Megalogomphus superbus Fraser, endemic to the Western Ghats, has been photographed for the first time in nine decades by naturalists Ravindran Kamatchi and S. Gopala Krishnan during a birding outing near Coimbatore.
When they posted the photo grass-green, yellow and reddish-brown colour dragonfly with bottle-green eyes on the WhatsApp group ‘Odonates of the Western Ghats’, they learnt that it was a rare discovery. Scottish botanist Fraser F. C. had described it as the most beautiful species in the book, Fauna of British India.
“Fraser spotted it in 1931 and 1934 at the Boluvampatti forest range near Siruvani, Walayar (Kerala-Tamil Nadu border) and Kallar near Mettupalayam. The dragonfly belongs to gomphidae family which has six dragonflies – two in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, one in Sri Lanka and three others in the North East,” says Kalesh Sivadasan of Travancore Natural History Society. “As aerial predators, they play a crucial role in pest control. It is an aquatic water species that thrives in fresh water, and feeds on mosquitoes and insects that are harmful to humans.”