Dragonflies of Chalavara, Palakkad

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ODONATA OBSERVATION REPORT – 2017

(In loving memory of our beloved friend Shri. C.G. Kiran)

I have been observing/documenting Odonata from my home village for the past 3 years.  This is the report for the year 2017.  I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the members of the forums Dragonflyindia and Dragonflies of Kerala for their continuous help and support.

Name of Observer: Muhamed Sherif

Period of observation:  January 2017 to December 2017

Location: Chalavara Panchayat, Palakkad District, Kerala (10o82’ N & 76o29’ E)

Total area: 27.9 sq. km

Geography:  Small hills interspersed with paddy fields, which constitute 30% of the total geographic area.  Chalavara is an agricultural village with rice being the main crop but with considerable extends of coconut and rubber plantations.  There are no natural streams present in the area.

Precipitation: Exact data unavailable.  Average rainfall for the area received in 2017.

Habitat for Odonata:

  1. Paddy fields (would hold water for about 8 months in a year).
  2. Water Channels (kaithodu) – There are numerous water channels flowing across the paddy fields and some of them will hold water up to early March
  3. Ponds:  More than 100 Small to medium sized ponds; many of which are perennial.

Observations:

Total number of species documented from the area so far48
No of species observed in 201739
New species documentedBrachydiplax chalybea

Trithemis pallidinervis

Zyxomma petiolatum

Families representedLestidae (2), Calopterygidae (1), Chlorocyphidae (1), Platycnemididae (1), Coenagrionidae (8), Aeshnidae (1), Gomphidae (2), and Libellulidae (23)
Species that are previously documented from the area but not seen in 2017Vestalis apicalis

Agriocnemis splendidissima

Ceriagrion rubiae

Cratilla lineata

Indothemis carnatica

Neurothemis fulvia

Orthetrum glaucum

Rhodothemis rufa

Urothemis signata

 

  • Three new species were spotted in 2017 from the locality.  A good population of Brachydyplax chalybea was observed in September.  Trithemis pallidinervis was encountered for the first time from the area, a couple of individuals were noted, and a lone specimen of Zyxomma petiolatum was also spotted.
  • No Neurothemis fulvia in 2017.  Five species namely Ceriagrion coromandelianum, Diplacodes trivialis, Neurothemis tullia, Orthetrum Sabina, and Trithemis aurora were observed throughout the year.  Could not find even a single individual of Neurothemis fulvia, which is one of the commonest species found in the locality.
  • Large flocks of Pantala flavescens were observed (especially from July to November) as usual but movement with respect to any particular direction was not observed.
  • There is a good population of Lestes nodalis in the area.  It is interesting to note that the species was always spotted among the undergrowth, several hundred meters away from the water bodies.
  • Cannibalism was observed in Orthetrum sabina.  A female was spotted preying up on a male.
  • No andromorph form of Urothemis signata:  For the past 3 years, at least a couple of individuals of andromorph females of U. Signata were spotted from the area, especially during the months of October-November, however, no Urothemis were to be seen for this year.
  • It is observed that in Diplacodes trivialis, number of males encountered is pretty less compared to females.  Similarly, females of D. nebulosa can be seen aplenty whereas males were rarely spotted.
  • In general, compared to previous years, Odonata activity was less in 2017.

Month-wise observation (observations were made for at least 4 times a month):

A – abundant (more than 30 specimens observed); VC – very common (16 to 30 specimens observed);

C – common (4 to 15 specimens observed); and R – rare (1 to 3 specimens observed).

