Odonate survey throws up surprises

As many as 80 dragonfly species, including eight new ones, were sighted in a two-day odonate survey in the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) last week. The survey was conducted at 17 camps under the Aruviyoda, Moozhikal, and Kumarikulam zones by the Periyar Tiger Conservation Foundation and the India Daragonfly Society on Friday and Saturday.

The newly discovered dragonfly species are Burmagomphus laidlawi, Microgomphus souteri, Hydrobasileus croceus, Vestalis submontana, Agriocnemis splendidissma, Euphaea cardinalis, Lestes Dorothea, and Esme cyaneovittata.

Periyar Tiger Conservation Foundation biologist Patrick David said three species found in the survey were yet to be identified and were believed to be new to science.

The highest concentration of 37 species was found in the Thekkady range. The quality of freshwater and abundance and diversity of host plants were factors that created a congenial growth atmosphere for the odonate species. Mr. David said the Western Ghats was known for its dragonfly diversity and the healthy distribution of the species in the PTR pointed to the vibrant ecosystem in the sanctuary.

This was the second odonate survey held at the PTR and more species could be found if the survey was conducted over a wider area.

Mr. David said incessant rain might have affected the hatching of dragonfly eggs. More studies were needed to study the impact of climate change on the species.

Students of the Forestry College, Peechi, and Veterinary College, Pookkode, participated in the survey.

The abundance of dragonfly denotes the quality of freshwater in the habitat.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 10:41:56 PM |

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