On the 30th of November 2018, we visited the DM College of Sciences at Imphal, one one the premier institutions of higher education and research in Manipur.
We headed to the PG Zoology classroom where we met the zoology students. We showed them all our work with our foldscopes and discussed with them our plans for our project. The students themselves had done quite a lot of work with the foldscope from observing the compound eyes of a dipterans to studying that anatomy of a parasite that lives in the gut of cockroaches. They shared with us some innovative techniques that they employ to make slides and preserve samples.
Post the knowledge sharing session, we prepared slides of a spider and studied its mouth parts. Dr. Bhubaneswari Devi and Dr. Dhananjoy then invited us to view their expansive collection of arthropod specimen of various dipterans, coleopterans, lepidopterans and hemipterans – representative of the biodiversity of Manipur. We were even able to identify quite a few insects that we had seen since the beginning of our stay at Imphal. They explained the nuances of each specimen that make them unique and showed us the life cycles of different mosquito and silk moth species.
Madam Bhubaneswari and Sir Dhananjoy then informed us about their ongoing research projects including one where they are currently studying the aquatic insect diversity of Loktak lake, the largest freshwater lake in the North East that is located at the heart of Manipur. Sir Dhananjoy explained to us how we ourselves can study the life cycle of the different mosquitoes that are found in our city and use the foldscope to study and compare their anatomy. They brilliantly explained the importance of biodiversity and its preservation.
As we left the college, we were bid adieu by the enthusiastic students of Madam Bhubaneswari. We exited the gates of the college with a plethora of new knowledge and a changed perspective of insects and their intricate lives.