Silent Valley now has 8 new species of dragonflies!

Survey finds 8 new species of dragonflies at Silent Valley
Neelakuruvalan and Neelagiri Nagavalan.
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Agali: Seventy-five species of dragonflies were dicovered in a recent survey at the Silent Valley National Park situated at Mannarkkad in Palakkad district at the core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

Eight of these were newly discovered species, not recorded in the earlier surveys. Now, the total number of dragonflies species at the Silent Valley zone is 91. The last year’s survey had found 83 species.

The survey also pointed out that the number of dragonflies in the valley had gone down.

The Silent Valley National Park and the Society for Odonate Studies jointly conducted the survey. Eleven teams took part in 10 camps, including ones at Mannarkkad, Nilambur, Tudukki, Pathanthode, and Vallakkad to conduct the survey. The survey was held in the buffer and core areas of the national park from September 19 to 21.

The Kattumarathakam dragonfly was found from Nilambur region. This dragonfly which had been missing for 80 years from the Western Ghats was finally spotted at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in 2017. Rare species such as Neelagiri Nagavalan, Teekaruppan, Neelakuruvalan, Chatuppu Mullavalan, Ennakaruppan, Kattupul Chinnan, Vadakan Aruviyan and Cherachirakan were also found.

Numbers plummeting

The survey pointed out that back-to-back floods had drastically impacted the number of dragonflies. A good number of larvae of the dragonflies had been swept away in the 2018 floods. This was the main reason in the fewer number of dragonflies, opined Indian Dragonfly Society secretary V Balachandran.

Onathumbi too missing

The survey also made an alarming find that the number of Global Wanderer had abnormally gone down. These dragonflies usually seen in large groups, are familiar to Keralites by the name Onathumbi. They are seen mostly in the September-October months. They lay their eggs in small water bodies or puddles that are formed in rains. They migrate from the faraway lands of Africa and Australia to the small state of Kerala.

Silent Valley National Park wildlife warden Samuel V Pchau, assistant warden V Ajay Ghosh, A Ashalatha, and conservation biologist Anuraj spoke at the concluding ceremony of the survey held at Mukali. Forest officials and 22 experts including Balachandran, C Sushanth, Ranjith Jacob Mathew, Sujith V Gopalan and Mohammed Sherif also took part in the event.

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