13 new species of dragonfly located in Goa

PTI, PANAJI | 28 March 2014 20:53 IST

Ceriagrion rubaea. Photo: Parag Rangnekar

Thirteen new species of dragonfly have been identified in Goa, taking the total number of species in the state to 87.

Among these 13 species, one belongs to a completely new family of dragonflies – Macromiidae - whose existence in the state was completely unknown.

"The researchers surveyed varied habitats in Goa from August 2011 to July 2012, especially forest habitats to document the odonate (dragonfly) diversity," stated Parag Rangnekar, a researcher and author of book 'A Photographic Guide to Butterflies of Goa' who along with Rohan Naik presented the paper.

They scouted through the forests of Sanguem, Ponda, Tiswadi, Dharbandora, Canacona and Sattari talukas, before documenting these additional new species of dragonflies.

The individual specimens were photo-documented from various angles and these images were cross-checked with identification manuals, Rangnekar said.

"Collection and killing was avoided for species which could be visually identified. For difficult species, specimens were collected using sweep nets, kept in paper envelopes and then preserved in 70 percent alcohol," he said.

As compared to the known diversity of Odonates from Peninsular India, which is around 200, the present species count is surely an underestimate, he said.

 

"We strongly believe that sustained and co-ordinated efforts are necessary for documenting the odonate diversity of the state," he said, adding that this is possible through networking between the government and researchers for which the department of forest can act as the nodal agency.

"Further, since odonates are indicator species, it is necessary that other than diversity, abundance studies and long-term monitoring need to be taken up for major water bodies in the state," Rangnekar said.

Dragonflies, characterised by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body, are among the fastest flying insects in the world.

These insects are important predators that eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, wasps, and very rarely butterflies. They are usually found around marshes, lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands.

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