Odonata larvae of Keibul Lamjao National Park,  Manipur, northeastern India


Kiranbala Takhelmayum 1 & Susmita Gupta 2


1,2 Department of Ecology & Environmental Science, Assam University, Silchar, Assam 788011, India

1 kirantakhelmayum@yahoo.com, 2 susmita.au@gmail.com (corresponding author)



Abstract: Odonata larvae were collected from Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur, northeastern India during 2009–2011.  The study recorded 15 species of Odonata larvae belonging to the anisopteran families Aeshnidae, Libellulidae and zygopteran families Calopterigidae, Lestidae and Coenagrionidae.  The study revealed that there is a need for a detailed study of Odonata fauna of the national park as thorough knowledge of the important species of a conservation area is very essential for proper management.


Keywords: Anisoptera, national park, Odonata, Zygoptera.



doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3453.5858-63   |  ZooBank: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:2B27873A-693C-4DA3-89A7-1F46F605A9C0


Editor: Albert Orr, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia.              Date of publication: 26 June 2014 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # o3453 | Received 22 December 2012 | Final received 14 May 2014 | Finally accepted 25 May 2014


Citation: Takhelmayum, K. & S. Gupta (2014). Odonata larvae of Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur, northeastern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 6(6): 5858–5863; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3453.5858-63


Copyright: © Takhelmayum & Gupta 2014. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: AUS-UGC fellowship, India


Competing Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to the Head, Dept. of  Ecology & Environmental Science, Assam  University, Silchar, Assam for providing laboratory  facilities. The first author is also thankful to University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India for financial support.




For figures, images, tables -- click here



The Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) situated in the state of Manipur, northeastern India, is the only floating park in the world and noted as the last refuge of the Sangai Rucervus eldii eldii.  It is an integral part of Loktak Lake formed by phumdis with an area of 40km2.  Phumdis, are a heterogeneous mass of soil, vegetation and organic matter at various stages of decomposition floating on lake water.

Odonata larvae have exploited a wide range of permanent and temporary aquatic habitats including brackish pools and estuarine habitats.  In recent years all known Odonata species from the Japanese Archipelago were published by Okudaira et al. (2005).  In Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei ca. 700 species occur in the region of which ca. 500 are endemic (Orr 2004).  Fraser (1933–1936) published three volumes on Odonata in the ‘Fauna of British India’ including 536 species and subspecies of Odonata from India with many species from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  According to Subramanian (2009), in India there are 463 species/subspecies belonging to 140 genera.  Some taxonomic studies on larvae have been done in India, such as Needhams (1911).  Prasad & Varshney (1995) published a checklist of the Indian odonates, including updated data on larval studies of all known species.  This paper presents a list of different species of Odonata larvae collected from Keibul Lamjao National Park.


Materials and Methods

The Odonata larvae were collected from water with a dip net (mesh size - 60Ķm) from various places of Keibul Lamjao National Park using the ‘kick sampling’ method and by dragging the net around the vegetation for three minutes (Macan & Maudsley 1968; Brittain 1974; Subramanian & Sivaramakrishnan 2007).

To ensure a representative sample of the odonate fauna, a monthly collection was undertaken from 2009 until 2011.  Collected Odonata larvae were immediately sorted and preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol.  They were later identified using a Dewinter advance stereozoom microscope with the help of standard keys (Kumar 1973a, b; Westfall & Tennessen 1996; Srivastava & Sinha 2004).


Results AND Discussion

A total of 15 species of Odonata larvae belonging to 15 genera, five families and two suborders were recorded (Table 1).  The Odonata larvae recorded from the park are shown with their systematic position in the Table 1 and Image 1.


1) Crocothemis servilia servilia (Drury): Absence of mid dorsal abdominal spines.  Premental setae 14+14.  Palpal setae 10 &10

2) Sympetrum sp.: Presence of mid- dorsal abdominal spines.  Superior abdominal appendage much shorter than inferiors.  Lateral spines of abdomen short, not reaching tips of anal appendages.

