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