Odonata Survey Documented Rare Biological Phenomenon

A gynandromorphic form of Crocothemis servilia was documented from the Kole Wetlands of Thrissur.  It was documented during last year’s Odonata Survey conducted by SOS in association with Kole Birders – Kerala, Agricultural University and Kerala Forest Department.  Mr. Renjith R.V. and Mr. Vivek Chandran, members of Society for Odonate Studies, documented this rare phenomenon from the Puzhakkal area of Kole wetlands.  Their finding is published in the latest edition of Journal of Threatened Taxa.

Crocothemis servilia is a common dragonfly of Kerala, usually seen associated with paddy fields. Male dragonflies typically have prominent blood red colouraton in almost all their body parts, including the head, thorax, abdomen and legs. The female is pale yellow in colour with a dark brown thorax and legs.  However, the individual observed by Mr. Renjith and Mr. Vivek Chandran was part red and part yellow.  It had a mix of male and female external characters, ranging from almost entirely female to about equally divided.

The individual showed bilateral gynandromorphism of only the thorax, half of which showed blood red colouraton as in males, and the other half had the pale yellow characteristc of females. The base of the wing of the red half was marked with rich amber, in contrast with the other wing base, which was paler. The head, legs and abdomen showed typical female morphology.

Gynandromorphs are genetically and phenotypically chimeric specimens bearing separate male and female somatic characters in the same individual. Gynandromorphism is extremely rare in dragonflies and so far only about 30 individuals have been documented.

The Society for Odonate Studies has been conducting odonate surveys at the Kole wetlands since 2018, and 37 species of dragonflies and damselflies have been reported from the wetlands so far.

The original research article can be found here:  https://www.threatenedtaxa.org/index.php/JoTT/article/view/5322

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