The Night-Time Rhythms Of The Western Ghats

Understanding the night-time rhythms of the forest is essential to capturing its persona
Researchers and photographers by a stream in the forest
Researchers and photographers by a stream in the forest
&ldquoThe night is a different world in the forest. There are animals, flora, and fungi that are active or can be seen only after dark. One can truly gauge the ecological blueprint of a region when it is studied at night. The Western Ghats of India is a gigantic biodiversity hotspot. They are unique in their standing even in India, mainly due to their endemic flora and fauna, most of which can only be observed at night. As an ecology photographer, I must understand the entire being of the natural expression I am documenting. Together with the daylight life-cycle of the forest, its night-time rhythms complete its persona. What others may consider a rotting pile of wood during the day will show up with a magical glow during the night. Bioluminescence is one of the familiar sights in a forest during the dark, and the Western Ghats abound in it.
The Malabar pit viper, so integral to the food web of these forests, hunts at night and is almost impossible to spot during the day. It can be found primarily next to a stream or in the hollow of a damp log. Arachnids prefer the safety of the night to venture out, especially when they are on parental duty.
Nights spent in the forest provide a heightened sense of achieving a fresh perspective on life. There&rsquos nothing more fulfilling than spotting the frog whose mating calls I have been following or seeing the tail-end of a reptile slither away from the torchlight. The Western Ghats are replete with nocturnal endemic species, maybe one of the highest in India, and every night that we step into the forest, it reveals new treasures.&rdquo

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