3) Rhodothemis sp.: Mid-dorsal abdominal spines are absent.  Lateral spine on abdominal segment 9 only.  Lateral spine short, length less than half the mid-dorsal length of segment 9.  Premental setae 12+12; palpal setae 8+8.

4) Zyxomma petiolatum (Ramb): With well developed mid-dorsal abdominal spines.  Premental setae 13+13. Palpal setae 8+8.

 5) Tramea sp.: Without mid dorsal abdominal spines.  Superior abdominal appendage slightly shorter than inferiors.  Lateral spine of abdominal segment 8 slightly shorter than those of segment 9.  Lateral spine of segment 9 reaching tips of anal appendages.

6) Potomarcha sp.: Not much hair, without mid-dorsal abdominal spines. Eyes tend to point upwards; eye tending to round.  Lateral spines on abdominal segments 8–9, spines on segment 9 small, not longer than middorsal length, spines on segment 8 small, at least shorter than middorsal length.

7) Urothemis sp.: Eyes extended to posterior corners of head, pointed.  Lateral spines on abdominal segments 8-9, spines on segment 9 substantial as long as the middorsal length, spines on segment 8 at least shorter than middorsal length.

8) Leucorrhinia sp.: The eyes generally make up about half the length of the head.  Superior abdominal appendage about as long as the inferiors.  Length of the lateral spine of segment 9 less than the mid-dorsal length of segment 9.

9) Anax sp.: Abdomen with lateral spines on segments 7 to 9.  Superior anal appendage but slightly shorter than inferiors.  Inferiors about one and one-half times as long as mid-dorsal length of segments 9 and 10.

10) Aeshna juncea (Mongolica): Abdomen with lateral spines on segments 6 to 9.  Lateral anal appendages greater than one-half the length of the inferiors.  Palpal lobes >1.50x as wide as the movable hook at its basal articulation, the distal margin squarely truncate and the outer distal angle a little rounded.

 11) Neurobasis chinensis chinensis (Linnaeus): Large caudal lamellae, epiproct and paraproct in the form of large, elongated lamellae.  Major premental and palpal setae absent. Prementum widely bifurcated in the middle.  Laterally the distal ends project into long thin processes.  One small spiniform setae present at about the middle of each of these processes.

12) Ceriagrion sp.: Caudal lamellae rounded, short, marked with blotches along the periphery.  Posterior corners of head rounded or slightly angular; caudal gills denudate.  Premental setae 1+1, palpal setae 6&6.

13) Pseudagrion rubriceps (Selys): Caudal lamella long, typically laminar type, rounded at the apices and divided distinctly into ante-nodal and post-nodal areas. Premental setae 1+1, palpal setae 4&4.

14) Ischnura senegalensis (Charpentier): Premental setae 4+4, palpal setae 5&5, a few spiniform setae present on the sides of prementum.  Movable hook medium sized.  Caudal lamellae duplex lamellae, tapering at both ends, light brown with darker tracheae.

15) Lestes sp.: Caudal lamellae simplex, lamellate type.  Inner portion of labial palps with apex long, thin, claw-shaped.  Premental setae 6+6, palpal setae 3&3.


Of the numerous candidates of species that serve as wetland indicators, odonates (Odonata: dragonflies, damselflies) have been deemed a ‘flagship’ group of indicators (Oertli et al. 2002) because of their amphibious life history, relatively short generation time, high trophic position, and diversity (Corbet 1993; Clark & Samways 1996).  Odonata species diversity are generally affected by contamination of water bodies (Watson et al. 1982) and the presence of predators (Williams 1987).  There are many wetland complexes throughout the world where the Odonata fauna is under sampled and incompletely understood (Kalkman et al. 2008).  There are several studies on Odonata of Manipur (Lahiri 1977, 1979; Mitra 1975, 1996; Asahina 1967; Srivastava & Sinha 2004).  According to Srivastava & Sinha (2004) the total number of Odonata species recorded from Manipur were 68 species, 41 genera and eight families.  In the above mentioned studies adult Odonata were collected from Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur Reserve Forest, Kharsom, Manipur Longienmandeei, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Loktak Lake, Ranginmanlli, Siendra Hill, Moirang, Annangtang Ukhrul and other places (Srivastava & Sinha 2004).  A study on the Takmu area of Loktak Lake, Manipur revealed the presence of larvae of Tramea sp., Sympetrum sp. etc. belonging to the family Libellulidae (Takhelmayum & Gupta 2011).

