Odonates (dragonflies & damselflies) are one of the most fascinating insects. They are numerous and everywhere around us. The fact that these aerodynamic marvels evolved around 325 million years ago, is enough to give you goosebumps!

Blue Darner
Blue Darner Anax immaculifrons Male Specimen

Odonates are voracious insect predators, underwater when in larval forms, and above water when they are on the flight. They exhibit a semi aquatic life cycle. Like many other insects, they have a pair of compound eyes, each containing up to 15,000 ocelli. Unlike other insects, they can fly backwards!

Just a glimpse of the wonder called Odonata
Clear-winged Forest Glory_Vetsalis gracilis_Male_Headshot
Clear-winged Forest Glory | The compound eyes!

In India, around 500 species of odonates are found, of the World’s 6500 species. The more we know about these insects, the more we start appreciating the nature and the process of evolution.

Pygmy Skimmer freshly emerging from the exuvia | A species of marsh lands
Splendid Dartlet

Many endemic species found in the Western Ghats occur in areas with dense forest and primary montane streams. This observation is consistent with similar studies in tropical countries.

Malabar Torrent Dart | A Western Ghats Endemic Species
Kerala Dartlet
Kerala Dartlet | Endemic to Kerala State
Yellow-striped Blue Dart | Endemic to Peninsular India

Odonates are good ecological indicators. They are known to sensitive to climate change and habitat modifications.

Stream Glory | A species of clear waters, enjoys perching on rock beds in streams
Black-tipped Forest Glory | A species of forest edges
Pied Paddy Skimmer, as the name suggests, a species found in flooded grasslands such as paddy fields

Scientists believe that around 1000-1500 species await scientific description globally! There is so much out there that we do not know yet about these tiny dragons!

A Gomphidae Member

What do we do?

I have been studying odonates over a decade. I have numerous happy memories associated with these tiny and beautiful insects.

At our lab, we study spatiotemporal distribution of odonates and effect of environmental parameters on their populations and diversity. We are also interested in looking for biogeographical patterns and evolutionary relationships among the species.

For exciting working opportunities, write to us! If you want to share your odonata observations for research, join DragonflySouthAsia or drop them in our iNaturalist project.