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Common Odonates of Central India

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COMMON ODONATES
OF CENTRAL INDIA
Dr. R. J. Andrew
Department of Zoology,
Hislop College, Nagpur
Dr. K. A. Subramanian
Zoological Survey of India
Pune
Mr. A. D. Tiple
Department of Zoology
RTM Nagpur University Campus,
Nagpur
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
FOREWORD
I must make an admission that I had very limited familiarity with dragonflies except as a childhood
reminiscence of watching with fascination as these helicopter-like insects silently hovered about with their
beautiful, transparent and oversized wings. This was till Dr R. J. Andrew of Zoology Dept. of Hislop College
mentioned to me about the dragonflies and their cousins- the damselflies, on which the college proposed to
hold an international symposium in November, 2008. I therefore owe it to Dr Andrew for explaining to me
and my colleagues the ecological significance of these little known creatures, and, more importantly,
sensitising us about their critical role as indicators of wetland health, and hence the imperatives of
conserving these gifts of nature.
I am happy to see that Dr. R. J. Andrew and his colleagues, Dr. K. A. Subramanian, and
Shri Ashish D. Tiple, have now come out with this very informative and well laid out hand-book on
dragonflies and damselflies. The booklet explains the salient aspects of the morphology, life cycle and
ecological importance of these insects and I must specially congratulate the authors for succeeding in
performing one of the most difficult tasks in scientific communication- presenting on a single platform
information that, equally in content and language, will be useful and friendly as much to a layman as a
serious student of zoology, and I dearly hope that this field guide provides a model for works of this genre in
future.
B. Majumdar
Principal
Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife)
& Chief Wildlife Warden,
Maharashtra
i
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
PREFACE
Odonates are primarily aquatic insects typified by that beautifully colored
and hovering insect commonly called the dragonfly. They probably mark the first
time that evolution experimented with the ability to hover in air over an object of
interest. Being primarily aquatic, their life history is closely linked to specific
aquatic habitats. Naturally, these insects become a marker, an indicator of
wetland health.
India, with its diverse bioclimatic regions providing a great reproductive
advantage to myriad species, becomes a backyard of evolution for emerging
variations and, as such, becomes a home for a tremendous and mind-boggling
biodiversity with an amazing underlying opulence in the gene pool. The same is
reflected by the richness of the Odonate fauna of India. Perhaps the most striking
example of the rich biodiversity is that while the whole of Britain supports only 40
species of Odonates, just the district of Nagpur, a very small region of India,
sustains 45 common species. And this probably is only the known number – more
are being reported from the jungles of Central India surrounding the Nagpur City.
This field guide is an attempt to provide a visual handbook for Nature
lovers, students, researchers, forest workers, environmentalists,
conservationists, policy makers and the plain curious souls and, of course, for all
those who would love to think that India is not only a home for people of
innumerable beliefs, religions and languages existing in peaceful cooperation but
also to a mind-boggling diversity of fauna of all hues and colors and
characteristics. This guidebook provides a description and photographs of 45
odonates commonly found in the water bodies of the forest surrounding the City of
Nagpur.
Dr. R. J. Andrew
Dr. K. A. Subramanian
Mr. A. D. Tiple
November 2008
ii
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors are highly obliged to the following for their constant encouragement and help during
the preparation of this field book , Dr. D. B. Tembhare, Prof. & Ex- Head, PG dept. of Zoology,
RTM Nagpur University; Prof. A. M. Khurad, PG dept. of Zoology, RTM Nagpur University; Mr.
A. K. Saxena, Chief Conservator of Forest (Finance), Maharashtra State,
iii
INDEX
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
I
Introduction
II
Systematic List
Anisoptera
1.
Ictinogomphus rapax
2.
Paragomphus lineatus
3.
Anax guttatus
4.
Anax immaculifrons
5.
Anax parthenope
6.
Gynacantha bayadera
7.
Hemianax ephippiger
8.
Epophthalmia vittata
9.
