Saffron reedtail damselfly


  • The saffron reedtail damselfly is as dainty as its name. Less than two inches long, with a cinnamon-coloured thorax and diaphanous wings, it is not easy to spot unless by a trained eye. 

  • Recently spotted at Urumbikkara, near Mundakkayam.

About Saffron reedtail damselfly 

  • Considered rare, this odonate (belonging to the family Odonata, an order of flying insects including dragonflies and damselflies) is only found in non-polluted small forest streams.
  • Known to be extremely sensitive to changes in the environment, the presence of the saffron reedtail damselfy indicates that the place is pristine.

    Saffron reedtail damselfly
    Credit: Praveen Muraleedharan
  • First described by British biologist and entomologist Frank Fortescue Laidlaw from the Kingdom of Kochi, the saffron reedtail damselfly is not found in urban areas.
  • They are usually found during the monsoon months between June and November.
  • Endemic to the Western Ghats of Kerala, the saffron reedtail damselfly flies low and is usually spotted on boulders and wet rocks near clear streams, on shrubs and undergrowth, which is why they can easily be missed.
  • Damselflies are smaller and slimmer than their cousins, the dragonflies. While dragonflies spread their wings while resting, the damselflies fold their wings in.
  • However, there are a few species that can open their wings partially, known as spreadwings, Susanth adds. Known as ‘kumkuma nizhal thumbi’ in Malayalam, it flies slow.
  • According to the SOS, of the 196 species of odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) identified in the Western Ghats, 175 species have been reported in Kerala.

Source: The Hindu

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