The Indian Roller / Blue Jay
State symbols of Karnataka
What 4-letter word is used to refer to the
ingredients prepared from processing the outer skins
of citrus fruits like orange and lemon, which is also
used to refer to the flavour which these skins impart
to food items?
The smallest member of the camelidae family, it
produces some really fine wool and is found only in
high alpine areas in one part of the world. An
ancient civilisation valued the animal for its wool,
and decreed that only royals could wear clothes
made of this wool.
A protected species, and the national animal of a
country, identify the animal and the country from
this coat of arms.
Seen in this stamp is a bug from the family Reduviidae
that injects its victim with a special enzyme that
dissolves and softens the guts so they can be easily
And once all that's left is the insect's empty shell, the
bug attaches those exoskeletons to its back using a
sticky secretion, piling them high to create a thick layer
of protective armour that also serves to confuse its
enemies (as seen in pic 2).
Due to its dramatic and planned manner of killing, what
appropriate name is it given?
A minor deity named Kroncha once accidentally stepped
on the toes of a sage called Vamadeva. The irate sage
cursed him to become a ______, and realising he had
over-reacted sent him to go and see a god.
On earth, where this god was staying, there was a huge
commotion. He came out to see a _______ the size of a
mountain scaring the daylights out of everybody. He
sent his divine noose flying in Kroncha’s direction. The
radiant lasso whizzed through the air, looped itself
tightly around Kroncha.
The story of which animal becoming the mount for
Rufus’ owners are the Davis family, who own many other such
creatures; their business model is to use these creatures to
contain a particular menace in London in various prominent
places, including Westminster Abbey.
Rufus’ predecessor was Hamish, who lived to be 18. Rufus is
best described with an alliterative two-word name, and the
category was named by James Audubon after his friend,
financial supporter and companion.
Why does Rufus hog the headlines every year for about a
What family/category does he belong to?
The designated hawk to keep away pigeons at
What’s common and what record-breaker is missing
from this list?
Latticed butterfly fish
A species of pitcher plant
A species of ant
A spider from Sumatra
All named after Sir Stamford Raffles
Chaetodon rafflesii – Latticed butterfly fish
Dinopium rafflesii – Olive-backed Woodpecker
Megalaima rafflesi – Red-crowned barbet
Nepenthes rafflesiana – a species of pitcher plant
Protanilla rafflesi – a species of ant
Theridion rafflesi – spider from Sumatra
A painting by a famous Flemish painter titled,
________ on the Gallows. The title alludes to the
belief that _______ are gossips, and that gossip
leads to hangings. Frequently depicted in medieval
art, name this talkative bird, and the painter.
The phrase was first recorded in the late 18th
century, when it was used to mean ‘something very
small and insignificant’. Its current meaning dates
from the 1920s, at which time a whole collection of
American slang expressions were coined with the
meaning ‘an outstanding person or thing’. It possibly
alludes to the fact that “corbiculae”, or pollen basket,
is located on the tibiae of these insects. What
Clockwise from top left – corkscrew plant, bladderworts,
rainbow plant and butterworts
There is no known reason why this word is used in
the name of this fruit whose leaves and rind are food
Due to its racially offensive connotations (possibly
originating from the original meaning of infidel), The
Oxford Companion to Food recommends using the
word makrut instead.
Common In SE Asian and creole cuisines, identify
this plant with the genus name Citrus hystrix.
Quoting The New York Times: “Zookeepers around
the world, facing limited capacity and pressure to
maintain diverse and vibrant collections of
endangered species, are often choosing between
two controversial methods: birth control and
The other method is essentially to kill the animals,
who are otherwise healthy.
What is this other method informally called – a
1988-1992 – A Springer Spaniel and a puppy
1992-2000 – A cat and a Labrador Retriever
2000-2008 – A female English Springer Spaniel, a
Scottish Terrier, a cat and a Longhorn cow
2008 till date - _____________________
Fill in the blanks and tell us what this list is about –
something that’s usually widely reported in the press
On the Eastern side, the Atlantic has only one such,
and that too from another country. The Central
region has two such names, as do the South East. On
the Western side, the Southwest has two names, the
Northwest one, and the Pacific, none. This makes a
total of 8 such names out of a total of 30.
What are we talking about?
NBA teams with animal/bird names
1. Toronto Raptors
2. Chicago Bulls
3. Milwaukee Bucks
4. Atlanta Hawks
5. Charlotte Bobcats
6. Memphis Grizzlies
7. New Orleans Pelicans
8. Minnesota Timberwolves
Both males and females have one, so it is unlikely
that it is an ornament to attract the opposite sex. It
is also clear that it is not used in fighting, because
the weapon of choice (among these creatures) is a
pair of tusk-like teeth protruding from the lower jaw.
Its actual natural purpose is unknown.
What is this, that’s coveted by Yemeni men, among
whom it is a sign of manhood and devotion, and is
used as handles of curved daggers called jambiya?
This full colour, large format title is published in
association with the Zoological Society of London
and its much-acclaimed Evolutionarily Distinct and
Globally Endangered program.
What is the title of the book, a subtle modification
of a headline that often accompanies bucket lists?
This word was possibly first used as the name for the
season when a particular type of waterfowl was a
favourite dish. It was also during this time of the
year that a filmy substance was seen on bushes or
floating in the air in the calm weather, and it in turn
took on the same name.