Acisoma panorpoides
10. Aethriamanta brevipennis
11. Brachythemis contaminata
12. Bradinopyga geminata
13. Crocothemis servilia
14. Diplacodes trivialis
15. Diplacodes nebulosa
16. Neurothemis tullia
17. Orthetrum chrysis
18. Orthetrum glaucum
19. Orthetrum luzonicum
20. Orthetrum pruinosum
21. Orthetrum sabina
22. Pantala flavescens
23. Potamarcha congener
24. Rhyothemis variegate
25. Tholymis tillarga
26. Tramea basilaris
27. Tramea virgina
28. Trithemis aurora
29. Trithemis festiva
30. Trithemis pallidinervis
31. Zyxomma petiolatum
32. Barchydiplax sobrina
Zygoptera
33. Agriocnemis pygmea
34. Agriocnemis femina
35. Ceriagrion coromandelianum
36. Ischnura aurora
37. Ischnura senegalensis
38. Rhodishnura nursei
39. Pseudagrion rubriceps
40. Aciagrion pallidum
41. Mortonagrion varralli
42. Copera marginipes
43. Pseudagrion microcephalum
44. Lestes elatus
45. Lestes umbrinus
About the authors
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Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
INTRODUCTION
Dragonflies and damselflies (Order- Odonata) are prominent and colourful insects of wetlands. They are
ancient groups of insects, evolved during Permian about 250 million years ago. About 5,000 species of
odonates are found throughout the world. In India about 500 species and subspecies are reported and of
this, about 200 species are found in the peninsular India. The life history of odonates is closely associated
with wetlands. Adults lay eggs in specific aquatic habitats. The larvae which emerge from the eggs are
predatory and they feed on diverse aquatic organisms such as small crustaceans, aquatic insects, tadpoles
and small fish. Adult odonates usually emerge during late evening or early morning. Emerged odonates
colonize landscape surrounding the wetland. Male odonates are generally more brightly coloured than
females. Adults catch insects such as small flies, mosquitoes, butterflies and other small odonates in flight.
Some species of dragonflies like the Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) migrate with monsoon winds
across the Indian subcontinent. These migrating dragonflies suddenly appear in thousands just before the
rains. During the breeding season, adult males establish territories along wetlands, which they actively
patrol and guard against other conspecific males. Sexually mature and receptive females visit territories
held by males. After a brief courtship, male and female odonates mate. Usually, males guide the female to
the egg laying site and also guard her from other aggressive male while she lays eggs. Egg laying habitats
are highly specific for each species. The diversity and endemism of odonates are high in forested streams
and rivers than in impounded wetlands such as ponds, lakes and reservoirs. Odonates, because of their
specific habitat and landscape requirement, are very sensitive to changes in landscape and are reliable
indicators of wetland health.
The body of the dragonfly is divided into three major sections, head, thorax and abdomen. The compound
eyes are very large to assist the insect with its active hunting lifestyle and chewing –biting type of
mouthparts. The abdomen is long and segmented. The thorax possesses three pairs of legs which are
poorly adapted for walking but are excellent for catching prey. The wings are large, long and transparent
and make the dragonflies the most accomplished fliers of the animal kingdom.
A typical Dragonfly
A typical Damselfly
1
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
BODY PARTS OF DRAGONFLIES AND DAMSELFLIES
2
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
Habitat
The life history of odonates is closely linked with water bodies. They use a wide range of flowing and
stagnant water bodies. Even though most species of odonates are highly specific to a habitat, some have
adapted to urban areas and make use of man-made water bodies. Habitat specificity has an important
bearing on the distribution and ecology of odonates.
Life cycle
During the breeding season, adult males generally establish territories along wetlands, which they actively
patrol and guard against other co-specific males. Sexually mature and receptive females visit territories
held by males. After a brief courtship, male and female odonates mate. Usually, males guide the female to
the egg laying site and also guard her from other aggressive male while she lays eggs. Egg laying habitats
are highly specific for each species. Odonates, because of their specific habitat and landscape
requirement, are very sensitive to changes in landscape and are reliable indicators of wetland health.
Eggs
Odonates lay their eggs in all type of aquatic habitats, from still stagnant water to fast flowing rivers to water
collected in tree-holes. The eggs are either lay their eggs in water or deposit them inside pierced
submerged or floating plant tissue. The larvae hatch in 7- 30 days.
The larva
the larvae are completely aquatic and effective predators. They are voracious feeders, feeding on any
moving and sizable prey including their own kind. Some larvae can complete development in two months.
The number of larval instars varies from 9-15. When the larva is ready to moult it crawls up to emergent
vegetation or rock and moults into an adult.
Adult
Newly emerged odonates leave their emergence site and inhabit nearby landscape. Damselflies complete
their maturation period in about a week or less whereas a dragonfly takes approximately two weeks. During
the maturation period, sequential changes occur in the colour of the body and wings.
Flight
Odonates surpass all other groups of insects in their flying skills. Odonates have uncoupled which beat
independently. They can hover and turn 180° while in flight and can fly backwards too. Dragonflies are
stronger fliers than damselflies and they can reach a speed of 40 km per hour.
