Damsels and Dragons of Mumbai

Black-winged Bambootail Damselfly (Disparoneura quadrimaculata)

Today we are going to look at one of the fastest and also one of the most important insects that we find in our city - Odonatans!

Dragonflies and Damselflies are collectively referred to as ‘Odonatans’ and they are found near water bodies and other damp areas of our city. They are known to have excellent flying skills; some are even capable of flying backwards! Odonatans are aerial predators; that means they are capable of hunting while in flight.

Ruddy Marsh Skimmer Dragonfly (Crocothemis servilia)
These insects bear an important significance as they feed on mosquitoes and other pests and thus help in controlling pest populations in our city. Both, the larval stage (young ones) and the adult stage of Odonatans are known to prey on mosquitoes and other harmful insects. In the past, people in Thailand have successfully used dragonflies to control populations of the ‘Aedes’ mosquito which is an important vector in the spread of dengue fever. Maybe Mumbai can take some inspiration from the above example and do something similar to combat the current dengue issue that the city is facing. 

There are more than 500 different species of Odonatans found in India alone and they form a major portion of the diet of many birds and animals. Odonatans help in indicating the health of the forests. So if a forest contains a diverse and healthy population of dragonflies and damselflies, then it indicates that the forest is in its pristine state. 

Keep a watch for these marvelous insects hovering around the water bodies – they are absolutely attractive and amazing creatures!

Pygmy Dartlet Damselflies(Agriocnemis pygmea)


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