Sl NoName of SpeciesDry monthsPre-monsoon & southwest monsoon monthsNortheast monsoon & post-monsoon months
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
1Lestes elatusRCVCVCAVCVCVCC
2Lestes nodalisRRRCVCVCC
3Vestalis gracilisRCCCRR
4Libellago indicaCRCAAAAVCVC
5Copera marginipesCRCAAAAVCVC
6Aciagrion occidentaleCCCVCVCCRR
7Agriocnemis pierisCVCVCCCR
8Agriocnemis pygmaeaCVCVCCCC
9Ceriagrion cerinorubellumRRCCCCCR
10Ceriagrion coromandelianumCRRRRCAAAAVCC
11Ischnura auroraRRRCCRRRR
12Pseudagrion microcephalumRCCCCRR
13Pseudagrion rubricepsCVCCCCR
14Gynacantha dravidaRRCCRR
15Ictinogomphus rapaxRRCCCR
16Paragomphus lineatusRCCCCCRR
17Acisoma panorpoidesRR
18Aethriamanta brevipennisCRRCVCVCCRRR
19Brachydiplax chalybeaCCC
20Brachythemis contaminataRRRCAACC
21Bradinopyga geminataRRRRR
22Crocothemis serviliaCRRAAAAVCCC
23Diplacodes nebulosaCCCRR
24Diplacodes trivialisCRRRRAAAAVCVCC
25Hydrobasileus croceusRRCCCCC
26Lathrecista asiaticaRRCCCCCR
27Neurothemis intermediaRRCAAVCVCVC
28Neurothemis tulliaCRRRRVCAAAAAVC
29Orthetrum chrysisRRRVCAAAVCVCC
30Orthetrum luzonicumRRVCAAVCCC
31Orthetrum sabinaCRRRRCAAAVCVCVC
32Pantala flavescensRRRCAAAAAVC
32Potamarcha congenerRRRVCAAVCVCC
34Rhyothemis variegataRRRRVCVCVCRR
35Tetrathemis platypteraCCCC
36Tholymis tillagraRRRCCCCRRR
37Trithemis auroraCRRRRAAAAVCVCVC
38Trithemis pallidinervis RRR
39Zyxomma petiolatumRR

2017 at a glance:

(1) Geography of the area – small hills interspersed with paddy fields; (2) Water channels – running across the paddy fields form important habitat for Odonata; (3) Cannibalism in O. Sabina; (4) P. flavescens; (5) B. chalybea; (6) L. nodalis – teneral; (7) Z. petiolatum; (8) A. pygmaea.

Checklist of Odonata from Chalavara:

