A rare dragonfly spotted in chance encounter


Last week, {a photograph} of a dragonfly in grass-green, yellow and reddish-brown color and bottle-green eyes trended on odonate boards in India.

It is the primary time this species, Megalogomphus superbus Fraser, has been caught on digicam and naturalists Ravindran Kamatchi and S Gopala Krishnan achieved this feat throughout a birding outing at a farm close to Coimbatore.

“It was a fantastic day of birding at the Kallar garden in Mettupalayam,” says Ravindran. “We noticed the hardly ever spotted lyrical white-rumped shama, a resident fowl of the Western Ghats domestically referred to as solaipaadi. Also a yellow-browed bulbul, lesser yellownape woodpecker and Tickell’s blue flycatcher. Later, we walked to a close-by stream. Gopala Krishnan alerted me when he noticed an uncommon dragonfly, a lot greater in dimension than typical, perched on a shrub. We simply went click on, click on, click on.”

Later, after they posted it on the WhatsApp group ‘Odonates of the Western Ghats’, they learnt that it was certainly a thrillingly rare discovery. Scottish botanist Fraser F C, who labored on Odonates in India, described this dragonfly as essentially the most lovely species in the guide, Fauna of British India.

“Fraser spotted it in 1931 and 1934 at the Boluvampatti forest range near Siruvani, Walayar (Kerala-Tamil Nadu border) and Kallar near Mettupalayam. The species distributed in South India is endemic to the Western Ghats. The dragonfly belongs to gomphidae family which has six dragonflies – two in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, one in Sri Lanka and three others in the North East ,” says Kalesh Sivadasan of Travancore Natural History Society. Kalesh has documented Odonates for over 20 years and has recognized as many as 15 new species in Kerala.

The taxonomical descriptions of the dragonfly in the guide matched with the {photograph}. “The species has not been spotted in a long time,” says Krishnan, who has been following Odonates for over 5 years. “We have 193 species of Odonates occurring in the Western Ghats. These are ecological indicators but are least studied in India. As aerial predators, they play a crucial role in pest control.”

‘Tis the season

  • The South West Monsoon is the most effective time to look out for dragonflies, particularly until December.
  • In recent water streams, you possibly can usually sight widespread species like stream rubies, Nilgiris torrent dart and the orange marsh dart. Species like ‘ditch’ jewel breed in contaminated water

Megalogomphus superbus Fraser is a narrowly distributed endemic species, says Kalesh. “You can see them only on the pockets along the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border. A photographic record will pave the way for further studies on its distribution, habitat and ecology. It is an aquatic water species that thrives in fresh water, and feeds on mosquitoes and insects that are harmful to humans.”

The sighting and photographing of this species is important because it has occurred after a niche of almost 9 a long time. The better part? It is an indicator that the standard of water and air continues to be pollution-free in these areas.

Asiatic Blood-tail

During the birding journey, in addition they spotted the Common Hooktail (feminine), and photographed essentially the most enticing dragonfly, the Asiatic Blood Tail, which seems in eye-catching colors, the blue and inexperienced Ground Skimmers, and the Tricolour Marsh Hawk cloaked in inexperienced, yellow and brown. and the colorful Stream Ruby and the Black-tipped Forest Glory.

Among the damselflies, the colorful Stream Ruby, the Black-tipped Forest Glory (with inexperienced physique and black-tipped clear wings) had been seen. “Odonates are aquatic insects and can always be spotted along streams and other water bodies. All these species can be spotted along the Western Ghats. It shows that the ecosystem is intact. A healthy sign.” says Krishnan.

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