Study spots 84 odonate species in WWS

Azure Dartlet  

A four-month dragonfly survey that concluded at the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) recently spotted 84 species of odonates (order of insects comprising dragonflies and damselflies) belonging to 59 genera under 11 families.

The survey was jointly conducted by the Forest Department and Ferns Nature Conservation Society (FNCS). Of the 84 species, 49 were dragonflies and 35 damselflies. Muneer Tholpetty, secretary, FNCS, told The Hindu.

A previous survey by the Malabar Natural History Society (MNHS) in the sanctuary in 2016 had identified 75 species of odonates belonging to 50 genera under 11 families.

“Since odonates are amphibiotic insects, the study focused on waterbodies in the sanctuary. Ponds were the richest in terms of species, but streams had the most number of endemic species,” Mr. Muneer, who coordinated the survey, said.

The four-month-long study was held from August to November 2020 when waterbodies in the sanctuary were full after the southwest monsoon.

“This is the time when large number of adult odonates can be seen flying around, jostling, mating, and laying eggs in water. They live as aquatic nymphs for a few months and later emerge out as aerial predators we commonly see,” he said. The team covered 33 ponds, 28 streams, and 12 swamps of the sanctuary spread over four forest ranges.

“The spotting of Coorg False Spreadwing [Indolestes pulcherrimus] in the sanctuary is a first for the State. The rare damselfly was earlier thought to be restricted to the Coorg region of Karnataka,” Mr. Muneer said.

“Restless Demon (Indothemis limbata) and Azure Dartlet (Amphiallagma parvum) were the other rare odonates we were able to record,” Vivek Chandran of the Society for Odonate Studies, who extended technical assistance for the study, said. Odonates are good bio indicators and help the scientific community assess the health of freshwater ecosystems, he added.

“The Forest Department has plans to extend the study on odonates across all seasons to document their diversity in the sanctuary and give training sessions to field staff and students on odonates,” WWS warden S. Narendra Babu said.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 11:56:21 PM |

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