Feeding
Adult dragonflies are aerial predators and catch insects like mosquitoes, midges, butterflies, moths bees
and odonates on flight. Most of the dragonflies are day flying but a few actively hunt during twilight hours.
Reproduction
Sexually matured dragonflies return to breeding habitat from their foraging or roosting sites. Usually males
mature earlier than females and reach the breeding habitat first. Most odonates are sexually dimorphic
when they mature. Newly emerged males and females are similarly coloured. Males acquire bright
colouration as they become sexually mature. Colours and patterns on the wings and body may play an
important role in territoriality and courtship. Courtship is more evident in damselflies than in dragonflies.
3
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
Bio control agent
Adult odonates feed on mosquitoes, blackflies and other blood-sucking flies and act as an important
biocontrol agent of these harmful insects. In the urban areas of 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 (Fig. 26). Many species of odonates inhabiting in agro ecosystems
play a crucial role controlling pest populations.
Bio indicators
In addition to the direct role of predators in ecosystem, their value as indicators of quality of the biotope is
now being increasingly recognised. For example, in South Africa it has been shown how species
assemblages of dragonflies change with levels of human disturbance. Studies also show that dragonflies
are sensitive not only to the quality of the wetland but also to the major landscape changes, especially
changes in the riparian zone. Recent studies on dragonfly ecology from Western Ghats indicate families
like Bamboo tails, Reed tails, Glories, Torrent darts, Torrent Hawks and Club tails are good indicators of
health of riverine ecosystem.
Conservation
Though the Indian odonate fauna is well described in terms of adult taxonomy, their ecology is poorly
known. Larval stages of only 76 Indian species are known and the full life history is documented for only 15
species. A good understanding of larval ecology is crucial for odonate conservation. The paucity of
ecological information is a serious lacuna when designing any conservation measure. The impact of
landscape changes going on since last fifty years or so in the peninsular India on dragonfly distribution and
status is not known. This can be tackled only by fresh field surveys to know the threat status and distribution
of many species. Future studies on dragonflies may be directed to have a comprehensive understanding of
their ecology and their value as a biomonitoring tool. There is no comprehensive account of Indian
odonates after Fraser's fauna volumes published during 1930.s. Recent assessment by IUCN Red Data
Books (International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2004) lists Burmagomphus sivalikensis,
Cephalaeschna acutifrons and Epiophlebia laidlawi as threatened Indian odonates. All the three species
are restricted to North East India. However a large number of endemic odonates are threatened due to
large scale habitat destruction. For example, Myristica Bambootail the monotypic damselfly of the Western
Ghats is restricted to Myristica swamps of evergreen forests. The swamps are very restricted
geographically within the ghats. The swamps are being drained in an unprecedented scale for agriculture
expansion, especially for the arecanut plantations. Draining of the swamps has caused irreversible
damage to the breeding habitat of this species. The case of Myristica Bambootail is only one example.
About 67 species of peninsular Indian odonates are endemic. Most of these species are restricted to the
riverine ecosystem. Large scale habitat alterations such as damming, channeling, diversion, sand mining
and pollution are seriously threatening the survival of these species. Long term conservation of odonates
and other freshwater biota can only be assured through appropriate national level policy interventions and
definite freshwater biodiversity conservation programmes.
Key to Dragonflies and Damselflies
Dragonflies (Anisoptera) are usually strong flyers, often hunting a regular beat, may be found well away from water. They have
huge compound eyes with 30,000 to 40,000 facets. When at rest the wings are spread out at right angles to the body. The eyes
are large, touching at some point. the hind wings are broader than the forewings and the abdomen is stout.
Damselflies (Zygoptera) are generally smaller. They have a weaker Weak fluttering flight and usually stay close to vegetation or
to the water surface. Their eyes are smaller and separated and when at rest they usually fold the wing so that they lie in line with
the body. The fore and hind wings are narrowed at the base and similar in size and shape, the abdomen is slender and the wings
are kept closed over the body.
4
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
DRAGONFLIES (SUBORDER: ANISOPTERA)
I
CLUBTAILS (FAMILY: GOMPHIDAE)
1.
Common Clubtail (Ictinogomphus rapax)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
Breeding
:
LARGE Abdomen: 50-52mm, Hind wing: 40-44mm.
A large black dragonfly with blue grey eyes and bright yellow markings on thorax
and abdomen. Eighth abdominal segment has prominent black lateral leaf like
extensions.
This common dragonfly usually perches on a bare twig facing the water body.
