Flora and fauna studies (Jyoti K Sharma, Amit K Tripathi, Mohd Ahmad,and Manish Bhardwaj)

As a part of documentation of Biodiversity of Chithara Village Panchayat documentation of flora and fauna of Chithara is being studied. In the flora, 272 plant species belonging to 66 families have been documented and details prepared. In the fauna, several species of birds, amphibians, insects, reptiles have been recorded and documented.
  • Calotropis gigantea (Safed Aak)

  • Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi)

  • Eclipta alba (Bhringraj)

  • Tribulus terrestris (Gokhru)

  • Equisetum sp. in the Botanic Garden

FLORA

The floristic survey of Chithara Village Panchayat including, SNU Campus, conducted during all the three seasons, winter, summer and rainy throughout the year during 2014-17, covering different types of habitat such as agricultural fields, canal bunds, roadsides, village streets, wastelands, grasslands, etc., recorded rich plant diversity. There were a total of 272 vascular plant species belonging to 202 genera under 69 plant families recorded in the flora. Even though the SNU Campus (115.74 ha) is much smaller in area as compared to Chithara Village (770.78 ha) it recorded proportionately higher species diversity possibly due to its proximity to wetlands and agriculture fields. Very unique and prominent feature of Chithara flora is the presence of numerous date palm trees, Phoenix sylvestris (L.) Roxb., dotted in agricultural fields, wetlands and road sides, either individually or as a grove usually, associated with some other tree species, herbs and shrubs. The largest date palm grove was found in the SNU Campus and second largest in Chithara Village in the middle of agricultural fields. Further details about date palms are given under SNU flora.

There were 45 plant species which were recorded exclusively in Chithara Village and not recorded in the SNU Campus (Table 4). Except plant families viz. Lythraceae (Ammannia baccifera), Pontederiaceae (Eichhornia crassipes), Salicaceae (Salix tetrasperma), Sphenocleaceae (Sphenoclea zeylanica), Scrophulariaceae (Verbascum chinense, V. thapsus), Thelypteridaceae (Ampelopteris prolifera) and Urticaceae (Gonostegia pentandra) which occurred in Chithara Village, 62 plant families were  recorded in the Campus of Shiv Nadar University. A total of 16 families (Acanthaceae, Amaranthaceae, Compositae, Convolvulaceae, Cyperaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Hydrocharitaceae, Lamiaceae, Leguminosae, Meliaceae, Moraceae, Onagraceae, Phyllanthaceae, Poaceae, Solanaceae, Verbenaceae) were common to both Chithara and SNU Campus.

The flora was enriched mainly by plant species belonging to Angiosperms. Of the 272 vascular plants recorded, 268 species (98.5%) belonged to Angiosperms (flowering plants), whereas 4 species (1.5%) were that of Pteridophytes. Approximately, 79 percent of these plants belonged to Dicotyledons (215 species), 20 percent to Monocotyledons (53 species) and 1 percent to Pteridophytes (4 species).

FAUNA

The faunal diversity in different habitats in Chithera Village Panchayat, including SNU Campus is very rich represented by various groups of animals. So far,  the faunal studies have recorded a total of 10 species of Mammals, 65 species of Birds, 9 species of Reptiles, 5 species of Amphibians and 27 species of Butterflies.

Among the mammals Five striped squirrel, Nilgai, Indian grey mongoose, Blackbuck (Indian antelope) Mongoose and Indian hare are commonly sighted species in the area.

Among birds, Bristled grassbird (considered to be endangered and endemic to wetland of Bil Akbarpur), Paddy field pipit pipit, Ashy prinia, Black ibis, Black necked stork, Eurasian thick knee, Comb duck, Eurasian wigeon, Black headed ibis, Bar headed goose, Baya weaver and Darter etc. are some of the important birds recorded in the area.

Common krait, Indian cobra, Red sand boa, Indian skink, Monitor lizard and Garden lizard are some of the commonly seen reptiles.

Mottled emigrant, Common emigrant, Common leopard, Tiny grass blue, Grass jewel, Plain tiger and Common grass yellow are mostly commonly encountered butterflies in the Chithera village panchayat and Shiv Nadar University campus. Observations are also taken on their abundance status and feeding habits.

Besides, a large number of insects such as moths, beetles, grasshoppers, dragonfly, termites, ants, spiders, including signature spider have been recorded.

Highest number of birds and butterfly species were recorded from Botanic Garden of Shiv Nadar University campus followed by wetland and mixed scrub. This pattern of high species diversity in Botanical garden is due to high plant diversity, heterogeneous habitat availability and protection.