Sunday, December 04, 2005

Beginning the Week with the Scorpion

The morning chill did not allow me to open the window. But the the ‘Ponga’ tree (in Tamil) was always very close to my heart, for many of the streams where I walked through had the ‘Ponga’ dotted along the banks. This Ponga that I am talking about is right behind my office at MAIS. While I was peering through the glass pane covered with the haze that was constantly formed out of the hot air exhaled by me, I could see a 10-12 cm long scorpion, slowly ascending one of the branches. The Scorpion stopped for a while (about two three minutes) and then began its predatory act. The branches were frequented by a line of red ants. The scorpion virtually positioned itself in such a way that the ants would have to ram straight on to the scorpion. Slowly the claws (‘chela’) of the scorpion held an ant. While the ant was struggling hard to escape, with a calmness that is characteristic only of hardened predators, the head of the ant was forced into the mouth of the scorpion and slowly the entire body vanished. One of the ants tried a bit too hard to escape the strong hold of the claw and it was instantaneously laid to peace by the venom from the tip of the tail (‘telson’). Emboldened and having tasted its prey, the scorpion repeated the ritual four times. But by the time the ants had learnt their lesson and began to take another route. The scorpion remained stationery for another five minutes or so, and then treaded on its own path.
I was lucky today. On any other Monday, I would have been busy meeting my Biology students. But today, the ‘Throw Ball Tournament’ allowed me to take an extra minute to peep through the window. And what a beginning for the week….


Blogger Tara Kini said...

Mahesh, that scorpion story was fascinating! I am sure I could have been sitting at your desk and staring at the Ponga tree and not registering a single thing about any insect activity! Difference between looking and seeing!!

One thing I have been longing to do is walk around our campus and learn the names of trees and anything special about each. I know some, but not many. Could you be Guru for this some time?

4:51 PM  
Blogger ppseneelatatu said...

I ditto Mrs. Kini Mahesh. I too would be a willing party to this educational nature walk/s( if you have the time).

8:04 PM  

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