Skip to main content

Insects in Antarctica

First apologies for the hiatus in posts over the last 2 weeks. Dr Khandelwal has been writing just as regularly, however it was I who for personal reasons was not able to post as his usual proxy. Please expect some accumulate writings to follow. - Kush

Originally meant to be posted March 9th:

Can you imagine a life of four months without having seen any ant, insect, fly or mosquito? Well, that’s what it was like till a couple of days ago for me in Antarctica. I had not seen any such creature since I put my feet on this continent on the 15th November, 2007. It was a funny and pleasant feeling living at Maitri where I could leave any food item or my cup of tea uncovered without the fear of flies swarming over it. Whenever and wherever I was wandering during my stay at Maitri and saw a lake or a puddle, I usually thought of seeing larvae, insects or fish well aware that I would not see any such thing.

Finally, I saw my first insect in Antarctica, the only arthropod (insects are called arthropods in classification) found in Antarctica. This insect lives in lake (perhaps on the ground also), and I saw it in the frozen lake. The lakes here at Larsemann Hills have frozen by now and this particular lake was frozen like transparent ice. There are some scientists with us working on lakes. They had found it and we were all excited. I was never so impatient in my life to see an insect. When I went to that island a couple of days ago, that was the first thing I wanted to see. RP took me there. To be able to see an insect below the frozen ice was not easy. I had to walk on the frozen lake to reach a spot where ice was transparent and then lie prostrate. I had to train my eyes hard to see the moving objects in water below the frozen ice. In the process I froze the tip of my nose.


Popular posts from this blog

The Winter Embrace of Kedarkantha


When I told my family and friends that I wanted to trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib this August, everyone thought I was just crazy. Besides Delhi, the rain gods had been relentless over Uttarakhand too causing road breaches at multiple sites in various hill towns. There were landslides everywhere and traffic to all the well known pilgrimage centres of Badri Nath, Kedar Nath, Gangotri and Yamunotri were getting cut off from rest of the country every now and then. The group I was trying to assemble had fallen through. But to do justice to the Valley of Flowers, one has to trek there in the month of August only when the entire valley is at its best bloom. So finally, I enquired at the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd ( if they had any vacancy for its weekly tour to Valley of Flowers – Hemkund Sahib – Badri Nath. Of course, they did not have any for the month of August. However, I was banking on some cancellations hoping some people might not like to venture on this…

Chopta - Tungnath - Chandrashila Trek

Five days of holidays in the beginning of October was god-sent for many people to make a beeline into their favourite destinations; we too planned to make best of this golden opportunity, since it does not happen very often that one gets constellation of holidays falling together. If I have to plan, what better place than go for a quick visit to the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Chopta and Tungnath had been in my mind for a long time. I made enquiries and found this was a doable trip in five days. Vasu, after some hesitation, agreed to accompany me, and then I asked Shariff, who approved the plan (of course, after consulting Malini) without hestitation. What bothered me was the road condition. After last year’s devastation due to fury of floods in Uttarakhand, esp, in the region of Kedarnath, I was a little wary, since Chopta and Tungnath fall in the close vicinity of Kedarnath; afterall, Tungnath is one of five Kedar temples. I contacted GMVN’s offices in Rishikesh and other places to ge…