Breeds both in running and still waters. Pairing takes place over water. Female
deposits eggs by quick dips over water.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
5
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
2.
Common Oartail (Paragomphus lineatus)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
MEDIUM Abdomen: 31-36 mm, Hind wing: 24-27mm.
Yellow dragonfly with black and brown markings, and bluish eyes. Eighth and
ninth segments of males have lateral oar like expansions.
Commonly found near streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
6
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
II
Darners (Family: Aeshnidae)
3.
Blue-tailed Green Darner (Anax guttatus)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
LARGEAbdomen: 56-62mm, Hind wing: 50-54mm
A large green and blue dragonfly. Eyes are blue with yellow and black behind.
Thorax is pale green and hind wing has large amber yellow patch. The first two
abdominal segments are pale green; however the second segment is brilliant
turquoise blue dorsally. The segments 4-7 have 3 pairs of bright orange spots.
A diurnal species, which occasionally, comes to light at night. The dragonfly is
very common near marshes, ponds and patrolling the edges of water bodies all
alone.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
7
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
4.
Blue Darner (Anax immaculifrons)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
LARGE Abdomen: 52-55mm, Hind wing: 55-60 mm.
A large turquoise blue (male) or yellowish green (female) and brown dragonfly
with sapphire blue (male) or yellowish green eyes (female). Thorax and abdomen
has turquoise blue (male) or yellowish green (female) markings.
Frequents sluggish streams.
Photo : Giby K.
8
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
5.
Blue tailed Brown Darner (Anax parthenope )
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
LARGE: Abdomen: 45-50 mm; Hindwing: 43-48 mm.
This large dragonfly has green eyes and a brownish thorax, which lacks the black
markings common to many other members of its family. The abdomen is greenish
brown and has a blue band at the top of the abdomen that extends down both
sides of the abdomen.
Adult males have territories around ponds.
Photo : R.J. Andrew
9
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
6.
Parakeet Darner (Gynacantha bayadera)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
MEDIUM, NARROW: Abdomen: 46mm, Hind wing: 44mm.
A medium sized green dragonfly with deep blue to blue grey eyes which fades to
yellowish green below. Thorax is bright grass green and abdomen is pale brown
to reddish brown dorsally.
Frequents reed covered ponds and tanks. A crepuscular insect, often come to
light immediately after the rains.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
10
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
7.
Ochre-tailed Brown Darner (Hemianax ephippiger)
Size :
Description
LARGE: Abdomen: 42-44mm; Hindwing: 44-46mm.
: A large brown dragonfly with bright ochre coloured abdomen marked with azure
blue and reddish or blackish brown.
Habits and habitat : Commonly found in reed covered ponds and lakes.
TORRENT HAWKS (FAMILY- CORDULIIDAE)
Photo : Ashish Tiple
11
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
8.
Size
Common Torrent Hawk ( Epophthalmia vittata)
:
Habits and habitat :
LARGE: Abdomen: 55-65 mm; Hindwing: 55-65 mm. A very large size brown
dragonfly with long dark reddish-brown to dark ochreous, marked with bright
ochreous annules.
The species breeds in plains although prefer to live in the hills.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
12
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
SKIMMERS (FAMILY: LIBELLULIDAE)
9.
Trumpet Tail (Acisoma panorpoides)
Size :
Description
SMALL: Abdomen: 15-18mm, Hind wing: 16-21mm.
: A small pale blue/yellow dragonfly with marbled black and white pattern in thorax
and abdomen. Eyes are blue and glossy brown with black spots. Anterior
abdomen widely dilated upto 5th segment and abruptly slimmed posteriorly.
Habits and habitat : A species closely associated with water. Commonly found among reeds in ponds
and tanks. The species has a very weak and short flight.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
13
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
10.
Scarlet Marsh Hawk (Aethriamanta brevipennis)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 17-20mm. Hind wing: 23-26mm.
A small red and brown (male) or golden yellow and brown (female) dragonfly with
dark reddish brown eyes which pales towards lateral and under sides. In males,
the abdomen is bright red, which contrasts with blackish brown thorax.
Found in weed covered ponds, tanks and ditches. They have adapted to urban
environment and could be seen in garden ponds too.
Photo : Shibu Bhaskar
14
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
11.
Ditch Jewel (Brachythemis contaminata)
Size :
Description
SMALL: Abdomen: 18-21mm, Hind wing: 20-23mm
: A small rusty brown dragonfly, eyes are olivaceous brown above and bluish grey
below. Wings are transparent with reddish venation. A broad bright orange patch
extending from wing base to wing spot in both the wings. Females are yellowish
brown without the bright orange wing patches of males.
