A three-day odonate (order of insects comprising dragonflies and damselflies) survey at the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) has revealed that the area populates a large number of micro fauna too.

The three-day survey, organised jointly by the Malabar Natural History Society (MNHS) and the Forest Department, came to an end on Sunday.

This was the first such a survey in the sanctuary and 67 species of odonates, including 38 dragonfly species and 29 damselflies, were recorded in it. Fourteen among them were identified as endemic to the Western Ghats and endangered. “Among the 12 dragonflies on the list are Malabar torrent dart, Black torrent dart, Long-legged club tail, Kodagu club tail, Giant club tail, Pigmy club tail and Blue hack. The two damselflies are Wayanad Bamboo tail and Pale spotted bamboo tail,” said Jaffer Palot, scientist, Zoological Survey of India, who coordinated the survey.

Around 50 odonate enthusiasts from across the State took part in the survey. They were divided into eight teams for the purpose. Two teams each along with supporting forest staff were deployed at eight areas of the four forest ranges in the WWS. “Thrust areas were near waterholes, streams, and rivulets in the sanctuary where odonates are abundantly found,” Ajith K. Raman, assistant wildlife warden said.

Though the macro fauna in the sanctuary was well documented, a thorough study on its micro fauna was yet to be take up, Mr. Ajith said, adding that the survey was the first step in the direction.

“Odonate taxa are ideal models to assess the impact of environmental warming and climate change due to their tropical evolutionary history and adaptation to temperate climates,” he said.

About 5,000 species of odonates are found throughout the world. In India about 500 species and subspecies are reported and of this, about 153 species are found in the State. A BioBlitz, in which participants are asked to record all the living species of a particular region within a specified time, was also organised in connection with the programme. Narendranath Veluri, Additional Deputy Conservator, WWS, gave away prizes to the winners. C.G. Kiran, an odonate expert and A.K. Gopalan, assistant wildlife warden, WWS, assisted in the survey.