While walking through a forest, our eyes are usually drawn to the bigger shapes—boulders, tall, magnificent trees, large animals—and many of us miss the smaller creatures around us: the beetles, moss, butterflies and birds that are vital to the well-being of the forest.
Years ago, the mighty tree was but a small seed, that was probably dropped by a passing flycatcher bird. As it grew into a tree, so did moss and lichen on its wet bark, protecting it from the elements and feeding insect colonies in the vicinity. The insects, in turn, provide for the snakes, birds and lizards that now hide in the tree’s many crevices. By the tree’s roots, an orchid blooms, inviting bees, butterflies and moths… Under the ground, fungal networks send and receive signals across the forest through intricate mycelium—a wood wide web. And the story goes on.
In nature, every being, small and big, is a vital cog in the universe. The Palani Hills harbour a myriad of flora and fauna, each playing significant roles—far greater than their size—in their environment. Meet some of these lesser-known, hardworking critters from the forests around Kodaikanal.