In the present study, Anisoptera larvae were abundant in all the study sites.  This could be attributed to their high dispersal ability and adaptability to a wide range of habitats (Batzer & Wissinger 1996; Lawler 2001; Kadoya et al. 2004; Suhling et al. 2004, 2005).  The abundance of Libellulidae larvae (Anisoptera) might be due to their shorter life cycle and widespread distribution (Norma-Rashid et al. 2001).  Further they are tolerant to a wide range of habitats (Gentry et al. 1975; Samways 1989).  Among the 10 genera of the family Libellulidae recorded in the present study, the genus Leucorrhinia is a new record from India (Image 2).

The survey of Odonata larvae during 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 in the national park revealed that the number of species was higher in the first year than in the second year.  The highest number of species was recorded in the months of March and June in the first and second years, respectively.  Leucorrhinia sp. was recorded only in the month of May in the first year (28.6% relative abundance).  Sympetrum sp. was recorded in all the months in both the years and in the second year in all the months it was found to have the highest relative abundance (Figs. 1 & 2).  This study finds that there is a need for a detailed study of Odonata fauna of the national park as thorough knowledge of the important species of a conservation area is very essential for proper management.




Asahina, S. (1967). A revision of the Asiatic species of Ceriagrion (Odonata, Agrionidae). Japanese Journal of Zoology 15: 225–334.

Batzer, D.P. & S.A. Wissinger (1996). Ecology of insect communities in non-tidal wetlands. Annual Review of Entomology 41: 75–100.

Brittain, J.E. (1974). Studies on the lentic Ephemeroptera and Plecoptera of southern Norway. Norsk Entomologiskl Tidsskrift 21: 135–151.

Clark, T.E. & M.J. Samways (1996). Dragonflies (Odonata) as indicators of biotype quality in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Journal of Applied Ecology 33: 1001–1012.

Corbet, P.S. (1993). Are Odonata useful as bioindicators? Libellula 12: 91–102.

Fraser, F.C. (1933). The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Odonata Vol. I. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London, 423pp.

Fraser, F.C. (1934). The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Odonata Vol. II. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London, 398pp.

Fraser, F.C. (1936). The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Odonata Vol. III. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London, 461pp.

Gentry, J.B., C.T. Garten, F.G. Howell & M.H. Smith (1975). Thermal ecology of dragonflies in habitats receiving reactor effluent, pp. 563–574. In: Environmental Effect of Cooling Systems at Nuclear Power Plants. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.

Kadoya, T., S. Suda & I. Washitani (2004). Dragonfly species richness on man-made ponds: effects of pond size and pond age on newly established assemblages. Ecological Research 19: 461–467; http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1703.2004.00659.x

Kalkman, V.J., V. Clausnitzer, K.D.B. Dijkstra, A.G. Orr, D.R. Paulson, & J. van Tol (2008). Global diversity of dragonflies (Odonata) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595: 351–363.

Kumar, A. (1973a). Descriptions of the last instar larvae of Odonata from the Dehra Dun Valley (India), with notes on biology І (Suborder: Zygoptera). Oriental Insects 7: 23–61.

Kumar, A. (1973b). Descriptions of the last instar larvae of Odonata from the Dehra Dun Valley (India), with notes on biology (Suborder: Anisoptera). Oriental Insects 7: 291–331.

