Kerala readies to host its first dragonfly festival
- The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – India State unit of Kerala along with the Society for Odonate Studies (SOS) has launched the first-ever State Dragonfly Festival in Kerala, called Thumbimahotsavam 2020. ‘Pantalu’ is the official mascot of the festival in Kerala.
- The first-ever Kerala Dragonfly Festival is part of the 3rd edition of National Dragonfly Festival being organised by the WWF India, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) & Indian Dragonfly Society.
- The National Dragonfly Festival started in 2018.
- India has about 500 different types of species at present, while around 3012 species were recorded worldwide until 2010.
National Dragonfly Festival, 2020:
- The National Dragonfly Festival, 2020 is being held in association with the National Biodiversity Board, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations Development Programme and IUCN – Centre for Environment Conservation.
- The pan-India festival dedicated to dragonflies, aims to create awareness for the conservation of these insects.
Activities under the Festival:
- The festival plans to train a group of volunteers to lead awareness programmes which will sensitize people about the importance of dragonflies.
- A ‘dragonfly backyard watch’ has been announced to enhance the participation of people and improve their observation skills.
- A digital odonate knowledge hub will also be established which will host all available materials in the form of scientific papers, posters, videos and stickers.
In Focus: Dragonfly
- Dragonflies have long bodies, large eyes, and four long transparent wings.
- The eye of a dragonfly has about 30,000 lenses (a human eye only has one lens). As a result, the dragonfly has the ability to see all around itself.
- Dragonflies live on every continent except Antarctica.
- Dragonflies, belong to an ‘Order’ of insects, called the Odonata.
- Order is a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species.
- In biology, taxonomy is the science of naming, defining and classifying groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics.
- In the hierarchy of biological classification, Order comes above ‘Family’ and below ‘Class’.
Lifecycle of dragonflies:
- Dragonflies begin their lives in water, when female dragonflies lay their eggs in freshwater.
- The egg hatches within a few weeks and the dragonfly begins its larval stage, which can last for 1 to 2 years, based on water temperature. In their larval stage they are called as nymphs or naiads.
- In the larval stage, dragonflies are aquatic (water based) and eat mosquitoes, fish, other insect larvae and even each other.
- At the end of its larval stage, the dragonfly crawls out of the water and develops wings.
- As adults, dragonflies eat mosquitos, small flies, butterflies, bees, and other dragonflies.
Significance of Dragonflies:
- Dragonflies play a key role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem and are crucial in controlling the mosquito population.
- A single dragonfly can eat 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes per day. Thus, they help in preventing the spread of diseases like malaria, dengue etc.
- They are used in traditional medicine in Japan and China, and caught for food in Indonesia.
- As dragonflies require stable oxygen levels and clean water, scientists consider them reliable bio-indicators of the health of an ecosystem.
Global study of dragonflies:
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature, Species Survival Commission, Dragonfly Specialist Group (IUCN SSC DSG) is working on dragonflies and dragonfly related issues.
- IUCN SSC DSG is a global network of scientists and conservationists from 28 countries.
- Its mission is to increase the knowledge on taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of dragonflies.
how dragonfly is different than Butterfly 🦋
Dragonflies are flying insect from same Kingdom of Animalia having two pairs of strong transparent wings and compound eyes. Dragonflies are true predators and belong to Odonata order of carnivorous insects.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Order: Odonata
- Feed: Insects
- Antennae: Small but Large Eyes
Butterflies are insects from Kingdom Animalia from the order Lepidoptera which includes moths too. The Butterflies feed on nectar in flowers and use camouflage and mimicry to evade their predators.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Feed: Nectar
- Antennae: Large