Habits and habitat : A dragonfly of polluted waters. This species is very common along sewage
canals, tanks, ponds and ditches. Flies very close to ground and perches on
aquatic weeds.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
15
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
12.
Granite Ghost (Bradinopyga geminata)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
MEDIUM Abdomen: 26-29mm, Hind wing: 33-36mm
A medium sized grey dragonfly with brown eyes. Grey thorax and abdomen is
peppered with black, white and light grey.
This species is usually seen perched on compound walls, boulders etc. It easily
merges with such perching sites because of its colouration. The species is
commonly found near rock pools and other similar small water collections. It is
common in urban environment and breeds in overhead tanks and garden ponds.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
16
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
13.
Ruddy Marsh Skimmer (Crocothemis servilia)
Size
:
Description
:
Habits and habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 24-25mm, Hind wing: 27-38mm.
A medium sized blood red (male) or yellowish brown dragonfly (female).
One of the commonest red dragonflies. Frequently found in ponds, puddles,
rivers, big wells, tanks, ditches and paddy fields. This dragonfly perches on
aquatic weeds and chases any passing by dragonflies.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
17
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
14.
Ground Skimmer (Diplocodes trivialis)
Size
:
Description
:
Habits and habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 19-22mm, Hind wing: 22-23mm.
A small yellow, green, light or dark blue dragonfly with black markings.
One of the common dragonflies in gardens, fields etc. This dragonfly usually
perches on ground and rarely flies above 1m.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
18
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
15.
Blacktipped Ground Skimmer (Diplocodes nebulosa)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 14-17mm, Hind wing: 17-19mm.
A small greenish yellow and black dragonfly with large black tipped transparent
wings. Eyes are coffee brown above and grayish yellow below.
Found in marshes and weedy ponds.
Photo : Praveen J.
19
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
16.
Size
Pied Paddy Skimmer (Neurothemis tullia)
:
Habits and habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 16-20mm, Hind wing: 19-23mm. Description: A small black
dragonfly with black and white (male) or brown and black (female) wings.
A conspicuous species of ponds, marshes and paddy fields. Flight is slow and
usually perches on twigs, aquatic weeds and other plants. This species is very
common along irrigation canals in paddy fields.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
20
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
17.
Brown-backed Red Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum chrysis)
Size
:
Description
:
Habits and Habitat :
Breeding
:
Distribution
:
MEDIUM: Male: Abdomen: 28-33mm, Hind wing: 31-38mm. Female: Abdomen:
25-30mm, Hind wing: 31-36mm.
A medium sized dragonfly with blood red tail and brown thorax. Eyes are coffee
brown above, bluish grey below.
Commonly found perched around marshes, ponds, paddy fields and stagnant
part rivers of streams.
Mated pairs are frequently found around wetlands throughout the year. Flight
season:Throughout the year.
Widely distributed from India, Sri Lanka to Celebes and Borneo in the east.
Photo : K.A. Subramaniam
21
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
18.
Blue Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum glaucaum)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 29-35mm, Hind wing: 33-40mm.
A medium sized dull blue and black (male) or reddish brown dragonfly. Eyes are
dark green and are capped with reddish brown in males.
Commonly found in submontane marshes associated with streams, plantations
and canals.
Photo : K.A. Subramaniam
22
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
19.
Tricoloured Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum luzonicum)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 28-30mm, Hind wing: 30-32mm.
A medium sized dragonfly with blue, yellow and brown markings. Eyes are bluish
green with violet or brownish spots.
Commonly found perched around marshes, ponds, paddy fields, and stagnant
part rivers of streams. Like green marsh hawk (O. sabina) this species also
frequently perches on ground.
Photo : K.A. Subramaniam
Photo : Ashish Tiple
23
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
20.
Crimson-tailed Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum pruinosum)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 28-31mm, Hind wing: 32-36mm.
A medium sized crimson tailed dragonfly with blue grey thorax. Females are dull
ochre in overall colouration. Eyes are blue black above and bluish grey below in
males and yellowish, capped with brown in females.
A very common dragonfly of wells, ponds, ditches, tanks and rivers. Males are
very conspicuous and could be seen perched on shrubs, stones etc.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
24
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
21.
Green Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum sabina)
Size
: MEDIUM: Abdomen: 30-36mm, Hind wing: 30-36mm.
Description
: A medium sized light green dragonfly with black and pale cream coloured stripes
and bands. Eyes are green mottled with black. Abdominal segments 1-3 are
green with broad black rings and swollen.
