Nature study is the one domain, unlike other forms of science, an amateur or a common man can contribute significantly. Intention of this site is to share the information on Bio-diversity from Mysore area* as a ready reckoner. Keeping in mind that advancement of science is possible with only good basics, an attempt is made to consolidate and share the known information as stepping stone to collate entire Mysore area bio-diversity, so that it benefits one and all. Data available from 200 different locations will be displayed in due course. In addition, bio-diversity information on the locations outside the Mysore area is also presented, wherever it is gathered.
*Mysore area denotes Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts of Karnataka State excluding Nagarhole & Bandipur National Park, Nugu, Biligiri Rangaswamy and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary situated on west-south-east boundaries.
Figure 1. Map of Mysore Area, coloured in Grey is dealt here in detail
Mysore area is spread between 11°30’-13° 04’ North Latitude and 75° 45’- 77°45’ East Longitude. The area is situated in southern Karnataka comprising Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts spread over 16,916 Sq. Km with a population of 80 Lakh (2009).
The area is located in southern plateau and is part of river Kaveri basin. The general elevation of the area is 820 m ASL. Bettadapura hill (1338 m), Narayana Durga (1088m) and Chamundi hill (1074m) are the highest peaks of this area.
The climate is moderate. The summer season from March to end of May is followed by the south-west monsoon lasting up to September end. October and November are retreating monsoon. December to February is the dry season with generally clear bright weather. Most of the rainfall in the area is confined from April to November and October is the rainiest month. The area has the record of receiving an average of 761.9 mm (Mysore & Chamarajanagar) and 691.2 mm (Mandya) rainfall for the past one century (Anon, 1988 & 2003).
Mysore area is described as an undulating table land, fertile and well watered by perennial rivers whose waters dammed by anicuts (check dams built across rivers of different sizes) enrich their banks by means of canals. Mysore area is situated in the angular area where the Eastern and Western Ghat ranges converge into the Nilgiri hills. Physio-graphically, the region in which the districts are situated may be classified as partly maidan (plains) and partly semi-malnad (hilly). Cultivated area includes rain fed, irrigated, plantations and hedges. Many water-bodies in the form of various sized1. Tanks (1757 nos),
2. Anicuts (22nos; Madhvamanthri, Chunchanakatte, Mahadevapura, Chikkadevaraya, Chandagalu, etc.,),
3. Reservoirs (Krishnaraja sagara, Kabini Dam, Nugu, Markonahalli, Taraka, Gundal), and
4. Rivers (Kaveri, Hemavathi, Kapila, Shimsha, Lakhmanathirtha, Suvarnavathi, Nugu, Lokapavani)
are spread unevenly through out the area.
The vegetation is described as thorn-scrub (Saldanha 1984; Rao & Razi 1981) and non-forest habitat due to prolonged disturbance of deciduous forest over a long period. Dry deciduous trees scattered amid the stretches of shrub, herb and grass undergrowth is common. These thorn-scrub protected areas are located in the middle of vast open and fallow land, cultivated land, town and villages. Mysore area flora is quite rich and diverse with 1601 species of flowering plants belonging to 170 families and 778 genera (Rao & Razi 1981, includes Biligirirangana & Male mahadeshwara hills). It is quite substantial when compared with entire Karnataka’s rich haul of 4758 species from 1408 genera and 178 families and is one of the most species rich districts along with Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Hasan & Kodagu (Ganeshaiah et al.,)
Diversity rich Western Ghat Hotspot (Bio-diversity Hotspot) spread over 175,000 Sq. Km. with over 4500 species of flowering plants, supports 330 species of butterflies. Floral diversity and stability of the ecosystem is inferred by the presence of more than 300 species in few districts of Western Ghat (Gaonkar 1996). Relatively, presence of 123 species in disturbed and disintegrated Mysore area of 16,916 Sq. Km. (Anon, 1988) indicates rich and balanced species diversity.
Bird diversity is represented by 326 bird species, comprising of 182 Residents, 87 Regular winter visitors, 13 Rare winter migrants, 30 Vagrants and 14 birds overshooting their habitat from surrounding Eastern & Western Ghat and Shores. Thus, present study area accommodates 26% of 1225 species of Indian avifaunal diversity (Islam & Rahmani 2005) and 66% of entire Karnataka state (Praveen 2010; considered only 488 among listed 537 species after deleting 49, that have not been re-sighted after 1990).
With much constrain, Leopard Panthera pardus, Jungle cat Felis chaus, Rusty spotted cat Felis rubiginosa, Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis, Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica, Common palm civet Paradoxurus hermophroditus, Common mongoose Herpestes edwardsi, Black buck Antilope vervicarpa, Wild pig Sus scrofa, Porcupine Hystrix indica, Pangolin Manis crassicaudata and Black-naped hare Lepus nigricollis and Bonnet macaque Macaca radiata are surviving here. Excess population off loaded from Mysore Zoo, Spotted Deer Axis axis is accomodated in Arabitittu (Mysore). Scrub jungles & fields around Nagamangala (Mandya) houses Jackal Canis aureus and indirect evidences (pug marks & droppings.) have shown the presence of Wolf Canis lupus in Melkote Temple Sanctuary (Mandya). Elephant Elephas maximus seldom takes refuge in remnant forest patches attached to National parks bordering Mysore area and raids crop in the nearby fields frequently to augment its diet. Smooth Indian Otter Lutra perspicillata have been recorded in few fresh water bodies, River Kaveri and Kabini dam. Chiroptera(Bats) are represented by Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus, Fulvous Fruit Bat Rousettus leschenaultia, and Indian Pipistrelle Pipistrelus coromandra. Rodents are least observed. Three striped Palm Squirrel Funambulus palmarum is well distributed in scrub jungles, secondary forest, and agricultural fields dotted with trees and in rural and urban area alike.
Species richness and incidence are positively correlated with recording intensity- the more visits made to the habitat, the greater the likelihood that any species will be recorded and these recorded species will accumulate for the habitat. The sites dealt here are accessible as being open to all. The site is closer to our home range, which means, sites closer to observers were visited more frequently than those which were away (Dennis & Thomas). Hence, the present report is more realistic and nearly complete.
Depending on vegetation and climate, vibrant life spectrum has spread unevenly throughout the Mysore area; individual location’s vegetation, birds and butterflies would be dealt in detail in days to come.