Exotic dragonfly found in Pilibhit’s tiger zone
Environmentalists recently discovered a new species of dragonfly in the forest of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve and they claim it is an exotic species, native to South-East Asian countries.lucknow Updated: Sep 01, 2017 12:48 IST
Pilibhit, which is quite often in the news for tiger attacks, has now found something to cheer about.
Environmentalists recently discovered a new species of dragonfly in the forest of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve and they claim it is an exotic species, native to South-East Asian countries.
The environmentalists chanced upon the red winged dragonfly, with a characteristic de-pigmentation on the edges of its wings, while observing ‘activities’ in the reserve forest.
“We spotted it in the bushes in buffer zone of the reserve. I found its wing colour and patches to be unique,” said Wasif Jamshed, an environmentalist in the team.
The experts took pictures of the eight-legged insect and, on sample matching, concluded that it was a red-winged dragonfly (neurothermis terminata).
“The finding was surprising because, according to available records, the species is only found in Malaysia and other South-East Asian countries. No records of it being spotted in India before are available,” claimed Jamshed.
The claim also finds strength in the fact that International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) -- the body that keeps record of all kinds of ecological species on the planet and allots different conservation status -- in its 2009 assessment report, confirmed that red winged dragonfly was native only to Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Palau and the Philippines.
The pictures and videos of the dragonfly have been shared with the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI). ZSI experts have already started preliminary identification of the insect and are comparing it with available data. “Once we get the results of the preliminary investigation, we will request the forest department to collect some insects for detailed investigation,” said Dr Kailash Chandra, director ZSI.
Scientifically, the sighting of the dragonfly is a big deal, says Omkar Upadhyay, head of the department of zoology in Lucknow University and a leading entomologist.
“Only 30 to 40% of animal species are known to us and the remaining ones are yet to be discovered. Also, our knowledge about the spread of known species is limited. So, it is fascinating if an exotic species is naturally found in our country,” he said.
The finding has also raised hopes to restore the credibility of the forest department, which is currently under fire after failing to prevent tiger attacks.
“It is a sign that our conservation efforts are providing habitat for exotic species to flourish. We have decided to co-ordinate with the ZSI for identification of the dragonfly,” said forest conservator VK Singh.
Pilibhit forest, declared a tiger reserve in 2014 and the youngest tiger reserve of the country, is home to over 50 tigers at present. The forest also has over 100 leopards, bears, nilgais, antelopes, wild boars and different species of birds. The reserve status of the forest has provided the much-needed security to these animals, which has resulted in marked rise in their population.