Habits and habitat : A common dragonfly of gardens and fields. This dragonfly perches motionless on
shrubs and dry twigs for long time. Hawk flying insects such as flies, small
butterflies and dragonflies. This species can be seen far away from water.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
25
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
22.
Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)
Size
: MEDIUM: Abdomen: 29-35mm, Hind wing: 38-40mm.
Description
: A medium sized golden yellow (female) or orange (male) coloured dragonfly.
Eyes are reddish brown above, bluish grey laterally and beneath.
Habits and habitat : Most common dragonfly. Huge swarms can be seen just before and after
monsoon. They are ubiquitous and migrate in large numbers with the monsoon
winds.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
26
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
23.
Yellow-tailed Ashy Skimmer (Potamarcha congener)
Size
: MEDIUM: Abdomen: 29-32mm, Hind wing: 33-35mm.
Description
: A medium sized bluish black and yellow dragonfly. Eyes are reddish brown
above and bluish grey below in males. Overall colouration of the female is dull
yellow with blackish brown markings.
Habits and habitat : Found in weedy ponds and marshes. Large colonies are often found in woods
associated with ponds and marshes.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
27
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
24.
Common Picture Wing (Rhyothemis variegata)
Size
:
Description
:
Habits and habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 23-25mm, Hind wing: 33-36mm. Female: Abdomen: 2022mm, Hind wing: 28-37mm.
A medium sized dragonfly with metallic green thorax and yellow and brown
marked wings with large conspicuous spots (flutters like a butterfly). Eyes are
dark reddish brown above.
A prominent dragonfly of marshes, paddy fields and ponds. This species is easily
mistaken for a butterfly. A weak flier and frequently perches on aquatic weeds.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
28
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
25.
Coral-tailed Cloud Wing (Tholymis tillarga)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 28-33mm, Hind wing: 33-37mm
A medium sized coral red coloured dragonfly with a broad fan shaped golden
brown patch in the hind wing. This is boarded by milky white patch. Eyes are
reddish olivaceous below with a brown cap. Females are olivaceous without any
red tinge and hind wings brown without milky white spot.
A crepuscular dragonfly, active at the time of sunset and flies at night. Frequently
comes to light at night. This fast flying dragonfly is very difficult to follow.
Commonly found in ponds, marshes and tanks and roosts among bushes near
wetlands.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
29
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
26.
Red Marsh Trotter (Tramea basilaris)
Size
: MEDIUM: Abdomen: 30-35mm, Hind wing: 40-44mm.
Description
: A medium sized dragonfly with black thorax and bright red abdomen, which has
dorsal black triangular markings. Eyes are dark reddish brown. The hind wing
base has a reddish brown marking surrounded by golden amber at the base. The
veins in this area are bright golden yellow. The females have bluish green thorax
and olivaceous green to yellow abdomen with black markings as in male.
Habits and habitat : Marshes and ponds.
Photo : R.J. Andrew
30
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
27.
Coral Marsh Trotter (Tramea virginia)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
Breeding
:
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 34-38mm; Hindwing: 43-49mm.
A medium sized dark brown dragonfly with brick red abdomen. Terminal
abdominal segments are black. The hind wing has broad reddish brown patch.
Eyes are reddish brown.
Commonly found in reed covered ponds and lakes.
Breeds in shallow lakes and marshes.
Photo : R.J. Andrew
31
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
28
Crimson Marsh Skimmer (Trithemis aurora)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 21-29mm, Hind wing: 24-34mm.
A small crimson coloured dragonfly with crimson coloured veins in the fore and
hind wings. Eyes are crimson above and brown laterally. Crimson colour of male
is replaced by bright ochreous in females.
One of the common dragonflies of our wetlands. The males usually perch on dry
twigs, aquatic plants and over head cables.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
32
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
29.
Black Stream Skimmer (Trithemis festiva)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 22-28mm, Hind wing: 26-32mm.
A small blue black dragonfly with eyes which are dark brown. Females are
greenish yellow to olivaceous with black stripes in abdomen. The mid dorsal and
sub dorsal stripes confluent at abdominal segments to enclose a wedge shaped
yellow spots.
Very common in slow flowing streams and canals. Usually perches on boulders
and aquatic plants.
Photo : K.A. Subramaniam
33
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
30.
Long-legged Marsh Skimmer (Trithemis pallidinervis)
Size
:
Description
:
Habits and habitat :
Breeding
:
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 28-32mm, Hind wing: 30-36mm. Female: Abdomen: 2628mm, Hind wing: 30-32mm.
