lake to the statue-like heron waiting to snatch a fish from the water. 

To do this, you need to join the group. Please follow the directions given below: 

On Web browser:
- Go to Log in with your Gmail/Facebook ID or sign up with your email ID.
- On the top menu, go to Community >Project. In the input box, enter Puttenahalli Lake and click Go.
- You will see Puttenahalli Lake Project. Click on it. 
- On the top right side you will see Join this Project. Click and  become a member
of Puttenahalli Lake Project.

On Mobile
- Install iNaturalist from Playstore or Appstore.
- Log in as mentioned for Web browser above.
- Select Projects on the hamburger.
- Search for Puttenahalli Lake Project in the search box.
- Puttenahalli Lake Project will show up. Click on it. 
- Click on Join button to become a member.

Upload the photographs of birds, trees, plants, insects that you take at our Puttenahalli Lake
for everyone to see and admire.
- Do not worry if you don't know the name of the bird, tree, plant or insect.
This is a global community of naturalists. Someone from somewhere will identify it for you!
- Do not worry if the species is already uploaded. The more the better!
- Please upload good photos. The greater the clarity, the easier to identify the species!
- And please add only photographs taken at our Puttakere to this page!  

A quick update on the lake - While the sewage inflow has stopped and the rain is
diluting the sediment, it is still providing rich nutrition for the weeds to grow and
cover the water. 

                                  Removing weeds

BBMP is getting the weeds removed. This time, there are several new ones and we are
constantly sending photos to Dr. Subbu to identify! His comment on the two species
in the photograph is particularly heartwarming. 

"Chara sp. and Ottelia alismoides... These two mostly grow in clean waters:
like the lakes of Bangalore in the 1980s."

In spite of the impurities, the exposed water does look delightfully clean.
We hope it improves further in the days to come!