An annotated checklist of Odonata (Insecta) of Kanha Tiger Reserve and adjoining areas, central India
Pradeep K. Sahoo 1, Sunit K. Das 2 & S.P. Parida 3
1 Barunei Nodal U.P. School, At-Mutunia, PO-Bhandisahi, Via-Kakatpur, Puri, Odisha 752108, India
2 Wildlife Institute of India, Chandrabani, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001, India
3 Regional Museum of Natural History, Acharya Vihar, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751013, India
1 email@example.com, 2 firstname.lastname@example.org (corresponding author), 3 email@example.com
The study was carried out at the Kanha Tiger Reserve (KTR) India, which is a major conservation area. It is an internationally renowned protected area in India and located in the Maikal ranges at the eastern base of the triangular Satpura range in the central Indian highlands of Madhya Pradesh. Kanha is known for its exceptional natural beauty and its unique and diverse flora and fauna. The immense natural beauty of Kanha even inspired the famous author Rudyard Kipling to write his all time classic ‘Jungle Book’. The area is well known for big-cats and harbors an average population of 60 (45–75) Bengal Tigers Panthera tigris (Jhala et al. 2011) with their prey base and also supports more than 200 species of birds (Newton et al. 1986). But very little information on invertebrates like odonates is available. They are one of the least studied groups of insects though they are known as bio-indicators in the natural ecosystem (Watson et al. 1982). Joshi et al. 2004, studied the insect fauna of Kanha, but Odonata (Insecta) fauna of the reserve was primarily revealed in scientific literature such as Fraser (1933, 1934, 1936) and Tiple et al. (2010). The present study aimed at collecting baseline information on this magnificent group of insects and covered the Kanha Tiger Reserve including the core and buffer areas.
The study area included the Supkhar range of the Kanha National Park which is 35km from Mukki gate of Mukki range of the Kanha National Park. It is in the Balaghat District of Madhya Pradesh. It lies between 22020’N & 80038’E and the reserve occupies an area of 940km2. The Kanha Tiger Reserve includes the area of two sanctuaries namely Hallon and Banjar, of 250 and 300 km² respectively, together with a surrounding buffer zone of 1,009km² and the neighboring 110km² Phen Sanctuary (Image 1).
Vegetation: The broad vegetation of Kanha Tiger Reserve is dry deciduous forest. The terrain is undulating. Champion & Seth (1968) have identified the following forest types in Kanha: (i) moist peninsular sal forest (a - high level sal, b - low level sal, c - valley sal); (ii) southern tropical moist deciduous forest; (iii) southern tropical dry mixed deciduous forest. The floral diversity comprises 609 species and 10 varieties of angiosperms belonging to 386 genera and 104 families and 17 species of pteridophytes belonging to 11 genera and nine families (Dash 2010). The major tree species are Sal Shorea robusta, Saja Terminalia alata, Lendia Lagerstroemia parviflora, Dhawa Anogeissus latifolia, Tendu Diospyros melanoxylon, Palash Butea monosperma, Bija Pterocarpus marsupium, Mahua Madhuca indica, Aonla Emblica officianalis, Achar Buchanania lanzan. The major grass species include Eragostis sp., Andropogon sp., Cynodon sp., and Bambusa sp.
The study was carried out from January 2010 to December 2010. Odonates are most active during midday, (Subramanian 2005) therefore, direct search technique (Sutherland 1996) was used during this period (1000–1400 hr). Opportunistic sightings were also recorded. The identification of dragonflies and damselflies is based on Subramanian (2009). Photographs were taken with a Nikon P90 digital camera with double close up mode. Odonates are categorized into three groups based on the observations during the period of study. Accordingly, those species observed on 75–100 % of the survey days were categorized as very common (A), 50–75 % as common (C), 25–50 % as occasional (OC) and below 25% as rare (R). We surveyed mainly the banks of major rivers such as Banjar and Hallon with surveys of perennial and seasonal streambeds of all types of forest habitats of the reserve. We also surveyed the major tals (lakes) such as Sharvan Tal, Phuta Tal, Sunder Tal which serve as prime habitats for odonates in and around the reserve (Image 1).
Result and Discussion
Madhya Pradesh provides a suitable habitat to 72 species of odonates. Mishra (2000) and Andrew et al. (2008) listed common 45 species of odonata from central India. Six species of odonates were previously recorded from Panchmarhi Biosphere Reserve, Madhya Pradesh (ZSI 2009). Chandra (2009) reported the distribution of eight species of odonates from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. From Kanha 36 species of odonates were previously recorded (Tiple et al. 2010), with 34 genera. The present study records the distribution of 38 species of odonates in Kanha Tiger Reserve including seven families and 26 genera, where 12 species distribution are recorded for the first time. The family Libellulidae (21) is well represented in the present study followed by Coenagrionidae (8), Calopterygidae (2), Gomphidae (2), Lestidae (2) and Aeshnidae (3). In the case of zygopterans, Ischnura aurora (Brauer) was more abundant than the others. Among the collected libelluids, Orthretum sabina sabina (Drury) was the most abundant species. The family and species level classification follows Subramanian (2009). With the addition of these 12 newly recorded species, the existing checklist of Kanha is updated (Tiple et al. 2010) and the species richness in the reserve has increased to 48 species, belonging to eight families (Table 1; Fig. 1). The checklist provides the status for only 38 species as 10 species reported in earlier studies were not recorded during the present study (Table 1). On the basis of direct sightings we found that of 38 species, seven are abundant, 25 common, five occasional and one rare as it was sighted only once during the field study.
Odonates are one of most significant groups of insects with their impact on the ecosystem as bio-indicators, predators and as prey for many living organisms from birds to other arthropods like spiders. The prey of the adults consists mostly of insects harmful to crops, orchards and forests, thus they have a regulatory impact on agro-forestry. Public attentiveness is requisite to conserve these odonates and their habitats. The study reflects the baseline information on these beautiful groups of insects, but is limited in explanation of their use of different habitat types in the central Indian landscape. Therefore, an extensive odonatological survey needs to be carried out to explore the rich diversity of these elegant insects with their richness in different forest vegetation.
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