The current usage spans ‘something very flimsy or
delicate’, to ‘a delicate variety of cloth used to make
What’s the good word?
Gossamer, from the Middle English gosesomer or
Goose + Summer
Isadore of Seville in Etymologies said that these
mythical creatures pursued herds of cattle, attacked
their udders and drained them of milk.
Later, in his 1758 publication Systema Naturae
Linnaeus chose to name a genus of real creatures
with the same name.
What creatures that also lend their name to the
fashion accessory (in the picture)?
Boa, from ox killer
Interestingly, Boa Constrictor has the same common
name and scientific name!
The man on the left is an English naturalist who
suggested stuff about how some butterflies had
evolved. The phenomenon is named in his honour.
The man to the right, a German, identified a
situation a little different from what the former had
theorised. The German’s theory involved two
noxious species, one aping the other, providing
predators with a universal ‘stop sign’.
For a point each, name both theories.
Batesian Mimicry (after Henry Walter Bates, where
the mimic resembles a noxious model, like the
Viceroy and Monarch butterflies)
Mullerian Mimicry (after Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Müller, in
whose theory both the model and the mimic are
The Chinese made jade models of this creature’s likeness
and placed them on a corpse's tongue before burial, as it
was believed that it preserved the corpse.
The Greek symbol for music was this creature sitting on
a harp. It is said that two rivals, Enomus and Ariston
were contending for a prize. One of them broke a string
on his harp. This creature settled on the instrument, and
substituted for the missing string so effectively, and that
In the wild / of the woods / from the forest
… from the Latin sylva meaning forest
Belonging to the Brassica family, the edible part is
the stem, which looks like a turnip with cabbage-like
leaves. Of the several varieties, the commonly grown
ones in India are white Vienna with light green skin
and purple Vienna, with a purplish skin.
The common name for it is a combination of the
Swiss-Austrian-German names for cabbage and
turnip. What is it?
These peppers Capsicum annuum make a sound
when they dry up and the seeds inside start shaking.
The common name for these peppers is therefore
also used by Spanish speakers across the Americas to
refer to a species that advertises its presence rather
What is the pepper called? Spanish speakers liken
them to what species, the large majority of which
are found in the American Southwest and Mexico?
Rattlesnake (the diamondback, for example, is called
It is the principal crop in the area where the author
comes from. In the narrative of this work by Mo Yan,
it is a symbol of indifference and vitality. Amidst
decades of bloodshed and death, it grows steadfast
to provide food, shelter, wine and life.
The Criollo has a distinctly reddish colour, and an
equally distinctive complex taste. It is quite rare
because of the tree’s lack of resistance towards
disease. The more robust Forastero dominates the
What are these?
The fact that these are predominantly grown in the
Chuao region of Venezuela make what 2011 ad
campaign that ran in India sound quite silly?
The best cocoa today comes from Venezuela and
the surrounding regions. Cadbury’s Bourneville
campaign on Ghana was a fail.
The gular is chiefly used for holding catch, although
some inflate it as an attraction in courtship displays.
Some have also evolved a behaviour where a flutter
of the gular helps evaporate moisture from their
respiratory tract. You might ask how does the tract
get wet. The answer leads us back to the first point.
Where do we see a gular in action?
As a sac or pouch in birds like pelicans, cormorants
Once upon a time Okinawa was overrun by vicious, surly
critters called habus. So in 1910, someone who had
probably read Kipling’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi had the bright
idea of importing a ‘solution’ (X). The only problem was
that the habu is a nocturnal and X is a diurnal, so their
paths never really crossed. Instead of fighting habus, X
started eating other creatures, and Okinawa is still left
with the old problem, and a new one in X (which have
since multiplied from 17 to 30000).
What were they trying to solve, and what is X?
They had a problem with snakes and they
introduced the mongoose to help fight them
It is known as Elang Bondol in Indonesia. A
Malaysian island is named after the bird with the
second part of the island’s name denoting an ochre-
like stone used to decorate pottery, and a reference
to the bird's primary plumage colour.
Which bird that is also seen as the mount of
Langkawi, ‘kawi’ denoting the colour
Found in and around Tirunelveli, Pollachi, Kovilpatti,
Sivakasi, and Madurai, this breed was given as gifts
to the bridegroom before weddings, and was on
dowry lists for a long time. Now a rare breed, its
name is a reflection on the special value placed on a
quality of the bride. What is it called?
They were colloquially known as Lapps although
today the term is deemed somewhat derogatory.
Lapp means a patch of cloth used for mending,
suggesting poverty and tattered wear. Sami is the
acceptable term to use today. They live in traditional
dwellings called goahti, shaped like a Native
There are about 7000 of them living today, looking
after something that number close to 300,000.
What do the Sami do for a living?
Their relatives we see at home are usually noted as a
pesky irritant, and while structurally this creature is
quite similar to them, it is distinguished by its folded
wings and long proboscis. It bites.
Name this creature.
It kills around 300,000 people every year. How?
It started shortly after 1945. It was persisted with
during the Cold War, when peace-minded activists
and scientists spread it far and wide, presumably as
a cautionary tale of destruction more than anything
Scientifically, 100 Sieverts is an acceptable limit. So
with the developments that have taken place in
recent years, with potential going up manifold, it is
safe to say it will not happen.
What am I rambling about?