A medium sized olivaceous-brown dragonfly with black markings and long legs.
Eyes are reddish brown above, brown laterally and bluish grey below.
A dragonfly partial to the marshes and weedy ponds. Usually perch on tall aquatic
weeds or bare tips of shrubs. The long legs are very noticeable at this time.
Breeds in marshes.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
34
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
31.
Brown Dusk Hawk (Zyxomma petiolatum)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
LARGE, SLIM: Abdomen: 37-43mm, Hind wing: 32-35mm.
A large slim dark brown dragonfly with brilliant emerald green eyes. Abdomen is
dark reddish brown with black rings at the end of each segment. Abdomen is
bulbous from segments 1-3, then abruptly contracted and slim to the end.
A crepuscular dragonfly and flies after sunset. This dragonfly occasionally comes
to light at night, especially after first summer showers.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
35
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
32.
Blue-tailed Black Marsh Skimmer (Brachydiplax sobrina)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and habitat :
Breeding
:
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 20-24 mm, Hind wing: 26-28mm.
A medium sized, dark brown eyed, metallic blue body on yellow base maybe
observed on thorax. Wings hyaline, pterostigma pale yellow between black veins.
Common in ponds, on tall trees, weed covered tanks and similar small water
collections.
Breeds in weedy ponds.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
36
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
DAMSELFLIES (ZYGOPTERA)
33.
Pigmy Dartlet (Agriocnemis pygmaea)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 16-17mm, Hind wing: 10-11mm.
A small apple green and black damselfly with black capped green eyes. Terminal
segments of apple green and black abdomen are brick red. Females show a
range of colour variations, some even resembles males.
Common in marshes, ponds, sea coast. Darts among herbage and rarely flies
above 1 meter.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
37
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
34.
Size
Blue backed Dartlet ( Agriocnemis femina)
:
Habits and Habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 16-18mm, Hind wing: 10-11mm. pale bluish-white thorax
are the distinguishing features of this tiny damselfly; dark red rings from
abdominal segments 7 to 10, blue postocular spots.
Grassy edges of tanks, marshes, paddy areas.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
38
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
35.
Coromandel Marsh Dart (Ceriagrion coromandelianum)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
Breeding
:
LARGE: Abdomen: 28-32mm, Hind wing: 18-20mm.
Male-A large sized green or bright yellow damselfly with Olivaceous and pale
greenish yellow eyes. Females are duller than males.
One of the commonest damselfly of this region. Found along garden tanks, banks
of ponds, rivers and canals. Also found frequently far away from water bodies.
Shallow water bodies with profuse growth of grass and other aquatic plants.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
39
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
36.
Golden Dartlet (Ischnura aurora)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
Breeding
:
SMALL: Abdomen: 16-20mm, Hind Wing: 10-15 mm.
Female-A small black, green and yellow damselfly with azure blue spots at the
end of abdominal segments. The female is less brightly coloured than the male
and terminal abdominal segments are without the azure blue spots.
Found among vegetation along the banks of ponds, rivers and canals.
Among marshes on the banks of ponds, canals and rivers.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
40
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
37.
Senegal Golden Dartlet (Ischnura senegalensis)
Size
: SMALL: Abdomen: 21-23mm, Hind Wing: 13-15mm.
Description
: A small (longer then I. aurora ) black, green and yellow damselfly with azure blue
spots at the second and terminal abdominal segments. The female is less
brightly coloured than the male and abdominal segments are without the azure
blue spots.
Habits and Habitat : Very common in marshes, ponds and wet grasslands.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
41
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
38.
Pixie Dartlet (Rhodischnura nursei)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
Breeding
:
SMALL: Abdomen: 14mm, Hind wing: 9.5-11 mm.
A small black, crimson and bright yellow damselfly with green to greenish yellow
eyes. Abdominal segments are marked with bright crimson, yellow and black.
Females show a range of colour variations, some even resembles males.
Common in marshes and ponds, flying or perched about one-two feet above
ground.
In marshes and ponds.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
42
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
39.
Saffron-faced Blue Dart (Pseudagrion rubriceps)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 29mm, Hind wing: 18-20mm.
A medium sized azure blue damselfly with bright orange face and eyes. Females
are bluish green without bright orange markings.
Frequents banks of rivers. Usually perch of aquatic plants on the bank and seen in
small groups of 3-4 individuals.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
43
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
40.
Rusty Dart (Aciagrion pallidum)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 30-31mm, Hind wing: 18-20mm.