Lawler, S.P. (2001). Rice fields as temporary wetlands: a review. Israel Journal of Zoology 47: 513–528; http://dx.doi.org/10.1673/031.010.4501

Lahiri, A.R. (1977). On a collection of Odonata from Manipur with the new records.Record of Zoological Survey of India 72: 409–418.

Lahiri, A.R. (1979). Odonata (insecta) from different states of north-eastern India. Oriental Insects 13: 119–132; http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00305316.1979.10433550

Macan, T.T. & R. Maudsley (1968) . The insects of the stony substratum of Windermere. Transactions of the Society for British Entomology 18: 1–18.

Mitra, T.R. (1975). On a collection of Odonata from Manipur (India). Entomological news 86 (9–10): 213–216

Mitra, T.R. (1996). Additions to the Odonate fauna of Manipur, Eastern India (Odonata). Opuscula Zoologica Fluminensia 141: 1–6

Needham, J.G. (1911). Notes on a few nymphs of Agrioninae (Order Odonata). Entomological News 22: 342–5.

Norma-Rashid, Y., A. Mohd-Sofian & M. Zakaria-Ismail (2001). Diversity and distribution of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) in the fresh water swamp lake, Tasek Bera, Malaysia. Hydrobiologia 459: 135–146; http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1012562611307

Oertli, B., D.A. Joye, E. Castella, R. Juge, D. Cambin & J. B. Lachavanne (2002). Does size matter? The relationship between pond area and biodiversity. Biological Conservation 104: 59–70.

Okudaira, M., M. Sugimura, S. Ishida, K. Kojima, K. Ishida & T. Aoki (2005). Dragonflies of the Japanese Archipelago in Color. Hokkaido University Press, 593pp.

Orr, A.G. (2004). Critical species of Odonata in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. International Journal of Odonatology 7: 371–384.

Prasad, M. & R.K. Varshney (1995). A checklist of the Odonata of India including data on larval studies. Oriental Insects 29: 385–428; http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00305316.1995.10433748

Samways, M.J. (1989). Taxon turnover in Odonata across a 3000 m altitudinal gradient in Southern Africa. Odonatologica 18: 263–274.

Srivastava, V.K. & C. Sinha (2004). Insecta: Odonata. In State Fauna Series 10: Fauna of Manipur (Part - 2) Insects. Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, 625pp.

Subramanian, K.A. & K.G. Sivaramakrishnan (2007). Aquatic Insects for Biomonitoring Freshwater Ecosystems - A Methodology Manual. Asoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India, 31pp

Subramanian, K.A. (2009). A Checklist of Odonata of India. Zoological Survey of India, 36pp.

Suhling, F., K. Schenk, T. Padeffke & A. Martens (2004). A field study of larval development in a dragonfly assemblage in African desert ponds (Odonata). Hydrobiologia 528: 75–85; http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10750-004-3047-8

Suhling, F., G. Sahlen, J. Kasperski & D. Gaedecke (2005). Behavioural and life history traits in temporary and perennial waters: comparisons among three pairs of sibling dragonfly species. Oikos 108: 609–617; http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0030-1299.2005.13230.x

Takhelmayum, K. & S. Gupta (2011). Distribution of aquatic insects in phumdis (floating island) of Loktak Lake, Manipur, northeastern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(6): 1856–1861; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2526.1856–61

Watson, J.A.L., A.H. Arthington & D.L. Conrick (1982). Effect of sewage effluent on dragonflies (Odonata) of Bulimba Creek, Brisbane. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33: 517–528.

Williams, D.D. (1987). The Ecology of Temporary Waters. Croom Helm, London, 193pp.

Westfall, M.J. Jr. & K.J. Tennessen (1996). Odonata, pp. 164–211. In: Merrit, R.W. & K.W. Cummins (eds). An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America - 3rd Edition. Kendell/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, Iowa.