Wildlife & Biodiversity

New species of dragonfly discovered in the Konkan

The Konkan Rockdweller is endemic to the region and likes to perch on rocks or concrete walls  

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Thursday 21 May 2020
A male Konkan Rockdweller from Vijaydurg. Photo: Dattaprasad Sawant
A male Konkan Rockdweller from Vijaydurg. Photo: Dattaprasad Sawant A male Konkan Rockdweller from Vijaydurg. Photo: Dattaprasad Sawant

A new species of dragonfly that is endemic to the lowland region of Konkan in Maharashtra, has been profiled in a study published on May 20, 2020.

Bradinopyga konkanensis, christened ‘Konkan Rockdweller’ has been discovered by dragonfly enthusiast and photographer Dattaprasad Sawant and researcher Shantanu Joshi, whose paper has been published in the journal Zootaxa.

Dragonflies and damselflies, that belong to the Order Odonata, are some of the ecologically important insects of freshwater habitats.

The Western Ghats are home to about 196 species of odonates, more than 40 per cent of which are endemic to the region.

In 2017, Sawant, who is also a medical professional, photographed a species, which looked similar to Bradinopyga geminta or Granite Ghost, but differed in some small details.

A female Konkan Rockdweller from Devgad. Photo: Dattaprasad Sawant

After photographing this species at several localities in Raigad, Thane, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra, he, along with researcher Shantanu Joshi, decided to collect a few individuals.

After close inspection, the insect was found to be a new species unknown to science.

“We have records of this species from ten localities so far, all along the west coast of Maharashtra,” Joshi was stated as saying in a press statement.

“This indicates that this species is restricted to the coastal zone. Perhaps due to its similarity with another species, the Granite Ghost, it has remained undescribed,” Joshi, who is also the curator of odonates at Research Collections of National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, added.

“This is the only species of dragonfly or damselfly known to be endemic to the lowland coastal region of Konkan. This species prefers to perch on rocks and even concrete walls, which prompted us to give it the name Konkan Rockdweller,” he said.

Sawant and Joshi are part of a website called ‘Odonata of India’, where citizens contribute to understanding distributions and taxonomy of dragonflies and damselflies.

Together, in 2019 they described a new species of damselfly from Maharashtra in 2019. They aim to fuel public interest in these fascinating insects, along with generating research-grade data for future scientific analysis.  

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