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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

25 species spotted in Delhi’s first dragonfly-damselfly count

At least 25 species of dragonflies were spotted in Delhi and NCR on the first dragonfly and damselfly count held on Saturday, said organisers.

delhi Updated: Aug 19, 2018 10:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dragonfly at PAU botanical garden, November 26, 2017.
Dragonfly at PAU botanical garden, November 26, 2017. (HT File Photo)
         

At least 25 species of dragonflies were spotted in Delhi and NCR on the first dragonfly and damselfly count held on Saturday, said organisers. The final result is expected on September 1.

A total of 11 teams comprising 30 volunteers fanned out in various wetlands, biodiversity parks and sanctuaries across Delhi and NCR to count the number of species of dragonflies and damselflies. The initiative was a joint effort by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The places covered were Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, Yamuna Biodiversity Park, Neela Hauz Biodiversity Park, Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Dhanuari Wetland, Surajpur Wetland, Najafgarh Wetland, Basai
Wetland, Lodhi Garden, Sanjay Van and Aravalli Biodiversity Park.

“The dragonfly-damselfly count was a part of the month-long Delhi Dragonfly Festival that took off from August 3,” said Sohail Madan, centre-manager at BNHS in Asola Bhatti.

 

Taking stock
Dragonflies are known to be biological controller of mosquitoes and flies and help to keep a check on diseases such as malaria and dengue

Scientists estimate there are at least 5,329 species of dragonflies and damselflies in the world at present of which around 500 species have been reported from India. In 1996, the Zoological Survey of India recorded around 49 species in Delhi.

“Their numbers are, however, dwindling because of loss of habitat and pollution. While on one hand their habitats such as wetlands and water bodies are being filled up, those that remain are getting polluted because of dumping of waste and sewage water,” said Faiyaz A Khudsar, biologist and scientist-in-charge of Yamuna Biodiversity Park.

Dragonflies are known to be biological control of mosquitoes and flies and help to check disease such as malaria and dengue. In Thailand, larvae of the container-breeding dragonfly, granite ghost (Bradinopyga geminata) was successfully used to control Aedes mosquito, an important vector of the dengue fever.

“Their role as top predator for other insects particularly mosquitoes and flies gives them direct utility to public health. Their utility becomes stronger in a city like Delhi, which regularly faces outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases,” said Khudsar.

Some of the species that were spotted in various wetlands and biodiversity parks on Saturday were blue darner, pied paddy skimmer, common picture wing, granite ghost, coromandel marsh dart, orange tailed, marsh
dart and pixie dartlet among others.

Dragonflies belong to a primitive group of insects, and had first appeared in the carboniferous age, about 220 million years ago. Scientists say they were one of the first living creatures to fly.

First Published: Aug 19, 2018 08:01 IST

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