Rare dragonfly spotted in Kerala for the first time

Spiny Horntail discovered in Kottiyoor forests of Kannur

June 20, 2022 07:21 pm | Updated June 21, 2022 09:22 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Spiny Horntail

Spiny Horntail | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Dragonfly enthusiasts have recorded the presence of a rare dragonfly that was hitherto unseen in Kerala.

Afsar Nayakkan and Vibhu Vipanchika spotted the Spiny Horntail, Burmagomphus chaukulensis Joshi, Ogale & Sawant, 2022 (or B. chaukulensis), during a recent expedition to the Kottiyoor forests of Kannur. The species that is known to be endemic to the Western Ghats was discovered in Maharashtra earlier this year.

The discovery that was recorded from Kottiyoor was confirmed by Vinayan P. Nair, an odonate expert who represents the TNHS Odonata Research Group (TORG) of the Travancore Nature History Society (TNHS).

Researchers Shantanu Joshi, Dattaprasad Sawant and Hemant Ogale had spotted the species from Chaukul in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. Prior to their finding, the dragonfly genus Burmagomphus was represented by three species – B. cauvericus, B. pyramidalis and B. laidlawi. While B. laidlawi is found throughout the Western Ghats, B. cauvericus is more restricted in its distribution. B. pyramidalis is found in the Western Ghats as well as in Peninsular India. All other species of the genus are found in the Western and Eastern Himalayas.

The new species can be separated from its congeners by the markings on the lateral thorax and peculiar shape of anal appendages, said Mr. Nair.

According to a paper published by TORG last year, 181 odonata species have been recorded in Kerala. The addition of B. chaukulensis will take the count to 182.

TORG research associate Kalesh Sadasivan said the discovery demanded more detailed studies of odonates in the areas of Kerala that forms part of the Western Ghats.

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