A medium sized, brown on dorsum, slightly extended pale blue antehumeral
stripe on dorsum and a similar one lying mid way between the lateral sutures,
white beneath in both sexes.
Common in marshes and ponds, flying or perched about one-two feet above
ground.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
44
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
41.
Brown Dartlet (Mortonagrion varralli)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
SMALL: Abdomen: 23-25mm, Hind wing: 14-15mm.
A small pale brown damselfly without any black markings. Eyes are grey with a
reddish brown cap.
Found among bushes close to marshes.
Photo : David Raju
45
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
42.
Yellow Bush Dart (Copera marginipes)
Size
Description
:
:
Habit and Habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 28-31mm, Hind wing: 16-18mm.
A medium sized black damselfly with yellow markings. Eyes are black above,
greenish on sides and beneath with black equatorial band. Females are brown
with black markings.
Found along ponds, puddles, canals and streams. Fly very close to the ground
(<1m).
Photo : Ashish Tiple
46
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
43.
Blue Grass Dartlet (Pseudagrion microcephalum)
Size
:
Description
:
Habits and Habitat :
MEDIUM: Abdomen: 27-29mm, Hind wing: 17-20mm.
A small blue damselfly with broad blue medial thoracic stripe.
A species of the plains. Found commonly among vegetation covered banks of
ponds, canals and rivers. Breeding: Among marshy banks of ponds, canals
and rivers.
47
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
44.
Emerald Spreadwing (Lestes elatus)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
LARGE: Abdomen: 34-36mm, Hind wing: 23-24mm.
Male-Dark brown above, fading to white below. Upper side marked with a pair of
narrow iridescent green stripes with brown above, torquise blue below eyes.
Female are Similar to male, but the ground colour is pale brown and markings are
less iridescent.
Common around tanks, ponds and streams. Usually sits with open wings among
plants. Though a weak flier, it is very alert and difficult to approach. Breeding:
Breed in ponds, canals and tanks.
Photo : K.A. Subramaniam
48
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
45.
Brown Spreadwing (Lestes umbrinus)
Size
Description
:
:
Habits and Habitat :
LARGE: Abdomen: 30-32mm, Hind wing: 20-21mm.
Pale yellowish or reddish brown in colour, laterally without marking; the inter
segmental suture is dark brown.
Common around tanks, Dry open area, ponds and streams. Usually sits with
open wings among plants. Breeding: Breed in ponds, canals and tanks.
Photo : Ashish Tiple
49
Andrew, R.J., Subramaniam, K. A. & Tiple, A. D. (2008) Common Odonates of Central India.
E-book for “The 18th International Symposium of Odonatology", Hislop College, Nagpur, India
Dr. R. J. Andrew
A merit topper in M Sc, Dr. R. J. Andrew completed M Phil and Ph D from
Nagpur University using dragonfly as his research subject. He has been
studying various physiological, morphological, ethological and ecological
aspects of dragonflies of Central India since last 25 years and has more then
22 research paper on odonates to his credit. He has attended more then 40
conferences in India and abroad including Odonatology symposia at
Germany, USA, and Hong Kong. He is the Secretary of the “South Asian
Council of Odonatology” and the Asst. Editor of the journal FRASERIA. He
has a teaching experience of 20 years and in 2002, he was honored with the
“Outstanding Teachers Award” by the RTM Nagpur University. Presently he
is the Coordinator of the P. G. Dept. Zoology, Hislop College, Nagpur.
Dr. K. A. Subramanian
Dr. K. A. Subramanian is a medical entomologist by training and completed
his doctoral thesis on stream insect communities of the Western Ghats from
Madurai Kamaraj University while working at Centre for Ecological
Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Currently he is a scientist
at Zoological Survey of India, Western Regional Station, Pune. He is
interested in systematics and biogeography of Ephemeroptera, Odonata
and Trichoptera. He has about 12 papers and two e-books pertaining to
these groups.
Mr. Ashish D. Tiple
A young researcher of Department of Zoology at RTM Nagpur University,
Nagpur, Fond of wild life photography, he is an honorary member of
INTECOL (International Association for Ecology), SLWCS. His prime
research focuses on Butterfly biodiversity; taxonomy; behavior; population
dynamics; molecular ecology (DNA bar-coding) and insect tissue culture; In
addition, he is also an keen Odonatologist, interested in dragonfly diversity
and behaviour. He also maintains an active interest in Conservation at
grassroot level with respect to bureaucracy, community involvement and
related activities. He has five International papers in his credit on an
extensive range of ecological, behavioral and biogeographical research of
central Indian butterflies.
50
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