Two Mumbai researchers discover new damselfly species in Konkan
While surveying Odonates (species of dragonflies and damselflies) in Vimaleshwar village near Devgad in Sindhudurg district, Dattaprasad Sawant, a student at Sir JJ Hospital, Byculla, first photographed this species in 2017.Updated: May 28, 2019, 12:54 IST
Two Mumbai-based researchers have discovered a new species of damselfly, which is endemic to the Western Ghats, in the Konkan region. Sindhudurg marsh dart (Ceriagrion chromothorax) is the latest addition to the endemic species of the damselfly family. A report of the discovery has been published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa on Sunday.
This species in genus Ceriagrion is a first from India in 100 years and more than 50 years in the world. There are 10 species of this genus recorded from India, but all were described in the past by British researchers, the authors said.
While surveying Odonates (species of dragonflies and damselflies) in Vimaleshwar village near Devgad in Sindhudurg district, Dattaprasad Sawant, a student at Sir JJ Hospital, Byculla, first photographed this species in 2017.
“We found only one male at the time. Its characteristics seemed different from other damselflies we had observed in the past. “During another survey in 2018, we found more specimens — including females,” said Sawant, the co-author of the research.
Sawant shared photos and specimens (six males and one female) with Shantanu Joshi, a Master’s student at the Bhavan’s College, Mumbai, and Odonata curator at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru. After confirmation that it is a new species, the researchers made the discovery official.
“We studied the morphological characteristics and found that although the species was similar to common Coromandel marsh dart, it differed in size and colour. The findings highlight the need to protect wetlands and agricultural land, where this species is found,” said Joshi, the co-author of the study
He added it was important to survey similar habitats to understand the species distribution, ecology and threats it faced.