SI NoScientific NameCommon Name
Family:  Lestidae Calvert, 1907
1Lestes elatus Hagen in Selys, 1862Emerald spreadwing
2Lestes nodalis Selys, 1891
Family:  Calopterygidae Selys, 1850
3Vestalis apicalis Selys,1873Black-tipped forest glory
4Vestalis gracilis (Rambur, 1842)Clear winged forest glory
Family:  Chlorocyphidae Cowley, 1937
5Libellago indica (Fraser, 1928)River heliodor
Family:  Platycnemididae Yakobson & Bainchi, 1905
6Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842)Yellow bush dart
Family: Coenagrionidae Kirby, 1890
7Aciagrion occidentale Laidlaw, 1919Green striped slender dartlet
8Agriocnemis pieris Laidlaw, 1919White dartlet
9Agriocnemis pygmaea (Rambur, 1842)Pigmy dartlet
10Agriocnemis splendidissima Laidlaw, 1919Splendid dartlet
11Ceriagrion cerinorubellum (Brauer, 1865)Orange-tailed marsh dart
12Ceriagrion coromandelianum (Fabricius, 1798)Coromandel marsh dart
13Ceriagrion rubiae Laidlaw, 1916Orange marsh dart
14Ischnura aurora (Brauer, 1865)Golden dartlet
15Pseudagrion microcephalum (Rambur, 1842)Blue grass dart
16Pseudagrion rubriceps Selys, 1876Saffron-faced grass dart
Family:  Aeshnidae Leach, 1815
17Gynacantha dravida Lieftinck, 1960Brown darner
Family: Gomphidae Rambur, 1842
18Ictinogomphus rapax (Rambur, 1842)Common clubtail
19Paragomphus lineatus (Selys, 1850)Common hooktail
Family:  Libellulidae Leach, 1815
20Acisoma panorpoides Rambur, 1842Trumpet tail
21Aethriamanta brevipennis (Rambur, 1842)Scarlet marsh hawk
22Brachydiplax chalybea Brauer, 1868Rufous-backed marsh hawk
23Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793)Ditch jewel
24Bradinopyga geminata (Rambur, 1842)Granite ghost
25Cratilla lineata Foerster, 1903Emerald-banded skimmer
26Crocothemis servilia (Drury, 1770)Ruddy marsh skimmer
27Diplacodes nebulosa (Fabricius, 1793)Black tipped ground skimmer
28Diplacodes trivialis (Rambur, 1842)Ground skimmer
29Hydrobasileus croceus (Brauer, 1867)Amber winged marsh glider
30Indothemis carnatica (Fabricius, 1798)Black scrub glider
31Lathrecista asiatica (Fabricius, 1798)Asiatic blood tail
32Neurothemis fulvia (Drury, 1773)Fulvous forest skimmer
33Neurothemis intermedia (Rambur, 1842)Ruddy meadow skimmer
34Neurothemis tullia (Drury, 1773)Pied paddy skimmer
35Orthetrum chrysis (Selys, 1891)Brown backed red marsh hawk
36Orthetrum glaucum (Brauer, 1865)Blue marsh hawk
37Orthetrum luzonicum (Brauer, 1868)Tricoloured marsh hawk
38Orthetrum sabina (Drury, 1770)Green marsh hawk
39Pantala flavescens (Fabricius, 1798)Wandering glider
40Potamarcha congener (Rambur, 1842)Yellow tailed ashy skimmer
41Rhodothemis rufa (Rambur, 1842)Rufous marsh glider
42Rhyothemis variegata (Linnaeus, 1763)Common picturewing
43Tetrathemis platyptera Selys, 1878Pigmy skimmer
44Tholymis tillagra (Fabricius, 1798)Coral tailed cloud wing
45Trithemis aurora (Burmeister, 1839)Crimson marsh glider
46Trithemis pallidinervis (Kirby, 1889)Long legged marsh glider
47Urothemis signata (Rambur, 1842)Greater crimson glider
48Zyxomma petiolatum Rambur, 1842Brown dusk hawk

References:

Fraser, F.C. 1933. The Fauna of British-India including Ceylon and Burma, Odonata. Vol. I. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London.

Fraser, F.C.  1934. The Fauna of British-India including Ceylon and Burma, Odonata. Vol. II. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London.

Fraser, F.C. 1936. The Fauna of British-India including Ceylon and Burma, Odonata. Vol. III. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London.

Kiran, C.G. & D.V. Raju 2011. Checklist of Odonata of Kerala with their Malayalam names. Malabar Trogon 9(3): 31-35.

Kiran, C.G. & Raju, D.V. 2013.  Dragonflies & Damselflies of Kerala. Tropical Institute of Ecological Sciences, Kottayam.

Palot M.J., C. Radhakrishnan & V.P. Soniya. 2005. Odonata (Insecta) Diversity of Rice Field Habitat in Palakkad District, Kerala. Records of Zoological Survey of India 104 (part 1-2): 71-77.

Subramanian, K.A. 2005. India-A Lifescape, Dragonflies of India – A Field Guide. Vigyan Prasar, India Offset Press, New Delhi.

Subramanian, K.A.2007. Endemic Odonates of the Western Ghats: Habitat distribution and Conservation, pp. 257–271. In:  Tyagi, B.K. (ed.). Odonata-Biology of Dragonflies. Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, India.

Subramanian, K.A. 2009. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Peninsular India – A Field Guide. Vigyan Prasar, Noida, India.

Subramanian, K.A. and Babu, R. (2017). Checklist of Odonata (Insecta) of India. Version 3.0. www.zsi.gov.in.

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